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6 Easy Vegan Soup Recipes that are Healthy and actually Delicious

6 Easy Vegan Soup Recipes that are Healthy and actually Delicious

*Disclaimer: I am not a doctor and this post contains my personal experience, please consult a physician before trying anything you read in this post. I am not advising you to try or do anything. I am merely sharing what I am doing in my own journey to getting healthy.

This post will contain the 6 Easy Vegan Soup Recipes that are Healthy and actually Delicious. However, I am also going to tell you why I even came up with them and how I use them to keep my hunger satisfied, keep our grocery bill down, and attempt to maintain a healthy diet.

So, to start, I have had a rough few months. I know you are thinking that I have had a hard time because of Covid-19 and so has everyone else. And yes, Covid-19 has played a huge role in that. But it is also because the last year of our lives has been a whirlwind of not great things. For starters, my husband was diagnosed with a relapse of leukemia and had a stem cell transplant after a round of induction chemo last year and it has been a hard road.

In other words I have been eating my feelings and that’s not healthy. I know. But I also was put on a medication last year to stop my menstrual cycle that lasted 3 weeks and I ended up in Urgent Care because of and still had one off and on every couple days for about 6 months, and I gained a significant amount of weight from that.

Last week at the doctor’s office I was told I was very close to diabetic status and I needed to make some serious changes. So, I decided that soups would be my first big change. And working out regularly in the mornings. I say in the mornings because I believe it truly is the best time of day. It wakes me up helps my energy levels throughout the day and in general, I just feel better if I do it in the morning.

Click here to read my current workout routine.

I love veggies and I love soup and it is Fall, so what better way to not go crazy trying to change my diet? I decided that I could pack veggies and protein into soups and get the nutrition I need without sacrificing flavor or going crazy eating the same thing every single day. Although it takes a lot for me to get tired of something I really like.

Thus my 6 delicious soups were born. I researched healthy weight loss soups and came up with a few baseline ideas, but being a vegan meant that I had to make changes and I didn’t exactly like all the ingredients in all of the ones I looked up. So, here’s what I came up with:

6 Easy Vegan Soup Recipes that are Healthy and actually Delicious

  1. Vegetable Soup: 1 Can of Carrots, 2 Cans Cut Green Beans, 1 Box of Veggie Broth (make sure it is low sodium or no added sodium), 1 Can Tomatoes, 1 Head or Bag of Riced Cauliflower, 1 Head of Bag of Frozen Broccoli, Lots of Basil (probably 2 tablespoons), Italian Seasoning to Taste, Pinch of Pink Salt, 1/2 package of low-sodium taco seasoning, pepper and a small sprinkle of cajun seasoning.
  2. Taco Soup: 1 Can of Black Beans (these are a good source of protein and I read on a diabetes blog that only a 1/2 cup serving is a healthy amount of carbs and fiber), I used 1/2 package of ground Beyond Beef in my first batch, but you can use your choice of protein, next time I will season and chop up walnuts as my “meat substitute” just be aware of the calories, sugar (especially added sugar) sodium, and fiber. 1 Can of Tomatoes, 1 box of vegetable broth, 1 package of taco seasoning, Riced cauliflower, or a head of cauliflower riced, minced onions, and minced garlic to taste.
  3. Cabbage Soup: You can get a head of cabbage and dice it up, however, I am way too lazy for that so I am doing a coleslaw package of mixed color cabbage. 1 box of veggie broth, 1/2 teaspoon of pink salt, pepper, celery an entire stock ( I boil this first because it takes away the smell and taste and maybe some of the nutrition, but I am using it as a filler because I like chunky soups a lot of the time. 1-2 cup(s) of water, garlic, 1 onion diced (however you like it diced in soups, I cut very small pieces), 1/2 tablespoon minced garlic, thyme and basil to taste, 1-2 Can carrots, and 1 Can tomatoes. (chives and spinach optional, I will add it in if I eat it again within the next 2 months)
  4. Coconut Soup: 1 Can Coconut Milk, 1 Can Diced Tomatoes, 1/4 teaspoon cumin, 1 teaspoon minced garlic, 1 diced onion diced, 1 orange or yellow bell pepper diced, 1/4 teaspoon curry powder, 1 box veggie broth, 1 cup spinach, diced mushrooms, (shirataki noodles optional), 1 tablespoon coco aminos (these are my favorite by far and they are a low glycemic, keto-friendly, soy-free option).
  5. Tomato Bisque: 1 Can Tomato Sauce, 1 Can Coconut Milk, 1 Can Carrots, 1 jar Ragu Simply (the garlic one is the best, but you can use whichever you prefer), 1 Can Diced Tomatoes, 1/2 box of veggie broth, 1 tablespoon basil, 1/2 sweet onion, 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning, salt & pepper to taste.
  6. Broccoli Cheddar Soup: 2 bags frozen cauliflower (steamable in the bag makes this a quick meal to prepare), 1 Cup cashews (little or no salt), 1 bag frozen broccoli, 1 tsp turmeric, 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast, 1/2 teaspoon pink salt, 1 tablespoon 2 cups veggie broth, 1 cup vegan milk of choice (I prefer almond or cashew), 1 sweet onion, 1 cup shredded carrot, 1 teaspoon minced garlic, pepper to taste.

*Note: In all these soups for any vegetable that is not canned I used 1/4 cup of EVOO to sautee the vegetables prior to adding in anything else to the soup. And brown the meat substitute of your choice prior to adding it to a soup.

*Note: Broccoli Cheddar Soup: With a high-powered blender add cashews, sauteed onion, and 1 cup of boiling water, mix until completely smooth before adding to the soups. This gives a thick, creamy, cheesy texture that is delicious!

How am I using these soups to balance my diet and shed a few pounds? I am making one soup each week for the next 6-weeks. This is all I will eat unless we have a completely veggie meal option (which we don’t currently on our menu, but I could substitute one out if need be, you can read more about meal planning and my menu system here).

