Featured Slider

Those Who Are Living Their Best Life Aren't Posting It Online

Breaking the eight month blogging silence with some deep thoughts I've been having about identity, idolatry, and this age we find ourselves living in where we constantly have access to other people's lives through social media. 


I've been living through a transformative reckoning the last several months and feel like these onion layers have been peeling away from me in rather large chunks. As I've moved away from living my life online, I've realized I've had these "social media influencer" blinders on for 10 years, and when they were jarringly ripped off, it's led to a lot of deep and transformative thoughts within myself that I'd love to share. 

I've been walking this path of truly studying the idea of identity and idolatry. I've been trying to ask myself through many lenses of my life, "If God took this away tomorrow would I be okay?" For almost everything in my life, I can honestly answer yes. I've proved to be okay without blogging. If God took away my family, my house, my car, my job, Derek's job... All of that would be insanely hard, but I know I would be okay. Which is good, I don't find identity in my house, possessions, other people, etc... because I know and understand that God will provide for me in all things and so those aren't things I personally struggle with. 

One massive reckoning I've had is the amount of identity I have in running and the entire running world/community. I know without a doubt that if I had an accident tomorrow where I shattered every bone in my leg and could never run again, I would not be okay. I would need massive amounts of mental health services to get me through that trial, and I'm sure against better judgement I would still try to run time and time again because it's an addiction I just can't break. I've shared this idea with people over the last few weeks and the response I get 100% of the time is, "If running is your biggest problem you're doing okay", or "I don't think that's really an issue you need to take up with God..." And yes, are there bigger issues/addictions than running? Absolutely. But it's still something that I personally know I find identity in and so it's an onion layer I find value in exploring. 

As I've been working through this "issue" I've come to some conclusions: 1) Passion is not bad. 2) There is nothing inherently wrong with running. 3) God gave us this earth and life, and I truly think that He wants all of us to find the things that make us tick and bring us pure joy. So how do I make this shift away from finding identity in running? I've also come to several more conclusions: 1) My works are not my own they are God's. 2) I believe running can be used as a platform to speak to God's goodness when I recognize my accomplishments are not my own, but are achieved through the people, care, and resources that God has put into my life to help me reach my goals.

I truly believe as we work through these identities and idols that we ultimately worship in our lives (and they look different for everyone), we can find this middle ground where we can deeply love our hobbies and passions because they're a manifestation of God's love for us. 

This brings me to my thoughts on social media. While I don't intend for everyone to become a Christian social media influencer who praises God for all the good in their lives, it's really made me see how much people idolize other people online. How much certain influencers online find identity in their businesses, homes, possessions, etc... We're constantly being sales pitched. There are always people telling us we have a problem in our lives, but if you click here on this link, and spend your money on this product, all your problems will be solved. 

We're constantly being shown other people's massive homes, expensive remodels, and are led to feel that our own homes aren't enough because we're not keeping up with this staged life of others that we see online. 

I was listening to the radio the other day and they said, "Those who are living their best life aren't posting it online, because they're out living it, and not seeking validation from the world." Like daggers to my own soul. How many times have I posted something on social media and sat by my phone for 30 minutes constantly hitting the refresh button just to see the likes and comments roll in... or they don't and then I start thinking there is something wrong with me or my life because it didn't receive the validation from others that I hoped it would? 

I don't even really know how to approach social media after a comment like that because... It's truth. We don't need validation from others in our lives. Our lives and how we choose to live them are enough regardless of what someone else on the other side of a screen does or does not tell you. It makes me want to be more mindful of what I'm putting out on social media. Am I posting something because I want validation for the cute things my family and I do? Am I posting something because I want other people to praise me for something I've accomplished? 

At one point not too long ago in my life I would 100% say the answer to that was yes. While there are definitely still moments where I need to check myself, I wonder if there is also a way where we can strike this balance of sharing, but also knowing our works are not our own. It's an approach I've been working through in my posts the last few months. Can I post about running? Yes. Can I also post about the ways that God has healed me through an eating disorder, how He's put amazing people in my life to make running what it is for me right now? Yes. Can I speak about how my accomplishments are not mine but a result of the work God is doing in my life? I think yes. I think that social media can be a place where we can share the good and put the glory/praise in the right place, if we make that commitment. 

It's my hope for everyone who reads this that when you're using social media, the pretty aesthetic lives you see are not reflective of how everyone is living their lives. You can use social media to journal your family adventures and post the fun and happy moments, but if they don't get the likes and comments you hoped they would, that doesn't make your moments any less valid, or happy, or meaningful. It's my hope that as we all navigate the identities and idols that are calling for us and sucking us in each day that we can become more and more aware of our weaknesses, and seek to identify ways we can make them strengths in our lives. 

How Do You Make Oobleck

Oobleck is a fun STEM project you can do at home with your children. If you're wondering how do you make oobleck with minimal ingredients, look no further. 

I love doing messy activities with my kids. I know I'm probably not in the norm with that statement, but I love it because it entertains them for hours! Things like slime, finger paints, glitter, glue, etc... I lay it out for the kids and they let their imaginations run wild and take over the rest. 

