How to Rescue Clearance Plants

How to Rescue Clearance Plants

Now that planting is ending for the season many plants are going on clearance at local nurseries, hardware stores, and supermarkets. These clearance plants often look as if they are down for the count with no life left in them. If you have a soft spot for plants this can be difficult to see and you may be interested in saving the plants. The good news is you can rescue many of these clearance plants.

garden store plants


Prepare for a Trip to Disney with Everything from The Dollar Store

A trip to Disney World or Disneyland can get pretty expensive. If you plan ahead for your trip, there are a ton of items that you can buy before you head to the parks! The Dollar Tree might be the last place you’d think to get some of your Disney essentials, but they have a great selection and can help you save a bundle on your trip! Here is how to prepare for your Disney trip at Dollar Tree.

Disney on a budget


Rolo Iced Coffee

I didn't start drinking coffee until I was well into my 30's. I didn't even like the smell. I do now. Obviously, something was wrong with me. Maybe I wasn't sleep deprived enough but after a while, the coffee culture in Seattle wore me down. Most pure coffee lovers will say this Rolo iced coffee isn't real coffee. It's more like a coffee milkshake and to that I say fine, let it be whatever. I like my coffee with a lot of milk and a fair amount of chocolate and there is nothing wrong with that. 

Trust me, living in the Seattle area I get the whole special drips and pours and pure roasts. This is not that. This is a fun iced coffee made with your favorite Rolo candy and it is fabulous. It is a dessert drink and it's delicious. There is nothing stuffy or hipster about it. It's just a fun way to enjoy a nice cup of coffee. I think you will enjoy it. Just don't take yourself so seriously!

brew coffee at home with these nespresso or keurig coffee recipes


What to Pack for a Trip to Italy: The Ultimate Guide for What to Bring on your Italian Holiday

Packing can be an overwhelming task, but it doesn't have to be! Sometimes it's hard to know what to bring and what not to bring when you travel, especially abroad, but here are some of my tips for what to pack when you travel to Italy. It's the ultimate guide of what you should pack and what you should leave at home because overpacking is for rookies!
The Roman Forum and the Colosseum what to pack

How to Save Money on Coffee at Starbucks

How to Save Money on Coffee at Starbucks

Are you looking to save money on coffee at Starbucks? It’s actually easier to save money at Starbucks than you would think. Anyone that stops at this famous coffee shop knows that the coffee is good, but it can also be pricey. I actually love Starbucks because it's one of my "local" coffee shops since it's a Seattle-based company. Starbucks is well known for its delicious iced coffees, brewed coffees, and frappuccinos. Here is how to save money on coffee at Starbucks.


Four Bean Salad Recipe

It's potluck season! Also, the weather is warming up and no one wants to turn on their stoves. So why not beat the heat with this classic favorite the next time someone asks you to bring a side dish to their barbeque. This four bean salad is everyone's favorite. It's the perfect refreshing side dish that is easy on the wallet and on the waist-line. 


Everything You Need to Know about Shopping at a Food Co-op

When we were shopping at a farmer's market in Italy recently, it struck me that each of the items at the market was listed with the region that the item came from. It hit me that Americans have such a disconnect with their food and where it comes from. I started to become much more aware of how my food is sourced.

I've always been a fan of my local farmer's market, but that's generally a seasonal shopping experience in my area. Just this past weekend, Central Co-op opened up in my neighborhood and I thought I'd give it a look. I've never shopped at a Co-op grocery store before, and maybe you haven't either, so I'm going to try to answer all of your questions about food co-op's, from how to shop at them, if you should join one and the best tips to getting the most out of your shopping experience. 

15 Cool Things to Buy on Amazon for Summer NOW!

I count the official start of summer with the last day of school, so we still have a few days, but many of you are well on your way to enjoy long summer days. With the sun creeping out, and the kids home from school, I've got you covered with some pretty awesome Amazon finds you might not have known you needed but you totally do! Here are 15 cool things to on my summer Amazon wish list. 

watermelon on a beach blanket


Summertime Essential Oil Diffuser Recipes

Summertime Essential Oil Diffuser Recipes

Bring the outside indoors with these incredible summertime essential oil diffuser recipes!  These diffuser blends give you those fresh and light smells of summer anywhere you go. Whether you are diffusing at home, in your car, or even at your office. Enjoy these natural summer essential oil blends.
If you are looking for new scent blends to try for summer, I have a handful that might fit perfectly into what you are wanting. These are some of the best smelling essential oil combinations, in my opinion.

