Reflecting on Gratitude for Thanksgiving | Thankful Crafts for Family Gatherings

Thanksgiving is definitely one of my favorite holidays. It is a wonderful time for family gatherings, gratefulness, and the harvest. Now the history of the holiday is ugly and disgraceful. It is apparent how the Natives in the United States were treated. However – I do believe in the spirit of having a holiday about being thankful, gathering of family and celebrating the harvest.  Growing up, my family always made sure to share what they were thankful for and it became one of my favorite parts of the holiday. I hope to continue the traditions with my children as they grow up. Here are some really great activities that everyone can participate in to evoke the spirit of gratefulness.

This first one was very common in my home growing up. It was so fun to have everyone open a different reason to be thankful that wasn’t their own.

I love how cute these pumpkins are and they would be great to bring out for future Thanksgivings as well.

This pumpkin design is another great tradition.

I love this beautiful thankful tree! It would be great on a mantle or as a centerpiece that could definitely be added to over the years as well.

This thankful tree is also very beautiful but it is definitely more budget friendly than the one previously listed.

I love this easy and simple tradition. It is sure to bring up great memories for years to come.

I love this thankful frame. It is really beautiful and perfect for any household.

I love this thankful board. It is a great way to celebrate gratitude throughout the whole month.

I love how all of these Thanksgiving activities can easily incorporate family into sharing with each other with lots of love as well.  It is so important to share gratitude with your family – it really helps to build strong bonds with loved ones. This is part of the reason why I love Thanksgiving so much. The togetherness and great food are a wonderful recipe for a good time! I can’t wait for our Thanksgiving traditions and I look forward to hearing about yours as well.

Lauren Cop is a part-time SAHM (Stay At Home Mom) of Irish Twins and Senior writer/editor ciao_laurencop_sig-01of the Olive Shoe Blog. Currently Lauren and her family live in Tallahassee, FL where she helps teach at a local pre-school. A Clemson fanatic, alumni and general sports enthusiast. She loves reading, gardening, food, and traveling. Follow her TwitterInstagram, and Pinterest.

The Olive Shoe | Paperie & Design | Celebrating Creativity and Creatively Celebrating is designed and run by Lauren {LAC} James © 2015 LAC James All Rights Reserved.

Lauren {LAC} James is a Sr. Designer of Product Graphics for an international manufacturing company by day and a creativity crusader, designer, planner extraordinaire, artist and blogger in her “free” time. Follow her and The Olive Shoe on FacebookTwitterPinterest or Instagram! Pleasesubscribe to receive emails, of course, come back and visit again soon!

Please visit the online art gallery {Art by LAC} and Etsy Shop too!

 

 

 

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An Untraditional Approach To Anniversary Traditions

Anniversaries in my opinion are extremely important. It is a wonderful time to reconnect, reflect, and reunite your relationship with your spouse. People celebrate their marriages in different ways. Some don’t get the opportunity to celebrate at all. This year my grandmother moved out of her home in Florida and I found tons of anniversary cards she had saved that were special to their relationship. It was so beautiful and touching to see so many cards and so much love between them over the years. I can only hope that my husband and I can keep the passion they have over the last 55+ years. As my anniversary quickly approaches, I am getting more and more excited about our anniversary tradition.

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{Photo of our ceremony ~ Photo Taken by Mallor MacDonald}

Traditional Gifts – Most people that I talk to have some pretty regular traditions. Flowers for the wife. Out to dinner, possible drinks, possibly gifts or some kind of date night. My spouse and I definitely fall in line with these traditions pretty often as well. We definitely consider ourselves lovers of a variety of foods. There are also the traditional list of gifts as well which you can find the whole list in the link here. I think the traditional gifts can be fun but definitely difficult sometimes.

Traditional Anniversary Gifts By Year Infographic

Our Plan –  My husband and I have gifted each other some pretty awesome gifts over the years for our anniversary. We have invested in furniture, whole home music system, updates on the lawn, etc… I have successfully been able to surprise my husband with two different meaningful gifts. The first one was having my husband’s Clemson ring replaced when it had lost the gem in the center. The other was for our Anniversary last year I had his wedding band inscribed with “Here There and Everywhere” in honor of the Beatles song that was sung at ours and my in-laws’ wedding. Also, in honor of all the travel and the major move we experienced last year as well. Most of our gifts have been small cost wise or investments – both of which are meant to be meaningful for our future. Which I absolutely love!

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However, our agreement when we got married was that we wouldn’t spend money on lavish gifts for our anniversary. Instead we would save our money and go on a trip once every 5 years. This way neither one of us needs to feel like we need to spend thousands on a gift but get something small and more meaningful. Last year was our fifth anniversary – but with the move to a different state we decided to put it off for a year. So… this summer we are going to SWEDEN!! I couldn’t be more excited!! We had tossed around a bunch of ideas – Colorado, Thailand, Central America, – but we ultimately decided on Sweden because of Drew’s family heritage and it will be a great getaway from the humidity of the Florida summer. I love our tradition because this is something we can plan for our future together and make some wonderful memories just the two of us!

Finding your significant other is no easy task! It takes most of us many times before we find that partner in life. Therefore when you do find that person, you should celebrate the continuing of the relationship with romance and remembrance. However you and your partner choose to celebrate, make it memorable and important to you both. I am so thankful to have found my person in life – I would not be who I am without him. I will keep you posted on our upcoming trip to Sweden as well!

Lauren Cop is a part-time SAHM (Stay At Home Mom) of Irish Twins and Senior writer/editor ciao_laurencop_sig-01of the Olive Shoe Blog. Currently Lauren and her family live in Tallahassee, FL where she helps teach at a local pre-school. A Clemson fanatic, alumni and general sports enthusiast. She loves reading, gardening, food, and traveling. Follow her TwitterInstagram, and Pinterest.

The Olive Shoe | Paperie & Design | Celebrating Creativity and Creatively Celebrating is designed and run by Lauren {LAC} James © 2015 LAC James All Rights Reserved.

Lauren {LAC} James is a Sr. Designer of Product Graphics for an international manufacturing company by day and a creativity crusader, designer, planner extraordinaire, artist and blogger in her “free” time. Follow her and The Olive Shoe on FacebookTwitterPinterest or Instagram! Pleasesubscribe to receive emails, of course, come back and visit again soon!

Please visit the online art gallery {Art by LAC} and Etsy Shop too!

A Kiddoween | Making Halloween for the Kids

Halloween has so many levels and avenues to go down. The celebration can be scary, squishy, or silly. Our society is so focused on being ‘politically correct’ that I feel our kids are missing some opportunities for some REAL fun!! I am thankful that I found a preschool for my children that isn’t afraid to celebrate Halloween and make it fun for everyone. You will see updates on this at a later date. This post will give you some thoughts on how to bring the fun back to the Halloween celebrations and make it a true Kiddoween.

Attire: Now the attire for Halloween can be all over the place… store bought, easy pinterest DIY costumes, home sewn costumes etc… I personally had made it a mission of ours to make out costumes every year as my mother did for my siblings and I. It is one of my favorite memeories growing up watching my mother create out costumes. We also are trying to keep up with family costumes as well! In the pictures below you will see my favorite childhood Halloween picture in addition to some of my creations for my children… stay tuned for this years creation!

