My kids and I are always looking for fresh, new smoothie recipes.  And I, as mom, am always looking for ways to make smoothie recipes a tad healthier and nutrient full.  I feel the recipe I am about to share combines all those factors: it’s delicious, fresh, and full of hidden veggies and other good-for-you ingredients!


  • 3 ripe bananas
  • 2 cups frozen blueberries
  • 2 cups frozen pineapple
  • 2 cups spinach
  • 2 6-oz. cups Chobani blueberry Greek yogurt
  • 2 tbsp. ground golden flaxseed
  • 1 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 3/4 cup milk
  1. Assemble all ingredients in a high powered blender (like a Vitamix).
  2. Blend for one minute, or until smoothie is consistent and chunk free.
  3. Serve and enjoy!

My kids also love to help me assemble the smoothie, which is another win.  I hope your family enjoys this smoothie as much as mine has!!

Zoo!! 100 Zoo!! 110


Day 21: Tucked Braid Updo

So…here we are on Day 21 of the 30 Day Hair Challenge…8 months later.  In my defense I have had a lot going on, like growing another human being, among other things.  He recently decided to come out, and boy, is he cute!

I really should be sleeping, not blogging, but I have found a renewed interest for hair as of late, and decided that it really was time to finish off the 30 Day Challenge (better late than never).

So let’s get on with things because I really do need to catch a few zzz’s before my adorable little baby milk monster wakes up. 🙂

I present to you, the Tucked Braid Updo:

tucked braid updo

This one really is a lot easier than it looks-no French braiding (no really), just a lot of ‘caking’ the braid and bobby pins!

For the full tutorial, which can be found on A Beautiful Mess, just click here.

Okay, we’ll keep my first post back quick and painless, mostly because I am pretty tired and as such prone to rambling…so better just to sing off.

Until next time!


How to be a Stain-Fighting Ninja w/ Stain Removal Recipe

As I mentioned last post, I am working on my own laundry stain remover….sorry, this is not going to be THAT post.  THAT post…still coming.  In the meantime, here is the recipe that I am basing my recipe off of.  You know how when something is so awesome and works so well you kind of don’t even want to mess with it?  Yeah, that’s where I am right now.


  • 1/2 cup hydrogen peroxide
  • 1/4 cup Dawn dish soap (original)
  • 1/4 cup baking soda (optional-this is more to really work it into the clothes when you are scrubbing-I like it in mine)


This works SO well-you wouldn’t even believe.  Unless you’ve tried it-then you would definitely believe. Just apply the stain treatment directly to the stain, agitate (aka rub it in) and wait an hour or two before washing.

A few additional tips that will really help you earn your ninja stars:

  • Sometimes a really tough stain will keep a couple of treatments-keep working at it!
  • If the stain doesn’t come out the first time, DON’T run it through the dryer!  This will make the stain set in more, and make your job a lot harder.
  • Something else to try: spray the stain with straight-up vinegar and leave it to sit out in the sun for a couple of hours.  Then wash as normal.  NOTE: Do NOT wash with chlorine bleach after spraying with vinegar as this will create toxic fumes.  Yeah…so don’t do that.  Also, do not spray with hydrogen peroxide and leave out in the sun-unless you want to irreversibly bleach your clothes.

ADDED BONUS: This concoction also works wonders on your tub! Just apply directly to your tub or anywhere you are wanting to clean grout, let sit for 1 minute, scrub (barely)…and not only will all traces of dirt be removed, but your tub will SPARKLE.  I kid you not.

The only part I really struggle with in this recipe is the Dawn.  Don’t get me wrong, it’s still WAY better than any chemical stain remover you will buy in the store (less toxic and works better).  But still, I am working on a stain remover using castile soap which has NO questionable ingredients-however, it’s still in the testing stages.

To be continued…


2 Easy Updos That Take 5 Minutes (or less)- Day 9

It’s always nice to have a couple of easy go-to hairstyles in your repertoire for busy mornings.  These next two hairstyles are just that.  The first style, the Easy Updo, is just your basic pulled up hairstyle.  I believe it took me all of 2 minutes.  It can be adjusted to sit higher or lower on the head, depending on where you tie the initial band of hair.

easy updo

I was not lying…just your basic updo.  No muss, no fuss.  The problem was, I did my daughter’s hair first with the Easy Chignon, which is like the Easy Updo, only knotched up a level with a few twists.  It looks elegant and unique…so much so that when we went to Costco, she received compliment after compliment on her hair. (Plus she’s a pretty cute kid to boot.)  I fell in serious LIKE with the Easy Chignon (I would say love, but it seems wrong to use that adjective with a hairstyle when it’s the same one I use when talking about my family).


