The Hawthorne Homestead’s Holiday Tradition List

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It’s the most wonderful time of the year!! Yes that’s right folks I’m already singing Christmas tunes. I can’t help it, I’m that crazy Christmas lady that you all love to hate. Why am I writing a Christmas post before we celebrate Halloween? Well because this post isn’t so much about Christmas as it is about family, love, connection and traditions and……..because I make out a holiday calendar right now…….. and because we have so many traditions that start in October, today I thought I would share our family traditions in hopes that it would motivate you to make your own. Traditions aren’t just for that annoying mom who takes too many pictures of you and your siblings in the same clothes every year (No really my mom made us take cheese ball pics ever year of us hanging an ornament on the tree), or the family that cooks the same meal each birthday or holiday. They are for everyone and can be anything!! Something as simple as a weekly meal at home with your family can create such unity and memories that will last a lifetime.

So kick back with a cozy mug of hot cider or Cocoa and enjoy the Hawthorne Homestead’s Holiday Tradition List!!

October

Family Pictures

We start off our October with family pictures. Yes, every year we do family pictures. Some people think that is a lot. I used to think that as well but my husband’s family always did it yearly so he wanted to continue it on (again a great memory that he wanted to bring into our family). I’m so glad we have started this. Just looking back 3 years ago when our oldest was only 4 months is amazing. We have these beautiful memories and are blessed to have one of our closest family friends document it all. She is the most amazing photographer and if you are local to lane county I highly recommend her (ashleycookphotgraphy.com).

Pumpkin Hunting and Carving

I normally try to grow our own pumpkins but this year I failed miserably (or shall I say  certain Daddy Bear mowed them down 3x so they didn’t make it). We also love to take the kids on a horse drawn hay ride at Thistle Down Farms. They enjoy hiking out and picking just the right pumpkin and making their dad struggle to carry them all back :). I’m so glad that husband of mine is such a great sport!!

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Harvest Festival At Our Local Church

Every year, a few days before Halloween, the church around the corner hosts a harvest festival. It’s so sweet and family oriented and most of all safe and fun for kids!! We play games and get treats!!

  

Halloween at Aunt Sissy’s

My little sister (known as Aunt Sissy to my boys) bought our grandma’s house a few years ago after she passed away. My grandma used to have Halloween at her house every year. My aunt would bring a big crock pot full of her famous potato soup and all of my cousins would go there to trick or treat and have a big bowl!!

My sister (who loves Halloween) was so excited to keep this tradition going!! So now I make a big crock pot of home-made chicken noodle soup and home-made biscuits (a tradition that I used to do every year when it was just me and my hubby handing out candy to little ones), my aunt still brings her famous potato soup, and all of my cousins come and bring their kids!! My grandma is truly smiling down on us right now and it makes us all so happy!!

November

Holiday Bazaar Browsing With My Mom

Every year (the weekend before thanksgiving) my mama and I go bazaaring (is that a word?). The small town that I grew up in explodes with signs all around saying “Turn here for home-made goodies” and “church bazaar”. We go from location to location and share fresh-baked cinnamon rolls and yummy coffee. It’s more of a social thing for us since I get to see so many people who I haven’t seen in forever. FYI-don’t take your baby if you go to one of these or you will never leave!! I decided to take my first baby with us one year and I couldn’t get out in under an hour at each location!! Those old grannies love babies and if they watched you grow up then they love them even more!!

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Thanksgiving Pumpkin Spice Donuts

First off let me say that my husband and I are so blessed to have our families be so close. My dad and my father in law actually went to school together growing up!! Our moms are so close they just got back from  vacation in Nevada and are planning another to Hawaii…….or Mexico……..or who knows they are too busy having fun!! Because of this we ALWAYS get to spend thanksgiving with both families at the same time. We don’t have to travel to two locations which if you have kids, you know how hard this can be.

There is something so special to me about Thanksgiving. I still get nostalgic when I smell stuffing being made. It reminds me of waking up early to the smell when my mom would be filling the bird at 6 am on Thanksgiving morning when I was little. Of course I wouldn’t be able to fall back asleep so I would get up and wait for the Macy’s Parade to start!!