Scene:  The atmosphere can really make a kids party successful. It sets the tone for success. Now do you need a 50 ft. inflatable spider? I mean that is great and all but definitely not a requirement. It needs to be fun, visually stimulating, and with a touch of whimsy. Here are some of my favorite decorations for a children’s party both Amazon bought (for those working parents or not there is NO SHAME) and DIY for you crafty people!

Store bought:

I love these three dimensional bats. These are totally whimsical, fun, and most importantly a quick and easy decoration.

I bought these this year and they are so incredibly fun and add great drama to the front of your house.

You can’t have the best party without the music! This playlist gives you a great list to get your party started.

It’s also not a celebration in my book without some festive lights. I love these adorable pumpkin lights – you can put them up unabashedly in September and leave them thru Thanksgiving!

I really like using paper lanterns because they are light, easy to hang, and easy to store for a repeat appearance. They are also great to use as centerpieces as well.

I love this giant spider and web! One it has a spooky factor without being too scary. Two it can be outside and or inside. Lastly you can always hang your own things from the spider web as well!!

DIY

These are some great projects to decorate the outside of the property. Fun, festive and oh so cute!

I love these Halloween hacks because they are really simple and can be completed with things you may already have in your house or Halloween collections.

You don’t have to create all these decorations alone. Let the kiddos get in on the fun! You can do these as a before the party crafts or during the party crafts. Either way it is bound to create loads of fun!

Creations: What would a Kiddoween party be without some spooky creations? I remember as a kid Halloween crafts being some of my favorite. Not only because they included candy, but also because it was a time I got to create slimy and spooky critters. Don’t be afraid to get a little dirty with this holiday!

Tricks: What would Halloween be without some tricks. Tricks are typically carried out by mischievous teenagers. But these don’t need to be mean-spirited. They could be fun or even competitive. This is really where you can let your creativity fly! Don’t be afraid to create your own!!

Treats: Candy is the obvious go-to for Halloween. However, we all known how difficult sugared up children can be to manage. So listed below you will find some healthy AND not so healthy food options for your party. Regardless of what you choose, they will be fun, creative, and tasty.

Love this idea for a kids party or an adult party! Plus you can reuse them on a later date.

Here are some other great drinks that would be perfect for a kids or even an adult party!

Love these sprinkles. It makes it so easy to turn anything into Halloween related activity!

There are some really easy treats and some complicated treats in here as well. Plus make sure you check out the end of the article because there are more recipes provided!

Today we do need to be conscious of children who have severe food allergies. So just in case they can’t have what food you prepared you can get them a non-food treat! These are also great for the night of Halloween with your trick-or-treaters!!

Here is a series of adorable and healthy Halloween treats.

Even if you can’t help throw your kids’ party you can still send them with the coolest Halloween lunch! They will surely make the other kids jealous while also still being pretty healthy!

I hope I have helped get those creative juices flowing in regards to allowing Halloween to become a Kiddoween once again. Whether it is for a school party, neighborhood trick-or-treat, or a home party, you will surely have a great event with all the ideas listed above. Some of my most favorite memories have happened around events dealing with Halloween. I hope your family and friends all have a fun safe and spooky Kiddoween!!!

Lauren Cop is a part-time SAHM (Stay At Home Mom) of Irish Twins and Senior writer/editor ciao_laurencop_sig-01of the Olive Shoe Blog. Currently Lauren and her family live in Tallahassee, FL where she helps teach at a local pre-school. A Clemson fanatic, alumni and general sports enthusiast. She loves reading, gardening, food, and traveling. Follow her TwitterInstagram, and Pinterest.

The Olive Shoe | Paperie & Design | Celebrating Creativity and Creatively Celebrating is designed and run by Lauren {LAC} James © 2015 LAC James All Rights Reserved.

Lauren {LAC} James is a Sr. Designer of Product Graphics for an international manufacturing company by day and a creativity crusader, designer, planner extraordinaire, artist and blogger in her “free” time. Follow her and The Olive Shoe on FacebookTwitterPinterest or Instagram! Pleasesubscribe to receive emails, of course, come back and visit again soon!

Please visit the online art gallery {Art by LAC} and Etsy Shop too!

Fun and Creative Painting Activities For All

My children and most children I have met LOVE painting activities. They are great for inspiring creativity, sensory understanding, and motor skills. In the past, I had run out of different painting activities – so I created a great list of ideas so that way I wouldn’t run out again. These ideas are great because they using different textures, brushes, and other creative ways to paint as well!

Textured Paint – I love this idea that paint doesn’t have to be just fluid! There are so many ways that children can paint without using actual paint. When my children were really little I used food products like kool-aid and died yogurt. Here are some other great ideas as well!

Puffy Sand Paint – perfect for our school which has a sandy playground!

I love this idea for post rainy days!

Fun, messy and edible – YUM!

What kid doesn’t love to play with ice? This is perfect for one of those final hot days of summer!

Love the way this type of paint turns out!

This fizzing art activity is great for science and art alike!

This puffy paint recipe is awesome and easy to redo over and over!

Creative Paint Brushes – There is no reason you have to use just brushes, sponges, or fingers. There is so much out there that you can use as brushes that will also create some amazing pictures as well. What is especially nice is most of these objects can be found around the house or are free!

I love this idea with a rolling pin!

I love this idea for pendulum art!

I love this leaf print idea – especially with the fall leaves coming we could make some lovely projects!

I love this print activity because citrus is so beautiful and perfect for making a masterpiece.

Love these natural paintbrushes! Cheap easy and creative!

Another great way to paint with minimal clean up!

Love this painting activity. Definitely would require help for the younger kids.

This is great and takes some time as well – so the kids will stay entertained. #parentingwin

I love this activity! Who doesn’t love to use a hammer?

These are another great set of DIY paint brushes:

Pointillism is great and will continue to develop the more the kids are able to practice.

Other fun activities with paint – There are so many ways to enjoy painting. Here are some other fun activities that will help keep us from these bored rainy days!

I love how cool this activity looks and would make a great gift for family.

Makes a pretty sun catcher! -- 29 of the MOST creative crafts and activities for kids!

I love this tissue transfer art project! Not exactly paint related – but it looks like a water color masterpiece!

I love this paper twisting activity!

Not quite the time of year… but we are not too far away yet…

This is a great idea for kids to create some really fun creations!

I love this idea because it also keeps the kids active!

I really love this activity because it helps teach colors and has no mess! Make sure to TAPE the top closed to prevent leaks!

Love this idea because you can create all different designs with tape and stickers as well!

Squish art is also super fun as well!

Painting is seriously my children’s favorite activity – but sometimes it can be hard to keep them focused if they are doing the same old thing. I also am not really into constantly purchasing kits from the craft store when there are so many great mediums and objects lying around the house. I hope you found this list as inspiring as I did! And don’t fret – the mess won’t last, but those memories will! Happy painting everyone!

