Taylor Swift Concert Recap: Merry Christmas to Me!!

I’ve always really loved Taylor Swift. And not just because she’s only one month older than me and I know that we could be best friends. The way she writes her songs has always just clicked with me. Even her cheesy love songs have always hit home in my heart.

But I have always wondered how she would sound live. I mean anyone can sound good in a recording. You get to record a song as many times as you want until it sounds perfect and even after that there’s auto tune, and reverb, and probably a million other tricks to the trade of super star making. But could she impress me at a live concert? This question has been eating away at me ever since my cute husband gifted me two tickets to her 1989 concert as a Christmas present! He’s the best.

So here I was with two tickets and I had to wait 8 months!! But it was worth the wait because let me tell you, not only does Taylor put on the show of a lifetime but that girl can belt her little heart out all night long without even breaking a sweat. Her show was amazing!! I’m so sorry for those of you who weren’t able to make it this time around. But I’m hoping you’ll learn from me and do whatever it takes to be able to reserve a seat for her next tour. Baaah! so amazing!

So here are some pictures I took. Just from my iPhone so they’re not amazing (I did just get a cannon EOS 70D though, and it’s in the mail, woohoo!).

Zach and I had so much fun! We broke our 100 Days food pledge to get some In-N-Out on the way and that was a very good decision.



This was an attempt at a panorama but the lights changed halfway through.



Vance Joy opened the show in style! He was so great! I’m listening to him on spotify right now.


Oh this was cool! Every seat had a wrist band thing taped to it and when the show started they would light up in different colors and were programmed throughout the show to flash different colors and do cool things like that. It was so fun. Made me feel pretty cool. And after the concert was over it still flashes if you shake it or tap it. Thanks Taylor for the cool toys for the kids!


I’ve never heard girls scream so loud. I mean these fans are very practiced in the skill of arena screaming. Very impressive.




Sorry I can’t remember which songs these pictures were taken during.


All of those white lights were the wrist bands.




The aisle that went down the center of the arena would lift up and spin until it was completely perpendicular. It was so cool. Maybe kind of scary for anyone underneath it…


I think this song pictured below was Clean.





It was so fun and it made me want be her! If you don’t know me that well, you might not know that I have done a lot of singing in my day. I even went to Berklee College of Music in Boston for a spell and loved it! So whenever I go to any type of musical performance, that itch to be on stage starts up again and I can hardly stand it.

Anyway, thanks for being you Taylor! And thanks for giving me such a fun night Zach!

-Happy Monday

p.s. I made a cool recap video from videos I took at the concert, but youtube kicked it off my channel for being copyrighted. Sorry I can’t post it. (sad face)


Choose a Challenge and Make a Better You!

This morning was Day 1 of an 8 week running program to get me ready to run a 5k! Whenever I tell people I’m training to run a 5k I feel kind of silly because it doesn’t seem like that big of a challenge. But to me it’s a HUGE challenge! I am definitely not much of a “runner”.


When I was living in Boston I did pretty good for a little while, running outside and in the gym. But I never had any real reason to run, like I never had a race to train for or a goal in mind. So I’m hoping that this training program and my goal to run in the Gilbert Days 5k race in November will be motivation enough.

Plus, I’m planning on having another baby in the next couple of years and would like to gain some strength in order to have a more comfortable pregnancy (is there even such a thing) and a quicker recovery. I say that like my pregnancies have been terrible or something but they’ve actually both been super easy compared to some of you unlucky girls who puke 5-10 times a day. I’ve been very blessed with regard to morning sickness and pregnancy pain.

Ok, back on topic.

My challenge to YOU! Is to choose your own challenge and make a better you, better home, better marriage, better family, whatever it is you choose to work on!! Find a part of your life that needs a reboot and then go on Pinterest and choose a challenge.

Hey Look! I already did your homework for you!

Check out these awesome challenges.

31 Day Home Organizing Detox

91 Day Declutter Challenge

31 Day Morning Reboot

30 Day Beginning Runners Challenge

21 Day Arm Sculpting

39 Day Yoga Challenge

2015 Reading Challenge (the years not over yet!)

12 Day Love Yourself Challenge

52 Week Money Challenge

2 Week Clean Eating Challenge

30 Day Cleaning Challenge

52 Weeks to a Better Marriage

30 Day Relationship Challenge

30 Day Smashbook Journal Challenge

30 Day Drawing Challenge

You’re Welcome!

