Weekly Meal Plan: 16 March to 22 March

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This week's Bountiful  Basket.

This week’s Bountiful Basket.

I’m a little late this week, but for good reason: I picked up a new client so work has been keeping me busy! She also happens to be sweet S mentioned in C’s birth story, which, by the way, I’ve had to amend as I recently ordered the medical record and discovered we had only been at the hospital for 13 minutes instead of 23 before she was born. Crazy stuff!

I’m going to include links to the recipes that are available online, otherwise I’ll include links to the resource where I got the recipe. Here’s this week: [Read more…]

Simple Apple Dip (refined sugar free)

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Simple Apple Dip (refined sugar free) - ahumbleplace.com

I had the grand idea of giving up chocolate for Lent this year. Actually, to be honest, I initially decided I’d give up all desserts, but then that quickly evolved to only desserts after 8 at night….and then, eventually, just chocolate. It’s come to the point that I really see that little bit of sweetness (or…that lot bit of sweetness, as the case usually is) at night, after the kids are in bed, as my reward for making it through the day with a 4-year-old and a 1-year-old without losing my mind.

Still, I didn’t make it more than four days before E convinced me that it was just a bad idea given how many rules I’ve already put on myself and how much I use chocolate for stress relief. I gave up chocolate for Lent back in 2009 (great timing as it was the same semester I had to finish my thesis and also coincided with my first face-to-face meeting with my mother) and managed to make it all 40 (or 46) days without a single bite of chocolate. And I guess that’s the point of Lent…to rely on God for whatever the crutch happens to be.

Honestly, though, my intentions this time around weren’t all that religious and had more to do with the extra ten pounds I haven’t been able to drop since C’s birth rather than aligning myself with Jesus’s desert experience. So I dropped the idea.

What does this have to do with apple dip? Well, apple dip was one of the preliminary desserts I came up with when I was still not going to do the chocolate thing. My weird Lenten attempts mean your tasty treat!

This is a refined sugar-free version of an apple dip I’ve loved for years. It’s not too sweet, but just enough to bring out the flavors of the apple. It’s incredibly easy to whip up and the ingredients are found in most houses.

Simple Apple Dip (refined sugar free)
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Ingredients
  1. 8 oz cream cheese, softened
  2. 1/4 cup maple syrup
  3. 1 tsp vanilla extract
Instructions
  1. Mix all ingredients together. Serve with apple slices and enjoy!
Notes
  1. If your cream cheese isn't softened (as mine often isn't because I forget to take it out), the easiest way to do this is probably with either a stand mixer or hand mixer.
a humble place http://ahumbleplace.com/

If you happen to try it, let me know what you think!

Please know that if you make a purchase using some of the links on this page, I may earn a commission and I am very grateful for your support of this site. Thank you!

Ideas for a Natural Easter Basket

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How to Build a Natural Easter Basket (ahumbleplace.com)

When it comes to toys and gifts, our mantra is usually that the more natural something is, the better.

We try to stay away from plastic and electronics and aim to offer our kids things that are beautifully made and will withstand more than just a few years of use in the hands of a toddler. While these gifts are generally more expensive up front than your run-of-the-mill, Toys R’ Us finds, they do last and pay for themselves in the long run. We’re also hoping to teach our kids there is value and beauty in quality-made items that someone has crafted with pride, as well as give them an appreciation for the natural world. Wood, wool, cotton, beeswax, and silk are fantastic building materials for a healthy imagination!

Easter is probably one of the more notorious holidays for cheap, plastic trinkets, plastic grass, plastic baskets, plastic everything, and we’ve opted to take a more natural approach here as well. I like browsing around to see what goodies I can find to put in their baskets and here are a few things that have caught my eye this year.

a humble place

Basket

Baskets are fairly easy to come by at places like Hobby Lobby or Michael’s, but you may also want to look into alternatives that benefit the people who make the baskets. Organizations like The Blessing Basket Project sell baskets that offer crafters and artisans a chance at a better life by paying them a fair wage. Whole Foods and Natural Grocers also offer different types of baskets in their stores that follow a similar system.

playsilks - ahumbleplace.com

Lining

In the past, we’ve lined baskets with play silks which have been a huge hit. B uses them for anything ranging from butterfly wings to blankets to covers for a wagon that he builds in the living room with pillows and a kid-sized rocking chair. C uses them to play hide-and-seek, but we’re sure her repertoire will expand. :)

This year I’m thinking of trying fleece which we can use later on for B’s nature table or felted soap or any number of about a million other things you can do with wool. :) If I was organized enough and started this Easter basket planning business a while ago, the Grow-Your-Own-Grass kit would’ve been fun too.