Lauren Cop is a SAHM (Stay At Home Mom) of Irish Twins and Senior writer/editor ciao_laurencop_sig-01of the Olive Shoe Blog. Currently Lauren and her family live in Tallahassee, FL where she helps teach at a local pre-school. A Clemson fanatic, alumni and general sports enthusiast. She loves reading, gardening, food, and traveling. Follow her TwitterInstagram, and Pinterest.

The Olive Shoe | Paperie & Design | Celebrating Creativity and Creatively Celebrating is designed and run by Lauren {LAC} James © 2015 LAC James All Rights Reserved.

Lauren {LAC} James is a Sr. Designer of Product Graphics for an international manufacturing company by day and a creativity crusader, designer, planner extraordinaire, artist and blogger in her “free” time. Follow her and The Olive Shoe on FacebookTwitterPinterest or Instagram! Pleasesubscribe to receive emails, of course, come back and visit again soon!

Please visit the online art gallery {Art by LAC} and Etsy Shop too!

 

 

 

 

Wedding Wednesday | A Look Back At The Perfect Fall Wedding

WOW! I can’t believe how quickly the years have gone. This October marks 11 years together and 5 years married to my husband, father of my children, best friend, and partner in crime. As with all relationships this one has had its ups and down for sure – but in all the obstacles we have both come out as better people. This to me is what make relationships work – do you make each other better people? Can you overcome struggles together? Do you know how to make each other happy? I have never written about my wedding day and that’s sad because it was truly spectacular and deserves recognition. I am sure it won’t do it justice but I hope you will understand the essence of what it meant for Drew and I to begin our family together.

How We Met? Drew and I met in college at Clemson University.  It is comical now and was to me then but I was visiting an ex when Drew knocked on the door. I was at the apartment alone and refused to let him in – I mean he could have been a predator (HAHA). My now husband stood outside for 20 minutes until someone came home!  Once we met though we totally hit it off – and things with my ex quickly fizzled. Although I tried to get Drew to date my roommate at the time because I knew he was “marriage material” – I couldn’t deny our chemistry! Since the moment we kissed we have been pretty inseparable despite waiting so long to get married. Although we dated for a long time before getting engage we both had agreed we wouldn’t get married until I had graduated college and we were ready to have children. I am so thankful that we made that decision.

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{Picture of Drew and I the first night we kissed}

The Engagement Drew and I got engaged during his birthday dinner at The Green Room in Greenville, SC during restaurant week. I was pretty shocked because after 5 years together I wasn’t sure it was ever going to happen! After looking back on it I should’ve realized what was happening because my mother was texting throughout dinner asking me strange questions! She knew because Drew had asked for my father’s blessing, which was very charming. We decided on an eighteen month engagement despite some minor familial protests. We knew that this was best for our finances and timeline and I wouldn’t have done it any other way!

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{Engagement Picture taken by Lauren James at Brookgreen Gardens}

The Stationary Drew and I made our own stationary for our wedding. With our save the dates we took Andy Warhol style pictures of each other. It was so fun and easy! These pictures are still some of our favorites. As far as the wedding invitations we made a stamp out of a picture of an oak tree that we took at our wedding venue. With the stamp I printed the words and embossed the tree for each individual invitation. We also included information on local hotels, restaurants, and entertainment since for many Charleston was a new destination for some. As for the RSVP we printed a picture of the house that we got married at – which many people recognized once they arrived! For our thank you notes we had pictures from the wedding printed on the front with a general note it the center. I thought it was sweet, thoughtful and a great reminder of the day.

The Rehearsal I was honestly a TOTAL wreck for my rehearsal. I have always dealt with anxiety and it definitely culminated that evening. I spent most of the evening in the bathroom and was too nervous to even stomach the dinner. However the location of the rehearsal was totally charming. The food smelled excellent (and tasted fantastic I hear). Plus the cake was so adorable!! I loved seeing my closest friends and family together. We also had a great slide show made by Lauren and was so adorable seeing pictures of us growing up! It really was the perfect set up for the following day!

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{Picture of our rehearsal taken by Lynn Coppotelli}

My Attire I am so incredibly blessed with what I was able to wear for my wedding – it really was a fantasy! First my engagement ring is a Carlisle family heirloom that is over 100 years old. Personally this makes it more special to me – and is definitely my style! Secondly is my dress. I wore a Grace Kelly style wedding dress that was my Grandmother’s that my Mother also wore in her wedding. It was in such wonderful condition and really the most perfect dress for the setting. I also wore a cap instead of a veil that was made by my very talented MIL. It contained an orange cameo, peach colored earrings made from shells that were Drew’s great grandmother’s, and lace we found in a fabric store on a trip to New York City. It was absolutely exquisite! As far as jewelry I borrowed by Mother’s sapphire and diamond earrings and my other Grandmother’s diamond tennis bracelet. As far as shoes I found stunning shoes at Rue La La that were Badgley Mischka and I got them for a steal! I really could not have worn anything better!

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{Pictures taken by Classic Photography}

The Décor and Location Honestly the wedding probably wouldn’t have come together without the help of my family and friends. But there is one person in particular that was extremely helpful and that was my close family friend Gillian MacDonald. She is an event planner by career and offered to be my wedding coordinator. What she was able to create even remotely (she lives in PA) was amazing and I will always be so thankful to her! When Drew and I chose our wedding venue I wanted something that didn’t need much decorating, was outside, and a historic site. Low and behold we found the Legare Warring House at the Charlestown Landing State Park. It really was a fairy tale location. We also used minimal floral arrangements with ranunculus, hydrangeas, spider mums, anemones, protea, and some roses. Our other main decoration was lanterns to keep a low light level and stay true to the location. The “alter” was flanked by two tiered planters that included a variety of fall flowers. We used chalk boards instead of programs. We also had pictures of my grandmother, my mother, and my bridal portraits inside of the house as well. This basically concluded the décor – it was all I wanted. Simple and elegant!

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{Pictures taken by Classic Photography}

The Ceremony The ceremony was by far the most important to Drew and I. We do not believe in organized religion (a long story) but wanted to keep the ceremony meaningful and personal. We chose two friends to merry us (a man and a woman) who became some of our dearest friends! We wrote our own vows which were obviously very meaningful and personal. We had my Uncle choose something to read – of his own choosing – and he couldn’t have picked something better for the occasion. It was a piece by Mya Angelou and was just beautiful! However I think the most personal things we chose for our ceremony was the music which was played in acoustic by some of our most talented friends. The bridal party walked to “We’re Going to Be Friends” by Jack White. I walked down the aisle to “Maps” by the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. During the ceremony we had “Here, There, and Everywhere” by the Beatles played – which was also played during my in-laws wedding. Our recessional was to “In an Aeroplane Over the Sea” by Neutromilk Hotel. As you can tell our ceremony was deeply personal and really invited our family and friends into our hearts and what truly made us a couple. I really wish we could do it all over again!

