4 Steps to a Great Kids’ Reading Nook

Steps and Inspiration to Create a Great Kids' Reading Nook

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If you are a passionate reader, you know the thrill that can fill you when you pick up the right book and curl up on a porch swing. As you watch the children in your life becoming familiar with books, it’s likely you want the same for them. These ideas will help you to inspire those young minds in subtle and appealing ways through the creation of the perfect reading space within your home. If you’re not a great lover of reading [yet!], then these ideas are not only for those children, but for you.

4 Steps to Create a Great Kids Reading Nook via Tipsaholic.com

If you are a passionate reader, you know the thrill that can fill you when you pick up the right book and curl up on a porch swing. As you watch the children in your life becoming familiar with books, it’s likely you want the same for them. These ideas will help you to inspire those young minds in subtle and appealing ways through the creation of the perfect kids’ reading nook within your home. If you’re not a great lover of reading [yet!], then these ideas are not only for those children, but for you. (featured image via Sew Liberated)

Step 1: Find a place for your space.

While it would seem simplest to throw a cushion in the middle of the playroom and call it good, really give this space some thought. Will it be outside? Inside? In which room? A reading space should be easily accessible but relatively quiet, clean, and away from high traffic areas. Good light is also an important aspect of a reading environment and certainly something to consider if you are limited in light sources. If you’re wondering how to work the space into a room, check out the photo inspiration and tutorials on these 6 slides:

  • slide 1: kids reading canopy in a corner
  • slide 2: simple reading space under the stairs
  • slide 3: outdoor reading space
  • slide 4: closet reading nook
  • slide 5: kids corner reading
  • slide 6: book nook on the landing at the top of the stairs

Step 2: Build it from the floor up.

What do you picture when you think of a good reading space? Is it angular and industrial, or soft and natural? This space is going to need some work. Start simply and consider adding “custom” details as you go. Pillows, a few stuffed animals, and a light blanket are great ways to add comfort and style. If you want to get even more creative, consider a few of these ideas for cozy little nooks:

  • slide 7: DIY closet bench and bookshelves tutorial
  • slide 8: A-frame reading tent tutorial
  • slide 9: Super-simple DIY canopy tutorial
  • slide 10: Lighted reading space under loft bed
  • slide 11: Reading corner bench from pallets tutorial

Step 3: Add to your basic space.

Aside from the comfy-cozies like pillows and stuffed animals, there are other things you may want to add to your space. If it is inside, try bringing a little bit of the outdoors in. A small plant or two will add an enticing, organic freshness. Along with nature, keep in mind the different ways children may want to experience reading. Including a CD player or electronic device in the space and a number of books for listening will draw in even the most reluctant of readers. If you’re looking for more inspiration, check out these ideas at Remodelaholic. And don’t forget the books!

  • slide 12: simple add-ons for a corner reading nook

Step 4: What about the books?

The books and their location relative to the reading environment are going to be important. If you can, keep books on low shelves or in baskets near the reading space, or lying within it. Books that are out of sight will rarely be touched. If you worry about books getting chewed or otherwise demolished by younger children, you might try keeping a basket up higher and bringing it down at naptimes or when supervision is possible.

  • slide 13: nursery book slings by Smith Peas

If you want the children in your life to embrace this new reading environment, show them the way. They will be much more likely to enter the space and feel at home there if you are the one to introduce them and teach them about it. And who knows, you might just find yourself there more often than you think – without the children.

4 Steps To A Great Kids Reading Nook via Tipsaholic.com

Kayla Lilly is a photographer, writer, wife, and mama making a house a home in eastern Idaho. She met her mister while working at an amusement park and married him a year later after deciding there was no way to live without him. The amusement has continued as they’ve added three kids and a passel of pets to their lives while finishing college and starting a photography business. Drawing inspiration from the whirlwinds of marriage, parenthood, and the media, Kayla blogs at www.utterlyineperienced.blogspot.com, and spends the rest of her time chasing chickens, organizing junk drawers, diapering toddlers, and photographing everyone willing to step in front of her lens.

Fun and Easy Halloween Party Treats

5 Quick and Easy Halloween Party Treats via Tipsaholic

Anyone can give out candy bars or boxes of raisins on Halloween (but if you have raisins, I’m skipping your house – just sayin’). Use these 5 ideas to quickly and easily turn ordinary fodder into a memorable Halloween party treat with just a little effort and creativity.

5 Easy Halloween Party Treats via Tipsaholic

Halloween S’mores

Place one ghost-shaped marshmallow Peep, one fun-size chocolate bar and two graham crackers into a sandwich bag for an individual DIY s’mores kit kids will love.

 

Scary Popcorn Hands

Buy a box of clear plastic gloves (the kind used in cafeterias and restaurants). Put a candy corn in each finger and then fill with popcorn or caramel corn. Tie off the top with black and orange ribbon.

Candy Broomsticks

Push a small pretzel stick into the bottom of a mini peanut butter cup – looks just like a tiny edible broomstick!