I will eat the soup until I am full (being careful of the ones that are more full of fat, coconut soup is a great example of this). I will steer clear of most any carbs and have nuts as snacks throughout the day. I will add in some protein here and there. We have talked about the idea of adding free-range eggs back into our diet, but we are still unsure about it. I will update if we decide to and that with an avocado would then be my breakfast.

For my breakfast the next 6-weeks I will have hot tea with less than a teaspoon of honey or coconut sugar and a splash of soy milk, oatmeal with a small amount of coconut sugar, walnuts, 1/4 cup blueberries, 1/4 cup soy milk, 2 tablespoons chia seeds, a sprinkle of flaxseed, and cinnamon to taste.

I will add veggies on the side of the soup if I am feeling extra hungry during lunch. For example: roasted brussels sprouts drizzled with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, maple syrup (very light drizzle of syrup being careful of my sugar intake), or olive oil and coco aminos roasted on top of baby carrots. And anything else I have in my freezer that’s not on the family meal plan over the next 6-weeks is free-game for me to add along with the soups.

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6 Easiest Smoothie Prep Recipes Perfect for Adults AND Kids

The absolute best and easiest smoothie prep recipes perfect for adults and kids. These recipes will make meal prep and planning a breeze. Our entire family enjoy smoothies almost every single day and on occasion multiple times a day. As vegans, I am passionate about our kids getting all the nutrition their growing bodies need and a smoothie is a great way to add fruits, veggies, and protein into their diets.

I know there is a lot of debate about “sneaking” foods into our kids’ diets, but in my humble opinion, I don’t care what other people say. I know people think that my kids will have some sort of complex about what I fed them. But my kids need the nutrition and I need to sleep at night without worrying if they are getting it. So, I think they’ll be fine and have a healthy relationship with food.

Do I maybe also tell my kids that diced up dates are candy? YES! And they will do quite literally anything (clean their toys up or make their beds) to get a tiny chunk of a date!!! So, that’s where I stand. To each their own, but my kids are healthy and that’s more important to me than them having some weird feelings about how I “snuck” foods into their diets when they get older.

Honestly, I know our parents didn’t know what we know now, and there were probably way less additives and things when we were kids, but sometimes I wonder why my mom let us eat Starcrunches and Oatmeal Cream Pies every single day after school. So, I’ll just leave it at that. My kid’s will be healthy and I don’t think they feel like they are missing out. On another end of the spectrum my son has legitimate allergies and can’t have a lot of things “normal” (whatever that actually is these days) kids have anyway.

6 Easiest Smoothie Packs for Adults and Kids. Easy Meal Prep for Families.

Okay, so if you are still trekking with me and in the same, I don’t care what people say, my kids will be as healthy as possible if it’s up to me boat, then here are your smoothie recipes:

6 Easiest Smoothie Prep Recipes Perfect for Adults AND Kids

  1. Bananas & Strawberries: I think this is something I got from Tropical Smoothie. They call it the jetty jr. (I think). I’ll need to double check that, but we love us some good Tropical Smoothie. HOWEVER, I like to add some protein and we like to add this protein powder to our smoothies. You can read why here. Sometimes we will have this as a breakfast (I believe that “drinking” our breakfast is good for our bodies and I will be writing a very detailed post on this very soon and I’ll link it with resources with research too) but aside from that we like to have it for breakfast sometimes and I will add 1/4 C to 1 C of quick oats to the blender and milk.
  2. Tropical Crush. I have no idea why I call it that. I think the first time I made it we talked about how we had it a virgin drink that tasted similar and then I said something cheesy about having a crush on my husband and the name just stuck. Idk. I am weird. Vanilla Bean Protein Powder + Superfoods, Tropical Fruit Frozen mix from Target. Other stores most likely carry a “tropical” blend frozen fruit bag too. We just use Target because I do Shipt and order our groceries from Target. 1/4 C quick oats and milk.
  3. Choco-Cherry. I have read over and over that cherries are a natural source of melatonin, so if I am giving the kids a smoothie right before nap or bed time, it is usually this one. Frozen cherries, Chocolate Protein Powder, 1/4 C quick oats, and milk.
  4. Blueberry Pie. Simply put and delicious! Frozen Blueberries, Vanilla Bean Protein Powder + Superfoods, 1/4 C Oats, Milk. That’s it!
  5. Sneaky Green. Full cup of fresh spinach, Apple, Chocolate Protein Powder, 1/4 C Quick Oats, Frozen Bananas, and Milk.
  6. Berry Blast Off. This is good with either of the protein powders and we just use whatever we have on hand or whichever canister seems like it has the most in it. 1 C Mixed Berry Frozen Fruit. Again, we use the Target brand, but other grocery stores have their own berry mix. Target has a normal berry mix and one they call an antioxidant mix. Milk and that is it!

IMPORTANT NOTES! PLEASE READ!

  • In every smoothie, there is an option of adding fresh or frozen spinach! I would recommend 1/2 cup.
  • Oats are always optional and you can also used gluten free oats.
  • I use approximately 3/4 C of frozen fruit in all these smoothies
  • I put a full cup- a cup & 1/2 of milk in each smoothie.
  • I linked the Almond Cow to all the smoothies above. You can use any milk you like, but we bought an Almond Cow this year and I love it so much I tell quite literally all my friends about it. I love it that much! You can make any kind of milk you want in it. I made a banana/coconut milk this week that we drank an entire 1/2 gallon in 2 sittings! It is a big cost up front (I sold some things on fb marketplace to buy ours) but it was well worth the money! My link will also give you $10 off if you decide you want one too.
  • If you do not have protein powder, do not worry! You can add in things like cocoa, chia seeds, flax seed, vanilla, nut butters, etc. You can customize it and use any protein powders you want. I prefer these ones and recommend them because it’s what my family uses and there is no added sugar in them. (I hate added sugar in things and we have cut all added sugar products out of our kids diets. Mostly out of ours too, but I have a hard time giving up my Silk coffee creamer, haha).
  • I also linked our blender in one of the smoothies up there. I love our blender so much! We went through 5 Walmart/Target blenders before we got our Vitamix and I will never go back! I use it for everything from smoothies, to soups, to vegan cheeses, to chia seed jams, etc. I used it every day and some days multiple times a day. Today alone I used it about 5 times. Have I said that I love our Vitamix yet? HA! I really really do!
  • I also plan on buying a Nutribullet this year. I have read great reviews on them (as far as one-person smoothies go) so that my husband can take smoothie packs to work and keep them up there in the freezer with a Nutribullet. Right now he just takes smoothies that make in the morning in jars, but I think he would enjoy them better if he could blend them right then. I would also not recommend blending lots of smoothies for the week and just doing them a day or two ahead of time. They start to change consistency (especially ones with oats) after that and they don’t taste as good (in my opinion). Which I think is why smoothie packs are such a big rage, because they are better when freshly blended.
  • One last note. If you choose to used any kind of nut butter in your smoothies, prior to adding it to your frozen pack, it is much easier use a cookie scoop like this one, and freeze the nut butter on a cookie sheet with parchment paper prior to putting it in your pack, so that it doesn’t make everything stick together and then it is hard to take out (especially if you use bags to store your freezer packs in).