Now get to work!

– Tara


Gilbert Stake Girls Camp 2015

This past year I was called to take part in our stake girls camp! We had the priviledge of going up to Camp Lomia in Pine, Arizona and spend 4 days and 3 nights together, playing, learning, and nourishing our testimonies of Jesus Christ and our roles as mothers and women.

Our theme this year was “Look With Wonder”. Based on a quote by President Hinckley that says…


I loved how this theme talked about some of the most basic elements of the gospel; our role as women and mothers, the importance of family, and the amazing power of the Lord’s Plan of Happiness.

Girls Camp Lo Mia Stage


You might be thinking, “that sounds like a very serious theme, how did you make it fun for the girls?” I’ll tell you!!

Going along with our theme “Look with Wonder” we had every ward choose a Wonder of the World to be their ward theme. For example, my ward chose the Savanna Desert and they decorated their cabin with tribal masks, and animal print, and they used some scenes from The Lion King in their skit. Some of the other wonders were the Galapagos Islands, the Harbor of Rio De Janeiro, the Great Wall of China, Victoria Falls, the Taj Mahal, the Northern Lights, the Colosseum in Rome, and the Grand Canyon. This made it fun for the wards because all of the wonders were so different and it made the skits awesome and so creative. Having the wonders of the world as part of the theme also gave the stake a lot of creative freedom to decorate the stage however we wanted.



If your stake hasn’t tried this yet you need to!! For our skits this year we had everyone video theirs and hand them in way before camp and we compiled them all together and showed them the first night of camp.

This was so amazing because it took out a bunch of stress that some people feel when they have to get up in front of crowds and it eliminated a lot of the stuff that the wards had to bring up. Now, don’t get me wrong, I am all for live skits and getting girls, and leaders for that matter, out of their comfort zones and having fun in front of everyone, but having the video all ready to go was a very fun and new way to do things. We had so many creative and cool videos. Some people went to the temple and filmed around it, some videoed themselves underwater, one group even got a drone involved. It was a big hit.


(YCLs leading in camp songs)



We got all the girls lanyards with a little plastic pouch at the end that had their name and ward name plus each days schedule and the paragraphs from The Family: A Proclamation to the World that they were challenged to memorize. The main purpose for having the lanyards was to give the girls opportunities to be recognized and rewarded. We wanted to create opportunities for the girls to feel noticed and loved, so we told all the leaders to bring lots of ribbon and whenever they noticed the girls being nice to each other or being helpful or really just doing anything at all, they gave them a ribbon to tie onto their lanyard. By the end of camp everyone lanyards were covered in cute ribbons and looked adorable!


We encouraged everyone to memorize three different parts of the proclamation and when they passed it off to a leader, they got a special ribbon and we also gave them a treat that night at the night program. This is my lanyard and I’m just realizing that I didn’t get all the ribbons for memorizing the paragraphs! Lame! But I did get the giant candy bar so I guess it’s ok.


We had a couple of amazing activity planners and they sure delivered. We had everything from water games, ziplining, amazing classes, water balloon launching, hikes, to “Ride Like Thunder” (that’s what we called it). They made like five or six of these little wooden cars and the girls and leaders got to ride them down a hill up by the addies. This was such a fun adventure and a challenge for us. Even though the cars weren’t super fast, they would get some good momentum going down the hill and it was very scary for a lot of the girls and leaders. A great way to test your bravery and have fun at the same time.





(My cute ward. Love them!)



This is an example of the sign posts we made with the ward’s name and “Wonder” behind it so that we could rotate where each ward sat for the night program each evening. They came in quite handy!



Going along with our theme of motherhood we printed out a ton, and I mean A TON, of memes about motherhood and taped them up all over camp. We put them in the bathrooms, in the craft room, in the cafeteria, in common areas and on every door.









Personally, I loved having all the motivational quotes in my face all the time. It’s interesting how a little thing like a sign on a wall can turn your thoughts to God, or to your own strengths and dreams. It made me want to update my home with great quotes all over the walls.