This was a challenge for me in that it did not come with a tutorial-only a picture!  Figuring out how to do cute hairstyles that I saw on Pinterest…typically not my strong point.  But seeing as I have been surprising myself as of late, I decided to give it a go-and was pleasantly surprised!

Since this did not come with a tutorial, I decided to create my own in case anyone else was interested in replicating this cute, unique ‘do.


A) Starting at the top of the side of the head, take a strand of hair and twist, gradually adding more hair in as you work your way down the head.  At the bottom, secure your twisted strand of hair with a low-hanging strand to secure it in place.  Repeat the process on the other side of the head.

B) Gather all of the hair (including the two twists) into a low-hanging ponytail.  Invert the ponytail. (For those not familiar with this, all you do is make a hole in the hair right above the hair elastic, and pull the bottom of the ponytail through the top of the hole and all the way through.)

C) Rubber band the ponytail about 1-2 inches from the bottom of the ponytail.  Tuck it into the inverted ponytail and bobby pin to secure.

D) Ta-da- all finished!  You can adjust the chignon so that it is looser or tighter, depending on how you want the final product to look.

Note: It is a good idea to have on hand ‘clear’ elastics!  For my family, that means having these brunette elastics (see picture below) on hand-the match our hair almost perfectly and blend right in!  These have made all the difference in hairstyles such as this one.


Join us tomorrow for a few twists on the common ponytail! (Man I wish I would have known these back in my ‘ponytail phase’ of life…which lasted for a loooooooooooooong time!!)

Que descansen bien!



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Day 8: The Sock Bun + a therapeutic STUFF purge

If you want a perfectly round bun, then the sock bun is for you!  The fantastic thing about this bun is that you can virtually put it just about anywhere on your head.  Just locate the base of the ponytail where you want your final bun to lie…and then follow the [somewhat] easy steps to your perfectly circular bun (aka the Sock Bun)!

My kids LOVED this bun because the first step is cutting the toes off of an old sock.  The next step, at least for my kids, was then to wear the sock toes (sans the rest of the sock) around the living room with wails of laughter.  I loved the sock bun because I got to repurpose an old sock from my bin of socks that are missing their partners!

I present to you, fictitious reader, the Sock Bun:

sock bun

A side view of the Sock Bun:

sock bun side

Steps to the Sock Bun:

1. Find a calf-length sock (a pretty elastic-y one) and cut off the toes.  Then roll your sock into a tight donut.

*Note: If your hair is not super long, or if you are attempting this style on a toddler, use a smaller sock.  For my middle daughter, who is 2 and has hair that falls just below her shoulders, I used an infant sock and it worked perfectly.

2. Make your ponytail.  Remember, the base of the ponytail should be where you want the final bun to lie.

3. Place the sock donut around the ponytail, and move it up the ponytail, until you have 1-2 inches of hair sticking out the top.  Fold the hair that is sticking out under and through.

4. Using both hands, fold the sock and the hair down, until you are at the base of the ponytail.

5. Secure the Sock Bun with bobby pins.

6. Dress up your Sock Bun with a small bow or clip (if desired) and you’re done!

V sock bun

The final product on my middle girl, V! Also note the lip sticking out, as she is in full-pout mode!

Another tip: Use a sock that is similar to your own hair color, you will be glad you did!

Here is a video that shows how to do the Sock Bun on yourself. It’s a bit lengthy, and the actual tutorial doesn’t even start until after the 3 minute mark, so if you don’t have time to spare, I would recommend fast-forwarding to the action.  Here is a second link that shows how to do the Sock Bun on a toddler.

OK, so my kids’ hair is getting better, but I was also hoping to add some go-to Mom ‘Do’s to my repertoire.  Good news: the Sock Bun is multi-generational!  It works just as well for moms as it does for toddlers, teens, etc.

