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I know you must be thinking, “man, this woman REALLY likes yogurt!”

And you’d be wrong. I don’t like it all that much. Well, I didn’t until I learned to make my own. I never particularly cared for the sweet mixed with tart flavor combination of store-bought yogurt, but the great thing about homemade yogurt is that the tartness increases the longer you incubate it. So if you incubate it for the minimum time, it’s not very tart at all. If you like the tartness, just incubate it longer.

In a previous post I explained how to make your own yogurt. You can check that out here, but since then I’ve learned an easier method. It requires less hands-on time and it’s much more fool-proof since you don’t have to reach certain temperatures. It’s not quite as cost-effective, but it’s still cheaper than buying yogurt.

Before we get started, here are the tools you’ll need:

  • An Instant Pot with the capability to cook yogurt. Some models do not have this capability, so if you’re buying a new one, look for that feature. These are a little pricey, but they do frequently go on sale. And they do so many things I’ve found that it was worth the investment.

  • Fairlife Milk. This is important, it must be Fairlife or some other ultra-pasteurized milk for this method to work. Fairlife has 50% less sugar, 50% more protein, and 30% more calcium than regular milk. It’s also lactose-free, so this is a great option for those who need to avoid lactose. I use whole milk, but you can use 2% or even less. If you want to read further about why it’s necessary to use a particular type of milk using this method, check out Frieda Loves Bread‘s explanation here.

  • A yogurt starter culture, which is a blend of healthy bacteria that consumes lactose. You can purchase starter cultures at health food stores or online, but you can also just use 1-2 tablespoons of high quality store-bought yogurt. The good thing about using an heirloom variety of a starter culture is that it can be reused over and over, simply by mixing some of your last batch of yogurt into the milk for your next batch of yogurt, as long as the yogurt is less than 7 days old.

I use plain, non-flavored, yogurt as a starter. Fage brand works well, but I’ve also used Chobani. If you use store-bought yogurt as a starter, look for one that is high in live and active cultures. The packaging should say that it contains live and active cultures. Made with live and active cultures is not the same thing, and it will not work.

That’s all you need to make yogurt using this method! The big difference here is that you don’t have to boil the milk before incubation. You just pour the milk in your instant pot liner, stir in 1 tablespoon of yogurt starter, cover the pot, and set it to incubate by pressing the Yogurt button until it reads normal. It’s that simple.

I set my incubation time to 8 hours, but I think you could actually incubate it for 6 hours using this method because it turns out incredibly thick and creamy. When it’s finished incubating, the display time will read YOGT.

Just like in the previous method, once the yogurt has finished incubating, you can be done if you want. I prefer to strain mine. To do this, you can use a yogurt strainer, or you can make your own using kitchen tools you probably already own. Before I bought my strainer, I stacked the steamer rack that came with my IP in a large mixing bowl. On top of that, I stacked a regular mesh strainer lined with a flour sack dish towel (you can also use cheesecloth). Then just pour the yogurt in and let it drain in the refrigerator overnight.

I prefer using a yogurt strainer simply for ease of use. They cost about $15, but I think they’re worth it.

As you can see, the yogurt is nice and thick and creamy, even more so after draining!

That’s it, you’re done! You now have plain, simple, homemade yogurt. You can use this as a base for mayonnaise, salad dressings, or smoothies. Or you can use sugar, maple syrup, fruits, jams, or other sweeteners of choice to flavor the whole batch. Or divide the batch and make several different flavors.

When I made this batch, I used a small can of sweetened condensed milk to flavor it. I just mixed it in with the milk and starter before cooking (although you normally need to reserve flavoring your yogurt until after it has incubated). It made a vanilla-flavored yogurt that is delicious!

For other flavoring ideas, look here!

This post contains affiliate links, which means I receive a small percentage of commission if you make a purchase through one of my links.

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We are better than this. We have to be better than this.