My calling was over the night programs. One night we had a lesson on Motherhood and having a mother heart, which included a speaker and I created this video that we showed on that night.

My favorite night though, was Bishop’s Night when we played Family Feud with each ward’s bishop and the stake president. I gave all the girls a questionnaire to answer while they drove up on the busses, then I did my best to tally them up accurately, and then I used this amazing Family Feud Powerpoint Presentation to play the game. It was LEGENDARY! The girls loved it.




But my favorite part about our camp was the service project. This year was really unique because we had an amazing camp director who was so in tune with the spirit, and was able to be an instrument in the Lord’s hands as he guided her through the process of finding, raising money for, and installing this amazing statue that is now permanently a part of Camp Lomia in Pine, Arizona.





This statue represents what Heavenly Father wants for all of His children. To be part of a loving family for  eternity. This was the “Big Picture” message that we wanted the girls to understand and feel ring true in their hearts.

The service project that our girls got to participate in was clearing and lining the trail leading up to the statue. It was hard work and turned out to be really good for the girls.




The trail is called the “Wonder Trail” and there is so much more to this statue than I can share in one post, so I’m planning on writing another one all about it. Stay tuned for that.

Everything about this camp was uplifting and edifying. I’m about to say “blessed” like a million times so prepare yourself. But seriously! I am so blessed to have been called to this calling in the stake camp committee and I have learned so much! Being a part of the leadership end of camp was totally new for me. I loved it. But also, just getting the opportunity to go to camp and learn was so wonderful. I felt so rejuvenated and motivated to do better in all aspects of my life, but especially as a mother.

Being a mother is a gift, and a privilege. I know that not every woman out there has the chance to be a mom, and I don’t know why I have been blessed with motherhood, but I just hope that I can try my best every day to soak in every moment I have as a mother, and to not let this time slip between my fingers.

The youth program in the LDS church is amazing. If you are not a member of our church but want a place for your teenagers or young kids to find good friends and leaders who will encourage them to make righteous choices, find your local mormon missionaries or church building and you will be welcomed with open arms.

I hope this can help anyone looking for Girls Camp ideas or any youth program ideas. Feel free to comment or share what you did for camp this summer.

-Happy Friday!

What We Learned the First 50 Days of Real Food

As we approached day 50 of our 100 Days of Real Food we were feeling… exhausted. This has been a big challenge for our family! But we also felt so proud of ourselves! Being healthy and productive and just better in general has made our home a lot happier.


(this picture was taken before we started our pledge. We smile way bigger nowadays. haha jk)

Let me just say that we have not been 100% Real Food eaters during this whole thing. We were absolutely perfect the first month! It was awesome. But then Girls Camp and Young Men’s Camp came around and we had no choice but to take a short break.  And a couple weeks after that I went to Utah with the kids, so that was another break even though I did try to be kind of good while away from home.



Anyway, even though we have not been totally perfect on our pledge, the whole point of this crazy adventure is that we learn what real food is, and how to cook and eat it. And I think we have given ourselves a serious education about what we are putting into our bodies and our kids bodies.

IMG_7803 (1)

During these first 50 days, I’ve had many opportunities to talk to people about our pledge and I hear a lot of the same reactions, things like, “My family really needs to do something like that” or “I don’t know enough about cooking to do that” or “Isn’t it a lot more expensive?” and just a bunch of stuff like that.

What I always find myself saying to friends and family and even to myself when I’m feeling distracted or discouraged, is that it is so worth it to take the plunge and be a real food eater.

My family really needed to get away from the terrible, fake food so we just said “YES! We are going to do this!”

I have never had a real knack for cooking, and I didn’t know anything about spices or the real details of cooking but after some practice and experimenting now I do! I Just had to find the recipes that didn’t call for ranch dressing packets, or taco seasoning and actually figure out what makes those prepackaged seasonings so yummy. And guess what? It’s not even hard!

One big draw back about eating real for many people, and even for me, is that it is more expensive. I’m not totally sure where all of the extra money goes, I’m thinking it mostly goes towards buying a lot of fresh produce every single week and not just depending on the giant box of gold fish and fruit snacks for the kids, which is just easier and cheaper. So things like that jack up the price. But we have been able to spend an average of $100 a week on our groceries. So depending on your situation, adjust accordingly.

