Easy Summer Menu Plan

It’s Monday again! Having a menu plan and taking some time to prep on the weekend always helps the work week go more smoothly. This week’s shopping trip was easy – restock on a few fruits, lettuce, and eggs and we are good to go.

Our easy (and mostly oven free) menu plan for our family of 4 including two kiddos!

Last week’s personal pizzas (that we made big enough for two meals) on the grill. This is mine with tomatoes, olives, zucchini, and green and yellow onions with olive oil for sauce.

I’m dubbing this the summer of salads. They are great for keeping the oven off, prepping in advance, and being healthy and easy. We are doing two different supper salads this week and just because I haven’t been inspired by anything else Shaun and I are sticking with our lunch salads.

I guess we aren’t lacking in the vegetable department. I keep a bag of cooked beans in the freezer that are perfect for adding to my salad at lunch time. Supper salads tend to be more substantial and the lunch ones just veggies thrown together.

Our easy (and mostly oven free) menu plan for our family of 4 including two kiddos!

 

One of my very favorite salads that we also had last week. Greek salad with tzatziki sauce. Yum!

Suppers:

  • Grilled Bone-In Chicken, Watermelon, Broccoli, and Bread
  • Ranch Style Bean Salad (Salad with a Tex Mex flare) x 2
  • Salad with grilled chicken (leftover from Sunday’s supper) x 3
  • Grilled Bratwursts, Broccoli, Watermelon, and Bread

Our easy (and mostly oven free) menu plan for our family of 4 including two kiddos!

It doesn’t get much easier than this. Especially if you cook up extra chicken and have watermelon left for later in the week.

Lunches:

  • Olive Oil Pasta
  • Ranch Style Bean Salad (Salad with a Tex Mex flare) (so we’ll have this a total of 3 times)
  • Salads x 5 for Shaun and me
  • Leftover pasta, bread, veggies etc x 5 for the kids

Breakfasts:

  • Eggs x 3 (Shaun and me)
  • Blueberry Pancakes for my daughter on the egg days
  • Oatmeal x 7 for my 2 year old – his favorite breakfast food
  • Smoothies x 2
  • Biscuits x 2

Except for the biscuits, this week’s menu is oven free.

If you are looking for some fun side dishes to use for grilling, check out this great list:

Delicious real food (healthy) side dishes for grilling! Perfect for the next time you fire up the grill. Yummy, so many great ideas.

What are you eating this week?

Linking up to Menu Plan Monday

 

Healthy Side Dishes for Grilling

 

Delicious real food (healthy) side dishes for grilling! Perfect for the next time you fire up the grill. Yummy, so many great ideas.

There is just something delicious about supper from the grill. Our grill has been fired up multiple times a week lately and we are nearing 4th of July weekend where I think the majority of the country will be throwing some meat on the grill or packing a picnic.

The meat is the easy part – add some marinade or rub and you are good to go. Figuring out side dishes for grilling is where the problem comes in. Especially if you want healthy sides!

Don’t worry, I’ve rounded up a great list of 26 healthy side dishes for grilling! These would make the perfect addition to your next grilled supper – in fact, there are enough real food options to keep you going all summer.

Salads

Delicious real food (healthy) side dishes for grilling! Perfect for the next time you fire up the grill. Yummy, so many great ideas.

Garbanzo Bean and Roasted Corn Salad

Red White and Blue Fruit Salad

Patriotic Taco Salad

Greek Pasta Salad

Cucumber Tomato Salad

Broccoli Salad

Coleslaw

Simple Potato Salad with Thyme and Olive Oil

Potato Salad

Texas Caviar

Dips

Delicious real food (healthy) side dishes for grilling! Perfect for the next time you fire up the grill. Yummy, so many great ideas.

Homemade Guacamole

7 Layer Taco Dip

Healthier Cheese Dip (No Velveeta)

Homemade Salsa

Strawberry Peach Salsa

Easy, Delicious Hummus

Veggies, Beans, and Potatoes

Citrus Grilled Asparagus Final copy

Citrus Grilled Asparagus

Homemade French Fries Better Than Fast Food

Bacon Wrapped Jalapeno Poppers

Maple Baked Beans

Cheesy Hashbrown Potatoes

Easy Grilled Vegetables

Grilled Potatoes with Rosemary and Smoked Paprika

Asparagus and Peppers

Oven Roasted Corn

Cheesy Mashed Potatoes

What are your favorite real food side dishes for grilling?

