Creating Your Secret Garden Part 3: Keep the Kin-dears in the Garden

So far in this series, we have discussed preparation and planning for your crops – with little discussion on incorporating the children. This post will mostly be about the kids with some suggestions for hardy summer crops as well. This is my oldest child’s third year with a garden – but I have had her out there since day one. Obviously when she was only 10 months old there wasn’t much for her to do – but now at almost 3, she is really starting to get involved and even has her own flower she takes care of as well. Most kids love to be outdoors to learn and discover the world around them and creating a garden is the perfect way to help keep them involved! I even invite fellow friends and neighbors to come and enjoy in all the glory of our garden.

Garden Chores – There are many ‘chores’ that need to be done while creating and maintaining the perfect garden and children really can help out with most of them, and some of the more tedious ones as well. Here is my quick list of things my children help me with in the garden that require little supervision and have been completed by my children between ages 1 and 3.

  • Watering – There are tons of cute kid’s size watering cans that they can use to water the garden – but they can also help you hold the hose and place the sprinkler as well. Just know they are bound to get wet – which I usually end up wet when I water too, so I guess they are not that different!

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{Picture of Noli with her watering can by Lauren Carlisle}

  • Pulling Weeds – This may require supervision if you have plants already in the ground – but if not I always have the kids help pull weeds before putting plants in the ground. I also have them help me once plants have been planted. Yes I do need to show them which plants to pull, but this season they have almost gotten the hand of it!
  • Digging Holes – This is an easy one and most kids love to put holes in the ground – so take advantage. Whether it’s big or small, kids are great at this. If your ground tends to be hard, make sure to try to do this after a heavy rain. You can even get a tape measure down and have them use that as a guide on how far apart to put their holes.

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{Picture of the girls digging a hole by Lauren Carlisle}

  • Planting Seeds – Once their holes are in the ground, you can have the kids count out seeds or get them from you to place in the holes. This is a super easy task that most kids can handle. Also, if they have a gentle touch, they can also put the plants in the ground as well.

  • Fertilizing – This is obviously not for all fertilizer; we use the pellet slow-release fertilizer in our gardens. So I will give a small scoop to each child with a shovel and let them pour them over the plants or seeds they put in the ground.
  • Pruning – Once a flower or leaf has spent I have the kids go around and pick them. I find this not only prevents them from picking my flowers unnecessarily, but it also is less time consuming for me as well! Lastly, it helps out plants maintain health and stay lush!
  • Harvesting – Once your children understand when a fruit is ripe, it is so nice to let them just go to town. My kids love to pick ripe tomatoes, strawberries, and even beans. Yes they may eat some as they go, but who doesn’t!

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{Picture of Viv harvesting strawberries by Lauren Carlisle}

Garden Crafts – Regardless of the type of garden you have, they are meant to bring joy! So why not spice it up with some arts and crafts. There are so many options available – bird feeders, garden markers, stepping stones, sitting areas etc… One of the new trends that I find so intriguing is the fairy gardens. They are so cute and easy for kids to take care of – I hope to have my girls create one to put in our future flower garden! These crafts don’t have to be tacky and they can even have a legitimate purpose. Here is a quick list of some of the activities that I found most intriguing.

Children Veggie Gardens

30 Ways to Get Ready for Gardening With Your Kids

12 Garden Crafts for Kids

Biodegradable Birdfeeders

15 Fantastic Fairy Gardens Ideas

Summer Crops – Summer may be the easiest season to plant and have blooms, but can be the hardest to maintain. Between the heat, drought, bugs, and oversaturation, there is a lot to consider when maintaining your summer plants and which ones to choose. You can never do enough research about how to plant and maintain your garden.

Summer Crops

Summer Flowers

Summer Blooming Shrubs

Summer Flowering Trees and Shrubs

I hope these quick lists have encouraged and inspired you to get your children out there in the dirt. Kids these days are encouraged to live in a bubble and honestly I am afraid of the damage it will cause our future generations. It is so important to understand our environments and where our food comes from – more on this to come in a future blog. Gardening is just the first step in a long list of things you can do to encourage your children to live a healthy lifestyle, be creative, get involved in science, and to generally appreciate life! There are so many good things that can come from gardening and very few, if any, adverse effects. My children so enjoy working in the garden that my 3-year-old asks daily if we need to pick the strawberries or if the garden needs to be watered. I love hearing my girls talk about our environmental surroundings – I hope you and your children love these activities just as much as we do!