If you feel like you need a change in your kitchen, start adding a couple of real food recipes to your 10 – 12 rotated recipes. Ditch the taco seasoning and get some cumin, paprika, and chili powder in your cabinet.

All I’m trying to say is, you can do it!! Together we can feed our families healthy foods and teach our littles good eating habits.


Here are some new additions to my own kitchen.


I recently bought these popsicle molds and I love them! I make about double the normal amount of smoothie that I normally would make for breakfast or whenever, and then I poor the rest into these. The one in this picture is strawberries + Peaches + Cream. It was delicious.





Porter loves policles (as he calls them).




This Whole Wheat Banana Bread recipe is totally clean and super yummy. I will say that it’s not as crazy yummy as most banana breads because, let’s be real, it’s whole wheat and there’s no sugar or vegetable oil, so don’t expect too much unless your taste buds have adapted to a no sugar or sweetener lifestyle. But I love it!




I came up with this little lunch idea on a day when I was craving pizza but didn’t have time to make the dough. I call it Pizza Toast!! Grab some Real-Food-Worthy pasta sauce, some fresh mozzarella, and some whole wheat bread. Of course you can add a lot of different toppings but my kids aren’t that adventurous. Put the toast on a cookie sheet in the oven until nice and toasty. This lunch went well with a smoothie.





I was extra outgoing one day and made my own Basil Pesto. It was so easy and yummy. Next time, however, I think I’ll add more olive oil because it didn’t turn out as spreadable as I would have liked.





I wish I had more to share but I guess I didn’t take any more pictures. I hope this is a little helpful.

Be sure to comment if you have any real food experiences to share or any advice for me.

Only one more month till we hit 100 days! Wish me luck!

-Happy Monday Everyone!


p.s. One thing I’m interested in is making my own whole wheat bread. It’s just a little tricky when sticking to the rules of Real Food. Let me know if you have a awesome recipe that I could try.

Swanson Triplets Baby Story




Being able to witness and document Weston and Janae Swanson’s baby (babies’ ?) story has been such an amazing experience. Janae and Weston were married in March of 2013 and two years later welcomed these three little angels into their home. I had way too much fun filming before, during, and after the birth of these little girls and I hope you will enjoy what I’ve come up with!












Janae’s C-Section went very well. The girls were born in order, baby A (Harper) then B (Peyton) then C (Remi). Everything went really well for the babies. Peyton was put on a c-tap for four hours because her lungs still had some fluid. They were all given a little extra heat for help regulating their body temperatures and were fed through feeding tubes after their nursing and bottle feeding sessions to give them all the food they needed.

Janae had a pretty difficult recovery. She developed preeclampsia and was super swolen with a blood pressure in the 180s and was at risk for grand mal seizure. She was given magnesium for 24 hours to try to bring her blood pressure down but it wasn’t really working so after that she was given blood pressure medication for a couple days and was finally able to go home after 7 days in the hospital.




Some information that’s not in the video is that two of the girls are identical twins and the third is not. But your guess is as good as mine as to which ones are identical. Also, I think it’ll put some of you at ease to know that Janae and Weston and the triplets are living in Janae’s family’s house, so they have a lot of wonderful people pitching in to help with the girls almost constantly. And Weston’s family lives close by as well and are a wonderful support to them.







I had a very difficult time choosing clips from all of the cute footage that I took of the triplets and I also had a hard time cutting down my interview with Janae. Their story is so unique and special. So, soon I will be posting the full interview with Janae, which includes how they told their families, health difficulties along the way, and more interesting details about their journey. So be sure to subscribe to A Happier Home’s weekly newsletter in the sidebar or else you might miss it!




Congratulations Janae and Weston! What a wonderful beginning to an amazing adventure.


Leave a Comment if you liked this video or if you know someone who would like a baby story video of their own! And don’t forget to subscribe to my newsletter in the right side bar.