Delicious real food (healthy) side dishes for grilling! Perfect for the next time you fire up the grill. Yummy, so many great ideas.

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Easy Menu Plan

Easy menu plan for our family of 4. Leftovers are amazing and one of my favorite salads is on the menu!

The entire radio station staff had to work 12 hours Saturday at an annual kids event they do. Thankfully, they gave everyone the day  off Monday so Shaun doesn’t have to work today! My day at work will be quieter because I will be kid free and Shaun has plans to tackle some yard work and maybe take the kids on a trip to the park.

One of my favorite salads is making an appearance on the menu this week. The Greek salad is fairly easy and so tasty – in fact, we are having it 3 nights in a row! It’s one of those dishes I don’t get tired off – creamy tzatziki sauce, tangy feta, olives, and chicken all combined into a delicious lettuce salad.

I think that except for the lemon bars I made per my husband’s dessert request for father’s day, everything is oven free this week. We’ll see if I can find ways to cut on on stove usage too.

Suppers:

  • Father’s Day: Steak, broccoli, chip & salsa, and lemon bars
  • Greek Salad x 3
  • Pizza x 2
  • Leftovers/Snacky Supper

Lunches:

  • Leftovers
  • Schlotsky’s using our free sandwich coupons
  • Salads x 5 for Shaun and me
  • Spaghetti x 5 for the kids

Breakfasts:

  • Smoothies x 3
  • Eggs x 3
  • Blueberry Pancakes from the freezer x 3 (for my 4 year old- she’s still not eating eggs)
  • Oatmeal x 7 for the 2 year old. Oatmeal and fruit are the only things he wants for breakfast
  • Yogurt with frozen blueberries and mango pieces

What’s your favorite salad?

Linking up to Menu Plan Monday

 

Cooking for Preschoolers

Great cooking ideas for preschoolers! These semi-independent ideas will keep your kids busy and you'll have a kid friendly dinner or treat out of it too.

Photo Credit & license

Semi-independent cooking for preschoolers is a great way them to learn new skills and it also has them doing something useful. Kids feel proud and have a sense of accomplishment when they help you.

Kids in the kitchen also serve another purpose. It’s the perfect thing to occupy and keep them busy on those days it’s way too hot (or freezing) to go outside and they’ve already gone through reading, art projects, and building. These cooking ideas/projects for preschoolers are all things that should keep them occupied for a while so don’t rush; let them take their time .

Some of the items on this list of things your preschoolers can make or prepare in the kitchen will require a little more supervision and some are more time intensive but your kids will love them all.

There’s one thing you are going to have to do to make this successful, and it’s not always easy. For whatever your child is working on – leave your expectations at the door! Their foods doesn’t have to (and most likely won’t) look perfect. If they are being safe, sanitary, and having fun – let them be! You want to them to enjoy and want to help in the kitchen. Eventually they’ll be able to cook entire meals but if you make them dread stepping into the kitchen it might not happen.

