I follow several health and health food blogs and I confess that when I first heard about gelatin, all I could think is “Jello Brand Gelatin.” I suppose that dates me. But, I’m just being honest!
I did a little research once I realized that there was a bit of a trend among health food “experts” that we should all be including gelatin in our diet. I was amazed to learn a few things about the benefits of gelatin:
- It supports skin, hair and nail growth
- It is good for joints and can help joint recovery
- It can help tighten loose skin (Two babies later, I sure hope so!)
- It can improve digestion since it naturally binds to water and helps food move more easily though the digestive track
- It is a source of protein–specifically, amino acids that can help build muscle
There are other benefits, some rumored (like helping remove cellulite) and others verified. There are enough verified ones that convinced me to incorporate it into our family’s diet. I never feel like my children get enough protein. So, that alone was reason to start using it!
Here is my children’s favorite gelatin recipe thus far. We call them chocolate bars. I wouldn’t recommend calling them that if your children are already familiar with actual chocolate bars. Chocolate squares or chocolate gelatin squares might work because I do believe that expectations matter. My children love them and consider them a treat and I’m thrilled for them to have them!
Here’s the recipe:
Chocolate Gelatin Squares
1 (13.5oz) can coconut milk
4.5 Tbsp pure cocoa powder OR 1/4 cup dark chocolate chips (if you use chocolate chips, you won’t need as much sweetener)
1/4 cup + 2 tb organic cane sugar OR honey
¼ cup gelatin
¼ tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
If you use chocolate chips (which I have done recently), use a little butter or oil to melt the chocolate chips. Then, add all the ingredients except for the gelatin into a blender. Then, gradually add the gelatin until well blended.
Pour the mixture into a greased glass pan. Refrigerate overnight. Cut into squares and enjoy! (Keep refrigerated.)
What healthy treat do you make for your children?
Sharing a container garden between a few households is a great way to save on expense and time. Each person picks a specific plant to grow and then shares their harvest with the rest of the group. The more people participating the better the variety of the garden. This is a good solution for those of us without access to a community garden and/or living in a small apartment. Members of the group can participate with a few potted plants, even without a balcony.
Be Creative with Planters
Planters and pots don’t have to be store bought or expensive, but they don’t have to be old coffee cans either. Re-purpose a child’s old beach bucket or that last pretty bowl from a broken set. Another option is to find creative containers at a dollar or thrift store. A dose of creativity, a hot glue gun, and a roll of gift wrap could even re-purpose that old coffee can, if that is your talent.
Pick a Potting Day
Select a day with the group to start your collective garden. Instead of each person buying their own potting soil share one or two bulk priced large bags between everyone. Pots can also be traded and shared between fellow gardeners. Decide what plant would be best for whom. Some plants are easy to grow with just a little water and sunlight. Others require a little more care. Let each gardener determine which plant would be best for them to commit to.
Enjoy the Harvest
Decide how the harvest will be shared and when. It might be best to try to give everyone an equal share of each crop. Harvest could also be done by preference. For example, if a group kept an herb garden and one person didn’t like chamomile, they wouldn’t take a share of it.
We invest thousands of dollars into appliances, furniture, electronics, kitchen gadgets, etc. If we are spending this much money, we want our stuff to last a while so we don’t have buy new stuff before it’s time. Some simple steps can help your things last longer and in awesome working order for a while.
1. Appliances. Make sure you keep filters cleaned and changed. Keep them clean too. A lot of problems are caused by dirt and spills. Check your hoses, make sure everything is connected properly and just keep an eye on things.
2. Candles. This is awesome! Freeze your candles before you use them and they’ll end up lasting almost twice as long!
3. Fruit. Keep it in the fridge instead of on the counter. This will make it ripen slower and not rot as quickly.
4. Vehicles. This is a big expense when things go wrong. Simply keeping up on your car’s maintenance will help it last longer. Also keeping your tires properly inflated will help your gas mileage.
5. Kitchen cabinets. Humidity overtime can kill wood cabinets. Do your best to keep your kitchen free of humidity and don’t let water sit anywhere. Use mild soap and rags to clean them and ever use anything abrasive.
6. Mattresses. Make sure you invest in a good waterproof cover and rotate them and flip them monthly. This will extend the life of your mattress by years.
7. Photographs. Colors fade over time. The best way to preserve your memories is to make digital copies of them.
8. Tires. Rotate them every time you get an oil change. This will make sure they wear evenly.
9. Wicker furniture. Most of us have wicker furniture outside for patio usage. If you do that, the weather and moisture can destroy it over time. To help protect it polyurethane it.
10. Clothing. Follow the care instructions. Don’t dry on high heat either. If you can line dry your clothes. Dryers will wear clothes quicker.
My sister-in-law and her family have in the last year had some huge financial things happen to them. Both her and her husband lost their jobs and their finances took a huge blow. After this happened and they were able to get new jobs, they sought after the advice of a financial planner. His advice to them “trim the fat”. He went through all of their expenses and explained where they could trim to lighten their financial load. Here’s the advice he gave them. If you are in a similar situation or just want to get rid of some monthly expenses, this may help you.
1. Get rid of the kids extracurricular activities. This was the hardest for them because their kids loved their activities, but this was the first to go. These are just extras in the month and the kids will be ok without it. It’s even a good example to your children about budgeting properly and making sacrifices for the family.