The Sun Egg - ahumbleplace.com

Books

We like to give books as B is a bit of a voracious book-looker (as was his mama at his age). I happen to LOVE the Gerda Muller season books, which are beautiful and wordless, and Spring is especially fitting for an Easter basket.

One of the books that B has requested to be read over and over and over again, to the point that we have some of the stories memorized, is his Beatrix Potter: The Complete Tales. It’s an absolutely gorgeous book that is now so worn and beat up that it wouldn’t stay together if it wasn’t for copious amounts of packing tape. B still loves it, though.

For C’s basket last year, I wanted something with beautiful illustrations and picked up a puffy board book version of Home for a Bunny which she now happily gnaws. The Complete Book of the Flower Fairies is a book I would’ve loved to get as a little girl and another one that fits so well with the time of year.

For silly books, The Sun Egg, by Elsa Beskow, features a fairy and her forest friends mistaking an orange for an egg laid by the sun. Her books are so weird, but so kid-friendly. :)

For Christian-themed books, I can’t recommend The Jesus Storybook Bible enough. I absolutely LOVE this book and plan on picking up a second copy for C.

Little Fawn - ahumbleplace.com

Animals

I don’t think any Easter basket would be complete without animals, and for this I turn to the beautiful Engelberger wooden figurines. We have quite a few of these already floating around the house, including a wooden nativity, but I use any chance I can get to grow the collection. This time, I think I might add a little chick, Easter bunnies, the owl, or the little fawn.

Another fun addition might be a few Ostheimer figurines, which I haven’t seen in person yet, but they look adorable. Especially fitting for an Easter basket would be the pansy or marguerite flower children!

Amazon also sells the Holztiger figurines, but I’m partial to the Engelberger animals as they’re a little more detailed and have rounder edges.

Rabbit in Tree - ahumbleplace.com

Odds and Ends

Random surprises are also never a bad idea with Easter baskets! Here are a few miscellaneous things that would be fun to sneak in as well!

Prisms have been a huge hit for B and this one surrounded by a sunflower is a nice and simple one that would look pretty in any window.

Egg dyeing is a bit of a must on Easter, but you can skip the artificial dyeing kits they sell in the grocery store and opt for one made from food!

Art supplies are never a bad thing and I particularly like Stockmar crayons as they’re made from beeswax. I might pick up this set that has both the block crayons (for C) and regular crayons (to supplement B’s stash) in one tin.

This little chick rattle, made from organic cotton, may just be making an appearance in C’s basket.

B LOVES puzzles and this tree with a rabbit offers not only a puzzle but also a nice little prop for his nature table and standalone rabbit and bird figurines.

For older kids, this little lamb needle felting kit is very cute. B and C aren’t old enough for this just yet, but I think B especially would like it in the future.

Outdoor toys usher in some warmer weather and I’ve had my eye on this skytail ball for a few years now. I think I might finally pick it up for B’s basket this year.

It’s almost gardening season as well and seed packets are a great way to teach kids the responsibility of taking care of plants as well as adding a little beauty to your patio or yard. I especially like these butterfly seeds and honeybee habitat kits.

Musical instruments can add a lot of fun to a kid’s day as well and B really likes this wooden bird whistle that we snuck into his basket last year.

And, of course, who can forget the humble pocket gnome that I recommended two years ago? :) B’s has been through the ringer, but is still intact and now inhabits the little house on his nature table.

Do you have any natural Easter basket ideas? I’d love more suggestions!

Please know that if you make a purchase using some of the links on this page, I may earn a commission and I am very grateful for your support of this site. Thank you!

Weekly Meal Plan: 2 March to 8 March

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Our first Bountiful Baskets order!

In an effort to save a little money on produce, I decided to give Bountiful Baskets a try last week. I heard about it several years ago, but opted against it as we were in various CSAs or produce delivery services and they seemed like a better option. This one promises to deliver a lot more, though, for a small amount and I wasn’t disappointed at all. The produce was all in great shape and, aside from the fennel and chard, all stuff we normally buy (unlike a CSA where you’re stuck with 5 weeks of celeriac). I’ll definitely be trying it again!

I’m going to include links to the recipes that are available online, otherwise I’ll include links to the resource where I got the recipe. Here’s this week: [Read more…]