  • Bread Sticks – Garlic and Cinnamon
  • Homemade Personal Pizzas
    Make up a batch of dough and sauce and have your kids help grate the cheese, cut up vegetables, cook meat and then give them a wad of dough and have them go at creating their own pizza.
  • Homemade Pretzels (It’s okay if they don’t end up in the perfect pretzel shape)
  • Bread (or roll) Dough in Creative Shapes.
    Have the kids assist with putting the ingredients for your favorite yeast bread in the mixer and after its first raise let them have at shaping it into artistic shapes – it could be blobs, hearts, people, rabbits, turtles etc. They’ll love it plus it will take them a while. It’s almost like playdough you can eat.
  • Mini Cinnamon Rolls
    Give your kids a small sections of dough to work with at a time. They will roll out a small rectangle of dough, spread with butter and then sprinkle with the cinnamon and sugar mixture. If the rectangle is small enough, they should be able to roll it up themselves. They can then use kitchen scissors or a knife to cut into rolls.
  • Roll Out Sugar Cookies
    I really don’t enjoy decorating these cookies but my 4 year old LOVES to frost and decorate for hours. The most time consuming part (especially if the kids are helping) is rolling and cutting out the dough. To make things a little simpler, you roll out and bake the cookies and then they can do the decorating. (Or just save them a small amount of dough to roll out and you do the rest) When it comes to decorating, we just set out a couple little dishes are icing and put topping options into small bowls of some sort and she has at it.
  • Fruit Salad
    Great practice for those cutting skills. If you pick soft enough fruit they might be able to manage washing and cutting everything and you’d have an easy side dish all ready for supper. (Or turn it into dessert and have your child whip some heavy cream to go on top)
  • Mini Fruit Pizzas
  • Fruit Art
    Wash grapes, blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, slice up some bananas and whatever else you want. Mini marshmallows would also be a fun addition. With toothpicks they could make some cool grape sculptures and maybe even they could connect them together like people or animals or give them a plate and they can arrange the fruit into fun scenes.
  • No Bake Peanut Butter Bees
    This recipe uses graham cracker crumbs or use this healthier recipe with honey, peanut butter and powdered milk.
  • Veggie Pizza
    Prebake your pizza crust and after cooled let the kids spread it with softened cream cheese and top with assorted veggies that they helped wash and chop. Season with salt, pepper, herbs etc.
  • Salad Bar
    My kids always fight over tearing, washing, and spinning the lettuce. They can also help prepare and put all the other ingredients into bowls: Veggies, seeds & nuts, cheese, beans, meat, hard boiled eggs, etc.
  • Homemade Biscuits
  • Homemade Muffins
    My daughter enjoys helping make the muffins and loves putting the batter into the muffins tins. We like to do the mini muffins. Sure, the pan needs wiped down before it goes in the oven but it’s good practice.
  • Cupcake Decorating
    Like with the cookies have dishes or frosting, sprinkles, mini chocolate chips, fruit etc to use to decorate.
  • Cookie Dough Balls for the Freezer
    Make a double or triple batch of cookie dough with their help and then they can roll the dough into balls and line on a rimmed baking sheet to go into the freezer. After frozen, they can transfer to a zipped  food storage bag.
  • Angel Food Cake Trifle
    Make an angel food cake and after cool the kids can tear it into bite sized pieces, make whipped cream, slice strawberries and layer it all together in a serving bowl.
  • Parfaits
    Use yogurt, pudding, or whipped cream and layer in glasses or bowls with fruit, granola, chocolate etc.
  • Sandwiches
    Let the kids make mini sandwiches on little pieces of bread (or use cookie cutters on big pieces) and they can assemble little sandwiches for a fun picnic lunch or tea party.
  • Tacos
    Another great and easy meal with lots of prep the kids can be involved in. They can also help make homemade salsa.

Pick a couple projects a week and by the end of the summer your preschooler will be a little expert in the kitchen and you will have filled up many otherwise long, hot afternoons with fun, educational, and useful preschool kitchen projects!

Great cooking ideas for preschoolers! These semi-independent ideas will keep your kids busy and you'll have a kid friendly dinner or treat out of it too.

 

Photo Credit & license

Menu Plan

Every time I turn on the oven or stove I wonder what I’m doing, Saturday especially. By the time our company was over for butter chicken, naan, broccoli, and cookies I was ready to swearing off cooking inside until the fall. The rest of the menu isn’t too bad as long as I decide to do the pizza on the grill. (We love how it tastes, but it does add another small step.)

Our summer time menu plan for a family of 4! We do it on a budget of $150 a month!

Our taco salad from last week in a homemade shell!

Our lunch standard is salads for Shaun and myself and then plan one or two things for the kids to eat over the week days. It keeps things simple and the planning is easy.

My 4 year old is a good eater but after eating things for months, she gets a little burnt out on them. pancakes have been on her not favorite list for months now, but she’s been getting a little tired of eggs and requested pancakes again. I made a single batch up, so we’ll see if she actually eats them this week. Shaun and I will stick with eggs and smoothies and I made up a batch of yogurt we can use for breakfast or snacks.

Our summer time menu plan for a family of 4! We do it on a budget of $150 a month!

 

If you like Indian food, these are must try dishes! If you’ve never had Indian food before, these are great dishes to try. It’s one of our go to company dishes and it always loved.

Our summer time menu plan for a family of 4! We do it on a budget of $150 a month!