2. Recheck your insurance premiums. A lot of people or overinsured thus paying too much for their insurance. This is an easy thing to check and can save you money every month.
3. Don’t eat out. He couldn’t say this enough and we say it a lot here. Eating out is so expensive. Simply taking that money and spending it on groceries will keep you at home more.
4. Start doing it yourself! If you have someone cutting your lawn or cleaning your house, start doing it yourself. These are expenses that can easily be hundreds a month.
5. Cancel your club memberships. Gym? Cancel it. Country Club? Cancel it. Tennis Club? Cancel it. Anything that’s extra that you pay for, for fun, it needs to go. It may not be forever, but it will help in the long run.
What are you doing to trim the fat in your household?
A while back we posted a recipe for dry laundry soap. It’s really awesome and you should try it. Now I’ve made liquid concentrated laundry soap from a Facebook post I’ve seen floating around. I just made it so I haven’t had a chance to test it, but friends of mine have made it as well and say it’s awesome. It’s super easy to make and costs pennies to make since you only use a tablespoon per load.
What You Need
1 bar Fels Naptha
1 cup 20 Mule Team Borax
1 cup Arm & Hammer Washing Soda
4 cups of hot water
What To Do
You do need to follow these instructions very thoroughly to make it come out right.
1. Boil 4 cups of water in a large pan on high heat.
2. Mix the borax and washing powder together and sit aside.
3. Using a food processor or a cheese grater, grate the bar of fels naptha.
4. Put the grated soap into your large pan of boiling water and reduce heat. Let the soap melt completely. Just be careful not to boil too quickly or it will become very messy.
5. Remove from heat and add your powder mix. Stir until it’s FULLY dissolved.
6. Pour mixture into two 1 quart mason jars.
7. Add enough water to each jar to reach the top of the jar.
8. (VERY IMPORTANT STEP) Turn the jars upside down for 3-5 hours or until the parts separate.
9. Once separated poor into a blender and mix VERY well. It will resemble pudding.
10. Use 1 tablespoon per load.
It’s a lot of steps, but it’s really easy! Give it a try and let us know how it works for you!
One of the amazing things about homemade items is realizing that we need these pre-made products less and less if we learn to make them. This is one item I would have never thought to make on my own, yet it’s so easy! And so cheap! I have two very busy kids running around my house and yard and we have a lot of stained clothes. This works perfectly if not better than your store bought stain remover.
What You Need
What To Do
1. In the spray bottle mix equal parts peroxide and baking soda with two parts water.
2. Use as you would a store bought stain pre-treater.
3. Watch as your stains disappear!
*Note: Mix right before using. This mixture loses its effectiveness if left to sit too long.
We cleaned our fridge out over the weekend and let’s just say that our trash had to be taken out very quickly because it was so full. I know I am not alone in throwing out leftovers more than I should. It’s such a waste in food and money. Not only do you save from using bought food for another meal, you make your dollar stretch even more from the other meal.
But maybe you are like me and are kind of leery after food has sat around for a while. Here’s a great guide to knowing how long your leftovers are good for and some other tips to help those leftovers get eaten.
1. Baked dishes, soups, and stews. If they don’t have meat in them they can last up to a week. If you did put meat in them eat within 5 days and you are good to go!
2. Vegetables and legumes will last longer than dairy and eggs.
3. Don’t dress your salads. If you put dressing on your salads they will be mushy quickly, so keep the dressing off and your salad should stay nice and fresh for up to a week if in an airtight container.
4. Freeze your leftovers. Soooooo many leftovers are perfectly fine frozen. Don’t feel like eating them tomorrow? That’s ok, because freezing them gives you the option to eat it a couple of weeks later. It’s also beneficial to make extra every time just so you can freeze extra meals for later on.
5 . Give them to a friend. We seriously have a family that is very close to us and they just hate cooking. I love it, so we cook a lot. Our friends tend to go out a lot. So instead of throwing out our leftovers, I give them to their family and she cleans my house. Seems like a good trade huh?
A lot of kids started back to school today. My Facebook feed is being blown up with cute kids excited for their first day of the new school year. Most of them were wearing new clothes and shoes too. Back to school shopping is a tradition in most houses and many states have adopted a tax free day for this very reason. Check and see if your state is on there. To find out the full details of the “rules” of the tax free day, click on the link provided.
• Alabama: August 2-4, Click here for more details.
• Arkansas: August 3-4, Click here for more details.
• Connecticut: August 18-24, Click here for more details.
• Florida: August 2-4, Click here for more details.
• Georgia: August 9-10, Click here for more details.
• Iowa: August 2-3, Click here for more details.
• Louisiana: August 2-3, Click here for more details.
• Maryland: August 11-17, Click here for more details.
• Missouri: August 2-4, Click here for more details.
• New Mexico: August, 2-4, Click here for more details.
• North Carolina: August 2-4, Click here for more details.
• Oklahoma: August 2-4, Click here for more details.
• South Carolina: August 2-4, Click here for more details.
• Tennessee: August 2-4, Click here for more details.
• Texas: August 9-10, Click here for more details.
• Virginia: August 2-4, Click here for more details.