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{Picture of my Uncle Blake reading taken by Classic Photography}

The Reception Our reception was so fun under a tent with perfect lighting in front of the Legare Warring House. The lighting gave the night a nice warm glow and perfect ambiance. There was dancing of course… Our song was “Earth Angel” by The Penguins. Instead of tossing a bouquet or garter we did a dance off of sorts. We asked all couples to the stage and ask people to leave the dance floor for the number of years they had been married. The winning couple who has been together to longest received my toss bouquet. It was a really fun way to celebrate love with our guest.

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{Picture taken by Classic Photography}

As for food we did heavy hors d’oeuvres  from Charleston Café. This included a mac and cheese bar, shrimp and grits, and table of dips, cheese and fruits of sorts. We had Arnold Palmers and passed heavy hors d’oeuvres post ceremony. Our cake was also truly a masterpiece. We asked the baker to do what she wanted – with the following guidelines – wedding colors, color blocking, and something unique. What the end result was truly wowed Drew and I. It was definitely a masterpiece and tasted amazing!

We also had a photo booth that was all my SIL idea and it was just wonderful! The pics from it were truly amazing and some of my favorites from the wedding. Our gift to our guest was stone ground grits in a small orange lunch bag with a shrimp and grits recipe that was my SIL. Small thoughtful and not something that would likely be thrown away. It was a great gift IMO. Lastly we ended up having the Clemson game on during out reception. Even though it wasn’t my choice (long story) it ended up being fine and didn’t take away from the reception too much. We left under a bridge of hands and drove off into our wonderful lives today.

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{Pictures of cake and send off taken by Classic Photography}

What Have I learned? Oh this is a big broad topic that I will try to answer after having ample time to think about the wedding. Here are my top 5 revelations about my wedding…

  1. The best piece of advice I received “Don’t worry about what doesn’t come to fruition – no one will be any the wiser. We are here to celebrate you and everything else is pomp and circumstance.” And let me tell you it is so incredibly true!! Don’t sweat the small stuff and enjoy the moments while they happen. Focus on what is truly important to you both and the rest will fall into place.
  2. If you are not a planner or into weddings… get a wedding planner. I could have paid my friend her weight in gold and it still wouldn’t cover the service she did for me. I could never repay the amazing wedding she gave us. I wasn’t super into wanting to plan this wedding. It’s not something I dreamed about often as a child. So having a planner was pivotal for me. One that note take advantage of your friends talents. We used friends for music, DJ, planning, décor, photography etc.. It really allowed everyone to enjoy the wedding and become a part of it.
  3. Make it personal. People are there to celebrate you… so make it about YOU! Have something special that only people who truly know you would understand. Not only does this make your ceremony more meaningful for you but also give your guest an insight as to who you will be as a family unit!
  4. Take LOTS of pictures and record your ceremony. Although I feel like we took lots of pictures there were definitely some we missed which are my biggest regrets! I have no pictures of my brothers and I from our wedding or recordings – something I will never be able to do again and it is something that still weighs on my mind. Although I remember our wedding I wish we could relive it on video.
  5. Lastly and this I feel very passionately about – Marriage is a lifelong commitment and should never be rushed… ever! Drew and I discussed every facet of life before we were engaged and have continued that conversation after we were married. I think this is what has allowed our relationship to be so strong. Marriage includes a lifetime of growth together and if you haven’t grown together as a couple beforehand you may never be able to grow as a couple. You need to sow some roots and become established before you can reach your full potential.

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{Picture of our great wedding planner taken by Mallory MacDonald}

I am so incredibly thankful for those that allowed my wedding to go off without any major difficulties. I am also so blessed to have found the perfect partner and father to my children. I always knew Drew would be the best husband and still am in awe that he is in fact mine. Although our relationship isn’t perfect, it is perfect for us. I am confident that there is no obstacle that we can’t overcome together. Although we may never be rich monetarily we will always be rich in family and love – and for me I couldn’t ask for more.

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Lauren Cop is a SAHM (Stay At Home Mom) of Irish Twins and Senior writer/editor of the Olive Shoe Blog. Currently Lauren and her family live in Tallahassee, FL where she helps teach at a local pre-school. A Clemson fanatic, alumni and general sports enthusiast. She loves reading, gardening, food, and traveling. Follow her TwitterInstagram, and Pinterest.

The Olive Shoe | Paperie & Design | Celebrating Creativity and Creatively Celebrating is designed and run by Lauren {LAC} James © 2015 LAC James All Rights Reserved.

Lauren {LAC} James is a Sr. Designer of Product Graphics for an international manufacturing company by day and a creativity crusader, designer, planner extraordinaire, artist and blogger in her “free” time. Follow her and The Olive Shoe on FacebookTwitterPinterest or Instagram! Pleasesubscribe to receive emails, of course, come back and visit again soon!

Please visit the online art gallery {Art by LAC} and Etsy Shop too!

 

Lawn and Garden Shower

As a new member to Tallahassee I was honored to be asked to help host a wedding shower for a co-worker and friend of mine. Honestly, my house is made to host parties – especially of the garden variety – because of the way our house and lawn is set up. This couple in particular has been so welcoming to my family as transients to Tallahassee. They also have helped babysit my children and I am thankful to have found such a wonderful house for events like this. I was lucky enough to be able to host with my friends, Merritt (with her catering company Merritt’s Munchies) and Becca. It was really a lovely party and I am thankful for how it turned out.

Invitation – The invitation was created by our own Lauren James, of course! This invitation isn’t new – but is certainly one of my favorites. It is whimsical, creative, and so fun! Not to mention how fun Lawn and Garden showers are… this invite is the perfect one to add to your stationary list.

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Menu – Our menu was out of this world thanks primarily to Merritt’s Munchies who came up with the menu. Nothing is better than home cooked items that don’t come from a store. Our goal was to have fresh heavy appetizers that were also delicious and I definitely think we accomplished that.

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  • On the side tables we had boiled peanuts and charcuterie
  • For dessert we had lemon strawberry cupcakes, s’mores cups , and chocolate flower pops

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Décor – We kept our décor pretty simple. We knew we would have about 100 guests so there really wasn’t a need for all kinds of fancy décor. We kept things simple with using mostly whites and greens. I used field flowers for center pieces in mason jars. I also made chocolate flower pops in stands for centerpieces as well. We also used the hostess’ gift – a wheelbarrow – to hold the gifts as well. I think it came together so tastefully and everyone seemed happy. Honestly, it was mostly so easy because I had other ladies to bounce ideas off of and help pick out items in order to complete the look for the party.

Things I Learned – After hosting a party I try really hard to learn from mistakes to improve upon the next one. I also reflect on the good things in the hopes that I remember them for future events.

Things to improve upon – Hosting a party in August in Florida is soo hot!! My A/C didn’t stand a chance. Luckily everyone understood and were still having a good time. Secondly more beer and less wine. Buying drinks can sometimes be tricky and usually I have tons of extra – but I would have been better off with more beer. I could never have enough ice for the temperature it was outside!

Things that went well – Hosting with others is really a blast and I should try to do it more often. Having the food and drinks spread about the house really helped with the flow of people. Even though we had tons of food I am glad that we had so much because no one had the excuse to leave hungry.