The recent violence in Charlottesville has once again stirred up the conversation on racism. It’s an uncomfortable conversation that brings with it feelings of anger, fear, sadness, and fierce loyalty. But nevertheless, it’s a conversation that needs to be had. Unfortunately, it also tends to bring with it political arguments. The reasons for this are vast, and many are accurate, but the fact is that racism isn’t something that can be neatly shoved into a left or right category. It transcends politics and it brings with it enough strong feelings that adding those that come along with politics only causes a further mess that makes it feel almost untouchable and beyond repair. Historical and present political issues are certainly tangled with racism, but racism is not a political matter. It is a heart matter, a human issue. Politics are man-made and we simply cannot value them over our neighbor. Racism deserves a discussion that is not mired in the competitive fervor that is politics.

We cannot hide behind our political ideals, we cannot continue to point fingers and throw stones. “An eye for an eye” will only cause the problem to persist. And at the end of the day, many of those who are responding so defensively to violent acts being called exactly what they are — racist — are part of a group that, as a general rule of thumb, is not disenfranchised. It’s so hard to have empathy for a group of people when you yourself have never experienced true disenfranchisement. It’s easy to shut down their feelings with your anger, to shut their voices out with your own righteous indignation.

I’ve seen many people respond to recent admonishments against White Supremacy groups and Neo-Nazi slurs, against bigotry, religious extremism, and racism, by pointing fingers and casting blame in other directions: well they did it, too! His actions excuse my behavior. My attitude is justified because his behavior was also poor. As a friend pointed out to me, we don’t even allow that type of behavior in Kindergarten. How can we condone it in ourselves?

I’ve seen this a lot geared specifically toward the Black Lives Matter movement. I’ll go ahead and be honest here and say that my initial response to hearing Black Lives Matter was “Woah there, guy! All lives matter.” But then I did something incredible: I stopped and thought about it. Yes, all lives matter. But we already knew that, didn’t we? Or did we? Here’s where I ask you to allow yourself a moment to lay all your defenses down and put yourself in another person’s shoes. Your neighbor deserves that moment from you, your children and grandchildren deserve it. You deserve it. Because exposing your heart and vulnerability, allowing yourself to be open and possibly learning that you’re wrong, are actually really wonderful experiences if we allow them to be. This is how we grow and learn, this is how we become better. This is how we set the stage for our children to learn and be better than us.

Now ask yourself this:

If in response to violence on women and rape culture, a popular chant became, “Women’s Lives Matter,” would you respond with anger? Would you call it sexist?

If in response to child abuse people began shouting, “Children’s Lives Matter,” would you rush to the defense of the abusive adults and point out the obvious, that all lives matter?

If you’re firmly against abortion and heard at an abortion protest, “Unborn Lives Matter,” would you respond with, “All Lives Matter?” Or would you even blink an eye?

There are, I’m sure, a few of you who will adamantly insist that you would absolutely respond the same way in each of these scenarios that you do to Black Lives Matter. And I’m here to tell you, friend, that’s bullshit.

We can pick and choose our morals, religions, and ethical beliefs. None of us are ever going to agree on everything. But y’all, can we at least not be hypocrites? Can we at least agree to firmly stand against things we know to be wrong? Can we stop pointing fingers and start making changes? Can we stop worrying about defending our side? Can we stop getting so caught up in hating one another for our differences and start coming together on the things that we do all agree on? Because we do all agree that all lives matter. But can we now please open our eyes and see that some lives are not being respected? These supremacy issues — the idea that one skin color is more valuable than another — have happened before and the whole world said it wasn’t okay. We literally fought a war against it.

I’m raising three white men, and I have to do better. Because there are moms out there who are terrified of sending their sons into the world simply because of their skin color. I cannot even begin to fathom how those mamas feel, and I won’t be so insulting as to pretend to grasp a full understanding of it. But I will try and I will stand next to them, mom to mom. I will do better.

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Homemade Yogurt, Part 2: Make it any flavor you want!

In my last post, I explained how to make your own yogurt using just an Instant Pot, a yogurt starter, and milk. If you’ve already attempted to make your own, you probably figured out pretty quickly that you can flavor it any way you want! So far, I’ve only made it as snacks for my kids, but I’ve made several different sweet flavors that they’ve loved. Savory is next on my list to play with.

I like to divide each batch of yogurt and make a variety of flavors. But before dividing it, I sweeten the entire batch with 1/3 cup of sugar. I’ve used coconut sugar and simple white sugar. Both turn out just fine, but you might need a little more if you use coconut sugar. It just depends on your preference. Or you can sweeten it with honey, maple syrup, or any sweetener that you want.

You can divide it at this point however you want. I like to make individual portions so that I can send them to school with my oldest son for snacks and lunches. I originally bought some small Ball jars with plastic lids, but several of those lids cracked within the first use, so I had to find something different. Yogurt jars cost a little more than I wanted to spend, but with a little patient digging and watching, I was able to find some for a good price.

One of the easiest flavors to make, and my oldest son’s favorite, is “fruit on the bottom” yogurt. Pick any fruit you want, dice it up, sprinkle it in the bottom of your jar, and top it with yogurt. So far I’ve done this with blueberries and strawberries, but I can’t wait to try fresh peaches and mangoes!

For a few jars, I made a carrot and apple purée. You can’t taste the carrot, so it’s a sneaky way to get some veggies into the mouths of picky toddlers. I puréed 3 carrots and 1 apple together for this, and I used some of the drained off whey to help it purée. For another batch, I puréed 2 bananas and a heaping cup of fresh spinach. Again, I used some of the drained off whey in it.
You’ll have extra puree, so just freeze it in covered ice cube trays. You can use it later in more yogurt, or in smoothies. I use these trays a lot and really like them!
For another batch, I puréed frozen strawberries with drained off whey. At J’s request, I decided to add some chocolate to this batch. I mixed 1/2 cup of yogurt with 1/2 tbsp cacao.Honestly, I thought it was disgusting and J agreed with me. S & B, however, ate it up. I don’t like chocolate yogurt at places like Yogurt Mountain either though, so I don’t know if it’s just my personal preferences, or if it was truly disgusting. A friend of mine suggested flavoring it with Nutella, so I can’t wait to try that!

Finally, just plain sweetened yogurt is delicious! And it’s even more delicious when frozen. I found these silicone tubes on a Lightning Deal on Amazon and snatched them up.

These are a huge hit with all 3 boys! They’re also ideal for school snacks and lunches (not frozen, of course). The lids screw back on if they don’t finish it all, and they do not leak.

That’s it for now! Get creative, have fun! It’s pretty hard to mess it up!

This post contains affiliate links, which means I receive a small percentage of commission if you make a purchase through one of my links.

Introducing my latest obsession (and money saver!): Homemade Yogurt for the Win (I accidentally typed “wine” there, because habits)!

This is my second post in a row about the Instant Pot. I realize that may seem a bit…obsessive. And it kinda is, but in a healthy way. This thing does all the things: pressure cook, slow cook, saute, steam, sterilize…

And it makes yogurt….delicious yogurt! And I don’t even like yogurt! My children, however, love it. And I love for them to have it because it’s a healthy snack, full of calcium, vitamin A, protein, and healthy fats and calories. But I end up spending a boatload on it each week because most yogurts you find on the shelves at the grocery store are full of sugar or other artificial sweeteners. They’re also full of GMO’s, artificial colors, artificial flavoring, thickeners, and preservatives….which honestly? Meh, I don’t care all that much about these things. Do I love them in our foods? No, but I do see some of their benefits. However, if you put two products in front of me, all else being equal, I’m going to choose the one with the least amount of anything artificial. But if I’m shopping on a budget (and I am!), I’m going to choose the most cost-efficient one, artificial crap aside.