How do you make oobleck. How to make oobleck at home. Dr Seuss Bartholomew and the Oobleck. Super inexpensive fun kitchen experiment. Science experiment for kids. Homeschool science ideas. Homeschool art ideas. Sensory play at home. Home OT and PT ideas. Oobleck recipe. Oobleck Experiment. DIY oobleck. Oobleck craft. Oobleck slime. Quarantine activity ideas. #oobleck #drseuss #slime #craftsforkids #pt #ot #sensory #homeschool #science #quarantine #pandemic
We were having one of those Sundays that seem to go on and on with no chance of bedtime in sight, and decided to try making this Oobleck with the kids a few weeks ago. It was super fun, kept them busy right up until bedtime, and they both had a blast. 

How Do You Make Oobleck:

There are a lot of different recipes I've seen for how to make Oobleck going around on the internet, but the best Oobleck recipe we've used it to simply use equal parts water and cornstarch. Once our mixture was done, we stirred in some food coloring to make it a little more fun for the kids, and then let them have a blast with it. 

If you pick up a big handful of it, it feels like a solid, only for it to completely turn runny and melt through the cracks in your fingers. 

How do you make oobleck. How to make oobleck at home. Dr Seuss Bartholomew and the Oobleck. Super inexpensive fun kitchen experiment. Science experiment for kids. Homeschool science ideas. Homeschool art ideas. Sensory play at home. Home OT and PT ideas. Oobleck recipe. Oobleck Experiment. DIY oobleck. Oobleck craft. Oobleck slime. Quarantine activity ideas. #oobleck #drseuss #slime #craftsforkids #pt #ot #sensory #homeschool #science #quarantine #pandemic

What is Oobleck?

Essentially it's a mixture of cornstarch and water. It isn't quite a liquid, and it isn't quite a solid. When you stick your hands in it, it feels wet, but your hands don't penetrate all the way through to the bottom of the bowl right away. They kind of sit on the surface, and then slowly sink in after a few seconds. 

How do you make oobleck. How to make oobleck at home. Dr Seuss Bartholomew and the Oobleck. Super inexpensive fun kitchen experiment. Science experiment for kids. Homeschool science ideas. Homeschool art ideas. Sensory play at home. Home OT and PT ideas. Oobleck recipe. Oobleck Experiment. DIY oobleck. Oobleck craft. Oobleck slime. Quarantine activity ideas. #oobleck #drseuss #slime #craftsforkids #pt #ot #sensory #homeschool #science #quarantine #pandemic

How to make Oobleck more fun:

If you want to add a little flair to your play, you can add some marbles or toys into it that you don't mind getting messy. You can then let your children look for the objects inside the Oobleck to make it more of a little scavenger hunt instead of a messy free for all (we went for the free for all but if you need structure this is a good option!)



How to Make Oobleck

Print
How to Make Oobleck
Yield: 1
Author: Paige Flamm
Prep time: 5 MinTotal time: 5 Min
Oobleck is a fun STEM project you can do at home with your children. If you're wondering how to make oobleck with minimal ingredients, look no further.

Ingredients

How to Make Oobleck
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 cups cornstarch
  • food coloring

Instructions

  1. Combine all your ingredients together in a bowl, and enjoy your playtime!

Have you made Oobleck with your kids? It would be a fun sensory game while we're all at home right now!

If you liked this post, How Do You Make Oobleck, you might also like:


Be sure to stay up-to-date on all of the latest things in our lives by following along in instagram @thehappyflammily!

The Best Way to Clean The Oven (Six Simple Steps)

If you happen to have an oven without a self cleaning feature, you may find yourself looking for the best way to clean the oven and remove dirt and grime. Here are six easy steps to help you out. 

Several months ago I made some muffins, and when I went to put the pan in the oven, it slipped out of my hand and spilled batter everywhere, including inside our stove. I cleaned up as much as I could, and then figured I do a self clean cycle on the oven and we'd be fine. Until I realized that despite our house being built in 2017, the ovens are not self cleaning ovens. I didn't even know they still made ovens that did not self clean at this point in time. 

How to clean your oven with baking soda and vinegar. How to clean an oven quickly. How to clean the worst oven. How to clean oven with lemon. How to clean an oven with ammonia. How to clean an oven with oven cleaner. Clean oven with vinegar steam. How to clean an oven door. How to clean an oven without harsh chemicals. The best cleaning hacks. How to clean your oven easily. Easy home hacks. Easy cleaning hacks. Spring cleaning routine. Deep cleaning tips. #cleaning #deepcleaning #lifehacks #oven #ovencleaning #naturalcleaning #dishsoap #bakingsoda #vinegar #cleaning #springcleaning

At that point I washed my hands of the situation and decided to figure out my problems when we moved out of here. Well we move out in five weeks, so I decided now was as good as any to get this oven situation figured out. If you need tips on how to clean your non-self cleaning oven, let this be your guide.