I love how this party turned out! It was so fun and a great way to kick of the showers for this wonderful couple! I look forward to continuing to help them celebrate until their wedding day. I am also thankful for such great friends in this city who allow me to essentially join their families. This party really helped provide visibility to how far we have come in this community. Also, I can’t wait to throw another lawn and garden shower like this one! It really was beautiful and so fun!!

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Lauren Cop is a SAHM (Stay At Home Mom) of Irish Twins and Senior writer/editor of ciao_laurencop_sig-01the Olive Shoe Blog. Currently Lauren and her family live in Tallahassee, FL where she helps teach at a local pre-school. A Clemson fanatic, alumni and general sports enthusiast. She loves reading, gardening, food, and traveling. Follow her TwitterInstagram, and Pinterest.

The Olive Shoe | Paperie & Design | Celebrating Creativity and Creatively Celebrating is designed and run by Lauren {LAC} James © 2015 LAC James All Rights Reserved.

Lauren {LAC} James is a Sr. Designer of Product Graphics for an international manufacturing company by day and a creativity crusader, designer, planner extraordinaire, artist and blogger in her “free” time. Follow her and The Olive Shoe on FacebookTwitterPinterest or Instagram! Pleasesubscribe to receive emails, of course, come back and visit again soon!

Please visit the online art gallery {Art by LAC} and Etsy Shop too!

Creative Water Animal Activities

During the month of August my children often discuss water animals. Between shark week, beach trips, and it being the first theme at school each year – they get very interested in water animals during this month. I personally LOVE water animals and never really tire of looking at them or learning new things. Here are some great ideas to help you children create, learn, and engage different senses with water animals.

Sensory – Sensory activities are so important for a variety of reasons. They can help children who have sensory issues and it also teaches all kids about the importance of using and trusting their senses! Here are some great water animal activities that are fantastic for sensory learning.

Love this ocean dough idea! Cute and easy to create!

Love this fishing game!

I love this sensory activity because it includes sorting and a variety of textures:

Love this sensory activity because it is something they can continue to play with long after the activity is over.

I love this sensory table activity because it includes math and science as well.

I love this sensory activity because it includes element of environmental awareness:

I love this sensory activity because it is part sensory and part science.

Science – I love science activities for the kids. They are great for learning and so fun for me to do as well. Science activities are so important to understanding the world around us. These are terrific because they show a variety of different unique characteristics specific to water animals!

I love this activity because of the different layers and levels that can be completed by the children.

I love this activity because it involves both math and science!

 

This is another great activity demonstrating the layers of the ocean.

Learn about ocean zones and marines animals for kids

This science experiment is so fun!

Love that this science activity involves animals outside of ocean animals.

I love this environmental awareness activity.

Here is a great list of additional science activities that involve water animals:

Creations – Children love to create new and unique creations. It definitely promotes children to use all kinds of skills and creates a positive self-outlook. These creations are super fun and should keep your children entertained for hours as well.

I love this craft so much! It’s beautiful and so creative!

 

 

This book is great and I love the associated project that goes with it.

Ok so this isn’t necessarily a craft, BUT it is a great way to help children with reading and letters!

Love these Jellyfish creations!

I love this creation… guaranteed to create hours of imaginative play:

I love this creation with the different forms of medium:

Love this turtle creation:

Love this creation activity because of all the options children have to be creative:

Love this creation!

I love this great list of water creature creations!

There are so many more great water animal activities out there that it was kind of hard to choose. I hope you enjoyed these activities as much as I do. These activities are great for a variety of reasons because they inspire creative play in addition to different learning activities. I hope they inspire some great family memories because that is what these activities should really bring out for both you and your child!

Lauren Cop is a SAHM (Stay At Home Mom) of Irish Twins and Senior writer/editor of ciao_laurencop_sig-01the Olive Shoe Blog. Currently Lauren and her family live in Tallahassee, FL where she helps teach at a local pre-school. A Clemson fanatic, alumni and general sports enthusiast. She loves reading, gardening, food, and traveling. Follow her TwitterInstagram, and Pinterest.

The Olive Shoe | Paperie & Design | Celebrating Creativity and Creatively Celebrating is designed and run by Lauren {LAC} James © 2015 LAC James All Rights Reserved.

Lauren {LAC} James is a Sr. Designer of Product Graphics for an international manufacturing company by day and a creativity crusader, designer, planner extraordinaire, artist and blogger in her “free” time. Follow her and The Olive Shoe on FacebookTwitterPinterest or Instagram! Pleasesubscribe to receive emails, of course, come back and visit again soon!

Please visit the online art gallery {Art by LAC} and Etsy Shop too!

 

 

 

Fantastic Father’s Day

I am lucky enough to have many fantastic fathers in my life. My own father, father-in-law, husband and grandfather – not to mention the extended family fathers and friends – there is an abundance of greatness among these fathers. Some of the similar characteristics these men share are their dedication to their families, ability to be present (Physically and mentally), be sensitive while maintaining their strength, intelligence and silliness. These men have been such an important influence on my life and on what I expect from my husband as a father as well.

My father is very important to me for so many reasons. Although my father was fairly strict it was only because he wanted what was best for me. Some of my favorite moments of my father was he wasn’t afraid to let me be “one of the boys” but also made sure to pick me a rose from our rose bush. He always treated me as the strong female that I wanted to be and understood me the most, as I suffer from anxiety and depression. My Dad was never afraid to carry a tune or dance with me. Most importantly through him and his parents (my grandparents) I learned the importance of family. Although my relationship with my father hasn’t always been the most solid… It is incredibly solid now and I am so thankful for the relationship we have today.

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{My Dad and I the day they brought me home : Picture owned by Lynn Coppotelli}

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{Picture of my Dad and I before I walked down the aisle : Picture owned by Drew Carlisle}

My husband luckily has many of the same qualities as my Dad as a father but in his own way (of course). From the moment my husband has become a father he has been very hands-on. I couldn’t have had a better partner in labor. Once we came home from the hospital Drew changed all the diapers until I was more mobile. He is always quick to take the girls when he senses I need a break. Drew is always teaching the girls new things, being silly, and a constant companion. I am thankful to have him as my constant companion and partner. Without him I would not be as successful in the hardest thing I have ever done – being a mother.

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{ Drew holding Viv for the first time : Picture by Lauren James}

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{Drew introducing Viv to Noli : Picture by Lauren Carlisle}

Useful Gifts – Some Dads really prefer the useful gift over anything else. Sometimes finding something useful that fathers need can be difficult to discover. Especially if you want to get something out the ordinary (ties, mugs, socks, etc.)… Here is a fun list of some great gift ideas for your father.

Professional Dads – These fathers can be very particular about what they want specifically. Here is a short list of things that I have gotten in the past that fathers have loved. I hope they help inspire you to get something that your picky professional father may want as well.

I bought this office bag for my husband who travels a lot and it is awesome. Durable, compact, and able to hold a ton! It has been the best gift I have ever gotten him. What I think I like best is that you can even make your own custom bag!

These are fantastic office headphones that will not only cancel outside noises but are also great for conference calls as well.