Healthy Homemade Greek Yogurt Fudge Pops

This post is sponsored by FAGE; however, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

woman enjoying a homemade frozen treat made with FAGE yogurt

It's no secret that I have a little bit of a sweet tooth, especially when it comes to frozen desserts. I can eat frozen treats all year round, but really do enjoy them when the weather starts to warm up. FAGE Total Plain Greek Yogurt gives these healthy homemade Greek yogurt fudge pops a little tart kick, which may just deter your little ones from stealing them from you. As I described it to my nieces who were eyeing them in my freezer, they have a more grown-up taste perfect for the sophisticated adult palette. 

These Greek yogurt fudge pops will feel like a decadent dessert but they aren't a cheat food at all! 

healthy frozen treat recipes


Vacation Proof your Garden

Vacation Proof your garden

When you put work into your garden all spring and summer you want to see it grow and thrive. The fear of how your garden will survive on its own is a big one that stops many gardeners from taking a well-deserved vacation. With a little planning, you can vacation proof your garden and have fun without fear you will come home to devastation.

green plant growing in a garden


How to Get your First Passport

I had a friend recently get robbed. Her home was ransacked and her safe was popped open. They took everything inside including her precious jewelry. As we walked through the house talking about the things the burglar took and the things he left behind, I was probably most relieved for her that her passport was still in her filing cabinet safe and sound. I got my first passport when I was a teenager. It's probably one of my most treasured possessions. For me, I see it as my gateway to the world. If you are finding yourself limited in your travels and think it's time to get your first passport, read on. I've got everything you need to know so you can get your first passport.
how to get your first passport

Low Carb Parmesan Crusted Salmon Sheet Pan Recipe

For years I thought I didn't like fish. I think I had it once as a kid and hated the texture but it was probably some fishy kind of fish that was just not cooked properly. I lived in the Seattle area for darn near a decade before I decided I'd give fish a try again, and boy am I glad I did. We have some of the best salmon in the whole world in our area, fresh caught and local to the pacific northwest. Not only that, salmon is a healthy meal choice packed with high-quality protein, minerals, and vitamins. Salmon also has some pretty great Omega-3's and outside of hearing how great they are for you {homestly, I tune out the rest} I just know it has it, so it's got to be good right? 

Salmon has now become a staple in our weeknight meal rotation. We eat dinner as a family nearly every single night. I cook 99% of the time. We eat out maybe twice a month. Maybe. I'm always looking for quick meal ideas because we are a busy family on the go with teenagers who work and evening sports practices, and to be honest, anything that takes me more than 30 minutes to prep or cook and hard to find ingredients is just not happening.  That's why I love this parmesan crusted salmon recipe. Not only that, it's a good low carb sheet pan recipe and I love a good sheet pan recipe.

easy weeknight meal ideas 30 minute dinner


Stop Ignoring Twitter! How Bloggers and Small Businesses Can Grow a Relevant and Engaged Audience on Twitter

I don't talk a lot about the background of what I do as a blogger, but over the 14 years that I've been blogging, I've grown my blog from a place to share family photos to a small business that helps to provide for our family. What was once a hobby blog, is now an LLC that has been created to help share content to followers all over the world! When I was in college, there was no career out there that involved blogging or social media marketing degrees. The internet barely existed! I've seen blogging evolve and change over time, and we've seen the start of social media in our lifetime. Social media will forever change our world and we've had a front seat to it all! It's crazy!

why should I use twitter

My blog started to evolve and change. Maybe you've been along for the ride since the beginning. If so, thank you! If you are new here, welcome! I really want this to be a place where I can share real people, real projects and real life. The internet and social media are full of enough fake and curated content, I want to be the girlfriend you can trust who will help you along the way.

5 Tips for Visiting Italy with Teens

Most people thought we were pretty ambitious for planning an international trip with our teenagers for spring break. I love that we can give them the gift of travel. I think it makes the world a smaller place. {I've written often about the benefits of family travel!} But there are a few things that you should keep in mind, some tips per se, that will make traveling around Italy with teens more enjoyable. And one tip that will spare any of you any embarrassment and frustration as you see the sights. Here are my top 5 tips for visiting Italy with teens.

