Organized Spices

You know that phrase, “bug up your butt”?  Well, I get a “bug up my butt” quite often – meaning something strikes me and I feel I need to take action to solve it/fix it NOW!

And that’s exactly what happened to me last week while making dinner.  Things were going along just fine.  I was making a variation of the taco muffin recipe, this time using some leftover grilled pork tenderloin which I diced up and some black beans because my family is basically obsessed with black beans.  My adorable little girl was helping me assemble them:

Then I had to open the spice cabinet to get something out.  And that’s when it happened.  I had a “bug up my butt” moment.  My brain just freaked out at what a disorganized disaster the cabinet was and instead of adding “organize spice cabinet” to my to-do list, of course I had to deal with it that instant… you know, because that’s such a wise thing to do in the middle of also trying to make dinner.  But whatever, sometimes it’s for the best and having a “bug up your butt” moment helps me tackle a project that would otherwise end up on my to-do list for months and months before I would ever actually get around to dealing with it.

This is what my spice cabinet looked like when it inspired my freak out moment:

It was just a jumbled up mess.

Luckily for me, I had been inspired months ago by something I saw on Pinterest.  (If you don’t follow me yet on Pinterest, please do so I can follow you back!)  I had seen some little stick-on spice holders that attach to the inside of cabinets.  I actually pinned a picture of them months ago onto my “Wish List” board.  And wouldn’t you know it, I was smart enough to have actually added some a few months ago to an Amazon order, so I had them sitting in our den still in their packaging.  (I guess the fact that the spice holders had been sitting in my den for months actually means that organizing the spice cabinet was on my to-do list already, but whatever.  It wasn’t officially written down on my list, so it doesn’t count!)

First, I took everything out and cleaned the cabinet.  I mean, if I was going to take the time to deal with this project in the middle of making dinner, I was going to do it the right way so I didn’t have to do it a second time!

I cleaned both the inside of the cabinets and even wiped down the bottles and containers themselves with some of my FAVORITE all-purpose organic nontoxic household cleaner.  Easy peasy.

I grabbed the spice holders and some rubbing alcohol.

I wiped the inside of my cabinet door with the alcohol as the directions specified.  (Personally, I think next time I’ll skip this step.)  I stuck on the spice holders and went to town filing them up.  It took about three minutes.

I have to say, I would recommend this product.  The spice holders were easy to install and use and really help to keep the spices in an organized spot where I can see all the labels at once.  In fact I ordered more and they should be arriving soon.  You are probably wondering why I ordered more when I didn’t even fill up the ones I had.  Well, here’s why – check out all the EXPIRED products I found in my cabinet when I pulled them all out to wipe them down.

Grossly wasteful!  So anyway, I ordered some more spice holders so that when I replenish my expired spices with fresh ones, I will have an organized spot for them the moment they come home from the grocery store!

Next I carefully put back all the spices/salts/oils/etc. that were not expired and were not going to be kept in the new spice holders on the door.  I basically just did a combination of shortest in the front/tallest in the back.  And check it out… it looks SOOO much better:

Looks so much better!

I will admit, I stood back and admired my work for a bit.  But then the oven beeped me back into reality letting me know it was time to eat so I had to stop patting myself on the back and get back to real life.

It always feels good to tackle a project, no matter how small!

How do you organize your spices and cooking oils?  And even more importantly, do you have any tips on how to not have so much expired waste?  (I know the obvious answer is to cook and bake more, but c’mon, let’s be real!)  😉  I feel like there should be a neighborhood spice box that everyone shares so when you need a teaspoon of fennel for a recipe you don’t have to go the store and spend $3 on a container of it only to have it expire before you finish it.  Hmmm…

 

November’s Most Popular Post

Quick post to announce last month’s most popular post!

November’s popular post here on Bring Mae Flowers was my post about my redecorating project in my daughter’s bedroom.  You can check out some of the photos here.  Looks like lots of folks saw that post through my Pinterest board.

Thank you for reading Bring Mae Flowers.  Be sure to check back and see what I’ll be writing about in December as I gear up for Christmas!

Also, if you like this blog and want to keep in the know about new posts and information, please click here to get to the Bring Mae Flowers Facebook page and “like” that page so my new posts will show up in your feed.  Thanks so much!

