Coconut Strawberry Chocolate Popsicles

We had our first taste of summer this week, so it’s got me thinking about cold treats. Ice cream, popsicles… mmmm, I’m hungry just thinking about it! Here’s my problem: as a mom of four little boys, I don’t like to give them a lot of sugary treats. So I came up with a super yummy popsicle that will satisfy your sweet tooth, but also leave you with a clean conscience.

Coconut Strawberry Chocolate Popsicles

Ingredients:

  • handful of chocolate chips
  • 6-7 strawberries
  • 1 1/4 cups unsweetened coconut milk
  • 1 1/4 cups whole milk vanilla yogurt
  • approx. 1TBSP chia seeds (optional)*This recipe makes 8 popsicles*

1. Chop up the chocolate chips and strawberries into small pieces.

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2. Mix the 1 1/4 c. of coconut milk and 1 1/4 c. of yogurt. Add in the chocolate chips and the strawberries.

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3. If desired, add in chia seeds. In case you haven’t used chia seeds before, they are super good for you! They won’t change the flavor at all, but they’ll make the pops even healthier. You can even add more than the recommended amount!

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4. Mix everything together and pour into your popsicle molds. If you don’t have popsicle molds, use paper cups and popsicle sticks.coconut popsicles_4

5. Wait at least four (torturous!) hours for your pops to freeze. Then slide them out of the molds and eat! If you’re having trouble getting them out of the molds, dip them in warm water to loosen.coconut popsicles_7

These popsicles are not super sweet, but they are incredibly delicious. If you like yours a little sweeter, here are some options: add more chocolate chips or fruit, drizzle chocolate over your popsicle, or use sweetened coconut milk. Change up the flavor of your pops by substituting a different berry, such as raspberries or strawberries. Use whichever is in season!coconut popsicles_8

The kiddos won’t realize they’re eating a healthy treat, and you can achieve super mom/aunt/grandma status by saying yes to these yummy pops!

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Or don’t give them to the kids at all. Keep them all for yourself without an ounce of guilt. I promise, I won’t tell. ;)Coconut Strawberry Chocolate Popsicles - easy to make, super yummy, and good for you!

Finding the Lovely in the Chaos

Motherhood is a chaotic business. Each day is filled with noise, lots of messes, and countless challenges. The days can be monotonous and exhausting. When faced with all the chaos, sometimes it can feel anything but lovely.

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Some days it’s easier just to focus on the challenges. To simply clean up the messes, change the diapers, and do the same things over again the next day.

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But every day has something lovely. Every moment. Even in the midst of a tantrum-throwing toddler, there is something lovely. The tear-stained hug when the crying stops, the laughter during the tickling that diffused the moment, the triumphant moment of standing your ground and not giving in to the kicking and screaming.

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“There is a correlation, I’m finding, between beauty and perseverance. It feels like beauty might be knots in the rope you are climbing, gas stations along the cross-country journey, the water stations strategically set up on a racecourse. Beauty is what makes it possible to keep going. And beauty is in the eye of the beholder, isn’t it? It’s not just in the things everyone sees, but it is what YOU see, what sticks out to you, the unique moments God gives you to collect up and hold and draw strength from.”
-Annie F. Downs, Looking for Lovely
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Motherhood is a long-distance marathon. A test in endurance. An uphill climb. When you’re in the middle of the race, you feel tired. Your feet hurt. You can’t breathe. But as you keep going, you see the beauty in the persevering. You find your stride, you get your second wind, you drink some water and feel refreshed.

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Annie F. Downs recently released her latest book, Looking for Lovely. It is, in every sense of the word, lovely. I read it in two sittings, absolutely unable to put it down. This book reads a little like a memoir, as Annie shares her struggles and the loveliness she fought to find in the midst of them. Because sometimes you need to actively pursue the lovely. You have to ask the Father to show you all the good gifts He has put in your life, to open your eyes to what’s around you that you maybe haven’t noticed yet.DSC_6251-2 copy

That doesn’t mean that the chaos disappears or that suddenly life and motherhood become a walk in the park. Or that the messes are magically cleaned and the kids will never fight with each other. But looking for lovely can give you – give me – the change in perspective you need to embrace the chaos.