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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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:

 

Celebrate | Super Party for my Super Girls

Another year and yet a whole new love for my children and who they are becoming. Viv is my negotiator, type-A, artistic and nurturing sweety! She amazes me with her ability to care for the lowest of maggots (EW!) and concentration on endless paintings. It has been so fun to watch her grow at school, home and with friends. Then there is our fun-loving, silly, performing water baby, Noli. She has really started perfecting her humor and loves to follow in her sister’s footsteps. It was a fantastic year being able to help in her classroom and being so hands-on with her for once. This year for their birthdays, the girls wanted a super hero party! I was excited to have such a fun theme and the party was so fun and easy.

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{Picture of Viv and Noli taken by Lauren Carlisle}

Invites – Invites should be so easy for me – I mean, hello, have you seen the work by my talented SIL?? But for whatever reason I always feel sheepish asked for custom invitations especially if I feel there may be a time crunch. However, as usual, once I mentioned the idea to Lauren she right away reminded me how silly I was being and got me a sample immediately. The invites turned out so incredibly cute and the girls were sooo impressed that their “E L” had drawn them as super heroes.

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Activities/Set-Up – We are lucky enough to have a large property which makes it very easy to plan different activities for parties. We also have a playground and a friend who lent us their bounce house. This took care of most of the activities for the party. If it had rained, I had planned for the kids to decorate some masks and capes. Luckily, it was perfectly gorgeous – so we set up the capes, masks, and water guns at a refill station. Also, in the spirit of a super hero party, we needed to have a villain to attack – so we set up a monster piñata filled with super hero barrettes, bracelets, tattoos, and candy. It was super fun and so easy with minimal clean up as well.

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{The BEST Uncle came in costume playing with the kids : Picture by Drew Carlisle}

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{Costume and Refill Station : Picture by Lauren Carlisle}

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{Super Hero Training Station : Picture by Lauren Carlisle}

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{Birthday Super Girl Viv taking down her monster villain : Picture by Merritt Newell}

Food – As far as food is concerned, again I wanted to keep it simple. We had kosher hot dogs, hummus, dips, veggies, fruit, and a bunch of different types of chips. Basically the best of the kiddie finger foods. Easy to pick some healthy options and options the children would enjoy as well. I also made the girls’ cakes which turned out so adorable if I might add!! Everyone seemed happy and full.

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{Main course spread : Picture by Lauren Carlisle}

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{Viv and Noli’s (Magnolia) Super Girl Birthday Cakes : Picture and Design by Lauren Carlisle}

Pinterest Inspirations – Here are some of my inspirations for the girls party this year. It is so great to have an outlet to get ideas from so quickly.

Here is a fantastic post about some great girl super hero party ideas:

Here is some great budget friendly tips for a super hero party:

Here is some great food inspirations:

Here are some great ideas for super hero training:

Here is one more link to some great party ideas:

It was fantastic to see all the children and parents get along with minimal meltdowns and great play time. It was so nice to have our new friends over all together in the same place for such a happy occasion. I am so thankful that my children have made great friends so far (I know this will not always be the case) as well as my husband and I. We are so blessed to be able to throw parties like this for our children. My children were so excited and thankful it really made the whole experience that much more enjoyable. I can’t wait for the next celebration with my children so we can all shower them with all the love they deserve!

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{Amazing Birthday Picture of Viv : Picture by Drew Carlisle}

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:

 

Happy Days BlogHer 2017 Orlando is Here Again

I am so incredibly excited about #BlogHer2017 this year!! Last year I was like a newborn… it was bright, cold, I was confused, and totally out of my comfort zone. I attempted to be a sponge and absorb as much information as possible… which of course was impossible. I was so star struck by so many incredible women (and some men) that it was really overwhelming. If you don’t know about this event… BlogHer is  a part of sheknows media, and is a blogging media outlet meant to help women inspire women. I love this mission and everything these women have done to empower each other.  For me it’s a serious dream – a room full of intelligent women all there to help each other!! This year I plan on reflecting on what I learned from last year and making a new plan of success for this event!!

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{Kraft Mac n Cheese Booth : PhotoCred Lauren James}

ReflectionsLast year  was in LA. I had never been to LA so I definitely think that was somewhat of a distraction. I also had no idea about the sheer size of the event – it was literally thousands of women who were in this event all looking for different tools to improve upon their companies, products, and networks. Here are some of the major things that I learned.