Okay one more last quick note on the blender and the almond cow. I just want to encourage other middle-class mommas out there that don’t have an extra $250-$600 laying around in our budgets. I used to read blogs from friends (that made a whole lot more money) and they had all these “fancy” appliances that I didn’t think we could afford. BUT I got creative and still to this day no matter how much money we have, I sell something to get something. It gets harder when you start selling all your stuff (lol) but you can have these appliances that are such major game changers (plus I feel like we paid just as much for the cheap blenders we broke trying to use them everyday as a Vitamix cost). I have learned that if I get creative and I prioritize my spending, then we can actually have nice things.

So, those of you looking at a $600 blender thinking I am crazy. Well, I may be, but if you put your mind to it, and take advantage of things like fb marketplace or have a garage sale, etc. you can have them too. I once threw out a few things in our driveway because I saw my neighbor was having a garage sale the next day and I wanted the $75 refrigerator she was selling. I ended up paying for it with the money I made that day (which was the goal). I have wanted a garage fridge for so long and then got it and made a little bit extra.

I don’t say that so you’ll use my link right now and buy a new blender (although that would be nice of you). But I say that to encourage you if you are serious about eating healthy and having smoothies in your diet regularly, but on the fence about getting a new appliance that cost just as much as a brand new dishwasher or oven. I know these smaller appliances are investments. BUT I believe wholeheartedly they are worth it and they make our health journey so much easier on this mom of 2 two-year olds and a 4-year old.

There are also options out there. I obviously, can only recommend what I have, but I know Vitamix has cheaper options and refurbished options (ours is refurbished) and I think the quality is probably just as good. It’s a trusted name and lives up to expectations. If you shop around you can find good deals. I love Amazon because it gives you other options than just the exact one you are looking at and options for ones that have free returns in case you get it and hate it (which you won’t but it’s a nice safety net).

All of that to say that I hope you enjoy your smoothie packs! I would love to hear your quick recipes for your family! We love smoothies here and are always making up new “recipes” and fun names for them.

Blessings,

Lacy

6 Easiest Smoothie Packs for Adults and Kids. Perfect and easy Meal Planning and Meal Prep for Families.

One reason I love smoothies is because they are an EASY meal prep item on my menu each and every week. I figured if you are reading this post you might also be into meal planning & prep ( I could literally talk about it forever because I am a nerd about meal prep and grocery shopping and good, cheap, easy, & healthy meals for my family) then you might also be interested in my free menu planning sheet and my meal prep course. So, if you are, here’s the links to both of those things. I know that sounds like a plug, and it is, but I have worked my bum off creating the course and tweaked it several times with feedback and honest criticism and I think it’s a life-changing system that I (with the help of some feedback from friends) have created for you and I wish I had several years ago. So, there’s that, it’s a plug for my products, but a shameless one, because I believe in it.

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Free Fall Farmhouse Printables

These Free Fall Farmhouse Decor Printables are close to my heart, because it is a year that I am more thankful than I have ever been for my family. I created several trying to decide which one would go best in our home and I think I am at the point that I want to create more and put them all over the place. My oldest even wants one in her room, so be on the lookout for that (:

God has been so faithful to heal my husband through means of a stem cell transplant. Last year, the last week in September he was diagnosed with a relapse of leukemia. If you haven’t read it, I wrote a post for Her View From Home on the words relapse and my thoughts on where we were. I literally can’t even read it anymore, it just makes me cry and remember those feelings like it just happened all over and I don’t think I could ever bear that again.

All that to say he did a round of chemo in October and we came home in November and then back again to the transplant floor in December for him to start another round of chemo and then get the transplant.

Today he is at one of his follow up appointments and I am anxious to hear how his bloodwork looks. I always get a little bit antsy at home waiting to hear. It’s been a long several months and If I am being honest I am weary. I don’t have another word for it, but I am at the point of needing to talk to someone other than a 4-year old, and two 2-year olds (one that’s non-verbal) but also I don’t want to out of fear that I’ll be that socially awkward girl that hasn’t seen her friends in 9ish months and has been what feels like outcast just a little bit.

All that to say, getting out our Fall decor has livened me up a bit. I absolutely love fall and winter. Actually I love all the seasons and used to love living in a place that we got to experience them all. But now living in this never ending Summer it’s been hard. I think the Lord gives us seasons because He designed us to need the change. It’s a healthy and organic change that no one else can create but Him and it’s a breath of fresh air each time they blow in. I love them. BUT this “Covid-19” season seems to be lasting forever and I needed to get out of it… somehow.

So, enters all the Fall decorations out of the garage and into the house. Since last year I felt like I missed Thanksgiving and Christmas and honestly in the past 4 years we have only spent one of those years not in a hospital on Christmas day, I decided to decorate and start celebrating a little bit early. And since my birthday is next week, I’ll call it an early gift to me to find some fresh air in all of the fall (faux) blooms whisking through my house.