I don’t know about you, but I can always use more lovely in my life. Looking for Lovely is all about collecting the moments in your life that matter. In these days when I’m knee-deep in motherhood, I would much rather set my mind on what matters – the lovely, not the chaos. The snuggling on the couch, the basketball in the driveway, the “I love you” scrawled across the heart-shaped paper.

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Will you look for the lovely with me? Check out Annie F. Downs and her new book Looking for Lovely. I promise, you won’t regret it.

I received this book in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.

Duds for Dudes Tour

Today I’m joining up with the Duds for Dudes Tour with Mabel Madison fabric shop! If you’ve never purchased from Mabel Madison, you are truly missing out!Duds for Dudes If Only They Would Nap

Disclaimer: I was given a discount for my purchases for being part of this blog tour, but all opinions are my own.

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Sometimes finding boy-friendly fabrics can be tricky. But what I love about Mabel Madison is they have such a wide selection!DSC_6312 copyLet’s talk first about this knit. Sewing knits is my jam, and ohmygoodness I’m in love with this Adorable Animals Euroknit! It is luscious. The perfect thickness, and this print! I can’t even handle who much I love it.

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This print is available in a pink colorway too, and if I had a girl, I would totally buy them both. The tee is self-drafted, and is my favorite style of tee to make for my littles.

DSC_6295 copyNow onto the pants! I adore these pants. I used the same self-drafted pattern for the pants I made for Project Run and Play  (you can also see I made the same style shirt… see? I told you how much I love it!). I adore flared pants on little boys.

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The denim twill in fire red from Mabel Madison is absolutely amazing. I often find twill to be stiff, even after it’s been washed, but that is NOT the case with this twill. It’s soft – but not too soft – and sturdy.

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It’s perfect for pants! My little guy loves to run and jump and climb and play in the woods around our house, and these do not hold him back. They’ll definitely take awhile before the knees bust out (which is an inevitability in our house).

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Psst: the pockets have some Spiderman fabric from my stash in the pockets… that was a big hit. ;)DSC_6372 copy

The vintage piping is the perfect touch. I really do love piping on pants. :)

DSC_6380 copyBoth the shirt and pants will eventually be patterns – I have about five in my queue right now. Moving threw me off schedule a bit, but I have some coming soon. Make sure to join my Facebook group, because I’ll be looking for testers for my next patterns within the next few weeks!
DSC_6321 copyI’m so glad to have been a part of the Duds for Dudes tour! I love supporting indie fabric shops, and Mabel Madison carries such high quality fabrics and have such fabulous customer service that I can put my firm stamp of approval on their brand.

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Make sure you check out all the other stops on the Mabel Madison week-long blog tour focused on sewing for BOYS!

Sew Happily Ever After

handcrafted by RED

If Only They Would Nap… (you’re here!)

Mabel Madison

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A Portrait of my Everyday Hero {and win a trip for two to NYC!}

Everybody has someone in their life who has impacted them in an incredible way. That could be a teacher, a friend, an employer, or a parent. The amazing Annie Leibovitz is traveling the world, sharing her New Portraits of women, exploring the changes in the roles of women today while bringing to life one of the greatest art exhibitions of the 21st century. She and USB have asked bloggers to share their own portraits of the women in their lives who are their everyday heroes. And there’s no one else I could possibly choose as my hero but my mom.

Jessica Collier submission

My mom is one of those people who will drop everything to help you. She lives over four hours away from me, but she has driven countless hours back and forth to help me with babies, unpacking, when my husband is out of town, and everything in between.

All moms are heroes, but my mom is simply amazing. She has raised six (super awesome ;) kids, spends countless hours caring for her grandchildren, co-runs a weekly meal for local homeless, is always putting her family first, and is easily one of my favorite people to spend time with. When someone will drop what they’re doing and drive to be present at the birth of your kids, then do all your dishes and watch all your other kids while you sleep, that’s a hero.