Colosseum picture with teen girl


Easy Chocolate Mug Cake (Without Egg)

A friend just told me that her husband will only eat dessert if it's fresh. Like bake a batch of brownies one day and gobble up as many as you can, because even if there are any left, the second day they somehow turn gross, fresh. We all have our things. I actually hate making desserts if we aren't going to consume them in a day or two, so if I'm baking something for dessert, it's because I usually have something I'm going to with a crowd that's going to consume it. But sometimes I just want a little something I can make that will indulge my sweet tooth. This easy chocolate mug cake is the best out there! It's the perfect single serve mug cake recipe you will find!

lava cake in a coffee mug with chocolate chips

Visiting the Amalfi Coast with Teens

grassi junior boat tours

The plane tickets to Rome were purchased, but we knew we wanted to explore more of Italy with our two teens beyond the busy city. We considered Florence but ultimately decided to head to the Amalfi Coast a few hour drive from the Rome airport. We are beach lovers so we knew we wanted to go somewhere surrounded by water. The Amalfi Coast did not disappoint and while it's mostly thought of as a romantic location it made for the perfect area for our family to explore. There is plenty to do and more than enough to keep your teens entertained. Here are my top picks for things to do with teens when you are visiting the Alamfi Coast.

door in italy


S'Mores Snack Mix Teacher Gift with Free Printable Gift Tag

The end of the school year is coming and it's time to honor those teachers with a sweet end of the year gift. For years I volunteered on PTA, PTO and in my three kids' schools, and every year, I worked at trying to find a fun end of the year gift I could make in bulk for the teachers that had poured into my kids during the school year. The teachers appreciate the recognition and giving them a sweet treat like this S'mores snack mix will keep them going until that very last day! The fun printable gift tag ties the whole thing together! Come check out how to make this sweet treat for a sweet teacher!

s'mores recipe snack mix with golden grahams


The Best Place to Stay on the Amalfi Coast in Italy

The Amalfi Coast is a gorgeous stretch of coastline in Southern Italy made up of 13 villages between Sorrento and Solerno. You might be wondering where you should stay when you visit this beautiful coastline, but look no further! We did a ton of research before our recent trip and were not disappointed in the location we chose to spend the bulk of our time in Italy. Our family loves the beach and being surrounded by water but we also longed for an authentic Italian experience that felt a little off-the-beaten-path. We succeed in finding that and then some by staying in Montepertuso, Italy. Hands down, this is one of the best places to stay when you come to the Amalfi Coast if you want something a little more authentic unspoiled from the droves of tourists.
where to stay on the southern coast of italy

5 Easy to Grow Veggies to Plant in Early Summer

I'm not much of a green thumb but I do like to garden and I've learned a thing or two by trial and error. Our spring weather is fairly mild here in Seattle, and I like to plant my vegetable garden mid to late April. I am a no-fuss kind of gal. I plant hardy plants that I know I can grow year after year. These 5 easy to grow veggies are the perfect plants to start in early summer or late spring to give you a jump start on the gardening season and help you get some freshly grown food on your plate before you know it!

garden plant


The Best of Metropolitan Market-A Local PNW Favorite!

When I moved to the Pacific Northwest from Indiana nearly 20 years ago, one of the first grocery stores I became familiar with was Metropolitan Market. They opened a store not far from my home when my kids were small. Met Market offered these sweet little kids sized grocery carts my little ones begged to use, and seriously, what kid begs to go to a grocery store! But this wasn't any grocery store. Met Market {as it's fondly known to the locals} is the Pacific Northwest's favorite grocery store with organic, natural and locally sourced foods. After 45 years in the making, the local grocery is launching "Best of Met" items, a carefully curated collection of more than 100 items selected by the Metropolitan Market Culinary Council. That list can be overwhelming, so I'm sharing a list of my Best of Met products after shopping the store for nearly two decades. These are the tried and true top 10 Best of Met favorites that you will find me stocking up on!

woman with the famous Metropolitan Market chocolate chip cookie


Cowboy Caviar: The Worlds Best Appetizer!

This recipe is from the 1940s, and is a favorite at social events across the Southwest, and seems to show up in some version at most pot lucks, dinner's or gatherings, everywhere. It's one of my favorites to bring because there is usually an empty bowl by the end of the night and that always means it's a crowd favorite! It's one of my most asked for recipes. 