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{First Day of BlogHer : PhotoCred to Lauren James}

  • Sessions – These are basically classes that are about different topics meant to give you tools to improve various issues within your company. They are explained by experts who have a vast knowledge of this topic. Some of these sessions were very informative and gave me some great tools for success. Some of these sessions were very insightful for me personally. But there were also several sessions that were repetitive and not what I was expecting – so they were in-turn not beneficial – at least to me.
  • Networking – I knew that I needed to have an “elevator pitch” and be ready to hand out business cards. What I didn’t realize was how instrumental this was to our future of the Olive Shoe. This not only gives us opportunity to learn from others, but also an opportunity for more platforms and products to be sold. It was made very clear to me how little I knew when trying to network with others.
  • Anxiety – I have suffered from anxiety for most of my life. I know my triggers and this conference definitely was one of those triggers! I do not do well with crowds – especially in new environments. However I did a pretty good job of keeping my cool until the transportation home. Before then I stayed to the outsides, took breaks when I needed, and listened to my body. I am very glad that I didn’t let me anxiety ruin this event.

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{Photo Booth at the Expo : PhotoCred Lauren James}

Overall the conference was fantastic! Lauren and I learned so much and it has really helped streamline our blog and focus for our future with The Olive Shoe.

Plans for this year – This year I am so excited that this is going to be a sister-sister occasion. I am also excited that it isn’t across the country and that it is in my home state. There is nothing like the familiarity of home. Lastly I am so incredibly excited about some of the speakers who are going to be there – some of which I have followed their whole public career!! Some of these women include Carla Hall (AHHH), Margaret Cho (What?!) and Cecile Richards (Swoon)!! There will be so many other great speakers and experiences I really just can’t wait to begin!

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{Picture of Me totally Star-Struck after running into an amazing speaker on the elevator : PhotoCred Lauren James}

  • Sessions – This year the sessions definitely have a different vibe. Last year there were lots of sessions focusing on social issues, publishing, social media, and media tools. This year there is more of a focus on health and wellness in addition to the other topics. I am very excited about these new ones since I do write some food articles and others that have to do with children’s wellness. I also hope to gain some more tools to help with promoting and drawing in more readers as well.
  • Networking – This year I definitely have a better idea of what I want to say in order to network and a better plan on who I need to talk to in order to get some good networking together. I would love to do some interviews of other Moms and Chefs in order to add to some of our topics. There is no reason to reinvent the wheel – and it gives others another outlet to get their information out there as well.
  • Anxiety – As far as anxiety I think the fear of the unknown will definitely be less because I have gone to one of these conferences before. I also think I will do a better job of scheduling the most important sessions to go to and not drain myself unnecessarily. Hopefully since I am so close to home and traveling a fraction of the distance that will give me a lot of comfort!

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{Lauren and I in L.A. before BlogHer : PhotoCred Lauren James}

I am so thankful for different events brought by BlogHer and sheknowsmedia that really allow women to learn and network together in order to promote female-run businesses. It is a fantastic outlet for so many different tools – it would be unwise not to go and take advantage of all the opportunities that these ladies give us. I am thankful for this event and these women to give Lauren and I better insight on how to improve upon The Olive Shoe. I look forward to reporting back what we have learned this year!!

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:

Party Perfect Children’s Finger Food

I love entertaining my children’s friends with fun new activities. They can be sensory activities, art projects, games etc… But one thing is always consistent for any playdate or activities involving children – FOOD! Children can be picky, eat tons or nothing at all, and have dietary restrictions. Growing up, my Mom always had great options of snacks, lunches, or party foods. Not always the most creative, but there were definitely some that were pretty entertaining. Unlike my Mother, I have made the mistake many times about forgetting to have enough options on hand or even having some for my own children. Here is a great list of some fun finger foods that your child is sure to enjoy and aren’t too intricate to make. This way, you don’t have to be like me and be scrambling for more options for your children!

Breakfast – Breakfast for us gets dull quickly. I often struggle to find some variety that isn’t just 100% sugar related. My children can also be really picky with eggs and yogurt. Here are some great options that you can add to your rotation!

I love this breakfast option: its cute, healthy and delicious!