Suppers:

  • Homemade Pizza x 2 (maybe on the grills)
  • Ginger-Sesame Salad x 2
  • Butter Chicken and Naan
  • Grill
  • Nachos

Lunches:

  • Leftover Pizza
  • Leftover Butter Chicken
  • Homemade Mac and Cheese x 5 for the kids
  • Salads x 5 for Shaun and me

Breakfasts:

  • Eggs x 3 or 4
  • Smoothies x 2 or 3
  • Blueberry pancakes for my daughter per her request
  • Oatmeal for my 2 year old (he won’t touch eggs and wouldn’t even try the pancakes – at least his request is easy)
  • Yogurt

Linking up to Menu Plan Monday

Easy Menu Plan

It’s been a little while since I’ve done one of these! Don’t worry, I haven’t given up on menu planning but life has been busy and we’ve been keeping things pretty simple around here. I just finished my grocery shopping and planning and decided to go ahead and share it with you guys.

Summer is here. I’m seriously thinking about doing a summer of oven free and minimal stove usage meals. Yummy salads every night and smoothies for lunches? It would work for me (and save a lot of time) but I don’t know what the family would think about that. At least this week’s menu does a pretty good job of not heating up the house.

Chorizo and Sweet Potato Hash! This easy breakfast in a skillet is super flavorful and with approved chorizo is even Whole30 and Paleo approved! Need to try this right away.

Monday-Friday my husband and I have salads for lunch and the kids eat something different – we do things like sandwiches, a big pot of mac and cheese for the week, leftovers from the weekend, snacky lunch of fruits, veggies, and whatever else we come up with. Then they just have some of the salad veggies along with their lunch.

It’s been a couple of weeks since I’ve done a “real” shopping trip. If I was thinking I would have snapped a picture of my fridge before and after. But let me tell you, when the only produce you have left is a couple handfuls of grapes and you are out of dish soap you know it’s time to get it done. It’s nice to be stocked up on produce once again!

Breakfasts:

Lunches:

  • Salads x 5
  • Leftovers, sandwiches, etc. x 5 (for the kids)
  • Taco Salad with salsa
  • Schlotzsky’s (when our Schlotzky’s opened a few months ago we were one of the first people there and got a card for a free sandwich a week for a year – so this is our lunch every other Saturday)

Suppers:

  • Nachos (load it up with veggies to increase the “health factor” but I love some easy meals on the weekends especially when there is lots going on)
  • Taco Salad (made enough for two meals)
  • Grill
  • Mexican Sausage Rice x 2 (new recipe)
  • Butter Chicken x 2

What are your favorite oven free (even stove free if you have them) recipes?

Linking up to Menu Plan Monday.

Chorizo and Sweet Potato Hash

Chorizo and Sweet Potato Hash! This easy breakfast in a skillet is super flavorful and with approved chorizo is even Whole30 and Paleo approved! Need to try this right away.

I have to share with you my new breakfast obsession. If you’ve been around a while, you know that my favorite breakfast is a delicious Sweet Potato Breakfast Casserole. I love this recipe just as much.

This recipe came to be after I found some chorizo marked down at the grocery store. (I love those kinds-of trips!) Surprisingly, it was the first time I had ever purchased it. I don’t know if I had ever even tried it before.

Did you know you can even make your own chorizo? I have this recipe for chorizo saved on my Pinterest to try! Great way to enjoy it if you are on a Whole30 or eating Paleo and need to avoid some of the ingredients you normally find in it.

Back to breakfast. I know my love of sweet potatoes and we eat a lot of eggs for breakfast so I couldn’t go wrong if I put it all together with some bell peppers and onions. A perfect and flavorful dish!

I make this dish roasting a ton of cubed sweet potatoes in the oven. You could also dice the sweet potatoes and cook them in a skillet. Since I make the sweet potatoes in bulk (I fill up a jelly roll pan), the oven works best. (I’ve even done it on broil when I don’t want to heat up the house as much. I just have to watch them more closely so they don’t get scorched.)

Time Saving Tip: Roast a ton of sweet potatoes at the beginning of the week and then for the other breakfasts, just grab out and reheat in a skillet with the also already cooked bell peppers, onions, and chorizo while you are cooking the eggs and breakfast will be done in 5 minutes.