With love,

Mae

Mae’s Black Friday

Well my husband had a great idea for me to do a “Mae’s Black Friday” post comprised of some of my past Favorite Things.  Hey, why not?  Some of those things might make nice little gifts for folks on your list.  So here goes!

Safety Tattoos

Mascara

Invisibelt

Pampered Chef Mix ‘N Chop

TRX 

Butter Crock

Overhead Extension Cord Reel

Travel Mug

Exercise Arm Band

Body Scrub

Child Safety Locks

Laundry Detergent

Ear Buds

Based on a quick glance at my list, everything is between $10 and $100, so there’s a wide range.

If my husband had to pick his favorite from this list, he would definitely choose the butter crock.  He didn’t even know what one was when I got it, but he says weekly how much he LOVES having it, and I totally agree.  Game changer!  If I were to pick my best thing on the list, gosh… that’s REALLY hard, but I’d probably choose the TRX.  Love it.  And if I asked my kids, they’d probably choose the TRX too because they love to swing on it like crazy little monkeys in the basement…. ha!  😉

The weather forecast is looking goregeous here in the midwest for this weekend so I’m looking forward to a great weekend with as many hours spent outdoors as possible!  How about you?  How do you like to spend your weekends?

~Mae

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Who Moved My Husband’s Cheese?

Things are a-changin’ around here.  Again.

In my journey toward better health for my family I’m always making changes to our diets for the better.  We’ve come a long way!

I’ve told a bit of this story before, but for those of you who are new around here:  we used to eat just like the “average” American family.  It was lots (and lots!) of refined carbohydrates – mostly in the form of crackers, chips, white bread, and sugary cereals.  There were very few fresh vegetables in our house.  There were a select few fruits on hand for lunches.  And our protein sources came from wherever we felt like it that week, but it never even occurred to us to buy organic meats or dairy.

Then our first child was born.  When Bubba was 6 months old we began feeding him solid foods.  That’s when we started transforming our family’s relationship with food.  Babies can be very motivating, can’t they?  We mommas only want the best for them!  It was kind of like my first baby lit a fire under my butt for health!

It’s been about 6 years now.  So where are we at?  Well, somewhere in the middle, I guess.  We’ve made progress.  Lots of it!  But we aren’t exactly planting our own organic farm or eating seaweed sandwiches for every meal, so that’s why I say we’re in the middle.

I’ll be honest, sometimes that’s exactly how I feel about this journey.  Like we’re “stuck” in this category of folks who don’t really belong with any group on either end of the spectrum.  We’re too “healthy” to fit in with the “average American” crowd any more.  (I know one person who thinks it’s truly weird that my kiddos eat a side of bell peppers and hummus.)  But we aren’t quite “crunchy enough” to fit in with the truly pure, fully organic crowd.  Do any of you feel that way, too?  It’s like I already have eliminated many bad foods (easy example, I haven’t bought old-school white pasta in at least 3 years… all whole grain, baby!)  But, my kids still snack on a cup of good ol’ Cheerios at least once a week, and while Cheerios may have some whole grains in there, the perspective of those on the extreme end of the spectrum is that Cheerios aren’t exactly a “pure” choice.  So I don’t feel like I fit in, except with some of you Bring Mae Flowers readers.

But, I can’t worry about that all too much.  I’m all about progress, not perfection.  There will never BE perfection.  There can only be information and a choice made to change and improve.  So that’s what I’ll keep on doing.  And I hope you’ll keep doing it with me!

So that all brings me to today’s post… it’s all about cheese.  First of all, I’m originally from Wisconsin so I’m guessing you can figure out how much I like cheese.  Now take my interest in cheese and multiply that by a thousand, and that’ll give you an idea of how much my husband likes cheese.  He’s the guy who puts cheese on everything.  He’s the guy who can be found standing in front of an open refrigerator, his head tipped back, literally shaking a container of cheese into his mouth.

Now take the image of that guy, my cheese-loving husband, and imagine what his face looked like when I told him last month that we were all done buying pre-shredded cheese at the grocery store.  Yep.  I think he about choked.  I think ‘Taps’ played in his head.  There was a period of mourning.

But he trusts me.  And he has always supported the healthy changes I’ve made over the years for our family, because he knows I’m doing the right thing for all of us, and he also knows that he’s way too busy to research this stuff and make the changes on his own.  I think that’s pretty normal, though.  We mommas are generally the nutrition decisision makers of our households.  Which is why it’s even more important that we do a good job… our family’s health is dependent upon what WE buy at the grocery store!  That’s very motivating to me.