Except for artificial sweeteners. I’ll choose real sugar any day over artificial sweeteners, even if I have to pay more. But have you seen the amount of sugars and sweeteners in most yogurts? I hate when a product is promoted as healthy, but is actually packed full of unnecessary sugars. My kids get plenty of sugary sweets; they don’t need it in their healthy snacks too. So when I’m shopping for yogurt, I usually have to buy one of the more expensive brands in order to get some level of health benefits that outweigh all the extra fillers. And that means paying top dollar.

But not anymore! I get so much pleasure out of preparing anything from scratch. There is satisfaction in realizing that I can do something. There is pride in being self-sufficient (okay, kinda self-sufficient). And there is peace in feeding my kids foods that I’ve prepared myself, in knowing exactly what they’re putting in their growing bodies. I’m far from being a “health nut,” but I do love it when I can make the healthier choice for my family, enjoy the process of getting there, and reap financial benefits from it.

To make your own yogurt, you need very little hands-on time and very few products. You can even make it in the oven if you choose to, so an Instant Pot is not a necessity. However, there are some products that make it easier, so before I dive into the how-to, these are the tools I prefer:

Luxury: An Instant Pot with the capability to cook yogurt. Some models do not have this capability, so if you’re buying a new one, look for that feature. These are a little pricey, but they do frequently go on sale. And like I said before, they do so many things. I’ve found that it was worth the investment.

Necessity: Milk. I just use regular whole milk, but you do you. I have yet to be convinced that the health benefits of organic milk outweigh the financial benefits of non-organic.

Necessity: A yogurt starter culture, which is a blend of healthy bacteria that consumes lactose. When it’s added to milk, it converts lactose to lactic acid. You can purchase starter cultures at health food stores or online, but you can also just use 1-2 tablespoons of high quality store-bought yogurt. The good thing about using an heirloom variety of a starter culture is that it can be reused over and over, simply by mixing some of your last batch of yogurt into the milk for your next batch of yogurt, as long as the yogurt is less than 7 days old.

So far, I’ve just used plain, non-flavored, Fage brand yogurt. I bought the smallest cup possible, scooped out a tablespoon for my starter, then froze the rest of it in tablespoon increments. It’s worked just fine, for the most part (more on that later). If you use store-bought yogurt as a starter, look for one that is high in live and active cultures. The packaging should say that it contains live and active cultures. Made with live and active cultures is not the same thing, and it will not work. Also make sure it has less than 10 grams of sugar per serving. If it has too much sugar, it can prevent the yogurt from culturing. The starter yogurt must come from a freshly opened container as, once it’s opened, the live cultures begin to die.

Necessity: A digital thermometer. Cooking temperatures are important and need to be as accurate as possible, so invest in an inexpensive digital thermometer.

Luxury: A Greek Yogurt Maker. This is far from being a necessity, but I finally broke down and ordered one because it’s just easier and I’ve been making a ton of yogurt here lately. You don’t even have to strain your yogurt, but I choose to do so because I like to make mine thicker and creamier. So if you choose to strain yours, you can use this yogurt strainer or follow the directions I’m going to show you later for a method that a friend of mine showed me.

Luxury: Yogurt jars. Again, certainly not a necessity. I like to flavor mine individually, and I wanted something for my oldest son to take to school in his lunches, so I found a good deal on these.

Just for fun: Reusable silicone sleeves. Not necessary, but the kids love them! And they’re freezer-friendly, so you can use them for popsicles too.

So once you have all your tools, necessary and not, let’s get started! The first thing you’re going to do is make sure you’re starting this process at the right time of the day to fit your schedule. The incubation period is 8 hours, so make sure it’s not mid-day when you start. Some people start in the evening and let it incubate overnight. I choose to start in the morning, then set it to strain in the refrigerator overnight.

To start, pour 8 cups of whole milk into your Instant Pot. Use a plate or a glass lid to cover it, or just use the regular IP lid. You do not have to use the sealing feature though.

On the Duo Plus model, press the Yogurt button until the display says “boil.”

Mine takes about 27 minutes to complete the cycle. When it’s finished it will beep 3 times and display “yogt.”