Healthy Summer Movie Snacks

If you’re like us we love to go to the movies and the best movies always come out during the summer. We took our two littles to go see Inside Out a couple of weeks ago and, since we are still doing our 100 Days of Real Food, I wanted to make sure that we weren’t gonna buy any sugary candy or any popcorn drenched in “butter” (if you can even call it butter). So, I made our own healthy summer movie snacks to bring and it was awesome!



Here’s what we brought!

1. My kids love Nuts and Raisins. They’ll sit and munch on them for a good 15 minutes. Might not sound like a long time but moms know how valuable 15 minutes can be!

2. Strawberries are also a must have. My husband doesn’t like them because they can get a little sticky. But I love them because they’re delicious!! And easy for the one-year-old to eat.

3. I really love the GoGo Squeeze apple sauces. They’re totally organic and have real food ingredients. The Costco brand of these are also good if not better than the GoGo Squeeze.

4. And of course you have to have Popcorn! I just learned how to make popcorn at home and I am thrilled with the outcome. Check it out!


Microwave Popcorn!


You’ll need: A Paper Bag, Popcorn Kernels, Salt, and Oil or Butter.

Just dump a 1/4 cup of popcorn kernels into the bag. Fold the top down. Cook in the microwave for about 2 minutes or until the popping decreases to about 1 every 3 seconds. Then take out the bag, pour some melted butter or coconut oil in the bag and then shake it! You kind of have to use a lot of coconut oil for it to add to the flavor. Then add in some salt and shake some more! The bag will get all oily and gross so you’ll need to transfer it to ziplock bag or a bowl.

So easy and so yummy!! And a much healthier alternative to that delicious smelling, but ultimately super bad for you, theater popcorn.

I will also pop popcorn just in my frying pan on the stove top. Put some coconut oil and cinnamon and nutmeg in the pan, then add the kernels. Let them simmer in the oil as it heats up on medium heat. When the kernels start to pop put the lid on the pan and let the magic happen! When the popping stops, move the popcorn to a big bowl and add salt. And Boom! A healthy snack for the movies or for any time!

Here are some other healthy popcorn recipes



Maybe not so healthy…

I hope this will inspire you to feed yourself and your family a little healthier even when you’re doing something fun as a family and just want to indulge in the ways of our crazy unhealthy world.

Happy Movie Going!!!


p.s. We thought Inside Out was a really funny and cute and super creative movie. The theme was awesome but I was a little surprised that my littles sat nicely through the whole thing because it got kind of serious at some points. Anyway, have a good weekend! Remember who you are! Make good choices!





Mike and Carly Walton’s Wedding Video!!

Congratulations to my beautiful sister Carly and her new husband Mike!

The wedding was amazing and the receptions was so much fun!! It was a little hard for me to be in the wedding and try to video all at the same time but luckily I had help from my Dad, my  brother, and even Mike’s brother and I’m very happy with how it all turned out!

Can’t believe she’s married!! Yay!

Mike and Carly Walton’s Wedding Video


If you know of anyone looking for a videographer for any occasion, leave a comment and I’d love to be of service to you!


Week 3 of Our Real Food Challenge and Feeling Good!

I can’t believe we’re already three weeks into our real food challenge! And at the same time I can’t believe we still have sooooo far to go…

Every day Zach and I run into obstacles and challenges with eating real food but we are dedicated and pushing through!

We have tried so many new things the last couple of weeks. Some have been amazing! And some have been major fails. See all of them right here.

Let’s Start with some some Fajitas!!

Grill up some chicken, red and green bell peppers, and onions on stove top and add some cumin, onion powder, chili powder, salt, and pepper and you’re there! So easy and so yummy. Of course paired with homemade whole wheat tortillas makes it a super duper yummy dinner. Go us!




These Whole Wheat Banana pancakes were my most favorite win of the week!!! Seriously I love them so much I made them twice, which means we ate them 4 times because it makes enough for 2 meals. They were so bananaee and moist and fluffy and awesome! We had them with real maple syrup and I actually liked it this time around. I DID NOT like maple syrup a couple of weeks ago when we were first starting our pledge. But now that our sweet sensors have simmered down, the maple syrup was a super yummy extra flavor to the pancakes. These would also be yummy with the normal kind of syrup too, obviously. You have to try these!!





