Olive’s Peplum Top

So….. I just realized I forgot to share some uber-cute photos of Olive in a little peplum top I sewed awhile back. (You’ll notice from the flowers in the background that it was quite awhile back.)

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I received the pattern to test from Seamingly Smitten.  I love how it turned out. I used a thrifted sheet for the blouse and some scrap muslin for the collar. I love the contrast of using the two different fabrics on this one.

Everything sewed together quickly, and I liked how it fit. I believe the designer made a few changes after the test, but I have no doubt that you’ll enjoy sewing a peplum top from the pattern as well.

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I really like that peplum tops are coming back into style. They’re just the right amount of girliness for me. Not too frilly, but feminine. I’m not sure every adult body shape can carry it off, but at six months, anything looks adorable.

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So there you have it. A better late than never share of a super fun project, The Maddie Peplum Top by Seamingly Smitten.

Pack a Lunch

This post contains affiliate links, for which I will be compensated if you make a purchase through them. Opinions, though, are 100% my own, and I appreciate your support of my blog.
3 Reaons to Pack a Lunch
We talked before about how important it is to eat breakfast and what you should have on hand to be sure you make it happen. Let’s move on to the next meal of the day, lunch.

It seems basic to me, but I find, at least among the people I know, lunch is the meal they most often eat out. They will even call around so that they can be sure they all meet up at the same place at noon. Generally it’s just me and my family who head home or who have packed a lunch.

Why not join us? Lunch is a great meal to make yourself, and an excellent way to start eating better in the new year. Here are three reasons I like to pack my own lunch:

1. It’s Cheaper
I’m guessing another one of your goals this year is to save money. It’s on my goal list every year. Not eating out at lunch is a great way to pocket money. Even a cheap lunch at fast food is going to cost about $5. That means you could save nearly $100 a month by packing a lunch from home. Sure, it won’t be free, but a brown bag lunch is infinitely cheaper than eating out.

2. It’s Eco-Friendly
Think of the gas you waste when you have to drive around to pick up your lunch. Or the garbage you throw away when those convenient little wrappers your food comes in are no longer needed. Packing a lunch in reusable bags, containers, and with real silverware is an excellent way to make a difference in the landfills. Yes, your efforts aren’t much by themselves, but they add up to a big impact when we all try a little.

3. It Has More Variety
Don’t think so? Well, it’s true. Your options on any menu are limited. But the lunch you pack is limited only by your imagination. Soups, salads, and sandwiches are obvious. Switch it up, though. How about a little picnic of olives, salami, cheeses, and chocolate? Maybe you’d prefer a rice bowl topped with tofu, seaweed, avocado, and cucumber. The possibilities are endless when you pack your own lunch. If nothing else, leftovers from the night before are very delicious.

So there are three reasons I think it’s a great idea to pack a lunch. What’s your reason?

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This post is part of my series, 31 Days to Cooking More & Eating Better. For a full list of topics, see this page.

Looking for new lunch ideas? Check out The Healthy Lunch Box by Katie Kimball.

Image courtesy of John Kasawa/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Are You Going Green this Year?

This post contains affiliate links, for which I will be compensated if you make a purchase through them. Opinions, however, are 100% my own, and I appreciate your support of my blog.
I’ve always been interested in natural living. Of course, I’m not doing it perfectly, but I try to take baby steps to get both myself and my family more “green.” As you know, we cloth diaper, use mama cloth, and even try to greenify our camping.
Like us, you probably have set some goals for 2014 that include making changes to your lifestyle that will get you a little more green. And you know what? I support you in that. It’s not easy, but it always feels better to me when I do. I hope your journey goes smoothly, and you feel better as a result.
One help for you this year is the book Green Your Life by Emily McClements.
Green Your Life: Get Started Today!
In her book she offers very attainable tips on how to up your game at home, from cleaning to child care to shopping. Throughout the book she explains her reasons behind her suggestions, using references. I really appreciate references. I hate it when writers make claims with nothing to back them up. Emily doesn’t do that.
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She makes it clear that every little step we take improves not only our lives and the lives of our families, but can also change the world. Yes, we can make a difference simply by following through on our goals this year! Woot!
One section I especially loved, though Olive is still young, is how to teach your children conservation. Certainly we want our kids to follow our lead and go green as well. Sometimes it can be tricky in a consumerist world. Emily is positive and encouraging, no matter what age your kids are, they can learn, too!
Plus, if you purchase Green Your Life now, you will receive free membership to the Green Your Life Challenge in February. Here’s a little more on that:
GYL Challenge Collage
So here are my best wishes for you in 2014 as you pursue a greener life. Be sure and check out Green Your Life, as well as hop around to the other bloggers who will be sharing their experiences with you this month as well.
This post is part of a Blog Hop to celebrate the release of Green Your Life: A Guide to Natural, Eco-Friendly Living. Check out what other bloggers are saying about the great new book: Jan. 8 – Ninth Street Notions Jan. 9 – Red and Honey Jan. 10 – Running Family Jan. 12 – Five Little Homesteaders Jan. 13 – My Blessings Homeschool Jan. 14 – Vintage Kids | Modern World Jan. 15 – The Humbled Homemaker Jan. 17 – Accidentally Green Jan. 20 – Home With Purpose Jan. 21 – Intentionally Simple Jan. 22 – Feed Me Mama Jan. 23 – Saving by Making Jan. 24 – More Than Mundane Jan. 27 – My Humble Kitchen Jan. 28 – Sorta Crunchy Jan. 29 – Simply Rebekah Jan. 30 – A Delightful Home Jan. 31 – Gidget Goes Home