So, without further adieu, here they are: I’ll update with pictures in my house as soon as I get finished decorating.

Free Fall Farmhouse Printables

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7 Best Tips for Starting a Vegan Diet

7 TIPS FOR STARTING A VEGAN DIET
7 TIPS FOR HOW TO BE A VEGAN

I have had so many people ask me over the past 4-years about going Vegan and if I have any recipes. Well, a lot has happened in 4-years. Grocery stores now many options that we used to have to go to a specialty store for. It’s pretty awesome for us, especially since Covid-19 as our family’s quarantine continues. All that to say that this has been a long time in the making. I am going to do a blog series on being Vegan with recipes (that aren’t just beans, rice and pasta), tips and tricks from our home to yours.

I would also like to note that a lot of what I will post will have a soy-free option because my son is allergic to dairy and soy because just being vegans wasn’t good enough for him. Since my husband’s stem cell transplant (this past December) he doesn’t like much of our normal vegan food, or any food really that we used to eat. He doesn’t like beans anymore! Kills me because I love beans. So cooking for my family has proven hard! Who has ever heard of a soy-free, bean-free, non-salad-eating, And I have actually gone back through my own e-course, re-read all the emails trying to reconfigure my meal plan, our meals, and my meal prep since all the new food changes in our house.

Ya know, the ol’ reminding myself of what I already know because sometimes our brains get stuck on autopilot until someones furniture falls out of the back of their truck going 75 mph on the hwy and you have to swerve? You know what I mean? Life.

7 Best Tips for Starting a Vegan Diet

  1. Don’t skimp on the good appliances. This is the link to my very favorite “going Vegan tool.” It will not disappoint. I promise. You will use them daily (if not, nearly everyday). I literally use mine every single day, multiple times per day. Today alone I used it 3 times.
  2. Don’t get too legalistic about it that you forget the simplicity there can be in cooking as a Vegan.
  3. Don’t wig out about weird stuff like “cashew cheese.” Try it! I promise you will not be disappointed. But also try to refer to things that are way out of the norm as what they really are. Example: Cashew Sauce instead of Cashew Cheese It helps the [mind over matter] process we have to go through sometimes when we veer way out of the normal lane of life we have always lived in.
  4. Your taste buds will eventually change. This was one of those things I wasn’t sure I believed. BUT 4-years later and after a cheat night at Chili’s (because hospital food gets old, and we were celebrating so much) neither one of us liked the cheese, the queso, or the sour cream. (and side note: our stomachs did feel the after effects of the cheat meal).
  5. Don’t do swaps! At first. I know some people can do this with ease, but for others it is hard! My dad would know a fake burger or chicken strip without skipping a beat and he’d dramatically shake his head, close his eyes and make a sour face because it’s fake. I find that being honest with myself about what things are helps me to not be weirded out about swaps. We do some swaps and until my son was born and eating big people food we did use Gardein on a more regular basis. However, now that he is here, we don’t do it much anymore and if I do, I have to make him something else. Once you are accustomed to eating differently, then I think swaps are great. But call it what it is.
  6. Don’t allow yourself to fall into the habit of eating too many carbs. At that point (especially if you are vegan for health reasons) it’s not exactly a healthy diet even though it is technically vegan. So, be careful with that.
  7. Consider doing a juice cleanse or a smoothie diet for a week or so before you start eating a plant based diet. We started our Vegan journey this way and after drinking carrot juice for what seemed like a year, eating pretty much anything sounded good. It made the transition much easier and I was just excited for “food food.”

Okay, I will stop rambling now, but here are my top 7 best tips for starting a Vegan diet. Some days in the beginning can be difficult and you might miss things like cheese, or milk, but I PROMISE the rumors about our taste buds changing is true and your cravings will change. I no longer crave normal things that I used to crave. I crave things like cashew cheese, my Cuban stew, tofu coconut curry, tofu scramble with salsa, etc. You will get there and it is worth it.

Your body will feel better (if you don’t fall into the beans, rice, and pasta trap) at least ours does. It was definitely a noticeable change. But I am not here to convince you. I assume if you are here it’s because you are already wanting to be a Vegan. So, happy eating!

7 TIPS FOR STARTING A VEGAN DIET
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My Tiny Birdie

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My Tiny Birdie,

I love you! You are the best thing since sliced bread, which coincidentally you wake up and ask for at around 6:30am on a regular basis. I actually fixed you a piece of “butter toast” this morning. You are the most beautiful 4-year old little girl I have ever laid eyes on and I adore you!

Things you are loving lately that I don’t want to forget.

  • You could watch TV all day long (but I don’t let you, because it’s bad for your eyes and your brain)
  • Playing hotwheels and legos together is one of my favorite things. In fact, this morning playing legos with you gave me a pep in my step for the morning.
  • Playing house is a new thing and I for one and really enjoying pretending to talk on the phone while you are at your house and I am at mine.
  • You are enjoying school right now. Letter practice is your favorite part and I love seeing you try new things.
  • Swimming. You are almost to the point of swimming on your own, you just don’t believe in yourself enough and that kills me, because I believe in you so much it hurts
  • You have announced your NEW favorite colors as orange and yellow, but I think you saw that on some show because you still show favoritism to purple and pink.
  • Snuggling at night when you are supposed to go to bed is something you want every.single.day of your life! And as much as I want to tell you “no” every night, by the time you can actually read this, you’ll be too old to want to snuggle, so I am soaking it in more than I should.
  • Books, Audio books, and Read Alouds. You read all the time.
  • You love telling stories at night and I love your Once Upon a Times.
  • Using “big” words is kind of your thing now. Tonight Daddy asked you if you like big words and you replied that big words are delightful and when he told me I laughed and was proud and so excited to be your mom.
  • Saying “just one more hug and kiss” is a normal phrase for you
  • You truly believe you are a mermaid when you are in the bathtub
  • Your imagination is contagious. I love pretending with you. And your Ariel pose from the carpet (sea) onto the hardwood floor (shore) is the best!
  • Sarcasm! You understand it and you call me out on it. Today, I purposely didn’t respond to your sarcasm (that wasn’t very sweet, but funny) and I laughed out loud when you told me a few mins later, “That was sarcasm, mom” OKAY! WOAH YOU ARE F-O-U-R YEARS OLD MISSY!