Now my boys get greeted on Thanksgiving morning with a lovely smell!! A few years ago I saw this great recipe on The Barefoot Contessa (ahem…….isn’t Ina just devine??). It’s for Pumpkin Spice Donuts and they are to DIE FOR!! I just add pumpkin spice along with the cinnamon. Please make them……at least once!!

I normally wake up really early Thanksgiving morning, doing the same thing my mom did when I was little. Thankfully I do most everything the night before so I get going on these donuts!! Of course my sugar monster, Mr. Precious is up the second he smells them baking. I let him enjoy a cup of hot cocoa and a donut fresh out of the oven while we wait for the parade to start!!

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Black Friday Shopping

My best friend and I have been celebrating black Friday as the kick off to our Christmas season for 13 years!! Sadly the last few years they have changed it to starting on Thanksgiving night. We both refuse to recognize this or cater to the poor employees having to work on a holiday. So now we sleep in and slowly meet up when it’s convenient and stroll the stores in the late morning of Black Friday. It’s funny, we never really buy much or take advantage of the ridiculous buys. We have always done it just because we LOVE seeing everything so festive. We love being together. And most of all we love the memories that we get to remember from years past!!

Grandma Marion’s Kahlua

This is one of my favorite traditions that I am so glad I started about 7 years ago. My Grandma Marion was one of the most amazing women I have ever know. She raised 4 girls on her own because my Grandpa was a Navy CB and would be stationed in the Antartica for a year at a time. She was straight out of Boston and you would know it the second she talked to you because she kept her awesome accent (even though she had lived on the west coast for 45 years!!). She was a feisty Catholic that taught me how to crochet, smoke a cigar and appropriately use the F word!!

She also made an amazing kahlua that was enjoyed every year at their annual Christmas Eve gathering. I vividly remember stealing sips from my mom’s drink when she wasn’t looking!!

3 months before we discovered that my grandma was suffering dementia I thought it would be fun to have her over to teach me how she made that famous drink. She carefully wrote out the recipe for me (she struggled with it even though she know it by heart for so many years). I still have that recipe card with her barely legible hand writing and I will forever cherish it.

Every year after that my mom, my sister and I have continued making kahlua the day after thanksgiving. This gives it enough time to brew and be ready for the big Christmas Eve gathering that is now held at my house!!

Bring out the Christmas Decor and Set up the lights!!

The Saturday after Thanksgiving we always sleep in and the head up to the attic in our Jammie’s. We bring down all of our Christmas decor and the outside lights. Daddy Bear (bless his heart) heads out side to decorate our house and the boys and I start setting up our village and decorating as much as we can before the tree comes. It’s so fun sitting in the living room and looking at the village the first night.

Christmas Cards

Another reason we get our family pictures taken in October is because I like having our Christmas Cards made and ready to mail out the Sunday after thanksgiving. This way it’s done and out of the way and I know everyone will be getting it the beginning of December.

December

Buddy The Elf

Sometimes I kick myself for this train wreck of a tradition that I started. As if I need one more thing to remember at this time of year!! But it truly was so fun for my big boy last year!! I am always trying to find new ideas that promote good character rather than the ridiculous “oh look Buddy is being naughty and pulled out all the toilet paper” ideas.

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Christmas Tree Hunt in the Snow

My husband and I have been doing this for about 8 years. We both did it when we were kids too. It costs $5 for a permit (vs $60 for a tree at a lot). We head up to the mountains about an hour and a half away and when we reach the snow, we know our tree is somewhere close. Then we get out and walk all over looking until we find the perfect one!! Of course every year I insist that we can fit the perfect one in our small house while my husband reminds me of our 7 ft ceilings (my eyes are bigger than my ceiling height). When we get home of course it’s like the Griswold’s tree and he has to cut off a ton from the bottom!! We always cut a disk of wood off the bottom on the tree and make an ornament out of it. For the last 3 years I write the year on one side and then on the other I write all the great big things that happened that year. I love looking at the first one we made. It says “brought home baby” and “bought our first home”.

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Baking and Crafts

I am a crazy lover of baking and crafts but I don’t make enough time to do it the rest of the year. Something about Christmas time forces me to settle down and do it, especially now that I have kids!!

We always do a gingerbread house and bake tons of cookies. We have a designated cookie making day. My best friend of 15 years brings her 3 kids over (2 of which are the same age as mine) and we turn my kitchen into a complete disaster. I’m never more happy to have an extremely dirty kitchen as I am on this day.