K sock bun

Okay, so I just had to show you all my own sock bun that I did on myself, as I am notoriously bad at doing my own hair! It is kind of a “messy” sock bun, but all in all, not too bad!

I also debated on sharing this next one, but I though, what the heck? I have been working on a Messy Knotted Bun, with mixed results.

messy knotted

It’s a Messy Knotted Bun-you achieve it by tying your hair in knots and then bobby pinning it into place.  My problem is that my ends stick out and my last knots don’t want to stay knotted (don’t know if my hair is quite long enough?).  It’s a work in progress.  Strangely, where I would have found this discouraging before, I actually find myself excited by the challenge!  I have been practicing hair while I watch my kids play, practicing while I watch them splash in the tub, practicing…well, you get the picture.  I like doing hair, and it is no less shocking to me than it is to everyone else!  (Especially those who knew me back in college and high school when my go-to hair was the ponytail!)

In other news, I have mobilized and set a date for my rummage sale!  I went through my kids’ toys today and the guest bed is already STACKED with items for the sale.  It’s a little embarrassing.  It feels so good, though, to see the toys whittled down to only those that my kids use on a regular basis!  Tomorrow I tackle the coat closets and MY closet! It is so….THERAPUETIC to get rid of all this stuff!  I feel 100 pounds lighter already, and I’ve only just started!

Here’s to living well with less-


PS If you want to see another video on cleansing junk from your house, click this link-my mom shared this video with me and it’s great!





Day 7: The Messy Bun + Why I Want to Become More of a Minimalist

So for Day 7 of the 30-Day Hair Challenge I “tackled” the Messy Bun.  It was really very straight forward, but I wanted to take the time to go through the tutorial because so many more complicated hairstyles incorporate the Messy Bun.

The trick to this hairstyle (as I found out by watching numerous tutorials) is to use two hair elastics.

The end result:


Here is the link that provides a tutorial on 2 different ways to do the messy bun if you’re going to do it on someone else’s hair, and a second link that breaks it down if you want to do it on yourself for some totally stylin’ mom-hair!

Also, I came across some staggering statistics today on the amount of excess we have here in America, and it really hit home.  This has been something that has been heavy on my heart lately, as I have been feeling suffocated by all of the clutter in my life.

I have been slowly whittling away at the junk in our house, but somehow it always finds a way to creep back in, especially after birthdays, holidays, etc.  I am trying to force myself to be a little more brutal and get rid all of the STUFF we just don’t use! The goal is to get back to the bare minimum of what we NEED so I can then focus on what’s important: following hard after God and spending time with family.  And hopefully this will cut back on the time spent cleaning as well, because who really LIKES to clean?  Not this girl.

Wish me luck!  I may have a rummage sale in my future…


Day 6: Fishtail Braid + DIY Teacher Appreciation Gift!

So I was busy patting myself on the back for the last two hairstyle successes, but also looking to the upcoming fishtail braid with a little bit of dread.  I mean, it looked hard.  Then I watched the tutorial, and I was all like…”You mean, that’s it?”  This is what I had been dreading?  It looked…easy.

And then I pulled it off on the first attempt, and you know what?  It was pretty easy!  All that build-up in my head for nothing!  And you know what else?  I am actually beginning to start to enjoy braiding.  Added bonus:  my girls are LOVING trying all these new hairstyles!  T wakes up every morning and says, “What are you going to do to my hair today, mom?” all excited.  It makes my day!

So the moral of the story is: when you face things head on, the outcome is generally a lot better than you initially picture in your head.  Face your fears and you just may surprise yourself!  Yes, I learned all that from doing hair. 🙂

Oh, yes, the picture:


Much as I have enjoyed braiding, I think next I will take a step back and try a few non-braiding hairstyles, starting with the messy bun, which is all the rage these days!

Also, just finished making my daughter’s teacher appreciation gifts, as she has her last day of preschool tomorrow.  Actually, she helped earlier (the hands that you see pictured below are hers)-I was just putting on the finishing touches.



Added bonus: Her teachers will all get Roma tomatoes this summer as these are some of our tomato plants from the garden! The gift that keeps on giving, as they say.

Well, that about does it for me tonight…all that hair-doing and crafting has gone and worn me out!  Until we meet again-