We. Love. Bacon. Especially when it’s in a bacon weave. What?! Guaranteed bacon in every bite. I’ve never really been into BLTs but I am now! The bacon, plus crunchy lettuce, plus juicy tomato is all around amazing.




Spaghetti and Meatballs; this was 2/3 win 1/3 fail. This meatball recipe was so amazing and so easy. I never knew how to make meatballs but I don’t think I’ll be able to go back to store bought again (that’s not totally true). It was really fun making them and fun seeing my family devour them because of the yumminess. The fail was with the whole wheat spaghetti. It was just super grainy and not yummy. I might need to try a different brand though. I’ve tried a couple different brands of whole wheat flour and there has been some big differences between them. So maybe it’s the same with pasta? I’ll let you know if I find a better brand. Other wise this was a very easy and yummy meal.



This was another sad fail. I was really excited about trying out these pizza pockets instead of just boring flat pizza. But it just didn’t turn out that well. The dough rose way too much in the oven so when I got them out it was like all bread and barely any sauce or cheese. It probably wasn’t the recipe’s fault as much as my inexperience with it. I’m willing to try this one again but maybe role out the dough way thinner and add a lot more filling. Or maybe I’ll make really small pizza pockets that are more like pizza bites.



We did use the same dough recipe for a normal pizza later and it worked soooo great. Loved it.



And last but not least, I have to put another plug in for this salad dressing bottle. We made the honey mustard a couple weeks ago and it’s the best. I use it all the time. Yummy, sugar free, real food salad dressing is a real thing people!

IMG_7187(this picture is before we shook it all up)


If you have any Real Food recipes leave a comment and I’ll try it out! If you are interested in the rules click here.


We are very excited about how everything is going and so surprised about how easy it actually is. Once you start thinking outside the box and gaining new eating and living habits the rest is just yummy!

Hope this is inspiring for you! If you feel like you and your family need a change in diet and lifestyle I would highly suggest trying some real food recipes. It’s really helped me to feel empowered and in control of my life and my body. Saying no to sweets and treats when I usually can’t resist a third or fourth helping is a whole new world for me. And I have to say that I like it.


Happy Wednesday Everyone!



Raising Confident Kids

Motivational Monday – #1 Raising Confident Kids

Do you worry about your children growing up to be confident? Do you take the time to teach them specifically about confidence? After seeing this video below I started to ask myself these questions.

What am I doing to help my kids grow up to be strong, confident people?

What am I doing to help them face their own decisions when the time comes?

What can I possibly do to teach my kids that they are strong, smart, beautiful, and worthwhile human beings?

You should know that my oldest is only three. So I’m still very new at mothering and teaching. But this is what I’ve come up with so far, learning from my own parents, my husband’s parents and my own experience.

1. Take the time to tell your children what you want them to believe about themselves.

I love how this dad is teaching his little girl that she is amazing and can do anything by simply taking the time to teach her and tell her that she is amazing! And I LOVE that it’s coming from the dad. I know that I learned a lot from my dad as a little kid, and I just love it when I see other dads stepping up to the plate and taking care of their own. Of course mothers must express this too. If you, who know this child better than anyone in the whole world, you, who has or can have the most influence in this little one’s life, don’t tell them they are beautiful, smart, important, worthwhile, amazing, powerful, creative, and loved, then who will?

Having confidence in themselves begins with them having confidence in your love.



2. Show them how to be confident by being confident in your own life

This doesn’t mean you have to be the president of the PTA, or a community leader, or even be super outgoing in general. My idea of being confident is knowing what you believe in and standing up for it if need be. For example, if you believe in a certain level of modesty (for us it’s always been covered shoulders and mid drift, and no short shorts or skirts), then be an example of that yourself. Teach your kids why you believe in modesty (Your body is sacred. Through your dress and appearance, you can show that you know how precious your body is). And then be an example of it yourself.

Another example: If you want your kids to be confident around new people, create opportunities for them to be in groups of new people and be an example of a strong hand shake, speaking up, and good conversational topics ( try the F.O.R.D. method of conversation: family, occupation, recreation, and dreams as good topics of discussion with new people).

YOU are an amazing person.  YOU are smart, beautiful, talented, and able to do so many things! YOU should practice being confident too, and talk to your kids about it. If you have to speak in church on Sunday and are really nervous, talk about it and show your kids that even though you are nervous you will be confident and do the best you can do.