Any day that our kids are spending together brings a smile to my face but this one is extra special for her and I.

I also like to always do at least a couple of crafts during our “school time”.

Last year we glittered pine cones to put on the tree and made bird seed ornaments as gifts from my oldest. He was so proud and excited to give presents last year. Especially because he made them. He was even more excited to hang some outside for our birds too!!

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Movie Night

Friday nights are always our family movie and home-made pizza night. Starting around the holidays we always do Christmas movies. Our favorites are Home Alone, Christmas Vacation, The Grinch, and Charlie Brown’s Christmas.

 Christmas Light Hunting

Ahhhh this reminds me of my husband and my early years. That’s when we started this tradition. We would buy some hot cocoa and drive all over town late at night. Looking at mansions that we will never afford and their beautiful lights. You bet we bring the babies every year even if they are too little to appreciate it.

Last year my sister and her husband were so excited to join us and will continue the tradition with us and their babies from here on out!!

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Christmas Eve

This day is pretty special to us. It all started 10 years ago when my husbands best friend and his brother ended up without Christmas Eve plans. This was a big deal because they had a tradition every year of their life of attending a huge Christmas Eve bash so they were pretty sad. So I decided we would have Christmas Eve for them at our house. The word got around and we actually had about 5 more people Attend who didn’t have plans either. Then next year those same people all asked if we would be hosting again. Of course I couldn’t say no!! That year my husband came home from work and told me 3 guys wouldn’t be able to go home for Christmas because of the day that it fell on. I wouldn’t have it and insisted they came for Christmas Eve as well. Every year it has snowballed and more and more people attend. It’s an open house so starting at 4 people can roll in whenever. My husband smokes a ham and we just have appetizers and delicious drinks (this is when we break out the Kahlua that we made in November!!) and goodies!! Now that we all have kids it has become even better!! I do a hot chocolate bar, my brother In law dresses up ……….I mean Santa comes, and gives all the kiddos a little gift. Kids talk about Christmas Eve at our house throughout the year now and it literally brings tears to my eyes!! This year we are planning on buying more outdoor lights and extending the entertaining area to the outdoors by the fire pit and play structure.

Another fun thing that happens after everyone has gone home is the boys open their matching home-made Jammie’s that their Nana makes them. It’s so cute to see matching jam jams in the morning for pictures.

Christmas Day

Of course Christmas Day is another day that is incredibly important to us. I know that I talk a lot about the festivities but on this day especially we make sure to celebrate what this day really is about. We wake up early but slow and I always make home-made cinnamon rolls!! My mother in law LOVES cinnamon rolls too so I always take an extra pan to her. I Think I may end up making another pan for my sister and her husband and my mom and dad this year since we have agreed to not do gifts (hmmmm hopefully they aren’t reading this or I just ruined the surprise!!).

After drinking our coffee and enjoying our boys as they open presents (we currently buy 4 gifts and follow the want, need, wear, read idea. It works out great and doesn’t add a bunch of toys. We also do stocking stuffers but it is almost all consumables like fun organic bath soaps or neat art stuff) we take our time getting ready and head out to my husband’s parents. We enjoy a few hours with them and they have so much fun with the boys!! I think my father in law is more excited to spoil these boys and see them on this day than anyone!!

After this we head to my parents to spend the rest of the day with my parents and sister and brother-in-law. We are so excited that my sister is expecting so next year we will have at least one more addition to our Christmas festivities!!

When the day is done we head home with sleepy boys and full tummies to enjoy our tree for one of the last nights it will be up. This is when I feel a little melancholic because I know another year is coming to an end.

January

New Year’s Eve Trip

This is a new tradition that we started last year and enjoyed it so much!! About a week before New Years my husband said “hey lets get out-of-town and rent a place to celebrate”. I was so excited but to my dismay it was so hard finding anything available last minute and especially on a holiday!! We found a room right on the beach at the coast and Daddy Bear and the boys and I spent 2 glorious days watching the waves, going to the aquarium, eating good food and just lounging. It was so nice. I planned a little better this year and booked an entire house  (it cost the same since I did it in advance!!). I think we will stay a little longer this time too!