When I think of all the many hours my mom has spent caring for me, my kids, and the rest of our family, I get overwhelmed. She has spent her whole life giving. Loving. Sharing of her time and talents. I’m so blessed to know that she is always there for me when I need help at home or a shoulder to cry on. She taught me how to sew and gave me a love for creative life. She values family and taught all of us that family is important and comes first. I will never take for granted all that she has done for me and how she has shaped me into the woman I am today.

Who is your hero?

Submit your own story by posting a picture of your hero on Instagram with the hashtag #ShareYourHero. By sharing your hero, you are entering yourself to win a trip for two to New York City to the opening of the Annie Leibovitz WOMEN: New Portraits exhibition in November.

Find details about how to enter to win here.

Tie T-Shirt Tutorial and FREE appliqué pattern!

If you ask me, there are few things cuter than brothers in matching shirts. For Valentine’s Day this year, I made my boys these super adorable tie t-shirts, but how great would these be for Easter as well?! You can whip one of these up with this free tie appliqué pattern!

Tie Tshirt TutorialThese t-shirt ties are easy to make and you can make them for any holiday – or even everyday wear!

tie shirt tutorial for boysSupplies:

  • t-shirt
  • woven (non-stretchy) fabric
  • sewing machine/thread
  • scissors
  • pins
  • optional: Wonder Under (affiliate link)

1. Download and print out the Tie Tshirt Pattern. Use it to trace and cut your tie(s).tie tutorial step 1

2. Pin the fabric onto the front of the t-shirt. The top of the tie pattern has a curve that follows the neckline, so you can pin it right underneath the neck. Optional: fuse your tie fabric to the front of the T-shirt using Wonder Under – this will help your tie to stay in place without shifting.tie tutorial step 2

3. Using a wide but short zig-zag stitch, sew along the outside of the tie. Keep the tie fabric flat. I like to go over my stitching a second time to make sure the fabric is secure in place.tie tutorial applique step 3

Tip: when stitching the tie, you’ll have to finagle your shirt a bit. I recommend beginning on one side, sewing down to the bottom. Then, start back at the top and sew to the bottom along the opposite side.tie tutorial step 3

I used the same pattern for both my two and four year olds, without changing the size, but you could easily scale the pattern up or down to make it suited for an older or younger child.boys valentine shirt

Then pop those shirts on your little cutie patooties! And share your photos with me on Instagram, so I can see your sweet boys in their tie tees.free pattern for boys tie tshirt

Brothers in matching shirts – seriously, is there nothing quite so adorable?!boy valentine tie shirt

DOWNLOAD YOUR FREE TIE PATTERN HERE

Now go make your little men some adorable tie T-shirts!Tshirt Tie FREE pattern and tutorial

Happy sewing!

Sewing Myself Some Love

The lovely ladies over at Pattern Revolution are spending the month of February encouraging women to sew for themselves. Despite being in the middle of moving and having a super limited fabric stash, I jumped at the chance to give myself another push to sew something new!DSC_5912 copy

I sewed up the Telluride Top from Terra’s Treasures, and it’s quickly worming its way into my weekly wardrobe! It’s super comfortable and the fit is just lovely.DSC_5946 copy

There are so many different options in this pattern! I chose to sew the faux henley, because I don’t have any shirts that have this unique neckline, and I just love the look of it. The instructions for the neckline were a tad confusing at first, but once I had them figured out, everything came together beautifully.DSC_5925 copy

I also sewed the high low hem, which is another first for me. I’m really pleased with the length, and I may have even chosen to wear this top one day with some jeans that have a hole in the bum that hasn’t been repaired yet. What can I say, I like to be practical!

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And because I’m a cardigan girl, I needed to have one that would cover the back hem! A lengthened Peek-a-boo Cambridge Cardigan was the perfect choice. I left off the button band, partly because I just barely eeked this out of the fabric I had on hand, and also because this way the cardigan can be worn over a dress and not feel too casual.