My husband makes these regularly and they are so quick and delicious! It’s a family favorite:

Here is a great classic twist on a traditional southern breakfast:

Lunch – For whatever reason I find lunch to be the most difficult attitude wise. My children are so incredibly tired and that often is their pickiest meal. Because of this, I have chosen to make this meal the battle I will not fight – mostly because when they get to school full-time it will be the meal I can police the least. I often fill their lunches with their favorite foods – but try to keep some protein and healthy snacks in there as well. Here are some other great lunch ideas what will allow you to add some more variety to your children’s lunches.

Here is a great healthy lunch (or dinner or snack) option that the kids will love:

Love this option for mini quesadillas:

Cheesy Wonton Quesadillas Recipe – Tablespoon.com

Cheesy Wonton Quesadillas
I make these for my girls all the time! It’s amazing how a change of shape can make this classic lunch taste better!

I think these would be a great lunch item and what’s great is the hidden veggies:

This is another great easy lunch or dinner item that the kids can make on their own!

Snack – I typically use snack time to just keep my kids appeased until dinner. But that doesn’t mean it can’t be healthy. Here are some great options for your children to have during snack time!

I love that this snack is healthy and delicious!

What can I say? I am a sucker for charcuterie!!

Here is a great snack that reminisces ice cream without all the mess:

Here is a great way to present the everyday snack:

This low carb snack is great for adults and children alike:

Dinner – Dinner time is a family affair in my home. We have dinner together most every night! My children also do not get other options for dinner – they eat what my husband and I eat… period! However, there are definitely times where that is not an option – babysitters, dinner on the go, expensive elements, etc… here are some great kid friendly dinner options that adults will enjoy as well!

This is a great option for dinner for the kiddos:

Here’s a great twist on pizza for the kids and they could make themselves!

These mashed potatoes are so cute and will really cut down on the potential messes:

Why not an updated nugget for dinner?

This would be a great lunch or dinner:

Other Helpful Links – Here are some great lists for other food ideas for the children. I mean you can never have enough options for these little fickle humans right?

This is a great list of wraps for everyone to enjoy:

This is a cute and EASY list of party food for the kids:

Here is a great list of some healthy options for your kids to enjoy:

These are a great take on some mini-pie like finger foods:

I love this idea for a kid’s party:

Well if nothing on this list seems like something for you… then check out this ultimate guide for children and toddlers:

I hope this list gives you some new and improved options for you to entertain your children and your children’s guests for any upcoming meals. I know how difficult dinner and meal prep can be – and often I find the more options I have to add to the rotation, the better!! I hope that if you do try one of these recipes that you share your successes and updates so we can share amongst our Olive Shoe community.

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:

Mothers Take a Day | Embrace the Village

I have been trying to decide what to write about this Mother’s Day. This is officially my fourth Mother’s Day since my eldest child was born – there are so many topics I could write about… the love, resentment, lifestyle change, influences, etc… In the past I reflected on the year – having Irish twins and the identity crisis. This year I decided to write about the village that has literally kept my sanity during these last few years of motherhood.

The proverb “It takes a village to raise a child” is one that seems to trace its origins to Africa and potentially to the Igbo or Yoruba (both Nigerian tribes). I have found it to be so true in many examples in my life. In my own childhood we had a whole neighborhood of families who looked out for each other’s children. Every home had an open door which allowed us children to always be fed, looked after, and loved. When I studied abroad in Ghana our tour guide Armstrong often discussed the importance to him of family, which was comprised of his village just outside of Kumasi; he attributed his success as a man and college student at the University of Ghana to their guidance. I was reminded yet again recently of how important the village is at a charity fishing tournament called Price’s Point. This event is for a dear friend of mine’s brother who was taken too soon in a tragic accident. Every year since his passing, family and friends get together to raise money in his name. This was my first year and I was seriously moved at the dedication, attendance, and support that comes together in remembrance of Price Thornal.  Although I was resistant to having a village due to pride and stubbornness, I really would not able to be as good of a mother without their support.

Creating my village – When I first became a parent – like most first-time parents – I was extremely paranoid. I already have some social anxiety, so of course it was exacerbated once I had children. I was concerned that we wouldn’t bond, my child would get sick, or someone would take my child. What I didn’t know was that no matter what your plan for motherhood is… it will always change and probably won’t be how you envisioned! After I had Vivian we struggled to breastfeed, she was severely underweight, she never slept (and STILL doesn’t sleep), and worst of all I probably had PPD without realizing it. I wanted to do it all on my own – as has always been my life mantra! I am an INDEPENDENT WOMAN after all!! HA! I didn’t realize that having a village didn’t make me less independent; it made me an EMPOWERED WOMAN! When I became pregnant with my second child so quickly thereafter, I knew I needed to change my ways and begin to build my village.