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So there you have it friends. I’m sure most of you think we are pretty crazy or that we book ourselves too full and need to be more simple. I can assure you that everything we do is with love and simplicity. We want our kids to always cherish and carry on the memories of their childhood. The holidays are magic and we want them to experience every second of it.

Some other traditions that I will be adding next year are volunteering at the church’s free thanksgiving dinner, and having the boy’s do blessing bags (these are bags that they will fill with their own toys that they will leave for Santa to take back with him to give other kids).

Now it’s your turn!! I can’t wait to hear all about your family traditions and how long they have been going!!

I hope you enjoyed and Happy Holidays!!

Em

Quick and Easy Freezer Oatmeal

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Yes, yes I know they look like little cardboard hockey pucks!! But these little frozen chunks of fiber have got me through mornings where I could barely get my coffee made (that’s big for me since I start getting excited about my morning coffee the night before!!).

I know I could just buy organic instant oatmeal and make my own little packets to save money but in our house we like steel-cut oatmeal. It’s higher in fiber but takes longer to cook.

So before my second baby was born, I made a bunch of these up to have on hand for myself and my big boy.

Here are the extremely simple instructions!!

2 cups steel-cut oats (I buy our’s in bulk at Costco)

4 cups of water

Pinch of pink Himalayan salt

Boil water and oats for a few minutes and then simmer for 20 minutes or to your desired chewiness.

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Butter or oil a cupcake pan (excuse the pan stains from carrot/beet muffins).

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Fill each cupcake whole with oatmeal

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Freeze!!!! It’s as easy as that!! Then I just pop them out and throw them in a freezer bag. When we need a quick breakfast I just toss one for Mr. Previous and two for me into our bowls and microwave.

I leave the oatmeal plain so that we can flavor them to each persons liking. I also have a few yummy smoothie recipes that call for oatmeal so these work great for that too!!

How do you plan your busy breakfasts? Do you do freezer meals? We would love to hear about it!!

Have a great morning,

Emily

At Home Pre-School Schedule

Do you have littles at home that are ready for pre-school? Are you still a little nervous about sending them off? Or maybe you can’t afford the high price tag on early child hood education??

Before I begin I want to say that this is just what works for our family. If having your kids in pre school at 2 works for you, that is great!! If no pre school is how you want it, that is awesome too!!

My husband and I did some real soul-searching on this over a year ago when our oldest was 2.

Of course we were getting the usual well-meant instructions from people all around us on how to educate our son. “He’s not in day care!!! He must go to pre-school or he won’t know how to have friends!!”…….”How will he ever make it in elementary school if he doesn’t go to pre-school”…….”He needs to know certain things before kindergarten”.

That last one cracks me up the most!!

So we Hymned and we hawed about it and even toured a few preschools (including the one at the private school that we plan on sending the boys for elementary).

The thing that we kept learning along the way is that everything that they are taught in pre school seems to be stuff that you learn at home anyway!! And almost everything on these lists of curriculum that was being taught, our child already knew!!

Now I’m sure a bunch of you seasoned parents are thinking ‘Duh Emily!! Every one knows this’, but to be honest…….my husband and I didn’t!!

Pre-School has always been portrayed as a right of passage that you must let your kids do!! A right of passage that would cost us up to $400 a month…….for stuff he already knew………just so he could make more friends.

We made the decision that because we will most likely be paying for their education from kindergarten on, that we would take pre-school on at home.

We are lucky to already have a playroom so we took it upon ourselves to turn it into a mini classroom. I got these amazing home-schooled items at Target in the dollar section!! Sorry about the poor picture quality!! There are two calendars and three sections to go over what yesterday, today and tomorrow are. There are also two signs that you can chose what the weather is today and what it will be tomorrow. This little coffee table is actually used for his train set. He has so much fun creating different tracks above and below.

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Below is their little desk that we got at IKEA for $19.99!! We plan on buying another one because it has been so awesome and we plan on adding another rug rat so we will need more seating!! The rug was a Costco score for $19.99 and the map was also from Costco!! On the other wall is a United States of America Map. I got both of them for  $14.99!! They are so awesome and dry erase so we can write on them. Every Time Nana goes on vacation we draw lines to where each flight connects and we talk about where she’s going. There are also flags all along the bottom so they can learn flags for each country. He always says “there is our flag” when he sees the American flag or the Oregon flag flying.

