Sweet. Sweet. Baby.

~  Berries, Greek yogurt, chia seeds, and granola.  ~

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~  Birthday cake for an adorable one year old  ~

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~ Knit up these pants for another sweet one year old ~
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And two bonus photos🙂

~ Caught some adorable moments of our youngest feeding animals with his great uncle.  Just look at that happy face! ~

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~ Awesome photo my husband took before soccer ~

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~S

…and she’s off to the races!

I know this blog is called Soft. Sweet. Simple.  …but, lately my life has felt anything but…

Once upon a time I told myself I would not be that busy mother.  You know, the mother that runs her kids around to copious amounts of activities while juggling her job or everyday tasks.

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For the most part, I succeeded over the years!  The thing is, it was slow…it built gradually…I never even saw it coming until, WHAM!  Boyscouts, cub scouts, tap lessons, piano lessons, swim lessons, violin lessons, soccer practice and games….every evening and a couple afternoons, a commitment.  I still have the house to clean, laundry to do, grocery shopping, cooking, homeschooling, everyday tasks and errands, weekly speech therapy for our youngest, and bi-weekly allergy shots for our middle…AND THEN an activity.   How did this happen?!  I’ve been feeling like I’m running.  All day.

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We are coming to realize that we need to cut activities.  We know our children are homeschooled and lack socialization, lol, BUT, we have to balance better.  It’s ok for our children to feel “bored” sometimes or have some evenings at home to spend time together as a family!  Thing is, I don’t think our children would be bored.  It’s just so hard to stop an activity you’ve started and you enjoy!  I strive for a calm, peaceful family life.  One where we have time to enjoy eachother.  It’s exists right?!  I know it does… I was there once…it does!

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In the meantime, while we work all this out, I try my very best to enjoy these moments.  I limit my distractions.  When we go out…I don’t even bring my phone.  Gasp!  I just know that our time is so precious and I want as few distractitions as possible during this valuable time.

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I did grab my husband’s phone for a few quick photos though…it’s nice to have some pictures to look back on😉

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~S

Back To Homeschool

We celebrated our first day back to homeschooling with these yummy gluten free spudnuts (doughnuts made from mashed potatoes).

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Our school has been up and running for the past three weeks…so this is a tad late🙂. The kids have been loving all of our school this year.  In years past, it was guaranteed that the eldest would have tears over math and the second eldest would have tears over writing.  Not this year!  Maybe it’s just part of them maturing, but I have to say, it’s kind of nice.  Over the past few years I’ve really stressed to the kids that it’s okay to not understand something right away, that’s why we are learning.  I want learning to be enjoyable for our kids.  I don’t want our kids to stress over “the right or wrong” answer.  I want them to see that with learning, their world is endless.

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So…

pray with your children…

play with your children…

read with your children…

get outside with your children…

teach your children…

learn with your children…

get involved, eye to eye, no distractions.  That’s when, even as an adult, your world grows bigger.

Thank you, my babies!  I feel so blessed to continue learning with you!

~S

When The Garden Comes Marching In!

Summer, sweet sweet summer!  Warm air, sunny skies, late nights, laughs on the deck with friends, riding bikes, beach time…there is so much to love about summer!  …and gardens…Oh how I love when things start getting harvested!  All that work planting, watering, weeding…then comes the most fun part…eating and sharing with friends and family!

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Our garden this year consists of pumpkins, failed watermelon (boo!), green onions, acorn squash, cucumbers, zucchini, peppers (Which the bunnies enjoyed), green beans, tomatoes, and cherry tomatoes! With the cool spring and mostly cool summer we’ve had here in northern Illinois, we are just beginning to enjoy the fruits of our labor.

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Homemade pickles!  Recipe here! Super simple and SUPER delicious!

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My favorite summer lunch!

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1/2 avocado

1/2 cup cottage cheese

3 slices deli turkey, chopped

cherry tomatoes, halved

black pepper….or a drizzle of sriracha!

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Stuffed zucchini blossoms!

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Filling: ( I didn’t measure, but here’s an approximation)

1 Egg

3/4 cup Ricotta

1 clove Garlic, minced (I think it could’ve used two)

Basil, Parsley, Thyme, Pepper to taste

Mix well, fill blossoms, sauté in coconut oil until golden and crispy!

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Luckily I caught this little sleepy bee nestled in a petal-hammock in time!

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What’s in your garden this summer? Happy harvesting!

~S

The Answer To My Pains & A Sweet Treat

You may be sick of hearing it.  After all, it was once and may still be a popular “diet”.  Gluten free.  I’ve been on a 13 year long journey to come to the conclusion that gluten is something that cannot be a part of my life.  I’m currently suffering from a “glutening” right now.  Not only are my glutening symptoms not fun, but I didn’t even get to enjoy my glutening!  Through this I’ve told my husband that if I could have gluten, I’d have…a warm doughnut, beignet, croissant, chewy bagel, apricot coffee cake, French toast…ugh, the list could go on.  But, no…instead gluten snuck into something and I’m suffering without getting to enjoy any of those yummy breads.  I’ve been racking my brain, thinking back to what I could have eaten that had gluten in it.  I dunno!

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I do get to taste some fun things though!  My sweet sweet neighbor and bestest of friends brought me some freshly harvested rhubarb not too long ago and I made these amazing muffins from it.  I thought I’d share my recipe with you all!  Gluten free of course😉

Gluten Free Buttermilk Rhubarb Blueberry Muffins  (Adapted from this recipe)

For the rhubarb compote:

  • 10.5 oz (300 g) finely diced rhubarb
  • 1/2 cup (3.5 oz; 100 g) blond cane sugar

Steps:

  • Place the rhubarb in a pot with the sugar. Stir and stew on low heat, until soft. Purée and set aside 1/2 cup (4.5 oz; 130 g) (keep the rest for another preparation (such as adding the rhubarb to yogurt).

For the muffins:

  • 1 1/3 cup gluten free flour blend
  • 1/2 cup coconut flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup coconut sugar
  • 7 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk or 1/2 cup plain yogurt
  • 1/2 heaping cup finely diced rhubarb
  • 1/3 cup blueberries

Steps:

  • Preheat the oven to 350 F and have the cupcake liners in a muffin tin.
  • In a bowl, combine the flours, baking powder, baking soda and cinnamon. Beat the eggs with the sugar.
  • Stir in the butter, vanilla and buttermilk (or plain yogurt).
  • Add the stewed rhubarb compote and the dry ingredients.
  • Fold in the diced rhubarb and raspberries.
  • Fill the cupcake liners and cook the muffins for 25 minutes or until cooked when pierced with a toothpick. Remove from the oven, let cool, and enjoy!

Hope you get to try these out!  Enjoy!

~S

I like to create.

Thinking back, I’ve always been an artsy creative type.  It’s what I enjoyed most about school.  It’s what I liked to do in my free time.

Several years ago I started channeling that artistic gene of mine toward decorating cakes.

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I have a blast creating fun cakes for family, friends, and anyone who heard about me.

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I still love to decorate cakes, and the kids are always planning their next birthday cake as extravagantly as they can imagine.

photo (36)    24…with all the fun cakes I’ve made, it’s super hard not to post them all on here!  Any who….back to the post…

In addition to caking, I’ve also enjoyed sewing!  I’ve made the kids Halloween costumes, a shower curtain for the kids bathroom, and even some clothing for myself.

turkey…the most adorable little turkey ever!

In all this, I’m never satisfied.  I’m always looking for more.  More challenge.  Something new.  Something different.  Before my little guy was born I enrolled into a knitting class with my Mom to learn something different.  I really wanted to make some cute things for the new baby!

Harrison-3 Harrison-37 Harrison-40 Harrison-42…success!!

So NOW!  I think I have enough to keep me busy.  I’ve been crafting cakes for the past 8 years, sewing for the past 10 years, and now knitting and crocheting for the past 5 years.  Nothing brings me more happiness than my children, family, and all my hobbies.  It’s so fun to create, but I haven’t stopped just there!  I’ve decided to take it just a step further and open an Etsy shop!  Now anyone can buy some fun things that I’ve made!  So far I have some market bags, Easter baskets, boot cuffs, and animals in my shop, with plans to add more.  Check it out!   https://www.etsy.com/shop/Softsweetsimple?ref=hdr_shop_menu

An update, a snippet.

The update…

I’ve been no-pooing for 11 days.  I’ve decided to try and plow through the detoxing phase, which means that I’m going to “wash” once a week, rinsing only in between.

Just washed, after one week of rinsing only…

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Then, the next day…rinse only…

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So far I’m loving it!  After my BS and V wash, my hair is so light, full, and shiny.  ALSO, I’m no longer finding a fist full (slight exaggeration) of hair after I wash in my shower.  Literally, 2-4 hairs, literally!  Rinsing only isn’t too bad…  I try to run hot water through my hair and really massage the oil from my scalp all the way through my hair.  I am dealing with static though.  I’m trying to research the best option for me to help with that and I’m thinking I may try honey.

Now for the snippet…

We had a fun Thanksgiving week.  I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned being a homeschooling family or not yet, but we are.  We took time off from our curriculum to focus on Thanksgiving for the week.  The kids made paper bag teepees, homemade butter, Thanksgiving poetry bookmarks, mayflower fact books, and lots lots more.

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We also snuck in a trip to the “choo choo” restaurant!

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Have a great weekend!