How to clean your oven with baking soda and vinegar. How to clean an oven quickly. How to clean the worst oven. How to clean oven with lemon. How to clean an oven with ammonia. How to clean an oven with oven cleaner. Clean oven with vinegar steam. How to clean an oven door. How to clean an oven without harsh chemicals. The best cleaning hacks. How to clean your oven easily. Easy home hacks. Easy cleaning hacks. Spring cleaning routine. Deep cleaning tips. #cleaning #deepcleaning #lifehacks #oven #ovencleaning #naturalcleaning #dishsoap #bakingsoda #vinegar #cleaning #springcleaning

The Best Way to Clean The Oven:

Cleaning Supplies to Clean a Stove:

  • Dish Soap
  • Baking Soda
  • Dish Sponge
  • Scrub Brush
  • Straight Edge Razor
  • Chisel

Step One: Get the Inside of Your Stove Wet

I used a dish sponge loaded with water, and then squeezed the water into the oven and onto the door. I got about 3-4 sponge fulls of water in there before calling it good. 

Step Two: Squirt Dish Soap and Sprinkle Baking Soda Everywhere

I took the bottle of dish soap and squirted it very liberally all over the door and the inside of the oven, and then sprinkled lots of baking soda all over the dish soap. I let is sit an absorb and work it's magic on all the grime for a good 10 minutes. 

How to clean your oven with baking soda and vinegar. How to clean an oven quickly. How to clean the worst oven. How to clean oven with lemon. How to clean an oven with ammonia. How to clean an oven with oven cleaner. Clean oven with vinegar steam. How to clean an oven door. How to clean an oven without harsh chemicals. The best cleaning hacks. How to clean your oven easily. Easy home hacks. Easy cleaning hacks. Spring cleaning routine. Deep cleaning tips. #cleaning #deepcleaning #lifehacks #oven #ovencleaning #naturalcleaning #dishsoap #bakingsoda #vinegar #cleaning #springcleaning

Step Three: Scrub the Oven Down With Your Scrub Brush

I took my scrub brush and worked in a circular motion all over the inside of the oven and the door. I did this for about 5-10 minutes, really working hard to break apart as much of the grime and caked on debris as possible. 

Step Four: Wipe Everything Down With a Wet Rag

I took a rag and got it wet with super hot water, and then wiped out as much of the baking soda and soap as possible. I think I used a total of three rags to get everything wiped out and cleaned. 

Step Five: Bust Out the Razor Blade and Chisel

Scrubbing did remove a lot of the debris, but there was still so much stuff caked onto the door and the bottom of the oven. Derek disassembled a bic razor to remove the blade, and I rubbed that all over the door. It did an amazing job at breaking up all the little specks and didn't leave any scratches on the glass.

The bottom of the oven was basically unphased by the razor blade and we had to use more extreme measured, a chisel. Again, I ran this back and forth on all the black caked on spots until they eventually came off, and again, it left no scratches on the surface. 

How to clean your oven with baking soda and vinegar. How to clean an oven quickly. How to clean the worst oven. How to clean oven with lemon. How to clean an oven with ammonia. How to clean an oven with oven cleaner. Clean oven with vinegar steam. How to clean an oven door. How to clean an oven without harsh chemicals. The best cleaning hacks. How to clean your oven easily. Easy home hacks. Easy cleaning hacks. Spring cleaning routine. Deep cleaning tips. #cleaning #deepcleaning #lifehacks #oven #ovencleaning #naturalcleaning #dishsoap #bakingsoda #vinegar #cleaning #springcleaning

How to clean your oven with baking soda and vinegar. How to clean an oven quickly. How to clean the worst oven. How to clean oven with lemon. How to clean an oven with ammonia. How to clean an oven with oven cleaner. Clean oven with vinegar steam. How to clean an oven door. How to clean an oven without harsh chemicals. The best cleaning hacks. How to clean your oven easily. Easy home hacks. Easy cleaning hacks. Spring cleaning routine. Deep cleaning tips. #cleaning #deepcleaning #lifehacks #oven #ovencleaning #naturalcleaning #dishsoap #bakingsoda #vinegar #cleaning #springcleaning

Step Six: Use a Dry Towel to Wipe Out All the Leftover Dust and Debris

When I was done with the chisel and razor blade I wiped everything out with a dry towel, and then swept the floors to get everything actually cleaned. The glass door was looking a little streaky so I wiped that with Windex and then it was done!

How to clean your oven with baking soda and vinegar. How to clean an oven quickly. How to clean the worst oven. How to clean oven with lemon. How to clean an oven with ammonia. How to clean an oven with oven cleaner. Clean oven with vinegar steam. How to clean an oven door. How to clean an oven without harsh chemicals. The best cleaning hacks. How to clean your oven easily. Easy home hacks. Easy cleaning hacks. Spring cleaning routine. Deep cleaning tips. #cleaning #deepcleaning #lifehacks #oven #ovencleaning #naturalcleaning #dishsoap #bakingsoda #vinegar #cleaning #springcleaning

This entire process took me less than an hour and really wasn't that bad at all. It's funny how something I had been dreading for months really wound up being a stress free process once I finally did it!

I do realize that the stove is still not perfect. I could probably get the corners better, and there is stuff trapped between the glass on the door that I'll never be able to get, but it is still 100 time better than what it was!

Do you have a self cleaning oven, or an oven like mine? Do you have any tips or products you love for cleaning the inside of your stove? I'd love to know in the comments below! 

If you liked this post, The Best Way to Clean The Oven, you might also like:


Be sure to stay up-to-date on all of the latest things in our lives by following along in instagram @thehappyflammily!

How To Organize A Family Reunion

If you want all the details on how to organize a family reunion look no further. We have everything from breaking down the cost, activities, meals, and more!