 

Witch Hat Cookies

Turn a striped fudge cookie upside down so the fudge-coated bottom is showing. Put a dollop of orange or green icing in the center and press an unwrapped chocolate kiss into the icing so the colored icing is flattened out.

 

Tootsie Pop Ghosts

Drape a white paper napkin over the top of a Tootsie Pop. Gather the napkin in to the stick and tie off with black and orange ribbon. Use a black marker to make eyes and a mouth on your “Tootsie ghost.” To serve, poke the sticks into a piece of styrofoam.

 

Julianne Puckett is the creator of Yankee Kitchen Ninja, a blog about what she calls “stealthy homemaking” — healthy recipes that are quick and easy to prepare, DIY gardening tips and the occasional craft project. A designer, writer and former suburban-dwelling IT professional, she lives in rural Vermont, where she struggles to balance the siren call of her inner farmer with her love of cute shoes and cocktails.

Dealing With Picky Eaters? Try These 7 Tips

7 Tricks For Dealing With A Picky Eater via Tipsaholic.com

Are your kids the toughest food critics you’ve ever encountered? Here are some suggestions that you can try with your picky eaters to encourage them to eat a wider variety of food.

7 Tips To Help A Picky Eater via Tipsaholic

1. Take your picky eaters to the farmer market.

Walking around at a farmer market is a great way to spend a Saturday morning. Strike up conversations with the vendors about growing crop, how they cook their food, and how they feed their animals. Ask your children to choose the vegetables, fruit, or meat to purchase. This might help them gain a better appreciation of where the food on their plate comes from.

 

2. Ask your picky eaters to help you cook meals.

Involve your child in the preparation of food. With younger kids and toddlers, your kitchen will surely become very messy in the process, but it’ll be worth it in the long run. When they help with the chopping, the seasoning, and the baking, they might become more willing to try the food. Even if they still refuse to eat, at least they’ll understand the work that goes into making the meal and they’ll be more respectful of it.

There are several great books out there about cooking with kids. Kids in the Kitchen gives some great ideas of how to cook with with kids from 18 months to 9 years old. For older kids, try Kids’ Fun & Healthy Cookbook and The Kid’s Cookbook.

 

3. Identify the food on their plates.

A plate filled with unrecognizable food can be very scary for a young person. When you place the plate in front of them, make sure to identify everything on their plate. Tell them how you cooked it and what it will taste like (sweet, savory, salty, bitter, etc).

 

4. Don’t become a short order cook.

Don’t give up and cook another meal for them. This shows them that you’re willing to cook something else… so why should they ever eat what you offer if they can simply request their favorite meal instead? Just tell them that they don’t have to eat if they don’t want to, but you won’t be cooking anything else. If you’re concerned that they’ll go hungry, include a side dish that you know they’ll enjoy.

 

5. Dinner is a sit-down event.

Try to make time for a sit-down dinner at least a few times a week. This makes dinner an event into itself, a time for the whole family to just eat and talk. Try your best to make dinnertime a positive time for everyone, not a battle over food.

 

6. Offer it again… and again.

If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. Sometimes it takes a few tries and refuses before a child finally eats something new. Picky eaters need to get acclimated to the taste and smell and look of a new food before they finally embrace it.

 

7. Tell your picky eaters that they won’t always be picky.

Above all, don’t tell your kids that they’re picky eaters. They’ll probably take that label and run with it. They’ll believe that they’re picky eaters and that they can’t help it. They might be less wiling to change their eating habits. Instead, say things like, “I understand you don’t want to eat it right now, but someday you will like these food just like your parents! Your tongue will get used to the taste and you’ll love it.” Your kids DO want to be just like you, believe it or not.

 

Happy cooking! For some fast and easy dinner ideas, check out Four Quick 30-Minute Paleo Dinners in 5 Steps.

 

“I’m Elisa and I live in Austin, Texas with my husband and our two little girls. I used to teach reading and writing, but now I stay at home with my two kiddos and read and write in my spare time. I also love to undertake DIY projects, find new recipes on Pinterest, and dream about someday finally completing our home. Above all, I love to learn about new things and sharing my new-found knowledge with others.”  Please check out my blog What the Vita!

How To Grow Vegetables From Scraps

How To Regrow Vegetables From Scraps via Tipsaholic.com


Wait! Don’t throw away that stalk of celery or the white bulbs of that bunch of scallions. Did you know that you can re-grow vegetables, right in your kitchen so you’ll always have some of the most popular veggies we use in our daily cooking? Best of all, you don’t need a green thumb, a garden or even warm, sunny weather to do it! (featured image via Remodelaholic)
 

6 Vegetables That Can Grow From Scraps via Tipsaholic

Green Onions

Since most recipes call for only the green part of green onion (also called scallions or spring onions), we often wind up wasting the white bulbs. But those bulbs are the heart and soul of the onion plant! When you’ve finished with the green tops, put the bunch of white bulbs into a glass of water and leave it on your windowsill. In just a few days, you’ll be begin to see new green onions springing up! Harvest them as you need them, but be sure to change the water every few days.