After my husband was done mourning the loss of his beloved pre-shredded cheese, I told him to fear not!  He was married to a Cheesehead after all… did he really think I meant we were giving up cheese completely?  Heck NO!!!

What I meant is this:  We were not going to buy any cheeses that were pre-shredded.  (And I also added in there that we were also not buying any cheeses that have been dyed orange, but I didn’t want to break all this news to him at once.  He was in a very fragile state.  Baby steps.)

Why?  Well, like I said earlier, it’s all about information, learning about the foods we eat, and making educated choices about our nutrition.  The fact is, when I bought pre-shredded cheeses at the store, I had never once looked at the ingredients label.  I mean, I thought it was just simply cheese, right??  WRONG!

The ingredients on a package of cheese should be pretty simple:  some milk, some salt, and some cultures to turn it all into what we know as cheese.  But that’s not what’s on the label of most pre-shredded cheeses.  Check it out – I snapped a photo of the back of our last two bags of pre-shredded cheese.  This one is a Mexican blend:

Do you know what all those ingredients are?  Exactly!

Here’s the same problem with an Italian blend:

What I discovered is that I have no idea what half that stuff us, but I know what it’s not – real cheese!  Plus, one of the ingredients, cellulose, I discovered is actually wood pulp.  Yep, that’s right – a side of oak with your sharp cheddar.  No really though, cellulose (wood pulp) is added to cheese that’s been pre-shredded (even organic brands) to help it not clump together while it sits in its package at the grocery store waiting for someone to buy it.  Now, in my research I did not find anything that says cellulose is necessarily harmful, but it just didn’t sit well with me.  I’ll take my cheese with a little less hickory, thank you very much!  (Interestingly enough, another reason food manufacturers sometimes add cellulose to products is to increase the fiber content on the nutrition label.  You all know I’m a sucker for high fiber foods, but even still… nope.  Not gonna do it any more!)

Here’s what a real cheese label should look like:

And another example:

I now have quite an assortment of block cheeses going on.  In the past, the only time I ever bought blocks of cheese was if I was hosting a gathering at my house and I was planning on serving sliced cheese to go with an appetizer.  I never bought it for the purpose of using as shredded cheese.  Not any more!  And now that we’ve made this change, I realize that buying the pre-shredded cheese was obviously a convenience factor, right, but you know what?  It’s not all that much of a time saver.  Already this week I’ve used shredded cheese in a few meals (I made some quick eggs for the kids for lunch today and added some cheese in, I made a pork version of the taco muffins, etc.) and it took me all of about 40 seconds to shred the cheese I needed for each of those meals.  No joke.  So the wood pulp is totally not worth it for the sake convenience.  I’m admittedly a super lazy cook, but I’ll take my laziness elsewhere in my kitchen battles.

There is one exception to my rule though.  I was talking with my local “cheese man” – the guy who sells cheeses, eggs, etc at all our local farmers’ markets.  I ran into him at a local farm near my house and got to talking all things cheese with him and I asked him about this, knowing I was going to be writing a blog post about it.  He said that when he sells something like a grated parmesan, he simply grates the cheese and puts it into a bag for his customer.  So I guess sometimes I might indulge if it’s from a source like this.  😉

I’d like to hear from you about a couple of things from this post:  First, now that you know what cellulose is, what do you think about it being in your foods?  And secondly, where do you fall on the spectrum of healthy eating and how do you feel about it?

 

 

Rewarding Children’s Behavior

When my kids were very young I decided I would minimize bribes and maximize positive reinforcement.  Basically, I decided I was going to mimic with my own children what I did when I was teaching.  I was never the teacher who gave out candy and “prizes”.  Instead, I did a lot of calling attention to the students who were exhibiting the behaviors I was seeking, I wrote a lot of complimentary notes home to parents complimenting their child, I made a lot of happy phone calls home doing the same, I gave out little paper awards for accomplishments big and small and announced them in front of the class, etc.  I tried to reward with positive attention.  It was successful because of the age I taught so I kept at it.  And so that’s pretty much my parenting philosophy.

I don’t like to reward with food or toys or any of that.  (The exception to this rule was potty training… I totally bribed my kids with MnMs.  Ha!)