At the beginning of the week we all piled into the car and headed up to Idaho. This was the first year that Derek's immediate family hosted a family reunion, and I'm pretty sure it's something that we're going to repeat each summer. It was honestly so much fun and it was such a great way to be able to get the entire family together, have fun, and not spend 10,000 years cleaning up Derek's parents house afterwards. I've had a lot of people ask for details about the reunion, so I'll share as much as I know in case anyone else is wondering how to plan a family reunion.

Family reunion ideas. Family reunion planning website. Family reunion activities. Questions to ask when planning a family reunion. Family reunion committee. Family reunion games. How to ask for money for family reunion. Family reunion planning app. Planning food for family reunion. Family reunion schedule ideas. Where to host a family reunion. #family #familyreunion #fmailyevents #familyfun #travel

I do want to start off by saying Derek's sister planned this first reunion and did an amazing job. I think the plan is for it to rotate among Derek's family who plans it in subsequent years and Keriana honestly did such a fabulous job this year that it really made an awesome blue print for us moving forward. 

How to Organize a Family Reunion:

Where to host a family reunion?

We did ours in Driggs, ID. This was a one hour drive from Derek's parents house, and a 4-5 hour drive for us from Utah. Most of Derek's siblings all live in the same town as his parents, or the next town over. Most people had a short dive except for Derek and I, and his sister who lives in Pocatello.

Family reunion ideas. Family reunion planning website. Family reunion activities. Questions to ask when planning a family reunion. Family reunion committee. Family reunion games. How to ask for money for family reunion. Family reunion planning app. #family #familyreunion #fmailyevents #familyfun #travel

If you're planning a reunion, picking a place that is within a good driving distance for most families is ideal. I think we originally picked Driggs because it was a short driving distance to Yellowstone National Park, which I think originally we were going to go to, but with covid-19 I think the entrance was closed so we wound up doing other activities instead, but it wound up being just as fun.

Try picking a location that has a huge focal point such as a lake, a national park, or some sort of key highlight, and then it will make it easier to plan activities around that. Then look for places that are big enough to host all of you. I think we found our place on Air BNB, so look on home rental sites like that to see what you can find. We wound up having enough space for each family to use two bedrooms. 

Who to invite to a family reunion?

Honestly, you can make it as big or small as you would like. Derek has a large family (his parents have 9 kids, and there are 20 grandchildren so far), all together there was 36 people. It might have been a little unreasonable to plan an event for anyone outside of the children, spouse, grandchildren circle, but if you have a smaller family you could totally include extended family to make it more inclusive. 

How to plan meals for a family reunion?

Each of the married spouses and Derek's parents took turns rotating through the meals. Derek's sister and her husband were in charge of dinner the first night, and then his other sister and her husband cooked breakfast the next morning, Jacob and Krista were in charge of lunch on Monday, and Maurcine and Dakota were in charge of Monday dinner. Derek's mom and dad were in charge of breakfast on Tuesday, and Derek and I were in charge of Tuesday lunch. This made it really easy for delegating responsibility and knowing what to bring. We all brought additional snacks and pretty much shared those in between meals for kids when they were hungry.

Family reunion ideas. Family reunion planning website. Family reunion activities. Questions to ask when planning a family reunion. Family reunion committee. Family reunion games. How to ask for money for family reunion. Family reunion planning app. #family #familyreunion #fmailyevents #familyfun #travel

How to divide expenses for a family reunion?

This was a question someone sent me on Instagram and I'm not really sure the exact answer. Everyone who was in charge of cooking a meal purchased all the food and supplies for that meal. I believe all the married couples and Derek's parents spilt the cost of where we stayed six ways (there might have been others who did contribute but I'm just guessing). Most of the activities that we did didn't cost anything (aside from some prizes and candy and things like that, and I assume Derek's sister paid for those so thank you Keriana if you're reading this!). One night the entire family went horseback riding for two hours and I'm sure there was a fee for that, I'm assuming paid for by Derek's parents. 

What activities to do at a family reunion?

I'll share the full schedule we used for the reunion at the bottom of this post but here is an extensive list of all the activities we did at the reunion:

Family reunion ideas. Family reunion planning website. Family reunion activities. Questions to ask when planning a family reunion. Family reunion committee. Family reunion games. How to ask for money for family reunion. Family reunion planning app. #family #familyreunion #fmailyevents #familyfun #travel
  1. Face Game: Derek's sister asked for everyone to send an individual picture of everyone in the family, she then took two different people and morphed their faces together, and everyone had to guess which to people in the family were morphed into one photo. Everyone had a piece of paper numbered 1-36 and whoever got the most guesses right at the end of the game won a prize. I don't know what app Keriana used to make the photos, but there seems to be a lot of options when you google it. 
  2. Minute to Win it Games: The first night we were there we played a bunch of minute to win it games with all of the nieces and nephews and they had a ton of fun. You can find a ton of options for games to play on pinterest! 
  3. Family 5k and Running Events: We held a family 5k that went from where we were staying and ended at a local high school track. The family members that weren't running met us there in their cars, and manned the streets directing the runners where to go. Once everyone was done running the 5k we did 100m and 400m races for all the kids and adults to participate in. 
  4. Outdoor games: After the races we did some games on the football field like a family relay race, a freeze dance competition where one kid would pick which dance to do (most of ours turned into dancing like some animal) then the music would stop and we'd pick a new dance and did this 5-6 times before going onto the next activity. We also tapped a bunch of candy to a plain t-shirt and put it on the oldest nephew and had him run around the field with all the other nieces and nephews chasing him and trying to rip the candy off. 
  5. Horse Back Riding: We paid to ride horses for two hours and each kid had about 10-12 minutes on the horse before getting down and letting the next person have a turn. If there aren't horses where you're staying maybe you could rent some ATVs, go boating, some sort of big adventure that everyone can participate in. 
  6. Hike/Picnic: We were originally going to go on a hike around a lake near where we were staying on the last day, but it rained and we all ended up going home early. But hiking is a super easy go-to activity. 
Family reunion ideas. Family reunion planning website. Family reunion activities. Questions to ask when planning a family reunion. Family reunion committee. Family reunion games. How to ask for money for family reunion. Family reunion planning app. #family #familyreunion #fmailyevents #familyfun #travel

What to do during down time in a family reunion?

We had lots of downtime at night after dinner, and during the afternoon between lunch and dinner on the second day. Where we stayed had a big yard, a hot tub, TV for movies, and we brought lots of board games. During the downtime everyone kind of did their own thing and it was really nice. Most of the kids all played really well together, I got a nap at one point, and a lot of the adults played board games, cards, or just simply talked. It was really chill and didn't feel like it needed to be planned or overly scheduled.

How to keep everyone on schedule at a family reunion?

Derek's sister wrote an itinerary and had it hanging up on a lot of the walls where we were staying, and sent it to everyone a week or so before we got there. Everyone knew what to expect and what time all the meals were happening, and when we had to be in certain places for horse riding and major activities like that. Did we stick to the schedule perfectly down to the second? No, but we stuck to it pretty well and it was just really nice for everyone to be on the same page about when certain things were happening so we had general idea for what to expect.

Family reunion ideas. Family reunion planning website. Family reunion activities. Questions to ask when planning a family reunion. Family reunion committee. Family reunion games. How to ask for money for family reunion. Family reunion planning app. #family #familyreunion #fmailyevents #familyfun #travel

Family Reunion Awards:

Derek's sister made medals for all of the nieces and nephews out of canning lids and ribbon that said "Flamm Reunion 2020" on them and were super cute. She also bought 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place medals for each of the running events that were held, and ribbons for other things like best chef, the freeze dance competition, and other fun little games. She also gave gift cards along with some of the awards as well which was super fun. Derek's family is really into Boggle and they even bought a trophy that will travel to all future reunions and get engraved with the Boggle campion's name on it for that year.

This is pretty much all the information I have on how to organize and plan a family reunion. If you have any tips or suggestions that have worked well for you, I'd love to know about it in the comments below!

If you liked this post, How to Plan a Family Reunion, you might also like:

Be sure to follow along on instagram @thehappyflammily to stay up to date on all my latest posts!

Thank You + Goodbye

 There really aren't words to tie this off in a neat little bow. How do you walk away from something that has been such a huge part of your life for almost ten years. A decade. I've lived my life, my marriage, my kid's life all online for the last ten years. In ten years you've seen Derek and I get married, have our children, move from Utah to North Carolina, to Georgia, and back to Utah. We've bought houses, rented houses, remodeled houses, swore we were never moving again, only to do exactly that time and time again. 





The last several weeks I've been heavily contemplating what I want for my life long term, and this space online has always come back to me with a question mark floating over head. I've "quit" blogging before, as you can see from a dramatic post written in 2015, but this time it's not like that. I love blogging, and writing online is something that I will always love in a way, but having it linked so closely to my personal life has been something that's been more and more difficult for me, especially as my kids get older and I want to respect their privacy as much as possible. 

It's also taken a toll on my mental health in a way that I've only realized recently, and it's something I'm not really wanting to sacrifice anymore. Having the money I make be linked so closely to my personality, parenting, choices I do or don't make for my family, and always having to walk on eggshells to feel like I'm appeasing the masses takes a toll after a while. I've come to realize that I don't need to be doing it, so why am I? 


When I tried quitting blogging in 2015 I was walking away from my only source of income. I didn't have a plan moving forward and I didn't know if this online business I'd created was replicable, and maybe I'd just gotten lucky to be where I was. I ultimately needed this space for five more years while different pieces of my life fell into place. 


Five years later I have a job outside of blogging that provides me with a consistent income the way this never really has. That income is less than the inconsistent income I make here, but it's stable and I know it's something I can rely on as I move into this new chapter of my online presence. 


This year I've created two new websites. Neither one of them have to do with family, fashion, products, lifestyle,  etc... You won't be sold on the next best thing you do or don't need in your life. Many of you know several weeks ago I launched advocatingmoms.com a website geared towards connecting parents to online resources to help with raising a child with a disability. This is something I will continue to push my energy into over the coming months and years. 


I've also created another website, singleservingsize.com. It's a niche food site specializing in recipes that are only single servings. This website will hopefully overtime replace the revenue stream that this site once created for me. It allows me to still have the fun parts of blogging that I love, photographing food, writing recipes, and having a creative outlet that is far less attached to my personality and whether the person on the other side of the screen likes me and whatever topic I'm talking about. Food is food, and it's consistently the one part of blogging I've always loved. 