 

Leeks

You know how leeks look a lot like great big green onions? They can be regrown the same way as green onions, too! Follow the same bulbs-in-a-glass-of-water routine the next time you have a leek or two leftover and you’ll wind up with your own supply for months to come.

 

Celery and Fennel

These two veggies are also candidates for the water trick. When you buy a bunch of celery or fennel, simply cut off the base and put it, stalk tips facing up, into a bowl of water (just enough to cover the bottom of the bunch, not the whole thing). For these two, however, go ahead and keep them out of direct sunlight.

 

Garlic

Have you ever opened your pantry and found a forgotten bunch of garlic with green sprouts on the ends? Next time, don’t throw it away: regrow it! Plant the garlic in a small pot just as you would flower bulbs in the fall: sprouted tip facing up. You’ll end up with a great houseplant and some fresh garlic for the kitchen.

 

Ginger

Cut off a small piece of the ginger root you bought at the grocery store, plant it in a pot and wait for it to sprout. When you need ginger, you can dig up the whole plant, cut off whatever you need from the root and then repot the plant.

 

Romaine Lettuce

You can regrow many types of lettuce, but stem-based romaine is the easiest. Just as you did with the celery, cut the base of the lettuce head off and put it in a bowl of water to regrow. You’ll be amazed how quickly a new head sprouts up!

 

Julianne Puckett is the creator of Yankee Kitchen Ninja, a blog about what she calls “stealthy homemaking” — healthy recipes that are quick and easy to prepare, DIY gardening tips and the occasional craft project. A designer, writer and former suburban-dwelling IT professional, she lives in rural Vermont, where she struggles to balance the siren call of her inner farmer with her love of cute shoes and cocktails.

6 Ways Teach Your Toddler To Love Reading

Your child may not start to learn to read until kindergarten, but that doesn’t mean he or she can’t love reading before then. Toddlers love to explore and learn and try new things, so age two to five is a great time to show them how much fun a good book can be. Here are six ways to help you teach your toddler to love reading!

Teach Your Toddler To Love Reading via Tipsaholic.com

Make books available

This is so obvious it almost doesn’t need to be said, but you need to have some books on hand if you’re going to teach your toddler to love reading. Whether you buy them new or gently used, or just have a rotating pile borrowed from the library, make sure to have at least a few children’s books in your home at all times. If you don’t want to have a ton of picture books cluttering up your house, an anthology of children’s books is a great way to have lots of stories without sacrificing a ton of shelf space.

 

Let them play with books

This is a hard one for me. As a serious bibliophile, it sometimes pains me to let very young children handle books. What if they tear a page? What if they chew on it? What if they ruin it?? I’ve had to get over my need for pristine books, though, and just let the kids explore. Toddlers learn about the world by testing their limits and using as many senses as possible. Turning pages, throwing books, and yes, sometimes gnawing on the covers are all just ways for kids to figure out how books work. By allowing them to play with books, I’m teaching my girls that books are meant to be enjoyed, not just left on a shelf to collect dust. Any special books are kept out of reach, but the rest of our collection is available for any child to look at…or sit on or stack into a big pile or push around in a stroller, as the case may be!

 

Make reading part of your daily routine

I mentioned this when talking about how to teach your baby to love reading, and will probably say it again: children thrive on predictability. Find fifteen minutes in your day to have regular story time with your toddler, whether it’s right after dinner or before you leave for work in the morning or while your older kids work on homework after school. That one-on-one time will become precious to both of you, and your toddler will associate feelings of love, peace, and contentment with reading.

 

Have snacks on hand

Toddlers are busy! Sitting still and being quiet aren’t exactly their favorite things to do, but if you’re going to read together, both are necessary. So how do you keep your little one occupied while you read? Feed her. You read while she munches on apple slices.  She may seem to be paying more attention to her snack than to the story, but you might also be surprised how closely she is listening.

 

Talk about what you are reading

Reading the same books over and over again can get boring. Shake things up by talking about the pictures or asking your toddler questions about the story. Have your child identify colors, count objects, look for certain shapes or letters on a page, or make predictions about what will happen next. Activities like these can help build vocabulary, foster creativity, and improve reading comprehension.

You can also talk about books when you aren’t reading. Spotting a baby bird at the park might remind you of Are You My Mother? Reading books like How Do Dinosaurs Eat Their Food? can be helpful in teaching table manners. Harry the Dirty Dog could spark conversations about dogs, or baths, or how fun it is to play outside in the dirt. Include the stories you read in your day-to-day conversations to help your child connect them to real life.

 

Let them participate

When reading familiar books–the ones you’ve read a thousand times–let your toddler help you. This works especially well with rhyming books. For example, I will read, “I do not like…” and my daughter says, “Green eggs and ham,” then I read, “I do not like them…” and she says, “Sam-I-Am!” Your child will learn to pay closer attention and follow along, because he never knows when it will be his turn to “read” the next part!