The Village in SC – I felt like building a village in SC would be so easy. I had lived there for almost a decade and had family nearby. But alas it wasn’t as easy as I had hoped. Friends disappeared and we were in such a different place that many of our previous support group began to become acquaintances. The ONLY easy part was our family. Thankfully my sister-in-law lived one town over, my Mother lived two hours away, and my Mother in-law visited as often as she could since she lived 4 hours away. All of these women often gave up work and other commitments to come help my family. I will always be so grateful for their sacrifice. BUT my family couldn’t always be there for me when I just needed to get out of the house, or have a social life, or be with someone who was in the same place of life as me. Thankfully some people came to my life who were really more helpful then they probably know!

First were Sarah and Lyndsay. Sarah and I had been in the same book club but it had been a while since we had hung out. When she found out I was struggling, she was gracious enough to offer weekly playdates which I cherished!! It was so nice having somewhere to go weekly – where I would NEVER be judged, and always be accepted! I still miss seeing Sarah, her sons, and husband so often. Lyndsay was a friend of a friend and I didn’t realize how many things we would have in common!! Our playdates were fantastic because our kids played so well and it was a much needed relief for both of our Mommy lives! Now living farther away from these women, there are many times where I so miss our playdates and friendship!

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{Picture Taken by Lauren Carlisle of Lyndsay, Sarah, and Lauren’s children}

Then one of the most amazing things happened – one of my best college friends moved back to town! Eva is seriously my sister FOREVER! We have been co-workers and close through marriages, divorce, employment changes, pregnancies and loss. No matter the distance, we have always supported each other. When she moved to town I felt an immense relief!! It was so nice being with someone who was like-minded and knew my thoughts without me speaking any words. Although we are apart now once again we are still such a massive support system for each other!

Eva

{Picture by Eva Frye of Lauren, Eva, and her daughter}

Then I met a new friend who turned out to become one of my most dear friends, Candace. She lived down the street from me and little did I know she also had Irish Twin girls as well. We had the same schedules and our girls played so well together! It was great just to have to look down the street for a quick playdate. I hate that we met so close to when we moved from SC but honestly having our four girls run the small town of Liberty would have be a little scary! HAHAHA!

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{Picture Taken by Candace Fruster of Lauren and Candace’s children}

*Note: There are so many more people who were so helpful and supportive – like the people of Pickens High School, my trainer and boss at Soby’s, Rick, my BESTIE Michael, and the list goes on – but I really wanted to focus on some special Moms (sorry boys).

Beginning Again – When our family moved to Florida it was such a shock that I didn’t really have time to fret over losing my village until the final days. Once my husband found out about his new position, we sold our house and moved in two short months. Luckily, I quickly found the perfect preschool who could take my girls so I could create a home. But to my surprise, this preschool has given me so much more. Temple Israel Preschool has given our family a home base, friendship and more importantly a village. It started when my husband interviewed one of the teachers, Miss Merritt’s, husband. The men quickly developed a true bromance and Merritt and I have also become very close. Their family has been there for us when we moved, needed friendship, and had some hard times here as well. I was so glad to see and meet some of her village when I went to Price’s Point this year! I am so thankful for the people Merritt introduced me too – I could never repay what she has given my family.

Newell

{Picture taken by Emily Brown of the Newell and Carlisle children}

Another teacher I have become close with always amazes me with her patience and ability to work with children. Miss Becca is my oldest’s primary teacher and every child just adores her. When you go into the school, she is always followed by a gaggle of children vying for her attention. I have learned so much from her about how to deal with children. I am also thankful to find a new running partner since moving to our house and out of the apartment (more on that later).

Miss Hayley is another teacher I have learned so much from – we have similar passions and its great bouncing ideas off of each other. She has so much more gardening and animal experience then I do, it’s great to be able to share our experiences and successes as well! Not to mention we have similar music tastes – which means we must get off our lazy butts and see a show some day!! There are so many more women to be thankful for at TIP it would take me days to write all the fantastic amazing things these women have done for my family – financially, care for my children, support etc… I am so thankful to be a part of their school family!