Moving forward there will likely not be new content shared on this space. As someone who knows first hand how much life changes, I'll never say never, but this is a door that I am closing for right now. The website will still stay up. I'll still be paying for my domain name each year, and you'll still see my name pop up on google or pinterest every now and then when you search for things, but otherwise, this is me saying goodbye. 


I don't know what will happen to my Instagram account. I have new accounts linked to my new sites. I've loved the connections I've made through this IG the last several years. I don't want to delete the entire account and lose the photos and memories I've shared. I think in time I may just change the settings to private. I still love sharing random things that happen in our lives through IG stories and connecting with people in a different way over there... So I honestly don't know what will come of that, but having the freedom to not care about my feed, aesthetic, stats, etc... is something I'm really looking forward to over the coming weeks. 


Thank you for being a part of my life for the last decade. Thank you for standing by me and my family and the content I've created. There is still so much more to come, just in a way that feels better to my life goals, and my mental and emotional well being. I'm grateful for the tools and knowledge I've gained through blogging the last ten years that has given me the confidence to know I can do something new. 


This is so hard and there is a part of me that will grieve this space. It's feels as though I'm loosing a part of my identity that I've held onto with a vice grip for the last ten years. As hard as it is to let go of it though, I know that there is so much more for me out there, and letting go of one thing is giving me the opportunity to have less stress, more focus, more direction, less compromised time with my children that doesn't involve waving a camera in their faces, and a world of opportunity. 


Thank you for being here with me and giving me the opportunity to learn and grow alongside all of you these last 10 years. I hope you'll follow along in the new endeavors, but I'm grateful for the time we've had together if this is where we part ways as well. 

How to Feed a Picky Eater with Oroweat Organic Bread

 This post is sponsored by BabbleBoxx on behalf of Oroweat Organic Bread.


Like many parents I think we've all questioned at some point or another how to feed a picky eater. Both of my kids don't really love food, and I have to go out of my way to make sure they're getting the nutrients they need into their little bodies. These are my best tips for getting my personal picky eaters to eat more of their food, and get some good vitamins, minerals, and other key nutrients into their system so they can feel good and do the things they love!

The Best Organic Bread

My kids like basic foods, so I'm always looking to make sure that the foods I'm giving them are the best options possible, with a wide nutrient profile. When making something simple like a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, I'm often looking for the all natural peanut butter, organic jam, and of course, Oroweat Organic White Made With Whole Wheat Bread for our kids.


My kids love this bread because it's super yummy with a soft and smooth texture, and Disney's Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse on the package doesn't hurt either! I love it because it's plant-based and provides a good source of vitamins A, D, and E. Oroweat Organic Bread is sustainably baked with renewable wind energy, and 11% of their revenue goes to support environmental causes.


Oroweat Organic Bread is an all around good company that I feel good about supporting from a flavor and nutrition standpoint, but from a business standpoint as well. 

Make Food Fun

Sometimes it helps to make food fun! If you're trying to get your children to enjoy something simple like a sandwich, try cutting it into a fun shape with a cookie cutter, or better yet, let your child get in on the action and do it themselves! Giving kids autonomy over their food, and letting them be involved in the cooking process can go such a long way in actually getting them to consume their food. It's something that we've done with Kyle and Kinsley for a couple years now and it's helped them to not only be more independent, but to get them to try new things as well. 


Give Food Choices

One rule that we have in our house is that our kids have to have a fruit or veggie with that meal. However, I often let them pick between a couple of options. At lunch time I might ask, "Do you want apples or oranges today?" They know they have to eat a fruit, but they're ten times more likely to actually eat it if they get to pick it themselves. I try to give options as much as possible because I think it shows the kids that I value their opinion, respect their tastes, and let them explore what they want to be eating instead of me forcing it onto them. 

Serve Familiar Foods with New Foods:

If I'm trying to get the kids to eat something new like celery and ranch, I'll serve it with something they're familiar with like PBJ on Oroweat Organic for Kids White Bread made with Whole Wheat. That way they have something that's tasty, familiar, and nutritious on their plate to eat along side the new food that they're trying. This makes things a little less intimidating for them, and also gives peace of mind that if they don't eat or like the new food, they at least have something familiar on their plate to eat too!

What are some of your favorite tips for picky eaters? I'd love to hear in the comments below!

If you liked this post, How to Feed a Picky Eater with Oroweat Organic Bread,  you might also like:

Be sure to follow along on Instagram @thehappyflammily to stay up-to-date on all the latest posts and projects. 

FREE Valentine Bookmark Printable

 If you have a child who loves all things reading, this FREE Valentine Bookmark Printable will be the perfect card for them to share with classmates this year!


If you've been around for more than two seconds over here, you'll know Kyle is obsessed with books and reading. When most other kids were playing with toys over Christmas break, Kyle had observed that he had 109 books in his bedroom, and was determined to read all of them before he returned back to school in January. 