It's a great way to incorporate lots of fresh vegetables and beans into your diet, dressed up with a sweet spicy dressing and crunchy chips.  This will surely go in your favorites for parties and get-togethers.  It's a great appetizer and as you experiment with it, you can even start coming up with new recipe ideas using some variation of it as well. I like to wrap some leftovers in a piece of lettuce or top add it to some shredded chicken for protein-packed lunch. You aren't going to want to miss this recipe for the world's best appetizer, cowboy caviar!
summer appetizers


What to Pack on Safari in Africa

Africa has always been a dream location of mine to visit so when I had the opportunity to go, I did whatever I could to make it happen. While I didn't go to Africa with the intention of going on safari, how could you not make the time to go on one while you are there? With the combination of a humanitarian trip and a safari, the packing was something I stressed out about. There are specific baggage allowances for your travel and it can make packing interesting. Here are my tips from my experience and what I would recommend for you to pack on safari in Africa.  I've even got a few items you should leave behind so you can be sure to bring all the essentials.

zebra in masai mara safari park


Will You Really Need a Skip the Line Pass for the Sites in Rome?

We recently spent three days in Rome and before we went I did a ton of research. Every blog or travel site told me I would want to invest in a skip the line pass for the attractions we were interested in seeing. I wasn't sure what to expect, and while we did visit in what they say is the "low" season, there were plenty of tourists to be had. Rome is a popular destination and many companies are selling tickets to "skip the line" even to free attractions. But what does this actually mean and should you pay extra to skip the line and buy the pass?
skip the line passes

5 Reasons to Plan a Trip to Seabrook, WA

This not so hidden gem of the Washington coast is worth planning a trip to. My family has been visiting Seabrook, Washington since 2008 and for more than a decade we've seen the town grow and change and morph into the perfect beach destination. Our kids all love it because it's such a perfect family vacation spot and it also makes the perfect girlfriends get away too. Seabrook is located just 2.5 hours outside of Seattle, so it's an easy drive to get away from it all. Here are my top 5 reasons to plan a trip to Seabrook, WA now!

visit the coastal town of Seabrook WA


Top Tips Before Renting a Car in Italy

When we made plans to travel to Italy, I wasn't sure renting a car would be the best idea. I'd heard about aggressive drivers and crazy terrain, but my husband was determined. My husband likes the flexibility and freedom that renting a car has to offer. There were four of us traveling and upon investigation of the public transportation schedule, it looked like our plans to get to the Amalfi Coast would be easier and less expensive if we had a car. Trust me, renting a car in Italy isn't for everyone, but if you want to get to some of those off-the-beaten-path areas, it may be your best option. Read my tips for more information about renting a car in Italy. It sure proved to be an adventure for us!

small car in Italy


Simple Paint Update on Fireplace Finials

I've been trying to inspire my readers for years to think outside of the box and look at how something old and dated that would otherwise be cast off, could up be upcycled to fit into your home. Not only is it a good way to use what you have or even to pick up something for a deep discount at a thrift shop or garage sale, but it also keeps more waste out of landfills. I found these two large wooden finials at a garage sale this past summer and knew a coat of paint would do them a world of good. Sometimes, that's literally all it takes to update an item. I'm hoping that this post will inspire you to think outside of the box and pick up something you would otherwise consider dated and give it a transformation with some paint, just like I did with these fireplace finials. 

wood home decor before and after

5 Ingredient Strawberry Breakfast Parfait You Can Make Ahead

We are a grab-and-go family. It seems like we are always rushing out the door. We all know that breakfast is the most important meal of the day but when you are in a hurry, it's easy to skip it. My teens would rather get a few extra minutes of sleep and skip breakfast but I'm always feeling guilty watching them walk out the door without anything in their belly to start the day. I decided to try these 5 ingredient strawberry breakfast parfaits that you can make ahead. They make the perfect grab-and-go breakfast and I feel better knowing that they are starting their day off with healthy fruit, yogurt, and granola.

breakfast parfait recipes


Why You Need to Create a Staycation Bucket List

Summer is fast approaching, which means long days with kids at home and the expectation of a vacation planned. When it comes to planning the perfect vacation, your idea of a great vacation is probably not staying at home. When it comes to planning a staycation, we often find ourselves lost for ideas on what to do or how we should be spending our time off. If you are planning a staycation, you need to create a staycation bucket list for you and your family! Here is why you need one, and how to make one for your next staycation.