2014: An Epic Year?

Me By Hazel

(This is what happens when you let a two-year-old take your picture. Oh, and when you have no shame about posting such an image on the internet.)

Do you remember Y2K? How we were all worried our computers were going to blow up and life as we knew it would end because they wouldn’t understand to change the date to 2000 instead of 1900? Yeah, I can’t believe it’s now 2014. That, and how much of our lives really are on our computers now. I don’t know who we were fooling back in 1999.

Anyways, thinking about the coming year, I’ve decided to set some goals. Both for myself and for my blog. I wanted to share them with you.

For Me

  • I really need to exercise. Not that I’m overweight or anything, but I just believe it makes me feel better to do it. So far I’ve remembered to actually exercise twice in 2014.
  • Practice my Spanish. As a family we’ve set the goal of traveling to Central or South America next winter. I learned Spanish, but I’m way rusty. I need to get on that if I’m not going to sound like a total fool when we travel.
  • Sew More. Yes, I sew, but not as much as I would like. I simply need to schedule time to sew and then do it.

For the Blog

  • Have a more consistent posting routine. This time last year I was regularly writing five posts a week, and it was no big deal. Olive came along, and well, not so much. This year my goal is to post every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday on my usual topics: life, crafting, sewing, and cooking. Thanks for keeping with me!
  • Really nail down my design. I have a tendency to change up my design a bit much I think. I want to determine what my overall style is and stick to it. To that end, I’ve checked out Blog Design for Dummies from the library. I’m already getting quite a few pointers that I hope to implement soon.
  • Have more interaction with you all on Facebook and Twitter. I want to get to know you better. Let me know what kinds of discussions you want to have.

So there you have it: a few goals I’ve set for myself and the blog to achieve during 2014. Tell me, what are your goals?

Eat Breakfast

This post contains affiliate links, for which I will be compensated if you make a purchase through them. Opinions, as always, are 100% my own, and I appreciate your support of my blog.

Breakfast

How many times have we heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day? It seems every time you turn around, someone is saying this old cliché as a means of being healthier.

Guess what? It’s a cliché because there’s truth to it.

I am a big fan of breakfast; I never miss it. Sometimes, yes, breakfast is just a quick bowl of cereal as I dash out the door, but it’s always there. Generally, I try to have a fuller meal, though, one complete with complex carbs and plenty of protein. This combo helps me to feel fuller for longer, and I don’t get the urge to grab some sugary snack when I’m out and about.

Adding a daily breakfast to your schedule is a great way to cook more and eat better. It doesn’t have to be complicated. Cooking breakfast at home can be a simple addition to your day, as long as you’re prepared. Some helpful things to have on hand to make sure breakfast always happens at your house:

  • eggs
  • oatmeal
  • fruit, both dried and fresh
  • nuts and/or seeds
  • milk, dairy or alternative
  • granola
  • whole-grain breads
  • yogurt

This is just a basic list, but with it you’re able to create a hot meal or a quick cold one, if that’s all you have time for. Whip up a smoothie for a portable breakfast. If all else fails, heat up some leftovers. I’m a big fan of chili for breakfast myself.

Whatever you do, try to be creative. Breakfast will help set the tone for your day, and getting in a rut will only make you bored and decrease your desire for the meal.

Need some more ideas? Check out The Healthy Breakfast book by Kitchen Stewardship. She provides tons of tips for cereal-free breakfasts. I especially love the meal plans she offers for breakfast, so that you can be certain you’ve got what you need on hand.

This post is a part of my series, 31 Days to Cooking More & Eating Better. For a full list of topics, see this page.

Image courtesy of –Marcus- / FreeDigitalPhotos.net