You are a wonderful artist and you are talented at so many things. You’re also the best helper and big sister. Yesterday you fixed everyone snacks without me asking you to while I finished up my blog post. What!? I was so proud of you, even though part of it was impatience. You did the dishes without me asking you to and helped me clear the table more than once. You always watch out for Bub and Wawa. And I am so proud of you for loving and caring for them I could burst!

I love you with all my heart. Sometimes I sit and look at you and wonder how in the world all the love I have for you fits inside my heart. It is this impossibly wonderful ache I have and I wish I could explain it better than that.

You are learning about Jesus and how he died for our sins and this morning at breakfast I could see a switch in your eyes that flipped inside of you as we talked about it. You asked questions and took in the reality of it all. I was overwhelmed because it is the most important thing in the world to know Jesus and I feel inadequate to teach you sometimes. You see the mess of me that no one else in the entire world sees. The one that is trying to teach you discipline, submission, and healthy habits, but also the one that loses it and yells and eats thirds after I tell Daddy I shouldn’t. BUT that is where Jesus comes in. After all, He covers all of me and he cares for you better than even I can. He gives me grace and helps me to understand to keep pressing in to Him and keep trying.

This morning as you practiced writing C’s you messed up and told me, “It’s okay Mommy, it’s good to keep trying.” and I was so proud and also humbled and reminded to keep trying. So, this little letter is to tell you that I will keep trying until my final breath. I will try to show you Jesus in everything I do. Ask your forgiveness when I can. I will try to be a mother to you, Wawa and Bub that looks more and more like Jesus daily. I will try to be patient and try to hand all my failures over to God and lay them at the feet of Jesus as often as I can.

I will keep trying and keep trying and keep trying my beautiful, smart, wonderful, talented, kind, loving, snuggling, amazing little birdie! You are worth more than my trying, but that’s all I have. I love you my tiny girl! You’re the best baby birdie in the whole entire world.

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5 Reasons Your Morning Routine Isn’t Working for You

5 REASONS YOUR MORNING ROUTINE ISN'T WORKING FOR YOU

Morning Routines are something we all need. Many of us don’t realize how much they impact our day. They can be used as a wonderful tool for setting the tone for the rest of our day. I know first hand the shift that can take place with a productive morning routine. Unfortunately, not everyone knows the importance of them, or how to create one that actually works for them.

This post will lay out a few reasons your morning routine might not be doing you any favors. It’s important to note that we all have rough days. That is a part of life. A morning routine isn’t a sure bet that you will have a good day, it’s a time of preparing yourself for the day, no matter what life throws at you.

5 REASONS YOUR MORNING ROUTINE ISN'T WORKING FOR YOU

5 Reasons Your Morning Routine Isn’t Working for You

  1. Waking Up Without a Plan: When you wake up without a plan it is a surefire bet that the rest of your day will shift in the chaotic direction. Starting with a plan in place to get things done, prepare your heart and mind, and create a healthy habit is the best thing you can do. Having a cup of coffee on the run is not all it’s cracked up to be.
  2. Having Too Many Things on Your To-Do List: This is almost on the entire other end of the spectrum from not having a plan. When you try to accomplish an entire day’s worth of to-do’s then you will almost certainly fail to finish your list and inevitably be in a sour mood and feel discouraged from the get-go.
  3. You Hit Snooze. I know, you think just because you got up after the second snooze and you gave yourself the extra time you think it’s okay. You still got some things done this morning, not all, but you’re okay with that. That is fine. However, hitting snooze has been proven to negatively affect our mental health in study after study.
  4. You Don’t Go To Bed at the Right Time: This is something I think about often. I love to research sleep studies and see how our REM cycles truly can make such an impact on us, both physically and mentally. #nerdalert I know! I like to use a sleep calculator to find my suggested bed time. If you need to find one, here is the one I use . I like this one because it gives you several times to go to bed to make sure you allow yourself time to get in all your REM sleep cycles. If I am working late and don’t go to bed at my normal bed time, I always look up when I should go to bed after I am done!
  5. You Don’t Have Any Healthy Habits: Waking up early and getting things done like a load of laundry, breakfast ready before kids get up, and your coffee are all great! BUT they aren’t necessarily healthy habits. They are productive and definitely worthwhile, but I would like to challenge you to add just one quick healthy habit to your routine. Example: Drinking 8 oz. of water before your coffee, having a turmeric latte before your coffee, walking for 15 minutes, doing a quick workout circuit, etc. If you need a quick workout, my dear friend (and occasional business partner) Shaela of FSRGcompany.com created this 10 minute one just for us moms! It is 10 workouts that are 10 minutes or less and I can say I am a true believer! I have done her workouts only for 2 years now and I love them.

There are obviously many other reasons that you might not be feeling like your Morning Routine is working for you. These are just a few I thought might be helpful and they are most common in women I have worked with on setting up a productive morning routine.

If you are having a hard time trying to set up a productive morning routine that works for you. I created a free morning moms challenge. I walk you through my method of implementing one and how to create the perfect one that is designed just for you.

P.S. I attempt to use this blog to make a little extra income for our family. If you enjoyed this post or it was helpful in any way to you at all, please consider pinning one of the images in this post. I work very hard to make this a useful (&beautiful) resource for other women and I truly appreciate all of your help and support in making that happen. Thank you so much for being here!!!

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Our Daily Homeschool Schedule

Our Daily Homeschool Schedule

Before I start this post here’s what you need to know:

All of us are different! What works for us, might not be what’s best for your family, so please keep that in mind as you read. Also note that I am only technically “schooling” one of my children and the other two are too young, but I still incorporate learning activities in their day as well and will continue to schedule our homeschool days in the same manner when they are doing school work that I have to report into the state about.