 

Go to the library

Libraries are a great place for toddlers to learn to love reading. Many have regularly scheduled story times for young children, usually with interactive elements like songs or finger games. Talk to your librarians about ways to foster a love of reading at home. They can recommend the best new books, point you toward great classics, give you ideas for making reading fun, and suggest other resources in the community or online that can help you. If you don’t know where the nearest library to you is, look it up on LibWeb and start taking advantage of this great–and free!–resource.

 

Jen is the mother of two sweet girls; her days are filled with Dr. Seuss books and laundry, block castles and pink tutus. Reading is her first passion. Finding and testing out delicious recipes is a close second. She and her husband are working on making their fixer-upper home into something amazing. It’s a satisfying but painfully slow process. Read more from Jen at her blog: Nothing Can Come Of Nothing

DIY Household Cleaners — 3 Ingredients, 6 Cleaning Jobs

6 DIY Homemade Household Cleaners via Tipsaholic.com

There seems to be a unique cleaning product for just about everything these days: countertops, bathrooms, floors, carpets, furniture – you name it, you can find a special cleaner for it. But do we really need all those fancy cleaners? Making your own DIY household cleaners with ingredients you already have on hand will not only save  money but also keep all those chemicals with unpronounceable names out of your home. (featured image via Southern Living)

6 DIY Homemade Household Cleaners via Tipsaholic

 

Use Vinegar

1) All-Purpose Cleaning Spray: Add 1/3 cup white vinegar to a large spray bottle and fill the rest of the way with water.  Use it to clean countertops and bathroom surfaces. You can even use it on hardwood floors!

2) Liquid Fabric Softener: Add 1/4 cup herbal-infused vinegar (e.g., lavender vinegar) to the fabric softener dispenser on your washing machine and top it up with water.

 

Use Baking Soda

3) Powdered Cleanser: Sprinkle surfaces with a little baking soda and rub into a paste with a fairly damp cloth, then wipe off with another damp cloth. The mild abrasive of the baking soda is a great cleaner and is even safe on natural stone surfaces.

4) Carpet Freshner: Sprinkle alittle baking soda on carpets, let it sit a few minutes and then vacuum. The baking soda absorbs odor and leaves your carpets smelling fresh.

 

Use Lemon Juice

5) Stain remover: For stains on cutting boards or laminate countertops, half a fresh lemon and squeeze the juice on the stain. Use the lemon half to scrub at the stain until it’s gone. For tougher stains, let the juice sit for a few minutes: the acidity of the lemon juice will eventually remove the stain.

6) Window cleaner: To a spray bottle, add a few tablespoons fresh-squeezed lemon juice and several cups of water or club soda, plus a teaspoon of cornstarch. Shake it up and spray your way to a streak-free, chemical-free shine!

Julianne Puckett is the creator of Yankee Kitchen Ninja, a blog about what she calls “stealthy homemaking” — healthy recipes that are quick and easy to prepare, DIY gardening tips and the occasional craft project. A designer, writer and former suburban-dwelling IT professional, she lives in rural Vermont, where she struggles to balance the siren call of her inner farmer with her love of cute shoes and cocktails.

9 Ways to Add New Life to an Old Space

Add New Life To An Old Space via Tipsaholic.com

Guests coming? Change of seasons making you antsy for some change indoors? Whatever the reason, it’s fun to change up a space! If you’re wanting to get the fresh look of a room makeover without the time commitment or budget, try one of these 9 simple ways to add new life to an old space.  (featured image via Better Homes and Gardens)

9 Simple and Easy Room Updates to Add New LIfe to an Old Space via Tipsaholic.com

1. Buy fresh flowers

If you haven’t tried this before, it’s time. Even the simplest $5 bundle of daisies on your way out of Walmart can brighten a room or two. Clean them up a bit, cut them down to size, and spread them around your home in vases, mason jars, old glassware, or even teacups.

 

2. A pop of color.

No, not a neutral. A pop of color. What speaks to you? A bold red? Vibrant purple? Blazing orange? Get a little crazy. Step outside your typical boundaries. Add it in via a piece of art, a throw, a pillow, or a stack of books in various shades.

 

3. Add in new patterns

You might think you’ve got enough going on with a couple of plain pillows on your sofa, but you’d be surprised what you can do with another set of patterns! Floral, polka dot, and daring geometric patterns can work together in a single space to take it from “meh” to “yeah!” For some tips and ideas, check out these articles from Remodelaholic and see great examples for mixing patterns in kids’ rooms and in the master bedroom.

 

4. Reflections

Strategically placed mirrors can add depth and height to a small space. If you don’t want to put holes in the wall, try angling one or two tall mirrors as they rest on the floor. A mirror placed across from a window will add depth and light to a room.

 

5. Create a focal point

Do you have a space that is a bit lack-luster? When you walk into a room, are your eyes drawn to a specific point, or do they wander from place to place? If they land on a single area, is it the area you want to be drawn to? Take control of the room by rearranging furniture, adding color, or bringing in something new.

 

6. Unpile the piles

Declutter, one step at a time. Give the piles of paper and lost things in your home a true place to call their own. If you need some inspiration, take tips from blogs like IHeart Organizing, Organizing Made Fun, and I’m An Organizing Junkie.