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Let’s talk fabric: the sweater knit is from Hancock Fabrics (it doesn’t seem to be available online right now), and is pretty lightweight. It’s nice and drapey, and the color will go with just about everything. It’s so soft that I kind of want to wrap it around my pillow. That’s totally not weird, right??
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This floral knit… oh this floral knit! I AM IN LOVE WITH IT. Seriously, I wish I had gotten more! It’s from Girl Charlee, and the weight is absolutely perfect. And those flowers… all the heart eyes!

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If you’re not quite convinced that you need to sew yourself some love too, make sure you check out all these lovely stops on the blog tour. There’s so much inspiration! Every one of these ladies is killing it.SYSLTourLogo-300x300

Feb 1     Sew Thrifty
Feb 3     The Wholesome Mama
Feb 4     Sprouting Jube Jube        
             Sugarplum Cuties
Feb 5     Shaffer Sisters
Feb 8     Mabey She Made It
Feb 9     Rebel and Malice
Feb 12   Hibbadoray
Feb 15   Bee Quilted Beauties       
             Mabel Madison
Feb 16   Sew Starly
Feb 17   All Things Katy            
             Handmade Boy
             Lady And The Gents
             Sew Like My Mom
Happy sewing, friends!

DIY Heart Pencil Toppers

I told you that I’m a little Valentine crazy over here, and the DIYs just keep on coming. These heart pencil toppers are SO simple to make and are ridiculously cute. Pop them onto a pencil to hand out as Valentines or give them to your kiddos to use on their cereal spoons in the morning! These pencil toppers are perfect for kids to make themselves.DIY Heart Pencil Toppers for Valentine's Day

{this post contains affiliate links}

Supplies:

1. Cut pairs of hearts out of wool felt.

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2.Use a blanket stitch to sew the two hearts together. With the two pieces together, pull your thread through from the inside.

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3. Pull the thread back through both hearts.

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4. Pull your thread back through the loop made by your first two steps.

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5. Pull the thread through both sides and begin again.

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6. Continue these same steps until you’ve gotten all the way around the hearts. Leave an opening at the bottom of the heart big enough to slide a pencil inside.

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Now all you need is a pencil! (Target’s dollar spot has some super cute Valentine pencils right now, but the way)

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How cute are these pencil toppers?? Seriously, these are super easy to make and are the perfect Valentine to hand out at class parties!

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If you don’t have any kiddos to send Valentines with, use this same idea to make these hanging hearts to add some Valentine decor to your home!dscf7431

Happy Valentine-ing! :)

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FREE Train Valentine Printable

I’ve always loved the tradition of exchanging Valentines! And now that I have kids, I love it even more. :) Even as homeschoolers, we get together with other homeschooling families and exchange cards. This year I’m slightly ahead of the game, and I made a fun printable for my boys to use. This can be a candy or no-candy Valentine! Keep reading to download your free printable!FREE Train Valentine Printable a great non-candy valentine option

When it comes to the Valentines my boys are going to hand out to other kids, I like to go simple. I don’t want something they’re going to have spend all day making (unless they are going to do it all on their own… in that case, I’m all for it). These are perfect – you can print and go!

Choo Choo Valentine

Print them onto regular paper or cardstock, then if you want to add something special, tape on some candy or a Thomas the Train pencil (affiliate link) or some fun stickers!

Train Valentine Printable

We have these fun mini-trains that would be perfect non-candy option for a small group, like a preschool playgroup or even your own kids. Ours aren’t quite the same as these mini-trains, but they’re similar.