This is great for the office or at home. Both stylish and handy – I mean who doesn’t have a bunch of electronics they need to keep charged throughout the day!

Handy Dads – Handy Dads are slightly easier to shop for because there are usually tons of new equipment they want or need. Here are some out-of-the-box ideas that you could get them for Father’s Day.

This is the best tool for any kind of major demolition – it’s a fantastic all-in-one.

This is a great tool – everyone needs a light, but it is also magnetic so it is perfect for projects that your handy Dad may be completing.

This is a fantastic gift for your handy Dads and Moms!! It’s perfect for many projects with tiny parts or anything that is needed up a ladder.

Cooking Dads – Not all Dads love to cook but those that do are so special! Both my husband and father cook in the home. I always love watching them cook and do things so differently than my mother or I did.

This gift is perfect for those who wish they could add more smoky flavor without a smoker or non-gas grill!

 

 

Who doesn’t love spreadable butter all the time?? This will seriously change your view on butter.

This may not seem like a great tool but if you eat a lot of garlic and don’t want the smell on your hands this is fantastic. Not to mention it gets that pesky skin off in a skinny minute. I grew up with one of these, but soon realized this wasn’t a common kitchen item. I thought I would share!

Fun Gifts – All gifts don’t necessarily need to be functional – here are some fun gifts that the Dads in your life will be sure to enjoy – and maybe even share as well!!

Drones are all the rage and so fun to play with as well. Here is a great one to introduce to a new flyer.

Let’s face it: there isn’t anything quite like listening to vinyl! Here is a great way to listen to those old vinyl’s again!

Let your Dad reminisce the old days with this great old school gaming system!

This is a fantastic gift for those Dads who are really into golf and gadgets!

This is a great gift for hunting Dads or for Dads that appreciate nature.

DIY Gifts – Personally I love creating gifts with my children as keepsakes for people. They are so personal and a great way to get the children to be creative. It is also great for their confidence seeing their creation being appreciated by others. Here is a short creative list of DIY Father’s Day gifts.

I LOVE this idea!! I did this with my girls this year for Father’s Day and it turned out to be so incredibly adorable!

This is such an incredibly cool idea that could be used for really any gift giving event!! It’s not necessarily DIY but it is so creative and interesting!

This is a fantastic gift idea for the beer lover in your life!!

I absolutely love this picture idea – especially since my husband works in photography!

This is an adorable idea for several reasons. It’s also easy and fun to do again and again.

I hope you found this list fun, exciting, and inspiring for you to find something for the special father in your life. I know sometimes it can be hard to find the right gifts for men – but it doesn’t always have to be difficult. Sometimes it just needs to be a little more creative. I hope you can find the right gift for your fathers – but if not, there is always next year and they will love you anyway! Happy Father’s Day!

Lauren Cop is a SAHM (Stay At Home Mom) of Irish Twins and Senior writer/editor of ciao_laurencop_sig-01the Olive Shoe Blog. Currently Lauren and her family live in Tallahassee, FL where she helps teach at a local pre-school. A Clemson fanatic, alumni and general sports enthusiast. She loves reading, gardening, food, and traveling. Follow her Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.

The Olive Shoe | Paperie & Design | Celebrating Creativity and Creatively Celebrating is designed and run by Lauren {LAC} James © 2015 LAC James All Rights Reserved.


Lauren {LAC} James
is a Sr. Designer of Product Graphics for an international manufacturing company by day and a creativity crusader, designer, planner extraordinaire, artist and blogger in her “free” time. Follow her and The Olive Shoe on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or Instagram! Please subscribe to receive emails, of course, come back and visit again soon!

Please visit the online art gallery {Art by LAC} and Etsy Shop too!

Other Posts by Lauren Cop:

 

Creating Your Secret Garden | Part 2: Frost Doesn’t Have to Be a Foe

One of the toughest decisions to make when creating your garden is when to plant your crops. Choosing which plants to plant can be a daunting task – I always struggle with this. Whether it’s because I want to plant too much, worried about space, or timing of plants. The next several posts will be about when to plant, what plant for each season, and some helpful hints for success as well. Of course, planting is subjective due to weather, environment, and time of year – but I hope this article, and future ones, will give you some helpful hints and help guide your planting experience. This article will specifically be focused on the early spring and frost resistant crops. Frost can be a major danger to a lot of plants. Not only can it cause damage to foliage, but it can also kill some of your plants altogether.  It is important to make sure you plant frost resistant or cold hardy plants during these early days to ensure success in your garden.

Flowers – Bulbs and Annuals

Bulbs are essentially the resting stage of a plant. When the bulb reaches the right temperature, saturation and nutrition, then it grows into a wonderful plant. There are several cold hardy flowers that grow from bulbs including daffodils, tulips, hyacinths, irises and crocuses. These bulbs are typically planted in the fall and bloom in late winter early spring. Here you will find some more information on great bulbs for your garden.

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Annuals are plants that need to be replanted every year. These are plants you can typically buy in seed form or once they have sprouted and had their first blooms. Some of these cold hardy annuals include pansies/violas, calendulas, snapdragons, sweet peas and poppies. Personally, in South Carolina, I have not had a whole lot of success with poppies (even though they show magnificently at Brookgreen Gardens), but I have had a lot of success with pansies in the past that last through the fall! Here you will find a great list of cool-hardy annuals with some information on best time for germination as well.

Make it Green – Shrubs and More

Shrubs are great for a variety of reasons. They can add privacy, color, and shape to any garden. There are many different types of shrubs including ones that are evergreen, flower, and produce fruit. Some of the ones that we grow that are frost resistant are hollies, azaleas, and boxwoods. Each have their own purpose on our property. Yes, flowers can be fragile and difficult to grow while shrubs tend to be overall more hardy. Don’t be afraid to use shrubs in a variety of colors, flowers, and fruit bearing to add color to your garden during these cooler months. Here is a link to some of the cool hardy shrubs that can bring some color to your garden.

Trees

Trees may not be something you think of as having trouble with frost. As far as the cold, killing a tree in its older years of life is not likely. There are several trees that bloom and leaf during the cooler months or even year-round that can help bring color to your garden. Evergreens are easy because they are cool hardy and stay green year-round. One of my favorites is the magnolia. Not only is it an evergreen, but I love the large blooms of early summer! Some other early leafing or blooming trees are dogwoods, cherry trees, and crabapples. Here is a link so some of the other early flowering spring trees.

Crops – Can you really grow some cold hardy crops?

Yes! There are definitely plants that are resistant to cold temperatures and even frost. Cold temperatures can not only kill plants, but can also burn the foliage of some crops as well. Some of the crops that we have done well with during the spring months are sugar snaps, cabbage, spinach, and even strawberries. Listed below are some links with more helpful information on cold hardy crops and how to insure success with insight on some planting techniques.

collards-hardy

Covering Plants for Late Frost

If you do plant your crops too early or there is a very late frost, it doesn’t mean you have signed their death wish already. There are definitely things you can do to help protect your crops from frost and help ensure a successful future.  Whether it be bringing container plants indoors for a night’s stay inside, saturating the soil thoroughly to help maintain the warmth, or covering your beds with a bedsheet overnight to insulate them, there are methods by which you can potentially evade the worst.