vacation with your family on a budget


When is the Best Time to Visit Magnolia Market? Tips on Getting the Most out of Your Visit to Waco, TX

visiting Waco

I'm kind of a self-proclaimed Magnolia Market pro. I have been visiting since 2015 just months after the Silo doors opened to the public and the new Disneyland-like location was opened and I've visited handfuls of time since. It's funny, Waco, Texas didn't use to be on the map as a significant tourist destination and now it's flooded with visitors. I've gone from seeing the store mostly empty to seeing lines snake around buildings with people craning their necks just to get a glimpse of the grounds. 
People stand in line for hours to get a box full of cupcakes and plan a whole trip around a visit to Magnolia Market, so how can you best use your time and when is the best time to visit the Silos? I've got some tips from current employees and from previous experience that will help you plan the right time to visit Magnolia Market.

exterior of magnolia table

7 Tips to Revamp Your Spring Wardrobe on a Budget

I'm partnering with Stitch Fix to bring you this message. All opinions are 100% my own. Promise!

I'm the furthest thing from a fashion blogger. I like clothes, but I'm cheap. I would say my wardrobe is a combination of garage sale/thrift shop finds with some boutique shop clothes thrown in. If you ask me where I got something, it's probably years old and no longer in the store. But it works for me because I'm not super trendy in what I wear, and I stick with neutrals for the most part so it seems timeless. Or at least to me it does. Don't go and burst my bubble!

spring style on a budget women's fashion stitch fix

For the past year or so, I've had a Stitch Fix delivered every other month. I love the ease of a personal shopper and getting the Fix delivered to my doorstep feels like Christmas. Sometimes I force myself to let it sit on the counter so I can build up the excitement to open it to see what's inside! With spring upon us, I decided to send a note to my stylist to let her know what clothes I had in my closet that I wanted to work with so I could revamp my wardrobe without spending a lot of money. If there is anything you've heard me say about money saving on this blog through the years it's been to work with what you have. These are my 7 best tips on how you can revamp your spring wardrobe on a budget because I know you are all busy moms like me looking for ways to still look cute and hip, but not break the bank, because college tuition and stuff. So come check out my tips!


8 Items I Always Shop for First at Grocery Outlet

I have partnered with Grocery Outlet to share my best money-saving tips on things you buy every week. All opinions are 100% my own. I wouldn't tell you about something I don't love. Promise!

You know how they say you should only shop the perimeter of the grocery store? That's not true if you are shopping at Grocery Outlet. I love a good bargain, so I make time to visit more than one grocery store weekly to shop loss-leaders and follow the deals. I first wrote about my love of Grocery Outlet more than five years ago when I did the series, Living Well on Less. Some of my tips and shopping habits have changed from that post {all of my kids living in my home are teenagers now!}, but the money-saving advice is the same. I still make frequent trips to my Grocery Outlet and usually shop there first before making a major shopping trip to my other local store. You just never know what you will find, but odds are you will find it at a deep discount. It's worth it for me to shop there first and I promise, if you have a store nearby, it's worth it for you too! I always go to Grocery Outlet to get my BargainBliss!

woman at grocery store with a shopping cart


The Best Tips for Planning a Successful Staycation

I love vacation. I often say I'm a self-proclaimed vacation expert because I'm just that good at it, but vacation doesn't have to mean going away to some far-off destination. In fact, sometimes people go away on vacation and they aren't the most relaxing and rejuvenating experiences. Look at what your goals of vacation are. Mine is usually to connect with my family and get some much-needed rest from the daily grind. Your vacation goals can usually be accomplished with a staycation and because they don't involve traveling, they can be great for the budget. I've got some of my best tips for planning a successful staycation so you can enjoy and experience new and exciting things close to home.

planning a successful staycation


Blackberry, Kiwi and Chia Pudding with Granola Recipe

Chia seeds aren't just for those furry little chia pets you find as a gag gift. Nope, they are popping up everywhere as a superfood you shouldn't be ignoring. Chia seeds actually have three times more iron than spinach, twice as much potassium as a banana and are a great source of fiber. They are a small but mighty seed and you are going to want to come up with more ideas on how to incorporate them into your daily diet.  Speaking of diet, if you are looking to watch what you eat, chia seeds can help you feel full longer since they absorb 10 times their weight in water. This blackberry, kiwi and chai pudding with granola is a great way to try load up on those superfoods. 

superfoods chia pudding recipe


Should I Get TSA Precheck or Global Entry?