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:::::: download and print out your FREE ::::::
:::::: Choo Choo Valentine ::::::

quick valentine printable

If you’re looking for more Valentine ideas, check out these posts:

       Free Dinosaur Valentine PrintablesEasy Last-minute Valentines

 DIY Heart Pencil Toppers for Valentine's Day

An Ordinary Day in the Life

Last week, I woke with a long day ahead of me. My husband was out of town and the dangerously cold temperatures were going to keep us cooped up inside all day. I was faced with a choice: I could watch the hours drag on or I could capture the moments of the day, monotonous and messy though they may be. Into my head popped my dear sister-in-law and how she captured her own family’s season of life.

Brooke is an incredibly talented photographer in Michigan (we’re not blood related, so I’m not biased, I swear ;). She prefers to shoot in a photojournalism style, where no one is posed and she’s more a fly on the wall in the midst of whatever it is that’s going on. Looking at her photos is like getting a peek into someone’s life. I love that they capture a moment in time, and she inspired me to capture the ordinary.

I chose to make this a day worth remembering. I carried my camera around throughout the morning and early afternoon, only intervening as I normally would. Nothing was staged or posed. We went about our day, and I watched through my lens, finding the beauty in the everyday. There will never be another today, and I want to remember it. My floors weren’t swept and there are boxes piled up for our impending move, and most of the boys stayed in their jammies longer than necessary. There were tantrums and frustrations and cuddles and silliness. But oh, the sweetness of these boys. Their little toes and their eyes and their Star Wars obsession… these are the things dreams are made of. The way my family is right now won’t be how it is in six months, six years, sixteen years. I want to remember this moment, this season, in all its messiness and beauty.

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Peppermint Mocha {or hot cocoa!} Recipe

Here in Wisconsin, it is colder than COLD outside right now. So cold that all I can think about is wearing cozy sweaters and warm slippers with a hot drink in my hand. Preferably coffee. This peppermint mocha (or hot cocoa, for you non-coffee drinkers) recipe is perfect for snow days and holiday parties and having your girlfriends over. But to make it even better, I make this peppermint mocha recipe with homemade whipped cream! And I’m sharing both recipes with you today, so you can warm up this winter too.

Make your own Peppermint Mocha at home
Ingredients

  • 2 Tablespoons Hot Cocoa Powder
  • 2 Tablespoons water
  • 2 cups milk
  • 3-4oz. espresso
  • Peppermint Essential Oil* or Peppermint Extract
    *I feel confident ingesting oils from Young Living, because they are 100% therapeutic grade oils, containing no chemicals or solvents. Do not ingest low quality, perfume grade oils that you can buy at the health food store, etc.

1. Mix 2 Tbsp hot cocoa powder with 2 Tbsp watermocha recipe 1

2. Mix with 2 cups milk. Heat to desired temperature.

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3. After the milk is heated, add two drops of peppermint essential oil. If you prefer to use peppermint extract, start with 1/8tsp and add more until you reach your desired flavor.

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4. Add 3-4oz. of espresso or very strong coffee. If you don’t have an espresso machine, I recommend a Moka Pot to make espresso on your stove top.

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5. Top with homemade whipped cream! Here’s your bonus (no refined sugar!) whipped cream recipe:

  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 Tbsp pure vanilla extract
  • 2 very generous Tbsp honey (I prefer to use raw honey!)

Mix together in a cold metal bowl until stiff peaks start to form, and top off your peppermint mocha!whipped cream

Serve these up without coffee for the kiddos after an afternoon sledding or make them fully caffed for your afternoon pick-me-up!

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The homemade whipped cream and peppermint add a bit of decadence and make this mocha the most delicious mocha you’ve ever had!

peppermint mocha 3Plus, you don’t have to leave your house to get it if the weather is icky… and it will cost you a lot less than the coffee shop too. ;)peppermint mocha 5
You can drink it without the whipped cream for fewer calories, of course, but you’re seriously missing out if you don’t drink it with the whip at least once. Totally worth any extra calories. Then if you haven’t had enough peppermint, bake these Peppermint Dark Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars for an extra yummy treat!

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*If you’re interested in learning more about Young Living oils or why they’re the company I recommend, please feel free to check out their essential oils here or email me at ifonlytheywouldnap@gmail.com