Crock Pot Sweet Potatoes

The very best way to cook sweet potatoes, in my experience, is in the crock pot! They come out PERFECT every single time! This is easiest way to get the best outcome with the least prep time!

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Ingredients:

  • 2 or 3 sweet potatoes (similar in size, about 5″ is great for a single person)
  • 1/4 cup of water

Directions:

Pour the 1/4 cup of water into the crock pot, the temperature of the water doesn’t matter. Clean the outside of the potatoes off with warm water; you can use a vegetable brush if you have one but I just do the best I can with my hands. Place the potatoes in the pot, cover, and cook on high for 4 hours.

Serve with a little butter, salt, and pepper or gravy! Delicious.

I also really like to put these into a salad, especially with a red wine vinegar dressing! (see photo above)

The water and the heat steam the potatoes; when they come out they are so soft!

If nutients were money, sweet potatoes would be considered the Oprahs, Bill Gates’, and Beyonces of the vegetables. They are full of fiber, potassium and a variety of vitamins. This article discusses the benefits of sweet potatoes in even more detail, if you are interested!

Weight watchers Points Plus 2012: 4 Points for 5″ potato with 1/2 tbsp of butter spread (I like Smart Balance Butter & Canola and Extra Virgin Olive Oil Blend), salt and pepper.

*I have only ever used this technique to cook 2-3 potatoes at a time so if you were looking to make more, I would be lying if I told you it works, or not. I don’t think it could hurt to try…if you do, let me know how it goes…

 
Enjoy!!

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Maternity Photo Shoot–Melissa Fogg Photography

A few weeks ago, my husband and I met with a new photographer in our area who is specifically trained to photograph our newborn (when she finally arrives). Upon signing the contract for our newborn photo shoot, she offered us a FREE Maternity Mini-session and, of course, I said “Thank You” and scheduled a date! Melissa Fogg is so sweet, professional, and an incredible artist!

Here is her blog!

and…

Here is her website!

These are 2 of my favorites, so far…can’t wait to see more of her beautiful work!

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Like her on facebook to show your support

Thank you so much, Melissa!! We are thrilled!!

Idea Box

If I have 30 minutes of quiet time, it must not be wasted…

When I use these 30 minutes to flip through a magazine, I want to remember the thoughts, ideas, recipes, etc. that I like. In order to do so and keep ripped out pages from being scattered all over the house, I organized a concept I call an Idea Box.

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I always keep a sheet of labels and some scrap paper pieces in the box, paper-clipped together.

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I use the labels when I want to write down a thought or idea and stick it onto a torn out page.

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I use the scrap papers if I think of something while reading that I want to jot down but don’t feel the need to keep the page.

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I put all the pages and ideas into the box and store it neatly in the closet. Fun to sift through it on a rainy day!

If you are reading the magazine on the beach or at a friends house (and they will let you rip the page out) tear the page out right there, put it in your purse, and when you get home, place it in your box. Simple.

This saves me from the I-don’t-want-to-throw-away-the-magazine-because-I-saw-something-in-it-I-liked dilemma which causes lots of clutter!! With this process I can recycle the magazine right away, no hanging around for 3 months and then throwing it away anyway because you have forgotten why you kept it (you know you do this)….

*Also, use scrap paper instead of post-its when you can, for any project…saves trees 🙂

Destiny

“When we strive to become better than we are, everything around us becomes better, too.”
~ Paulo Coelho (The Alchemist)

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Are you trying to be a better person today than you were yesterday?

Are you living with a purpose or meaning? Do you believe in destiny?

What is your destiny?

After reading Paulo Coelho’s The Alchemist about a boy who is searching for his “personal legend” (AKA his destiny), I can’t help but ask myself the questions above.

Every day, it is a challenge to balance my career, my relationships, my creativity, my hobbies, my diet, my “stuff”, my spirituality, and much more.

Sometimes, I feel that MY destiny, as a modern day, suburban woman, is to find the perfect and very delicate balance of all of the components listed above. I believe that one day I will be at peace with the balance I find and be satisfied. The very reason I write this blog is to share my own ways of balancing all and to inspire my readers who share in this destiny (which I think is very common).

I believe that doing the best I can to achieve this balance every day makes me one step closer to fulfilling my destiny.

Borrow this book from your local library or buy here. I hope that if you choose to continue reading my blog I can inspire you in some way…

Simple Organization for Small Objects

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While working on any project, especially a very specific project, I like to have all of my supplies laid out in front of me. I recently accomplished ribbon visualization and accessibility with my ribbon organization project so I moved on to organize the small pieces that I attach to the centers of some of the hair bows I make!

There is nothing proprietary about this project. This post is probably not going to change your life. BUT this project is fun, pretty, and functional, so why not share?

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I went to Wal-Mart and picked up a few small plastic containers. I got 2 larger (17 compartment) containers and 2 smaller (7 compartment) containers. I also found a few packages of adorable stickers (12 per pack for $1, wahoo!) to label the containers.

I created categories, sorted the pieces, stuck the stickers to the tops of the containers, and labeled them with my label maker!