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Now I want to warn you that our schedule is very simple, and basic. If it’s not a good day for it then we don’t do school!!

Every day I get the boys up at around 7:30 for the day (I have normally been up since 5:30 working from home). We do breakfast, beds, teeth, and get dressed and then we head upstairs to do “school”. We do this M, T, W, and F. On Thursdays we visit their Ouma and Oupa (They are close family friends from South Africa. I feel like this is an education in itself   because their Oupa will speak Afrikaans to them and they feed the birds and squirrels and read foreign books!!).

Here is our little Schedule that you all have been requesting!!

8:00

– Pledge of Allegiance

– Letters and Numbers (I found an amazing dry erase book at     Costco that has tracing exercises for numbers and letters. I know there are iPad apps that do the same but we keep iPad use to a minimum for him.

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– Months and Seasons (we also did days of the week here but he’s known them for about a year).

-Art Project (I try to include scissor use and other hand/eye coordination tasks. We also LOVE doing projects around holidays like turkey hands or ornaments!!). We used to do colors and shapes last year too but he is sick of “baby stuff”.

This is pretty much it for the “classroom portion”

We always go outside after “school” and work in the garden (rain or shine). I can’t even tell you how much a little person can learn by just getting outside. We compost and tend to the garden beds, we are always harvesting veggies right up until about January, we talk about life and death with the plants and the rain and the sun and the clouds. There is so much to talk about and learn about outside and we only live on 1/3 of an acre!! Right now we are learning about seed saving and are in the process of drying our beans and squash seeds for next year. I know there are so many things that I am forgetting to list that we do because we are normally out there for a couple hours!!

Another way that I try to keep the learning process going is at the grocery store. We go grocery shopping every Thursday and we talk about prices and pennies, nickels, dimes and quarters. He now gets to clean out the change from my purse when we get home and gets to keep each coin that he can identify!! Boy that is great motivation for him to get his dimes and nickels right!!

So three you have it Homesteading Friends!! Do you pre school at home? If so I would LOVE to see your work area and hear about your “curriculum”!!

Thanks for reading today,

Emily

emilysutten.myshaklee.com

 

 

Don’t Worry “B” Happy!!

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Do you ever feel tired? Stressed? Depressed? Emotional? Do you have a sweet tooth? Well, if so listen up!!! I have been there! In fact, every mom I know feels this way sometimes. It’s not normal to feel like this all the time and I found something that has really helped me and millions of women around the world.

One of my all time favorite supplements to take is my B-Complex!! It’s called the “happy” vitamin and that’s because you instantly feel happier after you take it. This is huge for me because I’m a very busy, stressed out mom of 4. When I take my B’s I seriously feel normal again. Actually I feel better than normal. I have more energy, more calm, and more alert.

B vitamins are referred to as the “happy vitamins” — the “cope-ability” vitamins. Here’s why….

Why take B-COMPLEX:

If a person is tired, irritable, nervous, depressed, or even suicidal expect a vitamin B deficiency.
B vitamins are destroyed by intense heat, slow cooking, light, baking soda and baking powder. SUGAR, ALCOHOL, CAFFEINE, and STRESS all destroy B vitamins.
People deficient in B vitamins quickly become anemic, are nervous, do not sleep well (insomnia), crave sweets, and have high cholesterol levels. A slight deficiency can cause abnormal heart action, constipation, and mental depression. Acne or other skin problems indicate a lack of B vitamins.
B vitamins are necessary for normal functioning of the nervous system.
B-complex is essential in calming hyperactivity in children with no side effects that medications produce.
B vitamins convert fats into energy.
B vitamins are extremely effective in alleviating PMS and Menopausal symptoms. (Calcium Magnesium will help with chocolate cravings during PMS, in addition to relieving muscle cramps, i.e., abdominal, leg, etc.)
Infection and stress increase need for B-complex. Sulfa drugs, sleeping pills, and estrogen destroy B vitamins.
B vitamins help boost the immune system.
Adequate amounts of B-complex have been found to control migraine headaches and attacks of Meniere’s Syndrome.
Massive amounts have been used to improve polio, cases of shingles, and postoperative nausea and vomiting (resulting from anesthesia).
B vitamins help with fatigue, skin disorders, cracks at the corner of the mouth and cracks in your cuticles, ridges in your nails, anemia, tender gums, hair loss, constipation, burning feet, burning and dry eyes.
B-complex aids in digestion. It is chiefly responsible for the health of the digestive tract, the skin, mouth, tongue, eyes, nerves, arteries, and liver. B vitamins are water-soluble; thus, need to be taken through the day.
The Folic Acid in the balance Shaklee B Complex decreases the risk in pregnancy of neurotube defects in the baby…that’s why prenatal vitamins are “prenatal”…so that the baby can have the Folic Acid very early in the pregnancy. Shaklee’s Vita Lea Multivitamin and B Complex have been an excellent choice of prenatal vitamins for mothers for years!