 

7. Give old accessories a new home

Have some of the items in your decorating arsenal been placed in one spot and remained there, perhaps for years? A clock, a painting, a favorite collection – any of theses things, when moved to a different space, can begin a transformation.

 

8. Make a statement at the front door

A bold pattern or print, a bright color, or some great art to greet your guests as they come into your home will surely become a conversation piece. Look for places you could add these things: a bench, an empty wall, a doorway, or something as simple as throwing a rug down.

 

9. Familiarity

What do you have, perhaps buried in a keepsake box, that is uniquely you? Old black and white family photos or a hand-written recipe from your mother add character when placed in a frame and displayed in the appropriate space. Fill your blank walls with things that mean something to you.

 

Kayla Lilly is a photographer, writer, wife, and mama making a house a home in eastern Idaho. She met her mister while working at an amusement park and married him a year later after deciding there was no way to live without him. The amusement has continued as they’ve added three kids and a passel of pets to their lives while finishing college and starting a photography business. Drawing inspiration from the whirlwinds of marriage, parenthood, and the media, Kayla blogs at www.utterlyineperienced.blogspot.com, and spends the rest of her time chasing chickens, organizing junk drawers, diapering toddlers, and photographing everyone willing to step in front of her lens.

Spooky DIY Halloween Decorations

Halloween is extra-fun for trick-or-treaters that knock on your door when your house and yard are all decked out. Even if you only have a few minutes and limited crafting ability, here are five easy Halloween decorations that will make your house the spookiest on the block. Boo! (featured image via The Graphics Fairy)

5 Quick and Easy Spooky Halloween Decorations via Tipsaholic.com #halloween #decor #easy #spooky

5 Quick and Easy Spooky Halloween Decorations via Tipsaholic.com

1) Glowing Eyes in the Bushes: Cut some eye-shaped holes in a cardboard toilet paper or paper towel tube and insert a glowstick. Position the tubes around the yard in the bushes – spooky!

2) Tree Spirits: Cut a white sheet into large rectangles. Place a white styrofoam ball in the center, gather up the sheet fabric under the ball and tie it off with some white twine or dental floss. Cut the hanging edges of the fabric to look jagged and hang the balls from the trees in your yard.

3) Glowing Pumpkins: Spray pumpkins with glow-in-the-dark spray paint and scatter them throughout the yard or line your driveway with them.

4) Ghost Topiaries: Cut a hole in the bottom of empty plastic milk jugs (the non-colored kind). Use a black marker to paint a ghost face (2 circles for eyes, one for a mouth) on the front of each. String a set of large-bulb Christmas lights along the sidewalk and place the hole in the bottom of a milk jug over each one so it glows from the inside. A ghostly way to light the path to the door!

5) Mummy Pumpkin: Wrap a pumpkin with rolled gauze (use small dabs of hot glue to hold it in place). Glue on some googly eyes from the craft store (tuck them a bit under the gauze for full effect!) and use a Sharpie to draw on a small mouth.

 

Julianne Puckett is the creator of Yankee Kitchen Ninja, a blog about what she calls “stealthy homemaking” — healthy recipes that are quick and easy to prepare, DIY gardening tips and the occasional craft project. A designer, writer and former suburban-dwelling IT professional, she lives in rural Vermont, where she struggles to balance the siren call of her inner farmer with her love of cute shoes and cocktails.

6 Delicious (and Easy!) Paleo Desserts

Easy Paleo Desserts via Tipsaholic.com

 

Eating clean doesn’t mean that you need to give up having a sweet ending to your dinner. Here are some delicious paleo desserts that are also extremely easy to make! (featured image via CrossFit Pulse)

6 Easy and Delicious Paleo Desserts via Tipsaholic.com

Cherry and Almond Butter Milkshake

All you need is a blender and you’ll have a creamy and sweet milkshake that’s more like a dessert than a smoothie. Add a cute straw and sip away!

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups almond milk
  • 1 whole banana, frozen
  • 8 cherries, frozen
  • 4 tablespoons almond butter
  • 1 tablespoon honey (adjust the amount to your taste)
  • 10 ice cubes (adjust the amount to your taste)

You can add a teaspoon or two of cocoa powder if you want a more chocolaty flavor. This paleo dessert recipe makes two big milkshakes.

Banana Ice Cream

This paleo dessert recipe requires only ONE ingredient. You’ll need a food processor and you can add whatever toppings you want, but all you really need to make this dessert is frozen bananas. Find out how at The Paleo Mama!

Chocolate Mug Cake

You can’t beat a paleo dessert that takes only three minutes to make. This will come in handy when you just need a chocolate fix RIGHT NOW and you don’t want to gorge on candy. Mix up almond meal, cocoa powder, honey, vanilla extract, cinnamon, and an egg in a mug and microwave it. And then it’s cake time! Get the full recipe at Delighted Momma.