One way my husband and I call attention to our children’s achievements is with this cute little plate:

When one of our kids has something to celebrate, he or she gets to eat dinner (or whatever meal is best) on this “special plate” while all the rest of us use our regular dinnerware.  It’s just one small way of calling attention to the child and making them feel good about his/her accomplishments.  I’ve used this little plate for just about everything:

  • rewarding a child for a good report card (or in my kids’ cases since they don’t really get “grades” yet, positive comments from a teacher on a report or even in person)
  • showing extreme kindness
  • a stranger commenting in a grocery store about how well behaved and polite my kids were
  • a teacher trusting my child with a significant job
  • taking the initiative (this is a BIG deal in our house!)
  • new accomplishments like learning a new skill (riding a two-wheeler, learning to whistle, and other silly-but-important-to-kids things
  • extreme cases of showing a caring heart (donating to charity from their little coin banks without being asked)
  • and many more

We make a big deal while we’re eating out of why the child gets the plate and talk throughout the meal about it.  It’s so great to see my kiddos beaming with pride!  I’m sure they’d love a reward like dessert or a new toy, but seeing them so happy and proud of themselves is much better… yes, even better than ice cream!  Ha!  😉

It makes me feel great to know that I’m building up their hearts, teaching them lessons through the conversations we have about whatever attribute got them the “special plate” in the first place, and it just makes us all feel good!

What do you think?  How do you reward your children?  What have you found to be the most effective?  I’m always on the hunt for good ideas!

Protein Energy Ball Bites

My husband loves them!  My kids love them!  I love them!  Protein Energy Ball Bites are a lot like indulging in a hunk of delicious cookie dough but they are healthy enough to be a great snack or meal!  Check it out!

My husband recently started working at a new company.  (Remember our awesome Summer of George in between his jobs?)  He takes the train into the city most days.  Babe takes the super-duper early train and gets up at what he refers to as “dark-thirty” so he can get to his office and get going with his day.

This means that there are a LOT of hours between when he wakes up and when he eats lunch, thus he truly needs to eat breakfast.  (Really though, everybody needs to eat breakfast!)  Babe’s breakfast has to be something convenient and on-the-go, because he’s not going to get up any earlier than “dark-thirty” just so he can eat.  We thought about a few different ways to solve his breakfast dilemma – granola bars, nuts, smoothie drinks… and then I decided to try making something I’d heard about.  I mixed up my first batch of Protein Energy Ball Bites for him to see if that would work.  Babe LOVED them and thought they were easy to eat on the train so they were our winner!

To begin, I started looking through a few recipes along these lines on Pinterest (do you follow my boards on Pinterest yet?  Follow mine so I can follow yours, too!)  I finally settled on a combination of a few of the recipes because I just couldn’t decide on one.  I picked out certain ingredients from each that I thought Babe would like the flavor of, and that would be healthy all at the same time.

I’m several months into making these for Babe and would like to note that I have made each batch slightly differently each time.  Sometimes I add more of one thing and less of another.  The last batch I made omitted the raisins and instead used dried cherries because Babe wanted to try that instead.  So if you want to make Protein Energy Ball Bites for your own family, don’t feel restricted.  Just put in some healthy ingredients with flavors your family prefers and add a healthy binding agent or two to make it all stick.

Here’s the recipe I used the first time.

  • 1 cup shredded coconut (unsweetened)
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup ground flax seeds
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup natural peanut butter
  • 1 1/4 cup oats
  • 1/2 cup raisins (or dried cranberries!)
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup chopped almonds
  • 2 tbsp PB2


Mix all ingredients in large bowl.  Put bowl into fridge for a bit (maybe 10 minutes or so – just enough time to clean up the ingredients and get ready to make the balls) because the colder the mix is, the easier it will be to form into balls.

Form into small balls with hands.  I use a measuring cup to ensure they are all uniform in size:

Put the ball bites into the fridge for a bit to help them set their shape:

And then… enjoy!!

I make a large batch or two each time and put each Protein Energy Ball Bite into a little “single serve” baggie.  That way Babe just grabs one out of the fridge each morning and eats it later while he’s on the train.  I leave a few in the fridge and I freeze the rest to keep them fresh:

Now my husband has a handy, healthy little breakfast to eat on the go each morning and I feel good knowing I know every ingredient in it.  Oh, and did I mention they are so seriously delicious that my kids beg for them?!?  It’s like eating an oatmeal peanut butter cookie that just never made it into the oven.  Yum!!

I shared this recipe with a woman I sometimes work out with and she told me the other day that her family is addicted to them, too!  So funny!

If you are looking for a good breakfast or snack to eat on the go, give this recipe a try!  You will not regret it!

What do you do for quick snacks & meals on the go?

 

Happy Girlie Bedroom

Welcome to my little girl’s bedroom!

When my daughter, Birdie, started the transition out of her crib and into her toddler bed, I began the process of changing this room from a baby nursery to a room for a girl.  I probably would have put it off a year or two had I not sat on her toddler bed one day and realized how hard! her little mattress was!  I have no idea how babies sleep on those things!  I’m all for a nice, supportive mattress, but geesh, this was ridiculous.  I even made Babe sit on it and he agreed… time to get our girl a real bed with a quality mattress.

Because of the size/shape of Birdie’s bedroom, I really wanted a daybed style bed for her because I felt that would maximize her floor space.  I really felt like keeping her room as open as possible was important for when she was a little girl and needed space to play as well as when she’s older and needs space to spread out her schoolwork, etc.  Another thing that was important to me was a trundle.  I put a trundle bed in my son’s room, and it has come in super handy when friends and guests sleep over, so I figured it wouldn’t hurt to have another one.  I imagine once my children get older and they start wanting to have their friends sleep overnight a lot, these trundle beds will be of even more value.

Here’s what the bedroom looked like before when it was our baby nursery.  (That nursery post is still one of my most popular posts to date!)  We chose a unisex nursery because we didn’t want to find out the sex of our first baby.  I think the greens, white, and brown really served us well for those years that our babies were babies and toddlers!

This particular crib, though, was cool because it could be converted into a headboard/footboard for a regular bed.  Since I had my heart set on a daybed for this room, we weren’t going to need the crib anymore.  So we chose to move this furniture into the guest room to make good use of it.

I didn’t want to do much repainting in the room so I opted to keep the wainscoting bright white and to simply adjust the colors of the polka dots.  I found a daybed with a a trundle that was true white.  By the way, do you know how hard it is to find a “white” bed that is actually white?!  Everything in stores, catalogs, and online that’s labeled “white” is most often actually “soft white”, or “antique white”, or some other creative adjecive that actually means off-white.  My son’s furniture is off-white and it is fine because his walls are a khaki color, but in Birdie’s room with those bright white walls, I was determined to find regular ol’ white!  And I did!  Yay!

A white daybed with a trundle.  Hooray!

We got the matching bedside table:

And a new dresser as well.  (I have a little project planned for the wall space above that dresser in between the doors, but it’s not ready yet.  Check back for a post about that.  Or just “like” the Bring Mae Flowers Facebook page to stay in the loop on updated posts!)

I thought about getting a desk or another long dresser with a mirror, but just wasn’t sure about either of those purchases and didn’t want to spend money on something I wasn’t sure of, so I opted to postpone that decision.  That’s why this wall of her room still looks kind of unfinished.  Someday maybe Santa will bring her a cute white desk or something, but for now, this works just fine.  (FYI those frames are not staying there.)

My other main goal for this room was to try to make it cute enough for my preschooler (age 4) but not too babyish overall, so that the colors and decor can last us at least a decade… hopefully all the way til she’s in college!  (I had this same goal when I got my son’s all-American boy bedroom put together… to make it last!)  I think decorating is kind of fun and all that, but I am always trying to find ways to spend less money doing so and to decorate in ways and styles that last so we don’t constantly feel like we are re-doing a part of our house unnecessarily.  I like living in a home that feels beautiful and organized, but I don’t like feeling like some part of our home is always “under construction”.  Know what I mean?

For now, Birdie still has her little listening center where she can play music and listen to books on cd: 

Still figuring out the best way to configure the bookshelf.  (Notice the stop light!  We don’t use it anymore, but it was the best when our kiddos were younger!)

So there you have it!  My super sweet little girl’s bedroom!

I hope you’ve enjoyed taking a tour of this room.  If you like blog “home tours” you might want to take a look at some other rooms I’ve shared like my laundry room, my dining room, my kids’ play room, my son’s room, and my guest room.

I love how my girl’s bedroom feels now when we walk in there.  It feels cheerful and airy.  I hope she likes it for a very long time!  What do you like about your kids’ bedrooms?  What do you think is important in kids’ rooms?

Lentil Bruschetta Dip

Lentils???  Yep, lentils!!  We’ve all heard by know how we should be incorporating more lentils into our American diets, right?  Lentils are a great, meatless way of packing our meals with protein and an amazing source of fiber as well!

Today I just have to share with you one of my new favorite recipes!  It’s fast, simple, easy, delicious, and healthy!  It’s called Lentil Bruschetta Dip.  My kiddos call it “Pizza Dip on a Chip” because it rhymes, but I decided to stick with the original name for my post.  (Although I think the kiddos are onto something… their name does sound more appetizing!)

I’m telling you, it is so good – I crave it!  We had Halloween candy in the house over here for a week and I was craving this recipe even over the chocolate… that’s gotta tell you something, right?!?

I was first introduced to this recipe by the fine folks at my local Trader Joe’s at their little taste test stand in the back of the store.  They always have something out for customers to try.  It’s hit or miss with me.  But on the day I tried this recipe I was sold immediately!  Yum!

Okay, want to know how easy it is?  It only requires 3 ingredients (Now that’s my kind of recipe!):

Take 1/2 the package of Trader Joe’s steamed black lentils, 1 tub of Trader Joe’s fresh bruschetta, and 1 tub of Trader Joe’s crumbled feta with Mediterranean herms and dump them all in a bowl.

And then you mix them all up.

And then you eat.  (Well… technically you are supposed to chill it for 20 minutes to let the flavors combine, but I’m usually impatient and hungry and excited because I know how yummy it’s going to be so I rarely can stand to wait… I just dig in.)

So I know this recipe is called a dip, but I actually have used it as a meal quite a bit as well.  No, really!  The lentils are packed with protein and fiber, so for me, this is a perfect little recipe!  Here was my daughter’s plate one night last week:

Obviously, the healthiest thing would be to dip veggies into it.  But I went with a couple of other options to see what I thought was best.  I bought some pretty standard pita chips and some little rye crisps that caught my eye because my husband loves anything rye.

Our family unanimously agreed that the pita chips worked better for this.  (But those little rye crisps were tasty little buggars!)

Now, you know me, I have to go and analyze everything.  So here is a look at the ingredients and nutritional breakdown of this dish:

Pita chip ingredients and nutrition label (not the greatest – thus why it’s best to eat this dip with veggies and skip the carbs:

The rye crisp ingredients and nutrition label:

Steamed black lentil ingredients and nutrition label (Wow!  8 grams of fiber and 9 grams of protein in just a 1/2 cup!  Awesome!):

Feta ingredients label:

Feta nutrition label:

Bruschetta ingredients label:

Bruschetta nutrition label:

And I went ahead and did the math for you… check it out… if you make this dish according to the proportions I listed and you then divide your bowl of yumminess into 4 “meals” here’s the breakdown of what you are getting.  (I divide mine into 4 small containers and pop it into the fridge and eat then I eat a serving whenever I feel like it!)

  • Calories:  240
  • Fat:  10.5g
  • Saturated Fat:  4.5g
  • Cholesterol:  22.5mg
  • Sodium:  810mg
  • Carbohydrates:  18.5g
  • Fiber:  5g
  • Sugars:  5.8g
  • Protein:  14.6

This is a great, healthy option to bring along to all the upcoming holiday parties!

Have you ever made anything like this with lentils?  What’s your favorite way to use lentils?

~Mae

 

 

 

 

Free Shipping Event!

Hey All,

Just a quick note to let you know that Shaklee is sponsoring a FREE SHIPPING event!  Woo hoo!  I love free, don’t you?!?!  😉

Here are the details:  Shaklee will cover free shipping of up to $20, on orders totaling $200 or more starting today and running through the eighteenth of this month.

It’s a PERFECT opportunity to stock up one some of those heavy items, buy gifts for the holidays, and even test out that one Shaklee product you’ve been thinking of trying.  Shaklee’s money-back guarantee makes it easy to try new things without worry!  I love that!

Shop here!