3. Make your kids do hard things

This might sound bad but seriously, kids these days! Think about it. What opportunities do kids have that are actually hard? If you let them, they could easily sail through life without breaking a sweat. I just put my little 3-year-old in swim lessons and he’s usually telling me the whole drive there that he doesn’t want to go and that he wants to stay home, but I make him do it anyway. He’s always super happy by the end and he’s learning so much from going.

That is a very small example of what I’m trying to get at. but I hope I’m making sense.

Take a look at what your kids are involved in and make sure there’s something in their lives that’s hard, maybe even something that they really don’t want to do, but you make them do anyway because you know it’ll make them better. Of course we always have to evaluate what levels of hard will actually help our children (I’m not going to make my toddler mow the lawn!). Making kids do hard things will help them be more confident in their own abilities and skills. And sometimes it’s just good to know that YOU CAN DO HARD THINGS! They will be more confident during difficult real life situations when they have had experiences that you, as their parent, provided for them.

Examples of hard things kids can do (this obviously will change according to ages):

Little Kids

  • Make their beds
  • Wash windows
  • Dust
  • Play outside
  • Read
  • Feed their little siblings
  • Put their clothes away
  • Clean up their toys
  • Make their own meals
  • Join a sports team
  • Play with new friends
  • Go on long walks or hikes
  • Learn to ride a bike or scooter

Older Kids

  • Join a sports team and stick with it for the whole season – I always look at football and just think that it would be a really challenging sport to be a part of, especially in the hot Arizona sun.
  • Learn an instrument and practice it regularly
  • Mow the lawn
  • Babysit
  • Get a job
  • Wake up early for something
  • Join a school club
  • Make goals for self-improvement
  • Volunteer at an animal shelter, soup kitchen, justserve.org, or senior center
  • Pull weeds – my dad made me do this and I hated it so much but as a new home owner I actually kind of like pulling my weeds now and I’m happy that I know how.
  • Cook dinner
  • Do their homework and do it well!
  • Go on a hard hike with them
  • Go camping

Raising confident kids


I recently interviewed my Grandma about her life growing up on a farm in Queen Creek, Arizona. She said that during potato season she and all the teenagers in the town would go work in the potato shed for a couple of weeks to earn a little extra cash. She explains how hard this work was and that they all kind of dreaded potato season. But now they all look back on those weeks in the shed with fondness, thinking about all of the good times they had and knowing that they accomplished something really hard.

I get kind of sad sometimes, thinking that since I don’t live on a farm, my kids will most likely never have those experiences of waking up at five a.m. to milk the cows or feed the sheep or whatever they do on farms. But as I was relating this sadness to my husband one day he said that even though they don’t wake up early to do those things, when he was young he had to wake up at five to get his piano practice in for the day. And waking up early like that for so long did him a lot of good.

There are so many things we can get out kids involved in that will teach them how to work hard. Figure out what works for your kids and encourage them to do it!

Who knows! Maybe someday your child will be as confident and motivational as this little guy.



There are so many things we need to be doing as parents. Don’t stress out too much about giving your kids everything they’ll need to face the real world because there will undoubtedly be holes here and there.

What I’m hoping is that this little post will remind you to keep an eye on their confidence. No matter how well we teach our kids right and wrong while we have them under our wing, if they don’t have the confidence to act on what they’ve learned then there’s a problem.

Just remember that you are, or will be, an amazing parent! You can do hard things, you can be confident in yourself, and you can help a child feel loved just by being yourself.


Please remember that I am NOT a parenting expert. If you want to, leave a comment (up by the title) with how you were raised to be confident or how you try to teach your own kids how to be confident.

For more ideas of how to teach your kids confidence, check out this list from a fellow blogger.

Happy Monday everyone!



Don’t leave without watching this video. It’s one of my favs!






Why We Try to Eat Real Food

Real Food week one complete!! I would love to say that it was a breeze and that we loved every dish we made, but honestly it was really hard. One of the hardest parts was how much cooking I had to do. And consequently, how many dishes we had to wash. Processed foods are easy easy easy. I used to be able to whip up a three course meal in thirty minutes with my canned rolls and boxed pasta mixes. Don’t get me wrong, I love all of those quick meals, but my eyes are truly opened since having to cook from scratch for everything we eat.