Grilled Peaches

I just recently tried grilled peaches for the first time. After the first bite, I wondered why the heck I didn’t try it years ago. I even used peaches that weren’t all that ripe and it came out so good. This recipe from Everyday Paleo adds whipped coconut cream on top. Yum.

Paleo Fruit Pops

My toddler is crazy about dessert and fruit. I just bought some ice pop molds and am excited to try this paleo dessert soon. It requires only almond milk and chopped fresh berries, but I’m sure frozen berries will work just as well. Try the recipe at CrossFit Pulse.

Coconut Cookie Dough Balls

Did you know that you can make your own coconut butter? It’s so easy and you’ll need some of it for this paleo dessert that requires only two ingredients. Guess what’s the other one? Find out how to make these delish balls and how to make coconut butter at Chocolate Covered Katie.

 

Now I’m hungry for something sweet. I’m off to grab a handful of frozen cherries, which you can buy in bulk at Costco. That’s another easy paleo dessert for you to try!

 

Looking for more healthy recipes? Check out this Banana Zucchini Cookies recipe and the Top Ten Zucchini Recipes.

 

“I’m Elisa and I live in Austin, Texas with my husband and our two little girls. I used to teach reading and writing, but now I stay at home with my two kiddos and read and write in my spare time. I also love to undertake DIY projects, find new recipes on Pinterest, and dream about someday finally completing our home. Above all, I love to learn about new things and sharing my new-found knowledge with others.”  Please check out my blog What the Vita!

Tips for Winterizing Your Summer Garden

Tips for Winterizing Your Summer Garden via Tipsaholic.com

Even with apple picking and back-to-school on your mind this fall, don’t forget to put your summer garden to bed for the winter! If you put forth just a little extra effort in winterizing this fall, you’ll be rewarded with great time savings and a garden that’s ready to go in the spring when it’s time to tackle planning and planting the garden again. (featured image via Remodelaholic)

4 Tips for Winterizing Your Garden via Tipsaholic.com

Pull Out Dead Plants

I know what you’re thinking: “But they’re dead! I can just let them rot over the winter!” Yes, you can, but that also means that any spores left from diseases or blights or eggs of obstinate bugs will be allowed to live in your garden over the winter. They are pretty hearty little buggers and might just rear their ugly heads again next summer. Pull out and dispose of all the dead plants in your garden to start with a clean, healthy slate in the spring.

 

Keep Weeding

Nearly the same principle applies to weeds as it did above to disease spores. If you pull out the weeds now, you’ll have fewer of them re-growing in the spring, which you’ll have to pull out anyway. Bonus: pulling older weeds now is much easier than pulling newer, stronger ones next year!

 

Rake Out the Old Mulch

Unless you mulch only with compost or newspaper, which can be tilled back into the soil in the spring, rake out all your hay or bark mulch. If it is allowed to become incorporated into the garden, it can significantly change the pH of your soil; that can affect how well your plants will grow – if at all. If you’re feeling very ambitious, go ahead and add a layer of compost or mulched leaves for the winter, too, which will add some extra nutrients next spring when you till them into the soil.

 

Tidy Up Your Tools

Just as you wash your pots and pans when you’re finished cooking, so too should you clean up your gardening implements to ready them for next year. If you have any outdoor pots or containers, empty them, hose them out and store them out of the weather so they won’t crack or break. Also, give all your hand tools a quick scrub in some soapy water, hose them off and let them dry; you can even coat metal tools with a think layer of vegetable oil to prevent them from rusting over the winter.

 

Julianne Puckett is the creator of Yankee Kitchen Ninja, a blog about what she calls “stealthy homemaking” — healthy recipes that are quick and easy to prepare, DIY gardening tips and the occasional craft project. A designer, writer and former suburban-dwelling IT professional, she lives in rural Vermont, where she struggles to balance the siren call of her inner farmer with her love of cute shoes and cocktails.

5 Favorite Potty Training Books

5 Great Potty Training Books via Tipsaholic.com

Potty training isn’t a lot of fun, but you can make the experience much more fun and bearable for you and your toddler by bringing out these five potty training books. These books are funny and cheerful, but they also come with important potty training lessons.

 

5 Best Potty Training Books via Tipsaholic.com

Potty by Leslie Patricelli

This cute little board potty training book tells the story of a little toddler who doesn’t want to go in his diaper, but is unsure what to do next. He observes where his cat and dog “goes” and then figures what he needs to do next. My toddler loves the book and requests to read it every time she sits on the potty.

Danny is Done with Diapers by Rebecca O’Connell

If your toddler is learning his ABCs at the same time he’s learning how to use the potty, this book will hit two birds with one stone. With the use of lots of alliteration and detailed, colorful drawings, this potty training book shows a wide variety of potty designs and different ways to go potty, including moms and dads on the toilet and public bathrooms.

Dinosaur vs. the Potty by Bob Shea

This is a very silly and lighthearted potty training book that will have your toddler laughing and roaring at the dinosaur. The boisterous little dinosaur drinks water, plays in water, and plays in the rain and doesn’t need to go to the potty… or does he? Even though this is just a fun book, there’s still a good lesson in it: when you need to dance around the floor, it probably means that you need to go to potty!