Our family travels by air a lot. My husband isn't a big fan of driving anywhere so we generally fly. About three years ago, after long security lines at the airport and a few frustrating travel experiences, we decided to look into TSA Precheck. There are several different trusted traveler programs that include TSA Precheck, we ended up settling on the one we felt like gave us the most bang for our buck and we haven't looked back since. I have already told you if I think TSA Precheck is worth the money in this post. Long story short, I think it is, but you should read the post and see for yourself.
The next question I get once people decide on TSA Precheck is, should I look into a program that offers TSA Precheck or should I get Global Entry? I'm sharing how we decided to get the trusted traveler program that we did. Ask every single person in our family and they would agree it's one of the best things we've done. Hopefully, you can make the decision that is right for you after reading this.
travel in airport

Top 5 Things to do in Waco, Texas

When I visit Waco, Texas, or when people ask me what to do, these are the places I always recommend that they stop at. I won't miss them on my visits, so they are the ones I always tell people they shouldn't miss either. I'll go out of my way to plan my visit to Waco around these 5 best things to do in Waco, Texas.

magnolia market window box magnolia silos bakery

Family Financial Planning Tips

Over Christmas break, we had all three of our kids in the back of the minivan as we were driving home from dinner. My husband and I started talking about vacuum cleaners. We chatted animatedly about these cleaning machines and how we use them in our home for a good ten minutes before our oldest son {who is 20} grumbled {and I can only assume also rolled his eyes} and said: "remind me never to get old." The other kids had obviously tuned us out, but they joined in on the heckling and started talking about how very boring we are and how lucky our oldest son is to be away from home at college because he's no longer privy to our "boring" adult conversations. Lucky him.
Truth is, we've been having a lot of "boring" adult conversations for many, many years. My husband and I got married young {I was 19, he was 20} and started having kids shortly thereafter. We bought our first house when we were 21 and 22 respectively. I chose to stay at home with the kids after college graduation and by 26 we had three kids, one income, a mortgage, and a minivan.  

Is Removable Shiplap Wallpaper the Right DIY Project for Your Home? An Honest Opinion on the Whole Process

I love shiplap. I loved shiplap before it was a household word. I loved shiplap before I knew it had a name and people like Joanna Gaines started throwing it up left and right. I grew up in a home built in 1860. It's probably what gave me my love of old houses. I love the character and the charm of an old home. My husband, not so much. I've been begging for years to put shiplap up on a wall to which the response I always get is, why would you nail boards to the wall? I finally hit a weak moment and decided to stop thinking about it and just try a little shiplap alternative with some peel and stick textured shiplap wallpaper from Target. I'm giving my honest opinion on how I feel about it and if I'd do it again. Maybe you are considering putting up shiplap wallpaper. Is shiplap wallpaper right for your home? Read on.

joanna gaines shiplap paper


Matthew 25 Challenge Day 7: One Child at a Time

You did it! You made it to the end of our 7-day text challenge. We were in this together and I'm so glad that you joined me. In case you are new here, read a little bit more about the Matthew 25 challenge
Now it's time to celebrate! I can't wait to see how this experience has shaped you and your family. 
Several years ago, I read a quote by Shane Claiborne, in his book Irresistible Revolution that says "the problem is not that American Christians do not care about the poor. The problem is that American Christians do not know the poor" How true is this! We care when we know. When we hear about true need and crisis, American people are quick to step up and help when they can.

It's so hard to know how we can know about those needs, but I hope that this week's Matthew 25 challenge helped to open your eyes so that you have a larger world view.

Want your final challenge???
baby smiling in africa


Matthew 25 Challenge Day 6: There is Hope

This week, things on the blog and on my social media are going to be looking a little bit different. It's because this week, we are being challenged together through the World Vision Matthew 25 Challenge. To learn more about the challenge, click here.

"...whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me..." Today's challenge is to go on a 30-minute prayer walk around your community. You may be tempted to skip this challenge, but don't miss this! I really think this walk can be encouraging to you. 