Now I must not forget the women who first welcomed me to Tallahassee. They helped me burn off stress, get in better shape, and allowed me to have adult conversations again. The Buck Lake area Moms Run This Town running group allowed me to run with them without any awkward introductions. We just ran, supported each other, and talked about life. They really helped the transition move so quickly after moving from SC. I am sad that I no longer live as close to them – but it is so nice to be able to see and chat with them as a continuation of our friendship.

Reflecting on the villages I have experienced and built as well, I have learned too many invaluable lessons. You never truly have to be alone. Help is there if you ask. Your children will be cared for always within the village. Your DESERVE a break once in a while. So Mama’s don’t be like me and try to do it all alone. You really can’t! You need your support system to be the best mother and woman that you can be. If it wasn’t for my village, I would never have been able to overcome the feelings of resentment, loss of self, and depression that I have dealt with over the years. So Mama learn from me – take a day when you need it – depend on your village. Have a relaxing Mother’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! 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:

Flower Child | Getting Crafty with Flowers

I have always had a fascination with flowers. I spent hours as a child picking flowers, drying flowers, making potpourri, etc… My father also grew roses so he could cut them for me and my mother. He also gives us flowers for special occasions. As an adult, I have started to grow my own flowers so I can make my own vases and dried flowers. My children also love everything flowers – living or created on paper. I love sharing this with my children! Here are some great crafts to help you and your children get into the love of flowers as well.

Making Flowers – Flower making is a common activity for children – but several of these activities put a new spin on things. One of the reasons why I love flower activities is because they make great gifts! Why not make gift giving fun, beautiful, and educational?

This craft is great because it doesn’t matter the age and can be completed numerous times with minimal effort:

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Here is a great easy way to make flowers with stamps:

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I love this craft because it would make a fantastic gift as well:

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Here is another creative way to make flowers:

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Here is another great way to make flowers with stamps:

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I love this stamping activity using actual flowers:

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This is my favorite stamping activity because it is easy and beautiful:

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I love these flower windows!

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Education and Flowers – One of the best things about flowers is that they make a great educational tool. There are so many things to discuss including the parts of a flower, how it grows, and regrowth. Here are some fantastic activities that will show your kids the glory of a flower’s growth.

I love how this activity shows the parts of a flower and uses vegetables for demonstration:

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Here is a great activity that can be done over and over while discussing parts of the flower:

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This is a great way to educate children on types of flowers:

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This is a great experiment, especially when discussing pollution:

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This is a great counting activity that involves the creation of flowers as well:

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Sensory Flowers – Flowers also make a fantastic sensory activity!! Whether they are with fake or real flowers they are a great way to add another level of play with children. I am sure both you and your children will enjoy these super fun activities.                                                                        

This is a great sensory activity with items that don’t cost a lot and can be found around the house:

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This is another great sensory activity that also creates flowers as well:

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This is a super fun sensory bottle using flowers:

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This is a great hands-on activity also showing the parts of a flower:

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Also if you’re interested in adding another level to your flower crafts you could always read one of these great children’s books about flowers:

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Looking for some of these crafts I had tried with my own children and others that I wanted to create with my children was so fun and really made me appreciate all those flower crafts I did growing up. So if you use these crafts because its springtime or as a gift – especially with Mother’s Day coming up – they are sure to bring a smile to anyone’s face. I hope you enjoy some of these projects and please feel free to send us pictures of the results – we would love the see the finished product!

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:

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!

Other Posts by Lauren Cop:

Hosting a Garden Party and Plant Exchange

As evidence by my other posts I have a serious passion for plants and gardening. I have heard of people going to and hosting plants and/or seed exchanges and I always wanted to be a part of one! It seemed like such a great way to add variety to the garden while also making it a social event. This year I finally got the courage to host one. I wanted it to be fun, elegant, and successful. Luckily here in Florida people are as into gardening as I am – so it wasn’t too difficult to find people who were interested in attending. Then the real panning commenced… I took to Pinterest, talked to others who had been to a plant exchange, and got to work. I was pleasantly surprised at how successful it was and I hope to improve upon my endeavors in the future.

Invitation – I personally really like old school invitations to parties. I find that it is more personal and really sets the tone for any event. Luckily I have the most talented sister-in-law, Lauren James,  to help me with any graphic/invitation needs. I mentioned to her that I was hosting this party and asked her if she had something that would fit or if we should just create a new invitation. Luckily she had something that was really perfect already!! We changed up the wording to meet my needs and viola we had the perfect invitation. (Side note – feel free to contact Lauren with any of your invitation/stationary needs!)