Use a digital thermometer to make sure your milk has reached 180 degrees or higher. If it has not reached that temperature, use your sauté setting on low to bring the temp up. Make sure to whisk it continuously, but do not scrape the bottom (it has cooked on yucky milk chunks, and you don’t want those floating around in your yogurt).

Once you’ve reached your high temp, you need to decrease it to 110 degrees. To do this, you can set it out at room temperature for about 30-45 minutes, but you have to make sure it doesn’t go below 90 degrees. I like a more controlled environment, so I set mine in a sink of ice cold water, just enough to cover the bottom of the bowl.


Stir it while it’s cooling to prevent hot spots, but again, don’t scrape the bottom. It takes me about 3 minutes to get the temp to 110 using this method. Watch it closely because, remember, you don’t want your temp dropping below 90 degrees.

After it’s cooled, use a ladle to remove about 1/2 cup of milk to a separate bowl. Using a whisk, mix in your starter of choice.

I used 1 tablespoon of Fage the first time I made yogurt and it turned out perfectly. I froze the remaining Fage in tablespoon increments and, the next time I made yogurt, I used 1 tablespoon of frozen yogurt. I set it out to thaw while the milk was boiling, then mixed it in. However, with this method, my yogurt didn’t turn out as nicely; it was a little runny for my preference, even after being strained. The next time I attempted to use frozen yogurt, I used 2 tablespoons and it turned out perfectly again. Coincidence or not, I don’t know, but my recommendation is to use 1 tablespoon of fresh yogurt or 2 tablespoons of frozen (thawed) yogurt.

After you’ve mixed your starter with a small portion of the cooled milk, add it back to your big batch of milk. Again, mix it well, remembering not to scrape the bottom.

If you placed it in a sink of water to cool, wipe off any residual water from the outside of your liner before placing it back in the IP. Press the Yogurt button until it reads normal and set your incubation time to 8 hours (more if you like a more tart flavor–I don’t).
Once the yogurt has finished incubating, you can be done if you want. As I mentioned before, I prefer to strain mine so that it has a thicker consistency. To do this, you can use a yogurt strainer, or you can make your own using kitchen tools you probably already own. Before I bought my strainer, I stacked the steamer rack that came with my IP in a large mixing bowl. On top of that, I stacked a regular mesh strainer lined with a flour sack dish towel (you can also use cheesecloth).

Then just pour the yogurt in and let it drain in the refrigerator overnight.



That’s it, you’re done! You now have plain, simple, homemade yogurt. You can use this as a base for mayonnaise, salad dressings, or smoothies. Or you can use sugar, maple syrup, fruits, jams, or other sweeteners of choice to flavor the whole batch. Or divide the batch and make several different flavors.

Also, make sure to save the liquid you drained off your yogurt. This is whey and it can be used in protein shakes or as a buttermilk substitute in baking.

And if for some reason your yogurt turns out too thin, don’t dump it! Sweeten it and pour it into popsicle molds and make yogurt pops!

Or mix in homemade fruit and vegetable purees to make baby food. I added in some baby cereal to thicken up a thin batch that I made, and my babies ate it right up!

And loved it!!

In my next post I’ll give you some ideas on how to flavor your homemade yogurt. But it’s really up to you and your personal taste. The possibilities are endless, and the experimentation is fun!

This post contains affiliate links, which means I receive a small percentage of commission if you make a purchase through one of my links.

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Delicious and Easy Instant Pot Whole Chicken

In the days preceding and throughout Amazon Prime Day, there were a few deals on Instant Pots. Several of my friends took advantage of the sales and bought their very first IP, and I even bought a new one to replace the one I ruined by pouring chicken broth in it without the liner. Oops.

(Best mistake I ever made though, because I got the lovely Duo Plus 9-in-1 to replace my old LUX 6-in-1. The love I have for this particular IP is another story for another day, but I’ll give you a hint: yogurt.)

Since I may or may not constantly bow to the IP Gods and insist to anybody who will listen that their life is not complete without this amazing kitchen gadget, several friends have recently asked me how to use their new pretties. And honestly? I’m stumped on how to answer that question. I don’t know…you put stuff in it and turn it on. It really is that simple. Aside from looking up a chart on how long to cook different meats, I’ve never really followed recipes while using it. Instead, I tend to just grab meat from the fridge or freezer, throw it in with some water, sprinkle it with some seasonings, and turn it on.

But many people find the Instant Pot to be intimidating at first (I did too!). When they ask for directions, they want something more specific than, “throw shit in and turn it on.” So in the interest of helping out some friends, I decided to write down a few tried and true recipes. The first one is this yummy chicken. I like to cook a whole chicken, then shred and freeze the meat in 2 cup portions for later use in salads, quesadillas, or lunches for my babies (they love to eat plain shredded chicken).

So the first thing you’re going to do is heat 2 tbsp coconut oil in your IP on the Sauté setting.
I buy coconut oil in bulk for cheap at Costco, but you can get it anywhere.

Meanwhile, mix together 1 tsp paprika, 1 tsp ground thyme,  1 tsp sea salt, and 1/2 tsp pepper in a small bowl.


Then rub your spice mix all over the chicken. Use it all up!


Place the chicken in your IP, breast side down, and sauté for 3 minutes. Flip it over, breast side up, and sauté for 3 more minutes.
Add 2 cups bone or vegetable stock, 3 tablespoons lemon juice, and 6 cloves minced garlic to the IP.


Lock the IP lid, set the valve to “sealing,” and use the manual function to set the timer for 25 minutes. When it’s done, allow the pressure to release naturally. In just 36 minutes, you have a delicious chicken that you can serve exactly as it is, or shred it off the bone and make several meals with it. I’ve found that shredded chicken goes much further, since you can mix it in casseroles or salads. However you choose to eat it, save the the bones! After dinner, don’t bother washing your IP liner. Instead, throw the bones in it, fill it up with water, and use the slow cook feature to let it simmer all night. In the morning, voila: chicken stock! Freeze it in 2 cup increments for later use. My family of five can usually get 3-4 dinners and approximately 16 cups of stock out of a $6 chicken.

If you’re new to the Instant Pot world, I highly recommend joining the Instant Pot Community on Facebook. You can search the group, or ask any questions you may have.

This post contains affiliate links, which means I receive a small percentage of commission if you make a purchase through one of my links.

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The month we decided not to spend any money.

Y’all, I need to clean out my pantries. I need to clean out my refrigerators. And I need to clean out my freezers. All of them! I have 2 pantries, 2 refrigerators, and 4 freezers. And they’re all a mess! I love the extra storage space because I like to stock up on good deals and I like to make meals ahead and freeze them. But mostly I like to be able to just open the door and see exactly what I have. I can’t do that if everything is squished together in a small space.

My shame. And this is only one of them!

But it’s to the point in all of my food storage locations that I’ve become a little overwhelmed. The more overwhelmed I get, the more I tend to just open a door and throw stuff in. Then it becomes more of a mess, and I throw more things, and buy things we already have because I can’t find them or forgot we had them in the first place.

It’s a terrible cycle.

So it’s time to clean them all out. I don’t want to throw things away, so I decided we just won’t spend any money on (most) grocery items during the month of July.

Hmmm…

And then I took that a step further in my mind and decided…

No eating out during the month of July!

And then, like I do with most things, I ran with it…

No spending money during the month of July!

We’ll be bleeding extra money in August for back-to-school supplies, new shoes, and clothes. So why not take a month to reel it all in? It’s more than a cleaning binge…it’s a challenge! And I like a good challenge.

The rules I’ve set for my family for July are simple:

  • No eating out.
  • Extremely limited grocery trips.
  • No Amazon purchases.
  • No new clothes.
  • No unplanned outings that cost money.