Valentine’s Day printable bookmarks. Free printable bookmarks. Valentine bookmarks. How to make valentine bookmarks. Homemade valentine bookmarks. Free printable cute bookmarks. #valentines #Books #bookmarks #valentinesday #valentinescards #school #class #education


With Valentine's right around the corner, I thought it would be so fun and perfect to make a free Valentine bookmark printable to share with all of you, and for Kyle to handout at school. Now admittedly, Kyle found some Minecraft Valentine's that he's really jazzed to give his friends, but he has several teachers this school year, and he's 100% giving these bookmark Valentine's to them at their classroom party. 


Free Valentine Bookmark Printable:

This Valentine bookmark printable is pretty simple to make and cut out. There are two different color formats, a pink and purple template, and a red and blue template. To make these you'll simply print them out on card stock, and then using scissors or a paper cutter, cut along the thick black line to cut them out. 


Valentine’s Day printable bookmarks. Free printable bookmarks. Valentine bookmarks. How to make valentine bookmarks. Homemade valentine bookmarks. Free printable cute bookmarks. #valentines #Books #bookmarks #valentinesday #valentinescards #school #class #education            Valentine’s Day printable bookmarks. Free printable bookmarks. Valentine bookmarks. How to make valentine bookmarks. Homemade valentine bookmarks. Free printable cute bookmarks. #valentines #Books #bookmarks #valentinesday #valentinescards #school #class #education


You can then leave the bookmarks as is, or you can do a hole punch at the top and add a ribbon. for a fun extra touch. You could also laminate them for extra durability. 


To download these free Valentine's Day Bookmark Cards, please click the large download link below. 


Best All in One Wireless Printer:

I bought the Epsom EcoTank Printer back in February 2020 and it's by far been one of the best purchases I've made. While the initial cost might be high, I can say that I've used this a ton and have not had to purchase new ink yet! The ink that the printer comes with is enough ink to print 4,000 colored pages and 7,500 black and white images. It is seriously the best feeling to not have to worry about running out of ink and being able to use your printer whenever you need it!

Valentine’s Day printable bookmarks. Free printable bookmarks. Valentine bookmarks. How to make valentine bookmarks. Homemade valentine bookmarks. Free printable cute bookmarks. #valentines #Books #bookmarks #valentinesday #valentinescards #school #class #education




If you liked this post, FREE Valentine Bookmark Printable, you might also like:


Be sure to follow along on Instagram @thehappyflammily to stay up-to-date on all the latest posts and projects.

Valentines Day Coloring Pages PDF

This free Valentine's Day Coloring Pages PDF is the perfect activity to print with kids at home! Enjoy coloring pages, word searches, color by number, and more!


With Valentine's Day a month away, I figured it was perfect timing to launch my Valentine's Day coloring pages PDF. This is the sixth installment of coloring pages I've produced over the last year, and I love that I challenge myself to learn new skills with each set that I put out. This month I'm excited to share a new color by number picture, and a Valentine's word search! 


Valentines day coloring pages pdf. Happy Valentine’s day coloring pages. Valentines day coloring pages. Valentines coloring pages. Coloring pages valentines day. Valentines day coloring sheets. #valentines #February #holiday #coloring #kids #family #preschool

Valentines Day Coloring Pages PDF:

This pack of coloring pages consists of six different pictures that you can print right from the comfort of your home computer. This set includes four Valentine's Day themed pictures, one heart shaped color by number coloring sheet, and a Valentine's Day word search. I think my very favorite picture of all though would have to be the unicorn! It's the most detailed picture I've done so far, and I had so much fun putting that one together (even though I had to completely redo it twice!)

Valentines day coloring pages pdf. Happy Valentine’s day coloring pages. Valentines day coloring pages. Valentines coloring pages. Coloring pages valentines day. Valentines day coloring sheets. #valentines #February #holiday #coloring #kids #family #preschool



How to Print Valentine's Day Coloring Pages PDF:

To print these coloring pages simply scroll down to the bottom of this post where you'll see a large link to click. It will take you to a google drive where you can click the down arrow in the top right corner to download these to your computer. From there you can print the PDF as you normally would!


Valentines day coloring pages pdf. Happy Valentine’s day coloring pages. Valentines day coloring pages. Valentines coloring pages. Coloring pages valentines day. Valentines day coloring sheets. #valentines #February #holiday #coloring #kids #family #preschool

Best All in One Wireless Printer:

I bought the Epsom EcoTank Printer back in February 2020 and it's by far been one of the best purchases I've made. While the initial cost might be high, I can say that I've used this a ton and have not had to purchase new ink yet! The ink that the printer comes with is enough ink to print 4,000 colored pages and 7,500 black and white images. It is seriously the best feeling to not have to worry about running out of ink and being able to use your printer whenever you need it!

Valentines day coloring pages pdf. Happy Valentine’s day coloring pages. Valentines day coloring pages. Valentines coloring pages. Coloring pages valentines day. Valentines day coloring sheets. #valentines #February #holiday #coloring #kids #family #preschool

Click Here to Download Valentine's Day Coloring Pages PDF


If you liked this post, Valentine's Day Coloring Pages PDF, you might also like:

Be sure to follow along on Instagram @thehappyflammily to stay up-to-date on all the latest posts and projects!

Homemade Chocolate Covered Strawberries

Homemade chocolate covered strawberries are super easy to make, way cheaper than purchasing at the store, and make the perfect treat for Valentine's Day!