Chorizo and Sweet Potato Hash
Serves: 4-6
 
Ingredients
  • 4 sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped
  • ½-1 pound chorizo
  • ½ of a large onion, diced
  • 1 bell peppers, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 8 eggs
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Olive or Coconut Oil
Instructions
  1. Peel and chop/dice your sweet potatoes into whatever size pieces you like best. Place on a large rimmed baking sheet and drizzle with oil and season with salt and pepper.
  2. Place in an oven preheat to 450 degrees and bake for 20-45 minutes depending on the size of your pieces. Toss part way through. You want them to have golden brown parts and be tender but not mushy.
  3. Brown the chorizo in a skillet and remove to a bowl.
  4. In the same skillet saute the onion, bell pepper, and garlic until tender and caramelized. Add to the chorizo.
  5. Whisk the eggs and season with salt and pepper. Add a splash of milk if you desire.
  6. Scramble eggs in the skilled the chorizo was just in.
  7. Combine the sweet potatoes, chorizo, onion mixture, and eggs in the skillet and enjoy!
Notes
IF MAKING AHEAD:
Combine the roasted sweet potatoes, cooked chorizo, and cooked onion mixture. Refrigerate. In the morning reheat the amount you want in a skillet, remove to a bowl or plate, and cook your eggs in the same skillet. Just add to your already heated sweet potato mixture and your breakfast is ready!

 

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Chorizo and Sweet Potato Hash! This easy breakfast in a skillet is super flavorful and with approved chorizo is even Whole30 and Paleo approved! Need to try this right away.

Be sure to check out these other posts for more breakfast ideas:

 

 

This sweet potato breakfast casserole is amazing and can even be made the night before! The leftovers taste amazing as well and it's #paleo and #whole30 approved. SO GOOD!

 

20 Whole30 breakfast ideas and recipes! Great resource for healthy breakfasts - the hardest for me to come up with recipes for. (My FAVORTIE breakfast casserole is on this list)

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How to Get Work Done when Kids are with You

I take both of my children to work with me – every day. No, there is no day care on location. Yes, some days I think I’m crazy.

Great advice for work at home or outside the home moms! | When your kids have to come to work with you, how can you get anything done? These are some of the things I've done over the last 4 years of bring my kids to work with me!

I’ve worked as the secretary at our church for over 6 years now. A few years after I started, our daughter was born. Our pastor asked if coming back to work and bring her with me was something I wanted to do, and we decided to try it. That baby is now over 4 year and a 23 month old also joins us. We work Monday through Thursday from 8-3.

Did I ever dream that I’d still be working with both kids coming along with me? Nope! I can remember thinking, “maybe I can keep working until my daughter turns one”. That age turned into two and then three and now she’s four. The extra income my job has provided has blessed us in many ways. We’ve been able to purchase vehicles, our first home, take trips, and are now using it to pay off our home early!

I’ve spent many an hour working with the kids with me. Some days go perfectly and others have a lot of not so pleasant moments in them but we’ve found some things that help our weeks go by a little more smoothly. If you work from your home, these tips will help you as well!

What are some of the suggestions? Here’s how to get work done when kids are with you:

1. Naps

When they are of napping age, plan for naps to happen while you are at work instead of at home. During the months when my children took two or more naps a day, I made it so they’d take one in the morning and one after lunch both while we were at work. When they went to one nap, it happened right after lunch at work. My oldest doesn’t take any naps, but little brother still takes an afternoon one. Those hours are blissful.

2. Spouse’s Schedule

I go to work at 8 and my husband doesn’t have to be at his job until 10. I go to work alone and he brings the two kids at 9:45 right before he heads to work. If he has to go in earlier, the kids simply come to me sooner. Even if your husband heads to work just 30 minutes or an hour later than you, take advantage of that time.

3. Desk Space is for Working

My kids are welcome to be around my desk (and are a majority of the day) but when your child is old enough to understand, make it clear that your office is for working. Rambunctious playing and loud noises have to be done elsewhere. For my daughter that is down the hallway away from the offices or in the nursery (great perk of a church job)!

4. Clear Expectations and Rules

Even though my daughter has been coming to work with me all four years of her life, I still have to communicate expectations and rules for the day.