Because I don’t want to quit this challenge by July 3rd, I did list a few exceptions for things that are okay to purchase:

  • Monthly bills. Obviously.
  • Fresh produce and other grocery necessities that will spoil, such as milk.
  • Gas for the cars and lawn mower.
  • Wine
  • 4th of July Fireworks: J can spend $10 on fireworks of his choice.
  • Medical, auto, or household emergencies.
  • Insanely good stock-up deals that I know, without a doubt, we’ll use up in less than 2 weeks that we’ve been waiting for sale prices on. This includes things like baby food pouches, yogurt, and school supplies. Everything else waits.
  • Events already planned on our calendar. For instance, we’ve planned a 1-day road trip to Botanical Gardens to see their very cool dinosaur exhibit. This will require some eating out and expenditures there. However, I’m going to pack our meals for the most part.

All these rules!! But here is my list of potential benefits:

  • Clean and organized pantries, etc.
  • A little extra money in the bank
  • New spending habits, since this will probably help us identify unnecessary money leaks.
  • We’ll find more things locally that we can do with the kids for free.
  • More space to pile more stuff in my clean pantries!!

I’ll be updating throughout the month, but check back in August for a final report on how this goes. Or if you want to, play along with me. I’d love to have some friends to play with, encourage me, and hold me accountable!

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What’s up with all the Mansplaining, fellas?

This morning I cooked omelets in my waffle maker, something I’ve done many times successfully in the past.
It makes a great finger food for the babies, and the whole family enjoys them.
After realizing how many different things I could cook in a waffle maker, I decided I wanted a larger one with removable plates. I used it this morning for the first time and things went terribly wrong. For reasons I still can’t figure out, the egg mixture leaked all out of the sides and the damn thing started smoking. We (my husband and I) could smell a terrible burning smell, so I quickly unplugged it and let it cool off.
Once I was able to take the plates off, I saw the problem that caused the smoking, so I told my husband about my discovery. Our conversation went like this:
Me: Ugh, here it is. It went underneath the plates and it burned to the bottom of the plate.
Him: That’s because it’s closer to the heating coil there. So when it leaked under, it got hot faster and that makes it burn easier.
Me: Ok yeah, now I understand. Thank you for explaining that to me.
Him: No problem.
Me: I’ll probably forget that piece of knowledge in just a few minutes though, when it slides out of my vagina.
Him: (blank stare)
He truly has no idea why this annoys me so much, to be explained to. And I have to say, I hate the term “mansplain” because it’s been so overused. And I don’t like directing such a derogatory term toward a man I love, and whom I know to be respectful of all people. But I guess I’m just going to have to be part of the problem here because at least there’s finally a term out there that explains why I want to throw shit every time he states the obvious to me.
Guys, it doesn’t have to be purposeful. Sometimes you’re sexist as hell without meaning to be. It doesn’t make you a bad person, but can you please just acknowledge it?

The best part is, as I’m writing this, suggested “tags” are popping up for me to choose from. The first tag is Donald Trump. Hmm.

Maybe somebody can explain that to me?

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Smart Ways to Save Money on Amazon

I’ve always been a bargain hunter; I admit to getting a little high when I find a great deal. But since I decided to stay at home with my kids while they’re little, it’s become a matter of necessity to budget. Not only have I managed to cut our grocery bill by more than 50% by planning our meals around sales, stacking multiple coupons on sale items, shopping discount stores, and making more of my own stuff (find a few of my favorites here, here, and here), but I’ve also learned how to find great deals for items for the kids and other household necessities by watching for price drops and stacking coupons on other deals over at Amazon.

I love sharing the deals I find! It allows me to shop vicariously, which is great, but I also genuinely love to help people find good deals! You can join my Facebook group here and follow my page here if you want to see what I share. But I also want to give you some tools to help you find specific deals you may be searching for.

Get yourself a Prime membership if you haven’t already.