So in short, you don’t have to leave your garden barren during these cooler months. Not only are there cold hardy plants that flower but cold hardy crops that do just fine in these cooler temperatures. There are steps you can take to not only protect your plants – but in general plants are resistant and resilient. They will probably come back as long as the frost and cold doesn’t last for long periods of time. Remember you won’t know how successful you will be until you try! So get out there and get started!

Lauren Cop is a SAHM (Stay At Home Mom) of Irish Twins and Senior writer/editor of ciao_laurencop_sig-01the Olive Shoe Blog. Currently Lauren and her family live in Tallahassee, FL where she helps teach at a local pre-school. A Clemson fanatic, alumni and general sports enthusiast. She loves reading, gardening, food, and traveling. Follow her Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.

The Olive Shoe | Paperie & Design | Celebrating Creativity and Creatively Celebrating is designed and run by Lauren {LAC} James © 2015 LAC James All Rights Reserved.


Lauren {LAC} James
is a Sr. Designer of Product Graphics for an international manufacturing company by day and a creativity crusader, designer, planner extraordinaire, artist and blogger in her “free” time. Follow her and The Olive Shoe on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or Instagram! Pleasesubscribe to receive emails, of course, come back and visit again soon!

Please visit the online art gallery {Art by LAC} and Etsy Shop too!

Other Posts by Lauren Cop:

Feed Me Seeds| Recipes and Benefits of Eating Seeds

Seeds are incredibly healthy and recently their discussion has become the  forefront on many nutritional discussions. While consuming seeds isn’t new, the change in direction of diets – i.e. high fiber, low carb, gluten free, plant based, high protein, etc. – has caused them to become a new focus for many people. Seeds not only carry many vitamins and minerals but also contain fiber and protein as well. Listed below are some health benefits of eating seeds and some recipes to give you some ideas on how to enjoy these seeds in your daily life.

Chia: Chia seeds seem to be a recent diet fad that everyone seems to be enjoying. These seeds are high in protein, fiber, iron, and Omega-3s, and calcium. Some claim that it helps promote weight loss because the fiber causes the stomach to feel full – however the results of medical studies do vary on this concept. However, the medical world seems to agree that Chia seeds are healthy and a good alternative to unhealthy grains and improve your overall nutrition. Here are some great recipes for you to implement Chia seeds into your life.

Who says eating healthy doesn’t include desserts?

Blueberry Chia Seed Cashew Cake Recipe. A beautiful and delicious treat for any occasion.

I love this healthy jam!

Easy Strawberry Chia Jam

I love a healthy granola bar for a quick on the go snack!

Vegan Chocolate Chip Chia Seed Granola Bars - No baking and just a handful of simple ingredients needed!

Here is a great way to make your pancakes more nutritious:

Blueberry Chia Seed Pancakes | A simple pancake recipe filled with chia seeds for added fiber!

I love overnight oats – so easy, delicious, and nutritious!

Make ahead, ready when you are. Overnight Turmeric Chia Oats | Plant Based, Dairy Free, GF Breakfast Recipe, #ad

Here is a great list of awesome pudding recipes:

This delicious chia pudding recipe will make you seriously rethink reaching for that pint of ice cream #healthy #chiaseed #recipes http://greatist.com/eat/chia-seed-pudding-recipes:

Flax: This seed is also not “new” but has actually been around for thousands of years. This seed is high in Omega-3s, Lignans, and fiber. This little seed is also high in other vitamins and minerals. It has cited for  helping cardiovascular health, diabetes, and cancer. King Charlemagne even decreed that his people must consume the seed because he believed in their health benefits. I often used flax seed to give an extra crunch in my breading for fried foods. Here are some other great recipes for you to add to your list.

A great cracker to go with any cheese:

flax seed crackers recipe angle

Here is a great smoothie to add to your list

Tropical Pineapple Smoothie With Flax Seeds

Here is a great granola bar alternative:

No-Bake Peanut Buttery Flax Bars

Here is a great gluten-free waffle recipe!

Finally! A Low Carb Gluten Free Flax Seed Waffles recipe! These turned out moist with crispy edges and remind me of whole grain waffles but without the carbs and gluten! Delicious with butter and/or syrup (sugar free if needed)! | www.OurLittleEverything.com

Here is a great gluten-free low carb bread substitute:

Low carb flax bread

Hemp: Even though this seed comes from a plant that carries a controversial reputation for its recreational use, it will not carry any hallucinogenic effect. In fact this seed is high in protein, potassium, and fatty acids in addition to other vitamins and minerals. It is even often used as a vegan protein powder. I oftentimes eat hemp seeds in smoothies and cooked with my quinoa.

Do you like Nutella? You will love this seedy substitute.

Here is a great way to update your hummus:

Hemp Seed Hummus - diettaste.com

Here is a great cookie with some healthy notes as well:

Get these healthy no-bake cookies in your belly immediately. Made with hemp seeds, oatmeal, cacao powder, and more delicious and nutritious goodness. Hemp Seed Oatmeal No-Bake Cookie Recipe

I love this recipe!!

Hemp Crusted Chicken Tenders -- this easy and delicious recipe is packed with protein and is also naturally #glutenfree! | gimmesomeoven.com #gf #recipe

Paleo low carb bread sticks?? YES PLEASE!

Low Carb Cauliflower Breadsticks with Garlic Butter & Hemp Seeds (Paleo, Gluten-free) - These crispy, low carb cauliflower breadsticks are low carb and paleo. Garlic butter and hemp seeds provide plenty of flavor. Gluten-free, healthy & easy!

Here is another great overnight oatmeal recipe:

This healthy Chocolate Hemp Overnight Oatmeal Smoothie tastes just like melted chocolate ice cream and packs an impressive 15 g of plant-based protein while meeting the minimum RDA for omega-3s! | runningwithspoons.com #vegan #glutenfree #recipe

Another quick and healthy breakfast recipe:

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Vegan Parm yummy!

Make your own vegan parmesan cheese with hemp seeds. It’s the perfect cheesy topping for pizza, pasta, veggies, salads, popcorn and more.

A healthy ranch dressing… oh yes!

Love Ranch Dressing, but you've got food allergies? This Homemade Vegan Ranch Dressing Recipe is not only dairy free, but it's also egg free and nut free too. Great as a dip, dressing, or spread for sandwiches and wraps. #paleo #vegan #dairyfree

Here is a guilt-free dessert option:

Poppy: I love these seeds and have been eating them since I was a child. These seeds are more common and less of a new fad but are no less important that the ones previously listed. These seeds are high in amino acids, manganese, and calcium. Although poppy seeds have nutritional value they can also be unhealthy in large doses – so please enjoy them in moderation. Here are some great recipes to meet your poppy seed needs!

Lemon and poppy seed is one of my Mom’s favorite breakfast foods… I can only imagine how much she would love these!

lwmon poppy seed pancakes

Here is a great dressing recipe:

Turmeric Orange Poppy Seed Dressing is tangy, slightly sweet and crunchy. You will feel an explosion of flavors in your mouth when you taste it. Perfect for fall salads! Plus, you can use the leftovers for smoothies.