  • This is working time
  • If you want to be loud, go across the hall or in the hallway
  • When people are trying to work, leave them alone
  • Obey the first time

5. Snacks

Utilize food to your advantage. Especially on those days where the kids are overly tired. My daughter brings a piece of fruit (and sometimes her entire breakfast) with her in the morning. Eating it will take up the first portion of time each day. After lunch we also bring a small snack. Often, she will be given it part way through the afternoon as an incentive for good behavior. (We now don’t do afternoon snack at church – it happens shortly after we get home for the afternoon and that works just as well or better.)

6. Activities

Each day let your child select one or two items to bring that they are able to do alone or with minimal supervision sitting on the floor beside your desk. (Affiliate links used) Puzzles, opposite games, activity books (my 4 year old is obsessed with workbooks of all kinds), coloring supplies, blocks (or something to build).

7. Movies

We have recently eliminated most all screen time in our home, but our daughter is allowed to pick out a movie or show to bring to work. This will occupy them for a decent amount of time, especially if you give them their snack and a blanket at the same time and they can have a little movie party.

8. Limit Battles but Don’t be a Pushover

While you are getting paid isn’t the time to have a multiple hour conflict with your child. At the same time you don’t want to allow them to get by with disobeying, not respecting boundaries, and being loud when you are on the phone. If you do, future work days will be torture. When my daughter disobeys, is loud, or is disruptive to one of the pastors, I remind her of the rules and give a consequence if it happens again. She has to leave the office and go to the room across the hall if she’s going to be rude. End of discussion. She might lose her snack or have to go to her room when we get home. All of those consequences involve minimal time from me, but she’ll remember the next day that I mean what I say.

I’ll be honest, some days go great and others not so well but it has worked surprising well over the years. Adding a second child has helped in there now being a playmate but also increased the amount of destruction and tears that can happen.

It’s good though and I’m thankful for the opportunity to earn money and have my children with me. These tips on how to get work done when kids are with you have really helped our days!

How do you get desk work done with kids around?

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Unique Mother’s Day Gifts

These are some great unique mother's day gift ideas that will also get used! I'd love every one of these. Great ideas to save for Christmas and birthdays too.

Mother’s Day. What if you don’t want to do the flowers or box of chocolate business? You want something a little more fun and thoughtful. Even if you know your mom well, it’s sometimes nice to have a little extra help brainstorming ideas.

Here’s a list of 10 unique Mother’s Day gifts to help you in your shopping. Hey, they’d be great options for Christmas or birthday too (maybe you’ll even want to add them to your own list).

Fair Trade Earrings

I’m loving these funky paper bead earrings from Mercy House. Not only can you get your mom a fun pair of earrings you are also supporting moms in Kenya.

Essential Oil Diffuser and Essential Oils

There are countless diffusers out there. Check out this post for some reviews.

I love Plant Therapy oils. They have become my go to. Great quality, great customer service, and great prices. You can order from their site or Amazon.

Himalayan Salt Lamp

This has been on my wish list for a while and we were just given one last week. We have it set up in the bedroom. The light is fairly bright, so it might be something you only want to use during the day. It releases negative ions and is supposed to purify the air. Not only that, it looks cool.

Tea

I’m not a coffee drinker, but I do enjoy a good mug of tea. Branch out and try a few new kinds. Some of the brands I always browse through are: Yogi (has my current favorite Egyptian Licorice Tea), Traditional Medicinals, Tazo, Stash, Twinings. One of them will have something that would be perfect for you mom.

Books

Splurge for a hard cover edition of the mom in your life’s favorite book. If classics are her thing, maybe Pride and Prejudice. Check out the other classics in this Clothbound Classics set. These Puffin in Bloom books of some of the childhood classics are adorable too!

Lip Balms

Lip balms are one of those things that everyone uses. Lips get dry, kids dig in purses and slobber all over your tube, and they get lost. Of course I’m partial to mine and you can even get a set of 3 for a great price. (Check out the rest of the store for more ideas.)

Herb Garden

Assuming the mom you are shopping for enjoys cooking, go to your local home and garden store and pick out some pots and plant an assortment of herbs. It would be a fun gift that keeps on giving. You can’t beat fresh herbs.

Something Fun for the Kitchen

I’m loving some of these dip bowls from Target. Aren’t the bicycle ones too cute?

Cotton towels also seem to dry dishes the best and these ones from MightyNest are adorable. Might as well make dishes a little more fun.