Where’s the Poop? by Julie Markes

Flap books are popular with toddlers and this book is no exception. Teach your toddler that every animal and person needs to go to potty, including elephants, panda bears, and even penguins. For the toddler who’s scared to poop in the potty, this potty training book will alleviate that fear and show that it’s perfectly normal and good!

Even Firefighters Go to the Potty by Wendy Wax and Naomi Wax

This potty training book shows that everyone uses the potty, from firefighters to doctors, and that it’s ok to stop what you’re doing to relieve yourself. That’s an especially important lesson for busy toddlers who don’t want to stop playing to go to the potty!

 

For more books for your toddler, check out these seven essential children’s books for ages 1-3!

 

“I’m Elisa and I live in Austin, Texas with my husband and our two little girls. I used to teach reading and writing, but now I stay at home with my two kiddos and read and write in my spare time. I also love to undertake DIY projects, find new recipes on Pinterest, and dream about someday finally completing our home. Above all, I love to learn about new things and sharing my new-found knowledge with others.”  Please check out my blog What the Vita!

Four Quick 30-Minute Paleo Dinners in 5 Steps

4 Paleo Meal Recipes via Tipsaholic.com


Sometimes it’s hard to just manage to get everything you need to get done in one day, let alone cook a healthy dinner from scratch. By the end of a crazy day, sometimes I just want to order a pizza. But with these quick paleo dinner recipes in my arsenal, it’s getting easier to stay away from the phone and whip up a fast and nutritious dinner for my family.

Try these quick paleo dinner recipes for your next busy day! These recipes make four servings.

4 Quick and Easy Paleo Meal Recipes via Tipsaholic.com

Tilapia with Avocado Salsa

Tilapia is so easy. It’s economical, cooks in minutes, and is a chameleon of sorts. You can instantly change its taste with the addition of different spices.

  1. Sprinkle cumin, chili powder, garlic powder, salt and pepper over your filets of tilapia.
  2. Heat up coconut oil in a pan and then cook the tilapia for a few minutes on each side, until the fish flakes easily with a fork.
  3. While the tilapia is cooking, cut up an avocado into a bowl and add chopped cherry tomatoes, minced onions, juice of a 1/2 lime, and salt and pepper.
  4. Mix carefully and then top the avocado salsa on your tilapia.
  5. Add a side of vegetables, such as sauteed zucchini slices or a salad, and you’ve got yourself a delicious and quick paleo dinner that can be ready in 15 minutes or less.

 

Salmon with Coconut Aminos

Coconut aminos is my favorite. It is very similar to soy sauce and works very well with salmon.

  1. Season your salmon filets with garlic powder, salt, and pepper and put them in the oven and set it to broil. I like to use my toaster oven for this for faster cooking.
  2. Meanwhile, combine two tablespoons of coconut aminos, 1 tablespoon of olive oil, 1/4 teaspoon powdered ginger, and hot sauce to taste in a small bowl.
  3. When your salmon is cooked, put them on your plates and pour your coconut aminos mixture over them.
  4. Top the salmon with chopped green onions and cilantro.
  5. Pair this dish with a side of steamed broccoli. The broccoli soaks up the coconut aminos mixture beautifully.

 

Burgers with Lettuce “Buns”

Who doesn’t love a burger at the end of a long day? Eating paleo doesn’t necessarily mean you have to give up this guilty pleasure.

  1. In a medium bowl, mix up one pound of lean ground beef, an egg, 1/3 cup minced onion, 1/2 cup chopped spinach, and salt and pepper to taste.
  2. Shape the ground beef into four patties.
  3. Cook them on a hot grill and wrap them in a lettuce leaf.
  4. Add any condiments you like. I like to add grilled onions, a slice of tomato, hot sauce, and mustard.
  5. For a vegetable side that pairs well with a burger, try one of these healthy french fries.

 

Chicken Tacos with Mango and Avocado

Cook your chicken in advance and leave them in the refrigerator until it’s time to make this quick paleo dinner.

  1. Shred the chicken and put them in a hot pan with coconut oil.
  2. Add garlic powder, onion powder, chili powder, and paprika powder to the chicken and mix to coat.
  3. Let the chicken heat up as you chop up a full mango and one avocado (or two, if you love it like I do) and put them in separate serving bowls.
  4. Serve the chicken in lettuce that act like taco shells and sprinkle the mango and avocado on top.
  5. If you like, add hot sauce or salsa. So easy, so good.

 

I hope these quick paleo dinners will come in handy for you on hectic days!

Are you also pressed for time in the mornings? Try these delicious and easy superfood smoothies!

 

“I’m Elisa and I live in Austin, Texas with my husband and our two little girls. I used to teach reading and writing, but now I stay at home with my two kiddos and read and write in my spare time. I also love to undertake DIY projects, find new recipes on Pinterest, and dream about someday finally completing our home. Above all, I love to learn about new things and sharing my new-found knowledge with others.”  Please check out my blog What the Vita!