It’s worth noting that if you’re looking to save money by using Amazon, I am making the assumption that you are a Prime member. If you’re not, you’re really not going to be able to take full advantage of these deals. The free 2-day shipping alone makes up for the cost of the membership if you do a lot of your purchasing online. But a Prime membership also offers early access to Lightning Deals, free video and music streaming, free photo storage, access to Prime Rewards (get 5% cash back with the Amazon Prime Visa or 2% back using your debit card), Subscribe & Save discounts with a free membership to Amazon Family (get 20% off diapers!!), and lots more.

Learn how to take advantage of the subscribe & save feature.

Once you’re a Prime member, check out my Subscribe & Save tutorial. It may seem a little daunting in the beginning, but once you have an understanding of how you can stack the coupons and discounts each month without committing to a monthly delivery, it’s very easy.

Know when and where to find the best deals.

Amazon offers daily deals with their Deal of the Day and Lightning Deal programs. But it’s important to note that, just because it’s on sale doesn’t mean it’s a good deal. I’ve especially noticed this to be true with Lightning Deals. Many prices are incredibly over-inflated prior to the sale, so make sure to compare prices before buying. I like to use Honey to view recent pricing trends (and I also find coupon codes and deals for other stores there too, so it’s worth a look!). Also, make sure to check the product reviews, make sure the reviews are natural, and check the seller reviews if it’s a third party seller.

Always check out Amazon Warehouse deals and Third Party prices before making a purchase.

Warehouse Deals are a great way to get deep discounts on refurbished or open box items. I’ve purchased here several times and never received a bad product. You can also find 3rd party prices on item listings and they’re often less than the original price. In this case, just check the condition of the item, check the seller reviews, and take note of the additional shipping costs.

Check for Coupons.

Just like when you’re shopping, make sure to use coupons when they’re available. Amazon offers lots of coupon deals and they have them divided up into easy to search categories. They’re also usually available on the individual listings, so just don’t forget to claim them!

Take the work out of it by following my Facebook page.

If you’re searching for baby and kid deals, cosmetics, clothing, shoes, and household items, I post several deals almost daily and I’m happy to share them with you. Follow my page, Fabulous Deals & Cool Stuff for Parents, to take the work out of deal-hunting!

This post contains affiliate links, which means I receive a small percentage of commission if you make a purchase through one of my links.

Summertime Kind of Carefree

When we announced that we were having twins, some people who love me, and who I love, expressed some concern for how I might handle the chaos.

Those who know me well know that I like things to be predictable and orderly. They’re not wrong about that. But it hurt my feelings that they doubted my ability to bend. Because what I know about me is that I have a damn lot of grit and I wanted more than anything to embrace the chaos that is children…even if that chaos makes me want to vacuum a little more often.

Now that I’m more than 1 year into this whole Mom of Three thing, I can unequivocally say that the best thing about having twins, or maybe even just having more than one kid, is realizing that I don’t know all the things I thought I knew about this mom thing. And, surprisingly, this makes me feel like maybe I’m getting it right.

I was much more tightly wound when I had just one kid to focus on. And he’s turned out okay. So far…

My kids are happy and alive. What else can I really hope for? I mean, besides college scholarships?

My new Mom Goal is to be the Summertime kind of Carefree more often than not. What’s your Mom Goal?

Photo images credited to Whitney C. Photography.

A Whole Hand

When did this happen? I mean, obviously I know when it happened. About 2 months ago, actually. But I’m just now looking through photos and came across this.

My baby is five. Five. He’s a whole hand, y’all. That’s a big deal around here.

He hasn’t been a baby, or even a toddler, for quite some time. Somewhere deep down, I’ve realized that. But when did THIS happen? When I wasn’t looking (and let’s face it, I’ve been distracted this last year with infant twins, so there were a lot of times when I wasn’t looking), he grew up on me.

And I know there will be many more of these moments when I look at one of my babies and wonder when the hell he grew into a man. But there’s something about 5 that feels so BIG. So GROWN. Like, I’m sure I’ll wake up tomorrow and he’ll be off to college. Which is a damn shame, really, because I still have no idea how he’s going to pay for that.

Good luck, little buddy. I love you bigger than the whole world.

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