Chocolate covered strawberries are the highlight treat during the month of February. While purchasing them and having them delivered to your home is easy and convenient, I much prefer making homemade chocolate covered strawberries. When you make them on your own you can control the cost, you know how fresh the strawberries were before you dipped them, and you get to customize them to your own preferences. 


Homemade chocolate covered strawberries. Easy Chocolate Covered Strawberries. How to decorate chocolate covered strawberries. Chocolate covered strawberries microwave. How to make chocolate covered strawberries with chocolate syrup. Best chocolate for dipping strawberries. Chocolate covered strawberries boxes. Chocolate dipped strawberries recipe gourmet. Chocolate covered strawberries ideas. #chocolate #strawberries #valentines


Homemade Chocolate Covered Strawberries:

Making homemade chocolate covered strawberries is super easy! All you need to do is microwave your chocolate in 30 second increments, stirring in between. Then you simply dip your strawberries, shake off the excess chocolate, and then let them harden on some wax paper. From there you can decorate with different drizzles, sprinkles, cookie crumbs, nuts, etc... 


How to Store Chocolate Covered Strawberries:

Chocolate covered strawberries are best stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator. This will help preserve the strawberries the longest and prevent them from getting mushy before you get around to finishing them all. 

Homemade chocolate covered strawberries. Easy Chocolate Covered Strawberries. How to decorate chocolate covered strawberries. Chocolate covered strawberries microwave. How to make chocolate covered strawberries with chocolate syrup. Best chocolate for dipping strawberries. Chocolate covered strawberries boxes. Chocolate dipped strawberries recipe gourmet. Chocolate covered strawberries ideas. #chocolate #strawberries #valentines

Cheap Chocolate Covered Strawberries Under $20:

I was able to get everything I need to make these strawberries for under $20 and one trip to the grocery store. After purchasing everything I needed, my total cam to exactly $19 before tax, and I'm able to make way more strawberries than I would get if I paid someone else $20 to make them. 


How Long Do Chocolate Covered Strawberries Last:

Chocolate covered strawberries will last in an airtight container in the fridge for 2-3 days. They're best definitely best within the first two days, but day three definitely won't kill you. You just want to make sure they're gone before the fruit gets mushy and bad on the inside. 

Homemade chocolate covered strawberries. Easy Chocolate Covered Strawberries. How to decorate chocolate covered strawberries. Chocolate covered strawberries microwave. How to make chocolate covered strawberries with chocolate syrup. Best chocolate for dipping strawberries. Chocolate covered strawberries boxes. Chocolate dipped strawberries recipe gourmet. Chocolate covered strawberries ideas. #chocolate #strawberries #valentines

Best Chocolate for Chocolate Covered Strawberries:

You could use a super expensive, high quality dark chocolate if you really wanted to. I on the other hand refer to use almond bark almost exclusively when I'm making anything that involves melting and dipping chocolate. Almond Bark is available in the baking isle of most grocery stores, is very inexpensive for over a pound of chocolate, and oddly enough, contains zero almonds. 

Almond Bark is made of Sugar, Oil, Cocoa, Soy Lecithin, Artificial Flavor, and Milk. Is it the highest quality chocolate? No. Will it give you cancer? Maybe (joking kind of). Is it cheap, melts well, tastes great, and works for any an all dipping chocolate situations, 100% yes. 


How To Decorate Chocolate Covered Strawberries:

Step One: Melt your chocolate in the microwave in 30 second increments stirring in between each session. 

Step Two: Dip your strawberries into the chocolate getting as close to the stem as possible, without actually getting the stem/leaves into the chocolate.

Step Three: Lay the chocolate covered strawberries onto some wax paper and allow the chocolate to harden. 

Step Four: Taking your Wilton Cookie Icing, make a back and forth drizzle design on each of the berries. For these, I did a drizzle with both the white and the pink icings. 

Step Five: Add a few sprinkles to the strawberries if desired. 

Step Six: Place the berries on a plate in the fridge to harden completely, about 1 hour. 



Yield: 12
Author: Paige Flamm
Homemade Chocolate Covered Strawberries

Homemade Chocolate Covered Strawberries

Homemade chocolate covered strawberries are super easy to make, way cheaper than purchasing at the store, and make the perfect treat for Valentine's Day!
Prep time: 15 MinInactive time: 1 HourTotal time: 1 H & 15 M

Ingredients

  • Strawberries
  • Almond Bark
  • Sprinkles
  • Cookie Icing

Instructions

  1. Melt your chocolate in the microwave in 30 second increments stirring in between each session.
  2. Dip your strawberries into the chocolate getting as close to the stem as possible, without actually getting the stem/leaves into the chocolate.
  3. Lay the chocolate covered strawberries onto some wax paper and allow the chocolate to harden.
  4. Taking your Wilton Cookie Icing, make a back and forth drizzle design on each of the berries. For these, I did a drizzle with both the white and the pink icings.
  5. Add a few sprinkles to the strawberries if desired.
  6. Place the berries on a plate in the fridge to harden completely, about 1 hour.


If you like this post, Homemade Chocolate Covered Strawberries, you might also like:

Be sure to follow along on Instagram @thehappyflammily to stay up-to-date on all the latest posts and projects.