Also, if you don’t already know here is a little background on us. I am a former Pre-K and Musical Theater teacher. I enjoyed teaching and once my kids are grown would love to possible go back (although my retirement plan is to volunteer at a hospital in a NICU and rock sweet babies until I die because who doesn’t love to snuggle sweet little tinies?). Anyway, I loved teaching and did several things in my classroom that I will not do with my own kids. I have had a Charlotte Mason and an unschooling revelation in the past year or so and I love the slow approach. I will still be using my curriculum though.

So, on to our schedule. Obviously I run this blog and Lain Learning so I have to build that into my day as well. I find that if my kids have had my attention for the majority of the day then, when I need to get some work done during their free time they actually leave me alone and play with their toys. I don’t keep them from their toys necessarily, but having them do other things throughout the day and keeping everyone doing something makes them look forward to free play time.

I want you to keep in mind that when I say keep them doing something I don’t mean we sit and do worksheets all day long. I mean we do activities and read and lots of those activities involve toys, but when it’s toys I pick the vs. toys they pick it makes a world of difference.

Our Daily Homeschool Schedule

7:30 am My oldest wakes up first and she has come in our room and snuggled with my until my husband gets out of the shower and then we all get up and get going. Now that we are doing school and I feel like she is old enough to have a quiet time, she will be having quiet time. Also, I say 7:30 on here but she wakes up around 6 every single day! My in-laws got her one of the color changing clocks for her birthday and it has been a game changer. She isn’t allowed to come out of her room until it turns yellow and I LOVE it! My younger two sleep until about 8, but sometimes I have to go get them up for breakfast.

8:30 am as soon as the kids are done eating, we do a Breakfast Book at the table. We started this when they were little (like babies I think my youngest was around 8 months old). We literally just call it “Breakfast Books.” So creative, I know! Ha! You can read more here about Breakfast Books and how it has morphed into something special since we first started it.

9 am we get dressed, brush teeth and hair and get ready for the day.

9:30 am is when we move over to our library (not an actual library I thrifted an entertainment centers and had an old hutch from my husband’s grandma that I turned into our “book shelves” and we call what was designed to be a “sitting room” into our library. A dream of mine since I was little! In our library time we do our Morning Basket Time. You can read about what all I put in our Morning Basket here.

10:30 am We play together! This is similar to Free Play because I don’t schedule anything. We go either into one of the kids’ rooms or our sunroom and play with something. Today it was a beach ball and a school bus. I join them in playing. I think it is so important that we play with them and not just allow them to play or have to play to get out of our hair. I don’t say that in a condemning way. I was totally guilty of this and occasionally I still would like them to play without being in my hair (#freeplaytime) BUT I have learned that we are all happier and our day runs smoother if I will sit and play with them. I enjoy getting to know them as they open up and use their imaginations and they get the attention they crave from me. By the time we make it to our free play time they are sick of me and ready to be left alone to play (left alone does not mean be unsupervised). If you don’t already do this I challenge you to. It has made a world of difference in our home.

11 am Outside or if it’s raining (we are currently in rainy season) then I let them watch a show on RightNow Media if you are interested in getting an account, speak with someone at your local church to see if they have an account. I also sometimes turn on an educational show on Netflix. But I don’t pick anything over 25 minutes. If we go outside we usually stay until lunch and then I put a short 10-15 minute show on while I quickly get lunch on the table. If they have already been watching a show then I have them come in the kitchen with me and play with the tupperware or cans. They love to stack cans. Or I bring the Legos in the kitchen. I have started teaching the girls how to help me set the table, so the TV doesn’t actually get watched some days.

12:15-30ish pm Eat Lunch and Clean Up Together. This is something I am working very hard at. My two year olds take their bowls/plates/utensils to the kitchen sink themselves, as well as my 4-year old. And then my four year old clears the rest of the table while I wash the dishes.

1:15 Nap Time and Quiet Time: This looks different some days. My oldest only has to stay in her room for Quiet Time for an hour and 15 mins (we use her clock for this too!). I say only because the younger two sleep longer than that most days. I schedule 2 hours for this and if they sleep longer I LET THEM! If not, I cry. Just kidding… kind of. I use this time to write a blog post, clean/fold laundry, and get out the afternoon school stuff.

3:30 I get snack stuff out and give everyone a snack. I used to do a morning snack too, but my kids weren’t eating their lunch and I was getting frustrated. So, we only do an afternoon snack at this point.

3:35 Afternoon School. Once everyone has a snack in their laps we start afternoon school, also known as hands-on activities. I don’t know about you but that time between afternoon naps and dinner time can be daunting. We have had days where all three of mine just whine and cry until dinner after snacks. It’s as if they wake up in a funk and can’t get out of it. Which now means that I try to occupy them with fun activities (and physical activity like running outside playing tag so that they will sleep good because #mommalovessleep).

4:45 We start to wind down. I start getting everything out for dinner (on quick dinner nights we play and do afternoon school a little bit longer because it doesn’t take hardly any time to get dinner on the table). Other nights it takes at least 30 mins or more so bring a basket of random toys into the kitchen and have them “help” me get dinner ready or “let them wash dishes” aka play in the sink with the water and dish soap.

5:30 DINNER!

6:00 (ish) This is about the time we get done, give or take a little bit. Baths!

6:30 Play time in the living room while we wind down and listen to music

7:00 Bed

7:15 Bed for my oldest. Between 7-7:15 We read “her” Bible (Jesus Storybook Bible which is my personal favorite! Instead of the Beginner Bible for Toddlers that she so lovingly refers to as the “Baby Bible.”

This is about it. We don’t have this same schedule on the weekends. We just play and have fun. Nap time, meal times and bed times stay the same though. Just no official “school time” for us.

I hope this was useful for you or maybe you are like me and just enjoy reading how other people spend their days. Either way I hope you enjoyed the peek inside our daily homeschool schedule.