In Summary…

B vitamins are needed by the:

​* Brain and nervous system

​* Immune system

​* Skin

​* Hormones

B vitamins are used up:

​* whenever we evoke the stress response

​* anytime we eat:

​​1. White flour

​​2. Sugar

​​3. Caffeine

​​4. Alcohol

​Our body burns up B’s just to metabolize these foods.

B vitamins are normalizers:

​​*If you are fatigued, they help to give you energy.

​​*If you are hyperactive, they help to calm you down.

When to Take:

*B vitamins are mostly used or lost in 2-4 hours and need to be replaced to keep the blood levels up.

*Most of us who take enough B’s can tell the difference in our mood, energy and patience, by taking 2 Shaklee B Complex, three times a day.

*The last two not close to bedtime…because they can give energy and you’ll be up vacuuming at midnight. However, when you become balanced, taking them right before bed can help to keep your blood sugar from being so low in the morning.

* The label says to take 2 tablets daily but I have heard many benefits from women taking 2or 3 several times a day.

Why Shaklee:

* There are 8 essential B’s in Shaklee’s B-Complex, balanced and complete.

* The most important thing to remember is that ALL 8 Essential B vitamins should be taken together in “Complex” form and in the proper ratio. (You can throw your metabolism off by taking an isolated B vitamin…or ones that are out of balance.) Shaklee’s B gives you the proper ratios.

* Research has shown that Folic Acid (a B vitamin and VERY important to health) is hard to break away from the tablet material…so Shaklee has coated their B Complex with Folic Acid so that it is the first to be released.

* The ingredients used in Shaklee’s exclusive formulas go through an incredibly stringent screening process that surpasses even the pharmaceutical standards of the United States Pharmacopeia (USP). Their purity standards are some of the toughest in the nutrition industry to guarantee that all of our products are 100% safe.

* Shaklee scientists find pure and potent ingredients from nature, spending thousands of hours reviewing scientific literature and conducting their own studies to verify efficacy. They use unique combinations of scientifically supported ingredients to create our exclusive formulas.

* Decades of clinical studies go into understanding nutrition and how our bodies absorb nutrients. Shaklee scientists have published 125 scientific papers and presentations, including 7 presentations in the last year. Their cutting-edge, patented Shaklee delivery systems are designed to release nutrients in your body in a way that promotes better absorption.

Get your own B-Complex today and let me know how you feel!

Have a great day!

Emily

emilysutten.myshaklee.com

Parsnip Fries

  Ok guys I’m going to be completely honest. Don’t get excited like these are going to be “straight from the steak house” to die for on anything like that. This is just a great, whole foods snack for my kids. They don’t know fries like the rest of us. I’m one of “those moms” who refrain from feeding them stuff like that. So when I have an over abundance of parsnips in the garden…….I make these. The kids LOVE them and get pretty excited about the frie sauce too!!

So give it a try!! It’s really easy!! And you will look like one of “those other moms”, you know the cool ones 😀 

Start with chopped parsnips

  
Put them in a greased baking sheet (I use coconut oil or avocado oil). 

Sprinkle with seasoning salt and bake at 425 for 40 minutes. This varies per oven.

While it’s baking whip up some fry sauce!! These are the ingredients I use. Don’t aske me how much!! It’s a dollop of mayo, a couple squirts of mustard, and two shakes or so of ketchup!! 

 
THAT IS IT!! Ta-Da!! A heathy, whole food snack for your babies.

  
How do you cook parsnips? I would love new recipes!!