Here are some things I would recommend trying:

1.  Stock up on some heavy items.  For example:  the Hand Wash Concentrate (love it!!), the Fresh Laundry soap, the Soft Fabric Concentrate, Dishwasher Automatic Concentrate, Nature Bright, etc.

2.  Give a healthy gift to a friend, teacher, or family member who is starting to take their health more seriously!  For example, a bottle of Basic H Organic Super Cleaning Concentrate along with the spray bottles would make such a cute little basket for someone!  Plus, I just LOVE getting practical gifts that I will actually USE, don’t you?!?!  Way better than some candle or mug I’ll never even use!

3.  Splurge on yourself!  The time for new year’s resolutions is approaching… what will you do better yourself for 2014?  Think about the Vitallizer supplements to keep your body healthy from the inside out, Vivix, or even the skin care system.

So there you go – shop it up and enjoy the free shipping while enjoying knowing you are making safer healthier choices!

Guest Bedroom

Of all the rooms in my house, our guest bedroom has really grown and changed the most as my family has grown and changed.

When we first moved in, our guest room was the dumping ground for all of our mismatched furniture.  Dressers, extra mattresses, random mirrors, ancient bedding, etc.  We didn’t even bother trying to make it look nice because with little kids in the house we stumbled onto something wonderful… a safe, practically empty room to burn off steam in!  Brilliant!

We discovered that the kids loved jumping on mattresses (duh!) and since we didn’t want them jumping on mattresses on any of our “good” furniture, the guest room became the jumping room – the place in the house where jumping around like a monkey was not only permissible but highly encouraged!  Back then, we actually used to affectionately call it “the mattress room”.  The room may have been ugly, but it sure does bring back lots of good memories.  My goodness… all the tickles and giggles that happened in that little bedroom!!  Such fun with our babies, toddlers, and preschoolers!

One day in the middle of a jumping tickle fight, Daddy’s weight finally broke the cheap metal bedframe holding up the larger mattress.  Whoops.  It wasn’t quite as bouncy when we took the mattress off the broken frame and put it on the floor.

This was right around the time when I wrote this post about changing out Birdie’s room to  a big girl bedroom.  That set the wheels in motion to just go ahead and change her bedroom from a “toddler room” to a “big girl room” once and for all.

Since the crib we had been using for our little ones for 7 years was a convertible style, the pieces were able to be used as a headboard and footboard for a standard mattress.

With the transformation happening in Birdie’s room we decided it was time to give the nursery furniture a new home.  So when her new “big girl furniture” arrived, we moved the nursery furniture into this guest room.

I’d seen the whole “bed in front of the window” thing done on decorating shows but I was a little nervous about positioning the bed there because I’m a big fan of natural light and I didn’t want to lose any of that by blocking it with the headboard or pillows.  But I was so happy with how it looked. I’m so glad I tried it out!  It makes the room seem so much larger and it also gives the perfect focal point when you walk into the room.  Here’s what it looked like when we added the headboard (which was a piece of our old crib) and moved the bed in front of the window.

We also slapped a very (boring) neutral color on the walls in there and I scored on some inexpensive bedding, etc. to spruce things up.  I was trying to make it look like a happy, welcoming place without it being too girly/masculine/childish/old lady/etc.  Here’s how things in the guest bedroom look now:

Obviously, there’s still a lot to do in terms of making the room complete.  Like getting some decor on the walls and – oh – you know, figuring out what type of light fixture we want in there besides the goofy single lightbulb sticking out of the ceiling!  Ha!  But we’ll get there… eventually!

I wanted to share this “so far” transformation with you though because knowing me, it’ll take years to find just the perfect this and that for the room.  I’m not one to just put anything into a room… I wait until I stumble upon the perfect item.  So I guess you can expect part two of this post somewhere in 2015!  Ha!

So there you have it.  A BIG improvement in what we have to offer our overnight guests.  To anyone who’s ever stayed in that room before… I’m really sorry it took us so long!  To anyone who stays in there in the future… I hope you feel relaxed and at ease while you’re our guest!

Make sure you don’t miss the next post – an update on how Birdie’s big girl room looks now that we took out all the baby furniture and baby stuff.  An easy way to make sure you don’t miss that post is by “liking” the Bring Mae Flowers Facebook page, where it will always update the most recent blog post and more!  Have a friend who likes decorating?  Share this Bring Mae Flowers post with her!

Thanks,

Mae