Blessings to your and your family,

Lacy

P.S. I attempt to use this blog to make a little extra income for our family. If you enjoyed this post or it was helpful in any way to you at all, please consider pinning one of the images in this post. I work very hard to make this a useful (&beautiful) resource for other women and I truly appreciate all of your help and support in making that happen. Thank you so much for being here!!!

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15 Toddler Task Box Activities to do at Home with Your Kids

15 toddler task box activities at home

I have said this so many times before, but I will say it again. Toddlers are the busiest bees around. I don’t care who you are, if you spent 2 hours in my house you would agree and you’d probably also need a nap. So, I have put together ## Toddler Task Box Ideas for you to use with your little one. I hope this is helpful!

We are homeschooling our 4-year old for Pre-Kindergarten this year and if you don’t already know I am a former Pre-K teacher so I am kind of pumped about this coming year. The difference in the classroom (besides having 26-28 kids at once) is that I also have two, 2-year olds and they need to be constantly entertained. I would say the TV would be a great option BUT I don’t actually believe that. I think a little bit of TV is good, but a little is all (and no judgement on moms that disagree)!

I say all of that to tell you that this year we will be making full use of our Toddler Task Boxes. They will be a great addition to our school time for the toddlers while my oldest does handwriting and other written activities. They will also be good for her, but they’ll keep the younger ones busy (and learning) while she is working. I am prepping my list things to do and I figured I would share them with you and hopefully it will make it a little bit easier for you to put them together with this running list.

15 Toddler Task Box Activities

  1. Hole Punched Thin Cardboard and Shoelaces
  2. Uncooked spaghetti and a strainer (here is one of my favorite kinds of strainers)
  3. Pipe Cleaners and a strainer
  4. Move cotton balls from one jar to another
  5. Color sort the Toys (here is a free printable for this activity)
  6. Play dough and Small Toys (these will be themed with the lessons my oldest is working on)
  7. Straws and spaghetti
  8. Straws and pipe cleaners
  9. Marshmallow and toothpicks
  10. Kenetic Sand and cookie cutters
  11. Cups, Spoons and Water (food coloring is also fun with this one)
  12. Legos (this is a great starter set. My mom got it for my kids and they love it! Also, Dollar Tree has the colored base plates. I don’t know if they work or not for regular Legos… I’ll find that out soon. BUT they have Lego packs similar to this one I linked. They are Dollar Tree quality, but for toddlers, it’s not too bad. My oldest (4-years) know the difference and prefers actual Legos).
  13. Board books (this isn’t an activity that requires many fine motor skills, but my kids love books, so this will be on my list, always)
  14. Beans, Cheerios, Spoon. (add a few cheerios to a bowl of dried beans and have them scoop all the cheerios out and, of course, eat them)
  15. Ziploc Bag and a Piece of Card Stock. I put all sorts of things like buttons, beans, pennies, etc. draw dots or x’s for them to move the items around on. It is so fun watching them try to get all the dots or x’s covered.

This is a starting point for us and I am sure it will be for you too. I would love to hear other ideas you have in the comments below. I love a good toddler task box activity.

Be blessed!

Lacy

P.S. I attempt to use this blog to make a little extra income for our family. If you enjoyed this post or it was helpful in any way to you at all, please consider pinning one of the images in this post. I work very hard to make this a useful (&beautiful) resource for other women and I truly appreciate all of your help and support in making that happen. Thank you so much for being here!!!

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8 Montessori Toddler Activities for You to do at Home with Your Kids.

Do you get worn out by your kids constantly following you around? Standing at your feet whining for attention while your cooking because they seem bored with their toys? Feel like toys take over your house but your kids seem to be done after 5 minutes of playing with them? In this post I have 8 Montessori toddler activities for you to do at home with your kids.

Toddlers seem to be the busiest little bees around. I should know I have two 2-year olds and a 4-year old (that just turned 4!) none of them are even two years apart. I don’t say that for sympathy. We hoped and asked for our kids to be close together. I say that so that you know I have a little bit of experience under my belt and I’m not just shooting from the hip.

Before I tell you the activities I wanted to give you a glimpse into how I use them to my advantage and why. I was against a “toy rotation” for a long time. I just thought that meant we would have 7 times the toys in our house that we needed. However, I have learned with activities and games it works beautifully for us.

I schedule a time into our routine for structured activities. There are several reasons I did this, other than my sanity. It provides a structured environment for my kids and if you have read any of my other posts then you know how important I believe this is. It also gives me a chance to play with them without playing house or some other thing they do during free play in our house. I don’t know about you, but I struggle sometimes. Rolling a hot wheels car back and forth on the tracks 10 times is definitely not as fun for me as it is for my 2-year old son. BUT I do love sitting and helping them with crafts and cooking. Sometimes it seems like I am doing it more along side them rather than engaging with them, but nevertheless, it is quality time spent with them.

Side note: I am very careful to have my phone away from my reach and out of sight during structured activities. I want them to have my full attention. I have found that if I will give even 15 minutes a day to uninterrupted time with each of my kids, it makes for a much more pleasant day. ON ALL SIDES. I have learned how much I love actually spending time with my kids and not scrolling Pinterest. (Hello, my name is Lacy and I am addicted to Pinterest).