 Specialty Foods

Buy an assortment of those foods you know she loves but seldom splurges on. It might be something like fabulous bread and cheese, gourmet chocolate bars, an assortments of nuts or her favorite cheesecake. I think we all have these things that we feel guilty spending on.

Wall Art

Obviously you have to know the mom and their taste but there are so many creative people out there. I’m always finding things I love or know the perfect person for.

Hey Emily Thomas has some awesome prints that are affordable or you can splurge on a mixed media canvas. She does great work and I get excited when I see her share one of her new pieces.

Sariko Designs has cute signs on reclaimed wood that I love. We have one of her name signs hanging up in our living room.

One last place I always check for wall art is Dayspring. They have some neat wall art and canvases. Don’t forget to look at the clearance section – I’ve found some good stuff there before.

I love these ideas. They are fun, kind-of practical, and different than the standard flowers. Write a heartfelt card to go with your gift and you are all set.

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Earn Swagbucks on Your Phone

Super easy way to earn gift cards on your phone using Swagbucks' mobile apps. We love it and it covers our gift budget!

Don’t tell anyone, but I don’t have a smart phone. Sometimes I think about getting one, but have yet to commit to increasing our phone bill. Maybe after we hit our big financial of paying of our house I’ll reconsider.

For those of you that are higher tech than I am, I have a super easy way for you to earn gift cards on your smart phone! You might already know how much I love Swagbucks. In fact, I have a post of my favorite ways to earn Swagbucks on your computer (which earns me at least $160 a year in gift cards).

Since my husband has the smart phone, we set him up with an account and downloaded the apps. It’s SO easy to earn on the phone – in fact, I think I could pay for a smart phone using Swagbucks. It’s even easier (and less time consuming) than the computer.

There are several video apps you can download, but I recommend starting with just two. If and when you find yourself maxing out those two, then add another to your daily to-do list. If you aren’t going to earn all the points off of 5 apps, why have them downloaded?

Reminder, be sure you are streaming the videos on the apps when you can use wi-fi to ensure you don’t have data overage fees. It’s no fun to get those notifications.

(Side note, If you are a smart phone user, you’ll want to be sure to download the official Swagbucks app and search app – you’ll be able to do things like search, enter Swag Codes, and answer the daily poll directly on them. These are all ways I talk about in my post on how to earn Swagbucks on your computer for us phone-less folks as well.)

For those extra Swagbucks though, you’ll want to download a few other (free) apps!

Number 1 App to Download

This is my number 1 pick and the first video app you’ll want to get on your phone – SwagBucks TV Mobile. You can earn 36 Swagbucks EACH day on this. One of the best things about it, it will keep on going from one video to the next without you having to do anything! On occasion it might freeze up or have an ad for you to get out of, but over all it’s super easy.

Set it up to run and put your phone on your desk when you are working or on the couch while you are watching a movie. (Extra tip, you can click to the next video approximately 3-5 seconds into each video.)

This is the first app you should max out on your phone each day!

Other Apps to Download

Word of Caution: On the app above you can select categories and I feel confident I can find a family friendly channel and my daughter finds it fun to go through the videos. With the apps below, I don’t like my daughter using my husband’s phone just in case.

After you’ve gotten to the point you are maxing out SwagBucks TV each day there are a few other apps. These apps are put out by Yowgo LLC. They tend to have more glitches than the official one above. The first few days my husband used these apps they definitely glitched a lot. They’ve since gotten better. These apps allow you to earn 18 Swagbucks a day each.

Right now, we are only using the Mobile TV app and the first one below, because you do have to actually remember and take the time to stream these videos and my husband doesn’t always.

EntertaiNOW TV Mobile - this is the app we are using along with SwagBucks TV Mobile..

If you max out both of those, check out the other apps by Yowgo LLC:

  • Lifestylz.tv
  • Sportly.tv
  • MovieCli.ps
  • Indymusic.tv

Let’s just say, you max out all 6 of these apps every day for a year – you could get over $450 in gift cards. If you are anything like us, that won’t even close to happening. Maybe you just do two of them and you’d get almost $200.

Think about the difference that money could make for to your grocery budget. You might even be able to cover Christmas with that money. If you are working hard to make ends meet, these little things really can make a difference.

It’s completely free to sign up, so give Swagbucks a try and see what happens!

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