Family challenge: bake cookies or some banana bread {this is my mom's banana bread recipe!}, and drop them off for a neighbor on your walk. 

bangladesh slum cracks in dock


Matthew 25 Challenge Day 5: Childhood Lost

This week, things on the blog and on my social media are going to be looking a little bit different. It's because this week, we are being challenged together through the World Vision Matthew 25 Challenge. In case you missed it, you can get the whole explanation here

"...I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me..." Today's challenge is to pray for someone you know that is going through a hard time. 

Family challenge: put together a blessing bag you can keep in your car to hand to someone in need. A blessing bag is easy to make! Fill a Ziploc bag with non-perishable food items like granola bars and water bottles as well as personal care items like a toothbrush, shampoo, and wipes. 

child labor and a girl in a bangladesh school

Matthew 25 Challenge Day 4: Giving Versus Sacrifice

This week, things on the blog and on my social media are going to be looking a little bit different. It's because this week, we are being challenged together through the World Vision Matthew 25 Challenge. To learn more about the challenge, click here.

"...I needed clothes and you clothed me..." Today's challenge is to wear the same clothes that you wore yesterday. 
Family challenge: spend some time going through each member in the family's closet and select a few nice items {clothes, toys, etc...} to give away. 
colorful clothes hanging in Bangladesh

Matthew 25 Challenge Day 3: Fear Chases Away Compassion

This week, things on the blog and on my social media are going to be looking a little bit different. It's because this week, we are being challenged together through the World Vision Matthew 25  Challenge. To learn more about the challenge check out this post

"...I was a stranger and you invited me in." Today's challenge has you sleeping on the floor tonight. Do not skip this one! Most people who take this challenge find that this night is the most impactful challenge from the whole week. It also provides an opportunity for you to have a real discussion with your children about the refugee crisis. 

Family challenge: make a necklace using a key to wear {or you can purchase one here}. Many times a refugee family will leave their home and will carry their house key with them in hopes of returning again. Wear the key around your neck as a reminder of those people who have been forced to leave their homes.
refugee key necklace

Matthew 25 Challenge Day 2: Water is Life

This week, things on the blog and on my social media are going to be looking a little bit different. It's because this week, we are being challenged together through the World Vision Matthew 25  Challenge. In case you missed it, here's how you can join! It's not too late to opt in. Simply text M25 to 44888 and join me across social media @msrachelteodoro and follow the #m25challenge.

"I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink." Today's challenge is to drink only water. Give up all beverages except water {yep, even coffee, sorry friends}
Family challenge: take a walk to a local water source {a drainage pond, creek or puddle} and fill a plastic water bottle with the water you find there. Carry that bottle around with you today. This will be a great conversation starter at work or at school. Take the time to engage in conversation about the global water crisis.

child holding a jug of dirty water
photo 2017 World Vision/Jon Warren

Matthew 25 Challenge Day 1: To Be Known

This week, things on the blog and on my social media are going to be looking a little bit different. It's because this week, we are being challenged together through the World Vision Matthew 25 Challenge. In case you missed it, here's how you can join! It's not too late to opt in. Simply text M25 to 44888 and join me across social media @msrachelteodoro and follow the #m25challenge.
"I was hungry and you gave me something to eat." Today's challenge is to skip lunch and break your fast this evening with a rice and beans dinner. If you watched today's video, I loved how it was pointed out that fasting without prayer is just dieting! So don't forget to pray as you go about your day.

Family Challenge: Don't forget to set aside some time today to watch the Ekai video with your family and have tea together. Don't miss the hunger trivia quiz in the M25 family guide

market in africa peanuts and beans women

Is TSA Precheck Worth the Money? A Mom Gives Her Honest Opinion

We travel a lot. We fly as a family, I travel solo and my husband and I take trips together. My husband has a weird aversion to driving, so we fly to nearly every destination. We travel domestically and internationally but for the most part, our travel is in the states, through our local SeaTac airport just outside of Seattle. If I had to put an amount, I'd say one or more of us are flying at least every three weeks or so. Several years ago, after long lines for security screening just seemed to be getting longer and standing on a dirty floor in socks with our pants falling down since our belts had to be removed seemed degrading, our family decided to look into getting TSA Precheck. {We actually got NEXUS but more on that later.} So three years in and I'm telling you if I think TSA precheck is worth it. This {cheap} mom is giving you her honest opinion. 
travel on an airplane with your family
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