MONTESSORI TODDLER ACTIVITIES TO DO AT HOME WITH YOUR KIDS

8 Montessori Toddler Activities for You to do at Home with Your Kids

  1. SENSORY ACTIVITIES: This can be so many things. I find that having a stash of things in the pantry that cost me next to nothing is helpful.
    • Small toys is a bucket of beans, rice, flour, or water
    • Play dough and cookie cutters or plastic cutlery (I literally rummage through their toys and just grab a few plastic ones for them to play with sometimes).
    • Bath time any time! I will sometimes put them all in the bath tub with some toys they aren’t used to bathing with, fill it up with bubbles) So simple and clean!
  2. GARDENING. This one sounds harder, but it’s not. You can get seeds so cheap and if you have any containers (even a cardboard box) you aren’t using or you would normally throw out, you can plant things with your kids. You don’t even have to plant things. Have them help you pick weeds. My kids love picking weeds! Give them some old forks or spoons from the kitchen and let them dig. This can be so simple.
  3. PAINTING. You don’t have to go to the store and buy anything to let them paint. You can make paints at home!!! It’s simple and easy and they might even enjoy helping you. I have a recipe right here for you. No paint brushes? Use sticks and string or grass. Paint with q-tips or cotton balls and clothes pins. This can also be so simple! I do have a shower curtain I bought at Dollar Tree over 2 years ago that I put down on the table or on the floor before they paint and it has held up really well and kept my floors from paint blobs.
  4. CRAFTS. This is the hardest of all, just because it takes some thought. Since I keep things like tape and glue on hand, we can turn an ordinary coloring page into a craft in minutes. I have done simple things like have them tare an old magazine to shreds (their favorite part) and then glue the strips onto a coloring page. I have had them glue all sorts of random things onto paper and they love it. This is where you can get creative.
  5. TASK BOX ACTIVITIES. This one also takes a little bit of forethought. I like to put things like string and hole-punched cardboard pieces for them to lace up. I like these to be things that build fine motor skills. Stringing beads is another one. I try to make them simple activities that require focus.
  6. SIDEWALK CHALK. Plain and simple! We like to draw things like the ocean, princess castles, candy houses, etc. then close our eyes and pretend to jump inside them. Then we spend a good bit of our time just pretending we are wherever we jumped into. It is one of my oldest daughters favorite things and I love to make believe fun stories with her.
  7. BAKING. We love making cookies! It’s an easy activity to do with my kids AND we have fun snacks for a few days. It is a win-win in my book.
  8. COOKING. My toddlers don’t actually help me cook just yet, but they love to be in the kitchen with me. They love to stack and put back and forth, in and out of my cabinets, the canned goods and they love to play with my mismatched food storage containers (yes, I should throw them out, but it’s a wonderful toy while I cook in this season of life). My oldest likes to stir and add ingredients to pots and pans for me. They all love to “wash dishes” while I do the actually cooking.

I hope these are helpful for you! I strive to write posts that are useful for other moms. One final note I would like to add is just to keep it simple! Structured Activities should make the time you spend with your kids fun and engaging. It’s my favorite thing to do with my kids. At this point, with my kids, things like painting and sidewalk chalk can be done without me, so if I need to order groceries or fold a load of clothes I can.

Blessings to you momma!

Lacy

8 Montessori Toddler Activities to do at Home with Your Kids

P.S. I attempt to use this blog to make a little extra income for our family. If you enjoyed this post or it was helpful in any way to you at all, please consider pinning one of the images in this post. I work very hard to make this a useful (&beautiful) resource for other women and I truly appreciate all of your help and support in making that happen. Thank you so much for being here!!!

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What is a Morning Basket & How to Use One to Create a Great Start to Your Homeschool Day

What is a Morning Basket & How to Use One to Create a Great Start to Your Homeschool Day: Morning Baskets have been used for quite some time now. I would argue that without actually calling it a “Morning Basket” people from pioneer times had the same essential routine. These days we like to give things cute names. Traditionally these are used to help aid in creating simple morning routine and love of education. They are extremely beneficial and if used the proper way can make a great start to your homeschool day.

So, what exactly is a morning basket? For some people it is a fluid basket of ever changing literature, games, educational resources, bible study, etc. For other people it is a very firm to-do list of morning devotional and study time. In our house I am not sure there is anything that goes into the “firm” category. It is definitely a fluid basket for us.

How to use it? Well, this depends on the mom you are talking to, but I think the majority of us would tell you it is used similarly to a morning circle time. You just use what’s in the basket for your morning circle time with your kids. It’s so much simpler than lots of mom blogs make it out to be. Some have very strict guidelines of having to get everything accomplished inside the basket each day, but in my house (with two 2-year olds) we do what we can and occasionally come back to it in the afternoon. I have read where some families use it as an afternoon basket and that would work too!

I like to start it in the morning. It gives my kids structure right off the bat. If you are a new reader and don’t know how I feel about structure, routines, and schedules for kids, let me just say this: they are crucial for kids! Okay, I won’t get on my soapbox about that. But morning baskets help to create a smooth morning transition for us from breakfast and getting ready to the rest of our day. I like it because after my kids get dressed they don’t start running all over the house looking for and deciding what they are going to get into that day (hello toddler life).

Because I have been asked this before and pretty much anytime I talk to friends and family about morning baskets, here is how I keep my basket organized and what I put in it:

I first don’t just put random things in it. I actually put a lot of thought and effort into ours because my oldest is in Pre-K (yes, Homeschool Pre-K). I keep this list in my basket so that as I pack it I am not trying to remember every single time what to put in it. #mombrain (It’s a real thing, y’all!)

  1. Bible
  2. Memory Verse Card
  3. Weekly Poem (Pictures if available)
  4. Flashcards
  5. Books
  6. Toddler Toys
  7. Lesson Pictures and Visual Resources
  8. Letter of the Week (Shapes, Colors, Numbers)
  9. Puppet for Reading (my kids love puppet reading)
  10. Musical Instruments or CD (I rotate these and some days we don’t get them out)
  11. Today Is: Folder (Days of the Week, Weather, Month, etc.) We also discuss any big plans for the day or week at this time. I find that when my 4-year is informed of what we are doing we incur much fewer meltdowns in times of change during the week.

I am working on a post of all the resources (including my own curriculum and free printables that I wrote and have tweaked since teaching) and will link that when I get it finished. I want it to be a very thorough and useful post for you so it is taking a little time getting it up. Thank you for being patient as I attempt to fit everything we do and I know about homeschooling into as few and as helpful of blog posts as I can. It’s proven to be more of a challenge than I thought.

P.S. I attempt to use this blog to make a little extra income for our family. If you enjoyed this post or it was helpful in any way to you at all, please consider pinning one of the images in this post. I work very hard to make this a useful (&beautiful) resource for other women and I truly appreciate all of your help and support in making that happen. Thank you so much for being here!!!