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If I find the perfect, rectangular basket to fit these into, I will purchase that basket… in the meantime, I am okay with these bins sitting stacked on a shelf in my craft closet!

*If you want to get really fancy, you could measure, cut, and glue pieces of scrapbook paper into the bottoms of these compartments!

 Thanks for reading!

Inspired by “Attraction”

Breathtaking, emotional and inspiring are just 3 words to describe this life-changing performance…

You have to see for yourself…

Click picture or click here

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I feel so proud for these artists; they have dedicated their time, emotions, bodies, and probably much more to be a part of this! Bravo and Thank You!

Legal Theft with Coupons

A simple tutorial for the person who wants to put in little time and effort but still save some money.

I feel like a thief today because with just a few coupons I got basically half of my purchases for free with very little time or effort spent! Too good to be true? It’s true, check out my photo below! I thought I would share/brag about this so my readers can see that you don’t have to be an “extreme couponer” to save a little cash.

Today, I got $82 worth of items for only $44!! This savings is a dinner out with my hubby or a new outfit for the baby!! So worth it!

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6 toothbrushes, 2 Aveeno baby sunscreens, 2 bottles of shampoo, 3 birthday cards, 24 laundry pods, 6 bars of soap, a box of salt, a jar of Alfredo sauce, a bottle of honey, 2 bags of chips, and an antibiotics prescription!!

Resources:

-One Sunday paper

-Some leftover coupons from a recent trip to CVS

-A little organization

-A little math

-About 40 minutes (10 minutes cutting coupons/looking through the flyers, 20 minutes making smart purchases in CVS, 10 minutes in Shop Rite)

The Process:

On Sunday mornings, I go through the coupons in the paper and cut out only the ones we need or may need before they expire (I don’t clip dog food coupons because I don’t have a dog; I only clip coupons for items that we would have purchased at some point anyway, coupon or not) Once I get them all cut out, I put them into a little coupon folder I made, which has them categorized. I don’t go crazy with a binder or anything like that; I just separate into a few categories. There are not ridiculous amounts of them so this works well for me.

I then move on to the flyers for the week. I mostly use CVS and Target because they have my favorite kind of deals (they give you extra bucks or target gift cards when you make certain purchases). These extra bucks or gift cards are basically “free money” that can be used for things you need right then or things you know you will need. I try to use them for the types of items that don’t usually have coupons. The flyers may have a few coupons but they mostly just let you know which items have deals associated with them or which items are on sale that week. I usually cut out the really good sales/deals and bring them with me shopping, just to remind me. This way I don’t have to remember the deals I wanted to take advantage of or have to sift through the entire flyer in the store.

*Tip: both CVS and Target let you make 2 separate purchases in one visit so make one purchase (items for which you will get extra bucks or a gift card) and then with a second purchase, use the extra bucks or gift card you just got! This way, if you don’t make it back to the store right away, your “free money” won’t expire! Genius!

I never save insane amounts of money like the people you see on TV but they spend so much time and effort (I have to balance my life and doing anything in excess is too much of an investment for me). If my Sunday paper gets paid for with a coupon or 2 and I can stock up on things while they are cheaper, I don’t have to make impulse purchases for things when they are not on sale; avoiding impulse purchases saves me money!

Again, every one of the items I bought today are our preferred brands, few of these items will expire, and the effort/time investment was very small!

Successful trip!

Feel free to comment for specific details about this!!

Happy Mother’s Day

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To the Mom’s who always put their children before themselves…

To the Mom’s who are cheerleaders for their children and who encourage their little ideas…

To the Mom’s who celebrate their children’s biggest accomplishments with them and make them feel confident & proud…

To the Mom’s who exhaust themselves to do favors for their children which they didn’t ask for but that move mountains…

To the Mom’s who just sit on the phone and listen when their children cry/complain for 20 minutes straight…

To the Mom’s whose children respect and love them so much that they would be satisfied raising their own children even half as well as they were raised…

And to all the other moms, besides mine, who mean so much to their children….

Happy Mother’s Day!

And a very happy first mother-to-be day to me! I am already obsessed with my little girl; I can’t wait to be the best Mom in the world!

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The Sweet, Simple Things

It is the sweet, simple things of life which are the real ones after all.
-Laura Ingalls Wilder

Another photo of my adorable puppy nephews….Watching them cuddle together in the grass was a small, happy moment in the middle of a very emotional day…

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Today, my families’ experiences were so very widespread on the emotional spectrum.

We grieved over the loss of two incredible woman of immense character, who were meaningful friends in our lives…

We suffered through the emotions of a failed test, a test that could have been life changing but wasn’t meant to be passed right now…

On the other side of the spectrum, we celebrated the graduation of my sister from college; she powered through and completed a bachelor’s degree an entire year early, a 4 year program completed in 3 years!! Get it girl!!

We hold each others hands and push through it all together…we try to embrace the sweet, simple things, amongst all the crazy!

2 things I learned from the woman who are now watching over us:

1. Stand up for what you believe and who you are. Your opinions give you bold, irreplaceable character. RIP Marge

2. Try to be the person in the room who’s inner beauty radiates through his/her skin and fight like hell to live life to the fullest until your last breath. RIP Anne