I’ve had some inquiries about why we try to eat real food and what exactly the rules are and what our whole pledge is about so I thought I’d take some time to explain it a little bit.

First of all, our family decided to do the pledge because we had a lot of holes in our diet and we ate way too much junk food. We needed a change. But not just a diet. We needed something I like to call a “Live It”.

What we’re hoping to get out of our pledge is an education of what we’re putting into our bodies, a cleanse of all processed foods including any form of sugar and refined grains, and pretty much a whole new eating lifestyle.

I thought 100 Days would be a good amount of time for me in particular, because I’m the kind of person who can make a short term goal like a week or a month, and then after completing it I happily go right back to the way things were as if no progress was made. After 100 days (14 weeks) of eating real foods I’m hoping that it will really be ingrained in my lifestyle and that I will be so used to it that I won’t want to go back to eating badly.

I guess we’ll find out in the end. Yikes!

So here are some of the rules/guidelines

What we can’t eat:

  1. No refined grains such as white flour or white rice (items containing wheat must say WHOLE wheat…not just “wheat”)
  2. No refined sweeteners such as sugar, any form of corn syrup, cane juice, or the artificial stuff like Splenda
  3. Nothing out of a box, can, bag, bottle or package that has more than 5 ingredients listed on the label
  4. No deep fried foods
  5. No “fast foods”


What we CAN eat:

  1. Whole foods that are more a product of nature than a product of industry
  2. Lots of fruits and vegetables
  3. Dairy products like milk, unsweetened yogurt, eggs, and cheese (we’ve noticed during our first week and a half that we lean a little to heavily towards dairy and we’re trying to cut back)
  4. 100% whole-wheat and whole-grains 
  5. Seafood (wild caught is the optimal choice over farm-raised)
  6. Only locally raised meats such as pork, beef, and chicken (This is from the official 100 Days website but we’re not sticking too close to this rule because locally raised meats are suuuper expensive. We don’t eat a lot of meat anyway)
  7. Beverages limited to water, milk, all natural juices
  8. Snacks like dried fruit, seeds, nuts and popcorn
  9. All natural sweeteners including honey, 100% maple syrup, and fruit juice concentrates are acceptable in moderation


So as you can see, the “CAN EAT” list is actually longer than the “CAN’T EAT” list. But if you go to the grocery store you’ll see there are waaaaay more things to buy that are on the no no list. Honestly, grocery shopping has gotten a lot easier since we’ve started.

Before we started I would go down all the main aisles and look at everything and have a hard time choosing which items to get based on superficial criteria like the packaging, or size, or even how yummy it looked based on the packaging design. Now I make my lists (which of course you can do always, not just during a food pledge), I get whats on my lists, and if something comes up that looks interesting I go straight to the ingredients.

It’s fun! We’re really having a great time with it. And we’ve discovered some new yummy food a long the way.



Homemade Granola

Home made granola

Whole Wheat Pizza! This was seriously not as bad as you would think haha. The crust is pretty thin and whole grainey you could say. But the fresh topping made up the difference. Fresh mozzarella? Yes please! So good.


We just got Porter his new floaties so he had to wear it all night.



Yummy Snacks
snack bowl

Crock Pot Pulled Pork and Whole Wheat Tortillas

pulled pork and whole wheat tortillas


All Natural Peanut Butter

all natural peanut butter

Over Night Oats

over night oatmeal


Caprese in a pita! yummy lunch for Dad.

caprese in a pita

Omelets! We already loved omelets before our pledge and we’re happy they’re allowed!




One of my favorite things so far. We got this bottle off of amazon and it gives you the ingredients to make your own dressing. We tried the honey mustard and I seriously love it. Is it low calorie? I don’t know because I don’t count calories, but it is yummy and has all natural ingredients. I seriously look forward to a salad lunch because of this little guy. Genius. Can’t wait to try out the other dressings.

home made honey mustard dressing


Please Comment if you liked this or even if you don’t like it. Also, if you have any tips, money savers, or favorite real food recipes.