10 Starter Tools for the New DIYer

10 Must-Have Tools For A New DIYer via Tipsaholic.com

Okay: so you’ve decided to start tackling some DIY renovation, redecorating or fix-it projects around your house. Congrats – welcome to our world! Now, you know what you’re going to need? A set of basic starter tools to ensure that you can handle all those projects and repairs like a pro. Don’t worry: with the proven experience of the Remodelaholic team behind us, we’ve got you covered with this starter tool shopping list.

10 Must-Have Starter Tools For Every New DIYer via Tipsaholic

  1. Safety Glasses: Think safety first and protect your eyes, especially if you’re working with power tools or around lots of sawdust.
  2. Hammer: Be sure to get a claw-style hammer, which is just as handing for pulling nails out as it is for driving them in.
  3. Screwdrivers: You’ll need both flat head and Phillips head – and a couple of different sizes will prove helpful. An all-in-one tool can also cover all the bases until you get more experienced.
  4. Adjustable Wrench: From plumbing projects to furniture assembly, you’ll be surprised how often this wrench will come in handy.
  5. Locking Tape Measure: Probably the most important “tool” in your toolbox. Remember: measure twice, cut once! And a 25-footer is large enough to handle even the biggest measuring jobs you’ll encounter.
  6. Toolbox: Speaking of toolboxes, make sure you have one to keep all your tools organized and portable.
  7. Level: You don’t want your photo frame collage to be crooked or your new coffee table to slope, so be sure to employ your level.
  8. Staple Gun: A must-have for simple tacking as well as upholstery projects.
  9. Hacksaw: Undoubtedly you’ll have to cut some pieces of wood to size — a general purpose hack saw with blades that can change angles will get the job done.
  10. Rechargeable Cordless Drill / Driver: A little bit more of an investment but perhaps the handiest tool you’ll ever own. Invest in a better-quality drill and you won’t “outgrow” it as your DIY skills improve.

Bonus tip: All of these starter tools would make a great gift for someone moving into his/her first apartment!

 

Julianne Puckett is the creator of Yankee Kitchen Ninja, a blog about what she calls “stealthy homemaking” — healthy recipes that are quick and easy to prepare, DIY gardening tips and the occasional craft project. A designer, writer and former suburban-dwelling IT professional, she lives in rural Vermont, where she struggles to balance the siren call of her inner farmer with her love of cute shoes and cocktails.

6 Elements Of A Warm White Kitchen

How To Design A Warm White Kitchen via Tipsaholic.com

 

Beautiful white kitchens are highly desired these days, but an all-white kitchen can feel sterile like a hospital if there’s too much white and not enough warmth. If you have a white kitchen or are planning for one, try to incorporate as many of the following elements to make your kitchen a gorgeous yet inviting space in your home. (featured image via Dear Lillie)

6 Elements Of A Warm White Kitchen via Tipsaholic

1. Lots of light

White is a color that loves light. A white room that’s filled with light looks almost heaven-like. Push apart the curtains, add bigger windows, or switch out a kitchen door with a french door to let in more light.

 

2. Wood

Wood is a great way to instantly warm up a white kitchen. Wood flooring will make a big impact, but you don’t have to replace your flooring to include wood. Leave your beams in their natural wood state, add wood countertop to an island, or install reclaimed wood shelving in place of a cabinet. This kitchen from Dear Lillie is a beautiful example of how great wood can look in a white kitchen.

 

3. Gold

Gold and white is another appealing combination. Gold also adds a traditional feel to a modern kitchen. You could add gold knobs or pulls to your cabinets. Or go big and install gold toe kick under your lower cabinets. This lovely kitchen includes a lot of gold and does it perfectly.

 

4. A light backsplash with gray grout

A popular backsplash choice for white kitchens is white subway tiles, but you can warm them up with gray grout. The gray grout will also be easier to clean and add some more dimension to a white kitchen. Learn how to install a subway tile backsplash from Remodelaholic.

 

5. Glass cabinets or open shelving

A row of upper white cabinets can look very… white. Break up all the white by replacing a couple of solid cabinet doors with glass cabinet doors. Or you could remove a cabinet or two and install open shelving.

 

6. Colorful accessories

Choose a color or two to add some life to your white kitchen. You could get a couple of yellow striped dish towels and hang them on your oven, purchase a candy-red kettle and leave it on your stove, or paint an utensil holder in your favorite shade of teal. Other ways to add color through kitchen accessories include a stand mixer, trivets, vases, art in colored frames, a bright rug, window treatments, and bar stools.

 

For more white kitchen inspiration, check out this white kitchen renovation and this kitchen with gold lighting. If you love gray, here are some drool-inducing photographs of gorgeous gray and white kitchens.

 

“I’m Elisa and I live in Austin, Texas with my husband and our two little girls. I used to teach reading and writing, but now I stay at home with my two kiddos and read and write in my spare time. I also love to undertake DIY projects, find new recipes on Pinterest, and dream about someday finally completing our home. Above all, I love to learn about new things and sharing my new-found knowledge with others.”  Please check out my blog What the Vita!