Purim is such a fun Jewish holiday – why not enjoy it with this traditional Jewish dessert:

This Purim, make these no-fail hamantaschen cookies. Fill with nutella, poppy seed filling or your favorite jam!:

These sandwiches are great and perfect party food!

Make these quick and easy ham and Swiss sliders pop by adding some poppy seeds on top!:

This looks fantastic!

Finding Feasts - Polish Poppy Seed Cake_Makowiec

Pumpkin: I love pumpkin seeds and really enjoyed roasting them as a child. Pumpkin seeds are high in magnesium, zinc, iron, and protein. Pumpkin seeds are great for so many things including its great source of magnesium, but it also helps with bone health, diabetes,  heart, liver, insomnia, and pregnancy as well. Here are some great ways to include this super seed into your diet.

Roasting the perfect pumpkin seeds:

After you've carved your jack-o-lantern for Halloween, it's time to roast perfect pumpkin seeds! Here's how you can make this salty and crunchy snack, that's healthy too!

This bark is so tasty:

Cranberry pumpkin seed dark chocolate bark tastes just like fall and is super simple to whip up with only 4 ingredients! (gluten free, grain free, paleo, and vegan)

Dairy-free, nut-free, and vegan pesto!

Pumpkin Seed Pesto

Who doesn’t love a crunchy tasty snack? Check this one out!

A simple recipe for Coconut Pumpkin Seed Snacks infused with lime and honey. Easy, delicious! Vegan and gluten free! | www.feastingathome.com

Here is another great paleo/vegan snack:

Apricot Cashew and Pumpkin Seed Bliss Balls by Nourish Everyday | Tasty, chewy and nutritious bliss balls made with natural dried apricots, cashews and crunchy pumpkin seeds. Gluten free, dairy free, no added sugar!

Sacha Inchi: This is a seed you may not have heard of before but it is extremely healthy. It is also commonly known as the Inca nut and comes from Peru. These taste similar to pumpkin seeds and can add a great crunch to any recipe. These seeds are high in fiber and protein as well. It has also been known to help the brain, bones, and protect against cancer. Why not give this great seed a try?

Here is a great healthy cake:

Here is a great alternative to chocolate peanut butter cookies:

Chocolate Chunk "Peanut Butter" Cookies (Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Peanut Free, Legume Free)

This is a great tofu recipe:

Here is a great soup for you to try:

vegan acorn squash bisque with sacha inchi seeds

Here is a great vegan brownie recipe:

Vegan Maple Caramel Crunch Brownies and Imlak’esh Organics Sacha Inchi Giveaway

Sesame: These seeds also aren’t new and most people have probably consumed them or seen them at some point. They are extremely high in many minerals, vitamins, and Omega 6 fatty acids as well. In fact they are often referred to as the “Queen of Seeds”.  These seeds have been known to help with cholesterol, blood pressure, stress, diabetes, and several other health issues. Here are just of a few of the great recipes that I found on this seed.

I love this sweet treat!

Pasteli {Greek Sesame, Nuts & Honey Bars}

Here is another great snack:

Here is a great Carolina staple and dessert:

Benne Wafers

I love Tahini and here is a great recipe to make your own:

Homemade Tahini - this homemade tahini is only 2 ingredients and only takes about 8 minutes to make and its perfect for use in any recipes, especially homemade hummus!

This is one of my husband’s favorites:

This is a great flatbread recipe:

With a lovely buttery and toasted sesame seed flavor.:

This is a great chutney and/or side dish:

Nuvvula Pachadi Recipe (Sesame Seeds Chutney)

Sunflower: I not only love the flower but also love the seeds! In fact I eat them often on a road trip to occupy the time. The seeds are high in vitamins and minerals including vitamin E and copper. The seeds have been known to help cardiovascular health, bone health, skin health, prevent cancer, thyroid function, and diabetes. Here are some fantastic ways to implement sunflowers into your diet.

This is a fantastic peanut butter substitute recipe:

Homemade Sunflower Seed Butter | DoYouEvenPaleo.net

Here is another great pesto recipe:

Kale Pesto with Sunflower Seeds and Pepitas

This is a great dip to go with so many different dishes:

Vegan Cilantro Lemon Sunflower Seed Dip | ElephantasticVegan.com

Here is another great brittle:

This is an easy method that doesn't require a candy thermometer. The result is a delicious, toasted, nutty brittle. A great Fall party or shower favor, school or office treat. From The Yummy Life.

This is a great way to spruce up your oatmeal recipe:

Sunflower Seed Cookies by @Jill | Dulce Dough:

Not only is this delicious but it has a fantastic name!

Sunbutter

Cheese alternative say what??!

Sunflower Cheddar

Multi-Seed Recipes: There is no reason to solely eat one of those seeds alone. In fact, like with most things, you are best eating these seeds in conjunction with other healthy items. So why not eat these seeds together? Here are some great ways to include multiple seeds into your diet.

Here is a great gluten free and vegan bread substitute:

Pumpernickle Nut and Seed Bread 3

Here is a great gluten free seedy cracker substitute:

Zucchini Crackers

I love bread and this one looks like pure magic!

Sourdough Pain de Campagne with Toasted Pumpkin, Sunflower, and Flax Seeds

Love this crisp bread:

Scandinavian crispbreads made with minimal flour, some salt, oil, water and sesame, flax, poppy and sunflower seeds (and a few aromatic ones too) are a crunchy, delicate platform for butter, cheese, pickled herring and anything at all savoury. They are superb crunchy accompaniment to soup, too. Versions of knækbrød are eaten all over Denmark, Sweden and Norway and considered essential foods. High in protein, healthy fats and fiber, these are a near-perfect snack.

Seeds are essential to our whole ecosystem. They are the beginning of life and improve our own lives as well. Implementing vitamins and minerals into your diet naturally is the best way for your body to digest these items as well. I wasn’t really into these “nuts and berries” types of diets – but implementing some seeds into basic foods is easy and has improved my diet as well. So go ahead buy that big bag of seeds at the store and give these recipes a try. I am sure your taste buds will thank you!

Lauren Cop is a SAHM (Stay At Home Mom) of Irish Twins and Senior writer/editor of ciao_laurencop_sig-01the Olive Shoe Blog. Currently Lauren and her family live in Tallahassee, FL where she helps teach at a local pre-school. A Clemson fanatic, alumni and general sports enthusiast. She loves reading, gardening, food, and traveling. Follow her Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.

The Olive Shoe | Paperie & Design | Celebrating Creativity and Creatively Celebrating is designed and run by Lauren {LAC} James © 2015 LAC James All Rights Reserved.


Lauren {LAC} James
is a Sr. Designer of Product Graphics for an international manufacturing company by day and a creativity crusader, designer, planner extraordinaire, artist and blogger in her “free” time. Follow her and The Olive Shoe on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or Instagram! Pleasesubscribe to receive emails, of course, come back and visit again soon!

Please visit the online art gallery {Art by LAC} and Etsy Shop too!

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