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Décor – I love party decorations! It is a kind of way to transport your guests to a fun new location. For the garden party I am lucky enough to live in a home with fantastic landscapes and greenery. Therefore actual décor was luckily minimal and many of them I was able to gather from my own garden. I knew I wanted a wide variety of flowers to be placed on tables and create a centerpiece as well. Overall I think the effect was perfect for the event.

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{Pictures taken by Lauren Coppotelli Carlisle}

Food – As far as the food is concerned I wanted light refreshments that echoed the theme of the party – gardening and elegance. The menu was charcuterie, crudité, smörgåstårta (Swedish tea cake), Pistachio Bundt cake, and lemon lavender cookies. I was pleasantly surprised with how well all of the food came out remarkably well and really fit the theme I think. Listed below are the pictures of the food I created and the links I used for inspiration. I have also included any of the improvements that I made as well.

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{Picture taken by Lauren Coppotelli Carlisle}

Charcuterie – I read several articles about how the create the best spread. I also love to eat this kind of food on a regular basis – which makes it very easy for me to create different tastes with the food provided. I will also say that I loved near a Trader Joe’s which also makes it easy to pick out good cheeses for a reasonable price.

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{Picture taken by Lauren Coppotelli Carlisle}

Crudité – This is also another food that I eat constantly. This also screams garden to me – for there is nothing better than eating produce straight from the garden. I found an example of this kind on pinterest and it just looked so lovely that I decided to create one as well. It was surprisingly easy to make the cabbage into a bowl which was nice.

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{Picture taken by Lauren Coppotelli Carlisle}

Smörgåstårta (Swedish Tea Cake) – Tea sandwiches are such a classic taste and so easy to make. However I wanted to put a little twist on mine and found the idea to make the tea sandwich into a cake! It was surprisingly easy and tasted delicious! However I will mention my faux pas – I did not cut off the bottom crust which made the cake difficult to cut thru – but outside of that the flavor and look was fantastic!

Pistachio Bundt Cake– One of my favorite flavors is Pistachio – especially in desserts. My garden party was also near St. Patrick’s day so I thought it would be best to create something green as well. This recipe was really easy! Instead of using white icing like the recipe calls for – I made a lemon icing instead from the recipe below.

IMG_20170319_144444

{Picture taken by Lauren Coppotelli Carlisle}

Lemon Lavender Cookies – This recipe was also incredibly easy and so delicious. I really wanted to do something with lavender because I think it add such a fun element to anything with lemon. Instead of cooking the lavender in the cookies I decided to just add some to the icing of some of the cookies (in case some people didn’t want the lavender).

IMG_20170319_144450

{Picture taken by Lauren Coppotelli Carlisle}

Plant Exchange – So even though I read a bunch of articles and talked to several people about the exchange part I really didn’t know how this was going to all work out. Luckily the ladies there brought a wide variety of plants and were so cordial in the exchange – that it really made my job easy. If I am truthful I probably wasn’t the best host during this part since I didn’t really have a game plan with the exchange and kind of just let the others take over. Next year I think I will have some kind of orderliness to the exchange so that way everyone isn’t standing around and staring. So to be continued because I would love to do this again in the future with even more success!

Pins of Inspiration – Here is a list of some other examples that I found so inspiring and I hope to use possibly in future event or garden parties! I hope that you too can find some fun inspiration in these pins.

Plant Exchange Explanation

I found this article extremely helpful and plan on implanting more of these ideas on my next go round

How to Throw a Garden and Seed Exchange Party - girl. Inspired.:

I really wanted to do this but ran out of time – but it did inspire some of my decorative pieces

This article inspired me for a lot of the food I did

WEEKEND AT HOME / 27 | D E S I G N L O V E F E S T | Bloglovin’:

This article really inspired me for centerpieces for the party as well

Outdoor floating candles and flowers:

Despite some hick ups the party was an enormous success and I think everyone was able to leave with a plant that they will come to enjoy. I hope that I will be able to make this an annual event so that everyone can enjoy some new plants and some great fellowship. Honestly the day was perfect and I don’t think I could have asked for better weather or company. I am so thankful for these new friendships and the fellowship that we share. I hope that this post will inspire others to also get involved in gardening.

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: