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This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Mission®. All opinions are entirely my own.

As soon as the weather started to warm up this spring, I couldn’t wait to get our screened-in porch ready for summer entertaining. Hanging ferns from our flower stands, adding new pillows to our outdoor couches, and redesigning our potting bench were just a few of the ways that I decorated our main summer entertaining area.

Whether we’re hanging out as a family or entertaining guests during a summer barbeque, we love to turn on the music, relax on the comfortable seating, enjoy each other’s company, and snack on summertime recipes. When it comes to a summertime barbeque at home, we like to keep the menu simple (featuring Mission tortillas). Here are some of my favorite tips for a great barbeque.

5 Food Tips for Hosting a Summer Barbeque 1.) Have ingredients at the ready.

Now that the space is ready for guests, my mind immediately goes to: What ingredients should I keep in our kitchen and pantry to make simple barbeque recipes that guests will enjoy? Whether we have guests plan a visit or randomly pop in, I always want to feel prepared. Here are some of my favorite summertime recipe ingredients:

Tortillas

Let’s be honest, can every night be taco night? I love keeping tortillas on hand for easy weeknight and even weekend meals. From tacos to tostadas, you can toss some tortillas on the grill, crisp them up for added flavor, and fill them with all sorts of meats, cheeses, and veggies that your family and guests will love. Plus, you can easily fry up some tortillas and create chips.

Open my refrigerator and you’ll most likely find at least one package of Mission® Super Soft Corn Tortillas. Since pretty much everyone I know loves tacos, they are perfect for bringing my family and friends together for a meal everyone will enjoy. The product comes from Mission’s Maseca® corn flour, which is the highest quality corn flour available. The tortillas are incredibly soft and the ease of warming them up makes them versatile and easy to use in a variety of dishes and recipes. Another reason why I prefer this brand is because the corn tortillas are low-fat, with no lard and no cholesterol. Plus, they are gluten-free. The corn tortillas taste great, are made of high quality ingredients, and are versatile. What’s not to love?

You can visit the store locator on the Mission site to find Mission tortillas at stores near you, and find even more delicious tortillas recipes.

Avocados

From topping salad with avocado slices to making homemade guacamole, having avocados ready to use as a moment’s notice is a nice way to add flavor to any dish.

Canned Beans

Adding canned beans to a salad or serving them as a side dish is a great way to add some nutrition to the mix while also adding texture to the meal.

Cheese

Who doesn’t love cheese? Place chunks of cheese and wedges of cheese (be sure to include a knife for easy cutting) on a serving platter. Think about adding a mix of hard and soft cheeses. You can even add a spreadable cheese so that guests can easily enjoy.

Crackers

Serve a variety of crackers during your summertime barbeque. From breadsticks to flavored crackers, the possibilities are endless when it comes to adding a crunch factor to your serving platter. I recently came across rosemary flavored crackers that are my new favorite item to always have in our pantry.

Fresh Fruit

Add apple slices (squirt lemon juice over the apple slices to keep them from turning brown), a bunch of grapes, and/or slices of figs to a serving platter or bowl. Be sure to think colorful, rustic, and refreshing when trying to decide on what type of fruit to serve during a summertime barbeque.

Meat

We love to grill … and let’s just say the word “love” might be an understatement. We typically grill at least five nights out of the week. We have a whole shelf in our refrigerator dedicated to meat that we can toss on the grill any night of the week. From chicken to sausage, pork to steak, we love to mix up the variety every night of the week.

2.) Keep recipes simple.

As you know, I’m a firm believer that simple is best, especially during the warm summer months when you don’t want to be spending hours in the kitchen preparing food over a hot stove. Consider recipes that are easy to prepare, only require a few ingredients, and don’t require a lot of time spent in the kitchen.

3.) Keep the dining experience casual.

Create a charcuterie tray using the ingredients that you already have in your kitchen. Prepare finger food recipes that are easy for your guests to enjoy. Sitting down for a formal summertime meal might seem a bit on the stuffy side. Make the food easy to enjoy whether you’re hanging out on the porch or relaxing by the pool. Remember, simple is always best.

4.) Practice food safety.

If items need to be kept cold, be sure you place the serving platter on some ice. Store hot foods in an insulated container before serving. According to FoodSafety.gov, perishable food should not sit out for more than two hours. In hot weather (above 90 °F), food should never sit out for more than one hour.

5.) Add freshness to the menu.

As we all know, summertime is full of super hot days. Keep that in mind when considering food options. In other words, people would prefer to avoid hot soup on a hot day. Keep the menu items refreshing, light, and full or fresh ingredients to help people stay full yet comfortable on the hot summer days and evenings.

Grilled Spicy Shrimp Tacos with Avocado Mango Salsa and Chipotle Mayo

One of my favorite items to serve during a summertime barbeque are tacos since they always seem to be a big hit with guests. I recently experimented with taco fillings and came up with this recipe for Spicy Grilled Shrimp with Avocado Mango Salsa. The flavors and ingredients are perfect for a summertime barbeque and include many of the items that are normally found in my refrigerator and pantry.

Grilled Spicy Shrimp Tacos with Avocado Mango Salsa and Chipotle Mayo
A perfect recipe for summer grilling
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
20 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
20 min
Ingredients
  1. 10 Mission® Super Soft Corn Tortillas
  2. 1 7-ounce can of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
  3. 1 lb of raw shrimp
  4. Salt and pepper
  5. ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
  6. ¼ teaspoon of dried thyme
  7. 1 cup mayonnaise
  8. 2 limes
  9. 1/2 small head of green cabbage
  10. 1/2 small head of purple cabbage
  11. 2 mangos
  12. 2 avocados
  13. ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves
Instructions
  1. Pour the can of chipotle peppers into a medium bowl. Take out two peppers and one tablespoon of the sauce from the can and place those into a food processor.
  2. Add the raw shrimp to the medium bowl of the chipotle peppers. To the shrimp bowl, add a pinch of salt and a pinch of pepper. Add in the cinnamon and thyme. Toss to coat the shrimp. Allow the shrimp to marinate for at least 30 minutes.
  3. Make the Chipotle Mayo: Add one cup of mayonnaise and the juice from half a lime into the food processor with the two peppers and one tablespoon of sauce. Puree the mixture and season with salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Slice the green cabbage and purple cabbage into thin slices. Place the slices into a bowl and toss the slices to mix.
  5. Make the Avocado Mango Salsa: Slice two mangos and two avocados into small chunks and place into a small bowl. Squeeze the juice from one lime into the bowl with the mango and avocado chunks. Add in the chopped cilantro leaves. Toss to coat. Season with salt to taste.
  6. Turn on the grill and keep it at medium heat. Place the shrimp on skewers and put the skewers on the grill. Grill for a few minutes on one side and then flip the skewers to grill the other side of the shrimp. Remove the skewers from the grill once the shrimp are fully cooked, take the shrimp off of the skewers, and place the shrimp into a bowl.
  7. Place the corn tortillas on the grill to warm them and slightly char them. Remove the corn tortillas from the grill and place them onto a plate.
  8. Assemble your tacos: Take one corn tortilla and form it into a taco shape. Place a few grilled shrimp along the bottom, top the shrimp with the sliced cabbage, top the cabbage with the Avocado Mango Salsa, and then top the taco with Chipotle Mayo.
How To: Simplify http://www.howto-simplify.com/
The next time you’re at the store, be sure to stop by the bread or tortilla aisle and pick up a package or two of Mission® Super Soft Corn Tortillas. If you’re a fan of tacos, then you’ll love this recipe for Spicy Grilled Shrimp tacos.

What’s your favorite summertime barbeque recipe?

The post Grilled Spicy Shrimp Tacos with Avocado Mango Salsa and Chipotle Mayo appeared first on How To: Simplify.

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Welcome to a new feature on How To: Simply … 11 Things! Each month, I’m going to be sharing 11 things about my life, as well as 11 items that I’m absolutely loving during that month. Fun, right? Yes, I’m all about sharing tips and tricks that help simplify life. But, I thought I would provide some personal info about yours truly (aka moi). So, without further ado …

[JUNE] 11 Things that Happened This Month
  1. I crossed a bucket item off my list a few days ago. I finally saw U2. My in-laws came over to our house to watch the kiddos while my husband and I went to the city to see one of my favorite bands. We hit up many of our favorite restaurants, enjoyed cocktails, danced to the music (well, I danced), closed out a few bars, and spent the night in a haunted hotel. After sleeping in (I forgot what that was like), we went to one of my favorite markets in the city for lunch and then made the drive back to our home. It was so nice escaping to the city and crossing off a bucket list item.
  2. We booked our 10-year anniversary to Banff. My husband and I are celebrating 10 years in September and I can’t wait to pack our bags and go to Banff in January. From dogsledding and ice skating to snowmobiling and exploring, I can’t wait to cross off a few more bucket items with my main man.
  3. I switched up my workout routine and am now doing the Alexia Clark workouts every morning. I used to do the BBG workouts, but needed a change of pace. I’m still working out six days a week and have been doing so since the beginning of the year. I love holding myself accountable and the results have been fun to witness and feel.#humblebrag I’m tempted to venture into posting about healthy living. Thoughts?
  4. I took the kiddos to one of our favorite spots and snapped some photos of them. I can’t believe how much they have grown. My son is such a little man and my gal pal is growing up too quickly.  You can check out the photos on my photography site.
  5. Speaking of my gal pal … she is becoming quite the Chatty Cathy. Saying things like “otay” for “Okay” has my heart exploding all of the time. 

  1. Our son moved up a class in his preschool and it took everything not to shed a tiny tear. He’s in his last class before he goes off to the “big kids school.” What. The. Heck.
  2. We renewed our Costco membership (hello, two kids) and I can’t get enough of it. I have no idea why we stopped going. That place is a game changer. Anyone else love Costco? We make it a family outing pretty much every weekend.
  3. And, speaking of Costco, we bought new pillows yesterday. I love switching out our pillows every six months or so. My old pillow was starting to make my neck feel a little sore. I slept on the new pillow last night and I feel like a brand new person today. Guys, change your pillows on the regular.
  4. Our neighbor’s dog turned 17 a few days ago and I went to my first dog birthday party. It was so fun buying her all sorts of tasty treats and a cute birthday bandana. Happy Birthday, Sasha!
  5. This month was filled with Father’s Day, my Mom’s birthday, and my Dad’s birthday (to name a few celebrations). I hope that everyone who had a special celebration this month loved their celebration.
  6. Our vegetable garden now has tomato plants that are taller than our kiddos. I’ve never really had a green thumb (always working on it). So, to say that I’m excited would be a huge understatement.
[JUNE] 11 Items I’m Loving Right Now

As I mentioned before, each month I’ll be sharing 11 items that I’m loving right now. Check out my June picks below. If you want to grab an item for yourself, a loved one, and/or a friend, simply hover over the item and click on the + sign.

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What are you loving right now?

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The post [June 2018] 11 Things appeared first on How To: Simplify.

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The other day, I was getting ready to go to a lavender festival at a local winery. After looking through my closet (and knowing that it was going to be a hot day spent out in the sun), I opted to wear one of my maxi dresses (black, of course). When I came downstairs wearing one of my favorite maxi dresses, my mother-in-law who was attending the event with me noted, “You said it was going to be a casual event!” I said, “Yes, I did say that. But, I wear this dress like every day.” True story. In other words, I don’t think of the maxi dress as anything but casual.

When it comes to hot summer days, you will most likely find me wearing a maxi dress. In fact, I’m wearing one right now. And I wore one yesterday … and the day before. Take a peek in my closet and you’ll see a variety of maxi dresses that I love to toss on and wear throughout the day. Why? They are comfortable, forgiving, cute, and perfect for warm weather.

From open shoulders to cute straps, shorter versions to longer lengths, there are plenty of options to go perfectly with any kind of summer day. You can find maxi dresses that are free and flowing while other maxi dresses are tighter and slim fitting. I love them all.

Add some bracelets or a simple necklace to dress up the look a bit. And, if the summer evening gets a little on the chilly side, toss on a jean jacket for an easy summer look that is comfortable. As for me, I like to throw on a dress, slip into a pair of sandals, and head out the door. Easy peasy.

15 Must-Have Summer Maxi Dresses

Here are some of my favorite neutral color maxi dresses for this upcoming summer.

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What are some of your favorite styles of maxi dresses?

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The post 15 Must-Have Summer Maxi Dresses appeared first on How To: Simplify.

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Let’s face, bathrooms can get downright gross. Add some kids into the mix and lookout. Hello, germs and bacteria! The last thing you want to do is scrub down the bathroom from floor to ceiling on a daily basis. Who has time for that?! I sure don’t. I’m all about cleaning (it’s easily one of my favorite stress relievers), but the one area of the home that I despise cleaning is … you guessed it … the bathrooms. And, we have four of them. So, how does one keep a bathroom clean longer? 

10 Tricks to Keep a Bathroom Clean Longer

The simpler the better, right? Here are 10 tricks to help you keep a bathroom clean longer.

1.) Use a squeegee.

Now, I know, it might seem like a pain to use a squeegee every day. Trust me when I say that a squeegee makes a world of a difference. Invest in a good squeegee (this squeegee is my favorite) and keep it in your shower. When you’re done showering, simply run the squeegee downward across your glass shower door. In just a few seconds, you’ll have a glass door that is spot-free. Plus, it’s kind of fun to use a squeegee.

2.) Spray the shower.

Keep a shower cleaning spray in the shower. When you’re done showering, simply spray the walls of the shower with the spray and be on your way without having to wipe down anything.

3.) Keep cleaning products in the bathroom.

I love keeping cleaning products right in the bathroom. That way, when I’m done getting ready, I can quickly grab a counter wipe and wipe down the countertop and spray down the mirror with window cleaner. I love to tackle gross chores before they become big chores. I have the countertop wipes under the sink. In our linen closet in the bathroom, I have a bin labeled “Cleaning Products” in which I keep window cleaner, toilet bowl cleaner, and shower spray.

4.) Use products that make cleaning easy.

As mentioned before, I like to use disinfectant wipes instead of spray so that I can quickly grab the wipe, use it, and toss it. I don’t have to rely on paper towel to get the job done. As for cleaning the toilet, I’m big into the toilet wands. I find cleaning toilets disgusting (to be quite honest). The wands make the chore more enjoyable. I keep a wand next to our toilets. When the toilet needs to be cleaned, I grab a wand and within seconds the toilet is scrubbed clean without me having to touch anything yucky. Here’s my favorite toilet cleaning tool.

5.) Hang up towels.

If you leave towels on the floor in a pile, then your towels are going to stink and never dry fully. Make sure your bathroom has a few towels bars or hooks so that you can hang your towel to dry after using it.

6.) Pick up clothes.

Before you leave the bathroom, gather up the clothes on the floor and toss them into a hamper. That way, your bathroom floor isn’t covered in dirty clothes and towels. My husband keeps his hamper in our master bedroom closet that is connected to our bathroom. After he is done getting ready, he tosses his clothes into the hamper and leaves the bathroom. As for me, I keep a hamper in our laundry room. Before I leave the bathroom every morning, I grab the clothes (my kids’ clothes and my clothes, as well as the towels) and toss them in our laundry room hamper. Having hampers readily available to house clothes is key in keeping not only the bathroom clean, but they also help to keep the laundry organized.

7.) Turn on the exhaust fan.

As soon as you enter the bathroom, turn on the fan. Make sure the last thing you do in the bathroom is turn off the fan. By having the fan on in the bathroom, the air will be kept fresher longer. 

8.) Open a window.

If you have window in your bathroom, open the window every once in a while to air out the room. There’s nothing like some fresh air to liven up a space and make it feel clean.

9.) Vacuum the floor.

When you’re vacuuming the other rooms in your home, quickly go through the bathroom with the vacuum cleaner. The floor has a tendency to collect all sorts of dust, dog hair, etc. 

10.) Pick a day.

Lastly, pick a day and give your bathroom a good scrubbing at least once a week to help maintain a super clean bathroom. I like to tackle our bathroom during a weekend morning when I know that I have a bit more time to give it a good cleaning.

What’s your favorite trick for keeping a bathroom clean?

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links.

The post 10 Tricks to Keep a Bathroom Clean Longer appeared first on How To: Simplify.

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This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Nature Nate’s 100% Pure, Raw & Unfiltered Honey. All opinions are 100% mine.

Ever since becoming a mother a little over four years ago, I’ve encountered and experienced so many moments that I want to lock in my memory bank. There have been big moments and small moments, but some of my favorites are the everyday moments. From the hugs and kisses to the funny things my kids do and say, motherhood has me laughing, smiling, crying, and trying to squeeze in endless amounts of love, patience, understanding.

With Mother’s Day just around the corner, my husband asked, “What do you want to do to celebrate Mother’s Day?” I want to spend Mother’s Day with the people who made me a mom. Of course, since I live with a bunch of sweet-lovers, I can’t help but think about what we should enjoy for dessert. I’m usually one to watch what I eat, but over the past four months, I’ve been extremely cautious of my food intake since I started a health and wellness journey.

I’m also really aware of what my children eat. I try to make sure they enjoy a balanced diet. But, yes, I am a mom who serves her children sweet treats. When I was pregnant with my son, I craved chocolate all the time (and this is coming from a previous non-chocolate lover). So, of course he still loves a sweet treat (as do I). One way that I’ve found to be a bit smarter when it comes to my family’s sugar intake is to swap out honey for processed sugar when baking. Honey can easily be substituted for processed sugar in many recipes, and Nature Nate’s 100% Pure, Raw & Unfiltered Honey is my go-to.

Another added benefit of baking your own treats is that you can control what goes into them. Some honeys contain high fructose corn syrup, fillers, and even pesticides. Nature Nate’s does not include any unnecessary ingredients—it’s just pure honey—and unlike processed sugar, it contains loads of vitamins and antioxidants.

When it comes to spending time with my son, one of our favorite activities to do together is bake. He grabs his stool and takes over the pouring and stirring. I think baking with children is incredibly important because it teaches them so many life skills. From math to patience, there are so many elements that go into baking and my son acts like a sponge in the kitchen while he soaks in all of the information. When we’re baking together, I explain what we need to do in order to accomplish the end result. I also take that time to educate him on food choices. And, yes, things to tend to get a bit messy but it’s all in good fun.

After giving it some thought, I decided on baking carrot cake cupcakes with him. There’s nothing like carrot cake during springtime. Plus, I had carrots on the mind since he recently received a yellow stuffed animal bunny covered in a carrot pattern. He and his bunny are the best of pals. Years ago, before becoming a mom, I never thought someday I would have to not only tuck in my son but also tuck in his bunny and give them both a kiss goodnight. Motherhood is full of so many surprises.

After having the stuffed animal bunny for a day, my husband and I asked our son, “So, what’s his name?” Our son took one long, hard look at his new best pal and said, “Carrots!” My husband and I looked at each other, shared a laugh with our son, and told our son that it was the perfect name. We loved it! The two have become inseparable and it’s just the cutest thing.

As we were preparing our treat, carrot cake cupcakes, I decided to grab honey as an alternative to add into the cream cheese frosting. I always have a bottle of Nature’s Nate’s honey in our pantry since it’s a convenient option to swap for processed sugar. Honey is actually sweeter than processed sugar, which means you can use less honey than you would sugar to get the same desired level of sweetness.

Thanks to the sweetness of honey, you can use it in so many ways. Add it to baked treats, beverages, salad dressings, jams, marinades, and sauces. You can swap out honey for other refined sugars in any recipe.

If you’re putting together your grocery shopping list, then be sure to find Nature Nate’s honey and make this simple carrot-filled recipe.

CARROT CAKE CUPCAKES WITH HONEY CREAM CHEESE FROSTING
A simple cupcake recipe perfect for Mother's Day
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
25 min
Total Time
35 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
25 min
Total Time
35 min
For the Cupcakes
  1. 1 ½ cups all purpose flour
  2. 1 teaspoon baking powder
  3. 1 teaspoon baking soda
  4. 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  5. ¼ teaspoon Kosher salt
  6. ½ cup dark brown sugar
  7. ¼ cup granulated sugar
  8. 2 large eggs
  9. ½ cup canola oil
  10. 2 cups carrots, peeled and grated
  11. ½ cup golden raisins
  12. ½ cup walnuts
For the Frosting
  1. 1 8-ounce package cream cheese
  2. ⅓ cup sour cream
  3. ½ cup confectioners’ sugar
  4. 2 tablespoons (preferably Nature Nate’s Honey)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Fill muffin tin with muffin liners.
  2. Grab a medium bowl and whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, pumpkin pie spice, and salt.
  3. Grab a large bowl and whisk together the sugars, eggs, and oil.
  4. Add the flour mixture to the egg mixture.
  5. Fold in the carrots, raisins, and walnuts.
  6. Use an ice cream scooper to scoop the batter into the muffin cups.
  7. Bake for 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  8. Remove from the oven and transfer to a wire rack to allow the cupcakes to cool.
  9. Make the frosting by beating together the cream cheese and sour cream. Add the sugar and honey and beat until smooth. Chill until ready to use.
  10. Top the completely cooled cupcakes with the frosting.
How To: Simplify http://www.howto-simplify.com/

What’s your favorite Mother’s Day treat?

The post Carrot Cake Cupcakes with Honey Cream Cheese Frosting appeared first on How To: Simplify.

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Let’s face it: Kids are messy. They also can require a lot of stuff, especially when it comes to riding in the car. Kiddos love toys, games, snacks, beverages … you name it, they probably want it (and you want them to have it so that you can enjoy the drive). But, when it comes to all of that stuff, how does one keep everything organized and keep the car clean? Toys, electronics, snacks, drink containers, etc. can start to pile up and make your car seem a bit chaotic and messy.

5 Ways to Keep a Car Interior Clean 1.) Use an Organizer

Over the years, I’ve learned that car interior organization is key to keeping a clean SUV, especially when kiddos are involved. We have two bucket seats and a bench third row in our SUV. Our daughter rides in her carseat in the bucket seat behind the driver seat. Our son rides in his carseat in the bucket seat behind the passenger seat. On the floor in front of their carseats, I keep this basket which contains all sorts of toys. The basket helps keep the toys in one easy-to-find easy-to-store location.

If you tend to have a lot of toys in your car, then a basket is definitely the way to go to help keep toys neat and orderly. Baskets come in a variety of styles, shapes, and colors so you can purchase one that fits your style and needs.

If you tend to have more items in your car (e.g., sippy cups, snack cups, crayons, electronics, etc.), then you might want to consider an organizer with pockets and various spaces for all of your car riding essentials. Having an organizer that meets your needs will drastically improve the organization of the car interior.

Here are some great organizer options to help keep your car interior clean with kids.

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2.) Have Wipes on Hand

We love using car cleaning wipes to not only clean the surfaces of the car, but also protect the surfaces and make them shine. You can store these wipes in the garage or even in a car organizer for easy access.

3.) Use an Air Freshener

Whether you spray an air freshener or use an essential oil car diffuser, using something to make the car smell nice is super simple and goes a long way in making the car feel clean.

4.) Vacuum on a Regular Basis

When kids ride in the car, they have a tendency to drop food on the floor, in their seats, etc. When we vacuum our SUV, we usually find cheddar bunnies, fruit snacks, and other snacks that the kids have accidentally dropped during a car ride. Before the snacks get ingrained in the carpet on the floor of the car interior, be sure to vacuum the car on a regular basis. Keeping a cordless vacuum in the car is always a great option for on-the-go cleaning.

5.) Maintain a Clean Car

That’s right, clean as you go. If you see a cracker on the floor, pick it up. Our son loves tossing fruit snack wrappers on the floor when he’s done eating his fruit snacks. Whenever I take him out of his carseat, I hunt down the wrapper and toss it so that the wrappers don’t pile up into a big garbage pile. Better yet, keep a garbage bin in your car to avoid having garbage all over the car. If you see a stain, be sure to spot treat the stain so that it doesn’t become an eyesore. It might even help to keep a carpet cleaner in your car organizer to help you clean stains. Once your car is clean, figure out simple ways to maintain the cleanliness. 

What’s your favorite way to keep your car interior clean?

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The post 5 Ways to Keep a Car Interior Clean With Kids appeared first on How To: Simplify.

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There’s nothing like walking into a clean bathroom only to notice spots all over the glass shower door. I know from experience. When we first had our glass shower door installed, I noticed that residue was starting to build up, even when I cleaned the shower regularly. We live in a home without a water softener so the hard water spots were hard to ignore.

I knew I needed to find a way to make the beautiful glass become and stay spot-free. I did some research, talked to friends, and came up with a cleaning system that works.

Keeping a glass shower door clean can be tough and might even seem like a time-consuming task. But, it doesn’t have to take a lot of time to keep your glass shower door clean. With just a few simple steps, you can clean your glass shower door and maintain a streak-free, soap scum free shine every day.

Important Note: Please refer to your manufacturers instructions when selecting and using cleaning products in your shower and on your glass door.

3 Tips for Keeping a Glass Shower Door Clean 1.) Use a squeegee every day.

Now, I know, it might seem like a pain to use a squeegee every day. Trust me when I say that a squeegee makes a world of a difference. Invest in a good squeegee (this squeegee is my favorite) and keep it in your shower. When you’re done showering, simply run the squeegee downward across your glass shower door. In just a few seconds, you’ll have a glass door that is spot-free. Plus, it’s kind of fun to use a squeegee.

2.) Find a great cleaner and cleaning system.

I like to use a great glass cleaner at least once a week on our shower door. When soap scum and hard water stains start to make an appearance on our glass shower door, then I use a mix of a glass cleaner and Bar Keeper’s Friend. I take a paper towel, pour a little Bar Keeper’s Friend on the paper towel, and then spray the Bar Keeper’s Friend with the glass cleaner to saturate the powder a bit. I scrub the glass with the paper towel and watch the dirty marks disappear. Next, I rinse the concoction with water using our handheld shower device and then spray the glass cleaner on the glass shower door and wipe it away. 

2.) Clean the shower at least once a week.

Pick a day of the week and give your shower a good scrubbing at least once a week to help maintain a clean, shiny shower and glass shower door.

How do you keep your glass shower door clean?

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The other weekend when it was unseasonably chilly, I went into our closet, took a look at the clothes that were on hangers and shelves, and decided I needed to do some purging. Every six months or so, I love to go through the items in my closet and decide what needs to stay and what needs to go. If I haven’t worn the item in a while and it’s in good condition, then it gets placed into the donation pile. If an item has seen better days, then it goes into the toss pile. If the item is in regular rotation, then you better believe that the item is staying on a hanger or on a shelf. 

After I went through all of my clothing items, I was staring at two massive bags full of clothes to donate. I couldn’t wait to drop them off at our local clothing donation location. 

But, then I took a look at my closet and notice that it was looking a little … well … empty. I only had a few shirts, a couple pairs of jeans, some shorts, and a few tank tops. Now, I’m not a fashionista by any means. Plus, I’m a work-at-home stay-at-home mom so it’s not like I need to worry about office attire. I like to keep my clothing simple but that’s what makes me feel confident and comfortable. In fact, take one look at my closet (or me on a daily basis) and you’ll see that I’m a jeans (skinny jeans to be exact) and tee (black almost 100% of the time) kind of gal.

I’ve tried to buy colorful shirts in the past but they are totally out of my comfort zone and never end up being worn. I know what I like and what I like is skinny jeans, neutral shirts (preferably black), tan boots or sandals, a tan bag, and aviators. That’s pretty much what I wear on a daily basis. As I sit here and type I’m wearing skinny jeans and a black t-shirt. 

The other day, I put on a shirt with some lace on it. I thought it was pretty cute since it was neutral, flowy, and the lace helped take the fashion factor up a notch (or so I thought). My four-year-old son took one look at me and said, “Mama, what are you wearing? No, no, no. Take it off. Put on the black shirt.” After I put on the black shirt he said, “Yes, that’s muuuuch better.” So, there you have it. He even knows what makes me comfortable and confident. 

In an effort to replenish my closet, I’ve been looking for some neutral casual clothing items that will be perfect for spring and even summer. 

Neutral Casual Clothing Items Perfect for Spring

Here are some great casual clothing items that I’ve been eyeing for the spring.

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What are your favorite casual clothing items?

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links.

The post Neutral Casual Clothing Items Perfect for Spring and Summer appeared first on How To: Simplify.

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Disclaimer: The post and healthy meals were sponsored by Harris Teeter. However, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

Now that I’m grocery shopping for a family of four, I’m becoming incredibly more conscious of the amount of money that I’m spending at the grocery store. To help us stay on track and not become wasteful, my husband and I prefer to meal plan. However, our meal planning usually consists of me going to the grocery store, seeing what looks fresh, and purchasing items for the week that go well together. We really enjoy fresh ingredients, especially since the healthy meals we make are simple. As long as you have good, quality ingredients, you don’t need a lot of them to make food taste good.

We hardly ever eat out since we enjoy cooking and eating homemade meals. We’ve always preferred healthy meals, but recently we’ve turned that into high gear, especially with our focus on fitness and healthy living. As part of our healthy lifestyle, we tend to enjoy breakfasts that are filling and last us throughout the morning, lunches that are light yet keep us energized, and dinners that are balanced. For the most part, our meals are simple and flavorful. 

Recently, I was presented with a challenge: Go grocery shopping at Harris Teeter, shop for two days of healthy meals … and only spend $20. My first reaction was, “What?! How in the world am I only going to spend $20 for two days’ worth of food?” But, I’m always up for a challenge. The next thing I knew, I found myself at my local Harris Teeter with my daughter perusing the isles brainstorming ways to create two days of healthy meals for $20 or less. Thankfully, I have meal planning experience.

5 Tips for Meal Planning 1.) Know The Types of Recipes You Need

How many meals do you need to make? What kind of cooking do you need to do (e.g., grill, use a slow cooker, etc.)? For this challenge, I knew I needed breakfast, lunch, and dinner recipes for two days. 

2.) Research Recipes

So many people find themselves in a cooking rut. As in, they cook the same dishes day after day, week after week. To avoid this rut, save recipes on Pinterest, research via Google, create a recipe binder full of recipes pulled from cooking magazines, flip through cookbooks and find simple recipes that you will love, use the grocery store’s website for recipe ideas, etc. There are so many resources available that can help you change up your cooking routine. 

3.) Create a Calendar

Whether you print a calendar, use a calendar from the store, or use a Google calendar, make sure you find recipes that you love and add them to different days of the upcoming week. If you use a printed calendar, post the calendar somewhere in your home so that family members can manage their expectations. Plus, you can avoid the question, “What’s for dinner?”

4.) Keep a Stocked Pantry

I strongly believe in having a stocked pantry. When we don’t have time to go to the store or schedules become a bit out of routine, it’s always nice to turn to the pantry and refrigerator to whip up a tasty dinner. Here are 10 of my favorite kitchen staples.

5.) Reduce Food Waste

Food doesn’t have to be complicated to taste good. With just a few ingredients, you can have meals that taste amazing. I shy away from ingredient lists that are long and/or include ingredients that I will never use again (unless I make the same recipe). To me, those recipes are wasteful. If you use good, quality ingredients, the few that you do use in your recipe will make the end result a showstopper. Also, be sure to create a meal plan that uses the ingredients you do purchase in a variety of ways.

Two Days of Healthy Meals for Under $20

Even though I have my meal planning system down, my daughter and I walked into Harris Teeter, were greeted by so many friendly Harris Teeter employees, and I became a bit nervous. Could I really make two days’ worth of meals for $20, especially when tasked with having to purchase as many items as possible from the Harris Teeter Organics line?

Before I thought of any recipes, I decided to walk through the store and see what types of ingredients were available in the Organics line. My nerves were calmed slightly when I quickly realized that the Organics line has items on every isle. There are 351 Harris Teeter Organics products available in their stores. The products are non-GMO, free from pesticides, and free from artificial preservatives. What calmed my nerves even more was that many of the items were priced below conventional, non-organics brands.

Based on the recipes that I typically prepare as part of our healthy lifestyle, I grabbed a few items in the produce aisle, added chicken to our cart, and made sure to pick out a few additional items that tend to be a pantry staple in our home. With trepidation, I headed to the checkout lane and immediately warned (and apologized) to the man who was scanning my ingredients. I told him that I had to keep the total under $20.

After scanning a few items, removing a few items, and decreasing the amount of some of the items, I finally arrived at a total that made me proud: $19.20. I did it. Eating healthy doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive, especially when Harris Teeter offers affordable, trustworthy, and less complicated solutions to purchasing organic foods.

Why did I choose these items?

  • Arugula — This item is one of my favorite greens for a salad. The leaves are full of spicy flavor that packs a punch.
  • Avocados — This item is so versatile. I knew that I could make a variety of dishes with this one ingredient. From sauces to standalone, I had a feeling I could get a lot of bang for my buck.
  • Beans — My husband and I love beans. We sometimes serve them as-is or add them into countless dishes.
  • Crusty Bread — There’s nothing like crusty bread in a sandwich recipe or on the side of a salad dish.
  • Chicken — I’m a fan of protein. I had chicken sausage but then opted for a large and less expensive container of protein that came in the form of chicken tenderloins.
  • Tri-Color Quinoa — This item is gluten-free, high in protein, and one of the few plant foods that contain all nine essential amino acids (source). I knew that I could stretch this ingredient and use it in a variety of ways.

I must admit two things:

  • I did have the help of salt and pepper from my pantry. Since most likely everyone has salt and pepper, I didn’t include this in my $20 budget.
  • If you really want to make these recipes pop with flavor, be sure to add a bottle of Harris Teeter Organics salad dressing to your grocery cart. You can marinate the chicken with the dressing, toss your salad with the dressing, and/or drizzle the dressing over the sandwich. But, the avocado sauce that I made (to stay under $20) was pretty tasty.

[DAY 1] BREAKFAST

Avocado Toast

Simply place two slices of bread in the toaster until lightly toasted. Slice an avocado and place the slides on top of the toasted bread. Feel free to sprinkle arugula and/or black beans on top of the avocado slices. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.

[DAY 1] LUNCH

Chicken and Arugula Sandwich with Avocado Sauce

Season a few pieces of the chicken tenderloin with salt and pepper. Grill the chicken until fully cooked. Make the avocado sauce by adding a few slices of an avocado into a blender. Add water into the blender and blend until desired consistency. Season the avocado sauce with salt and pepper to taste. Build a sandwich by putting a few slices of avocado and chicken on one piece of bread, add a few leaves of arugula, spread the avocado sauce on the other piece of crusty bread, and put the avocado bread on top of the layers.

[DAY 1] DINNER

Quinoa Bowl with Chicken and Beans

Make the quinoa according to the directions. Season a few pieces of the chicken tenderloin with salt and pepper. Grill the chicken until fully cooked. Pour the quinoa into a bowl. Add the chicken, beans, and sliced avocado into sections in the bowl. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

[DAY 2] BREAKFAST

Avocado Toast

If you can’t tell, I’m a huge fan of avocado toast. I could eat it every morning. Simply place two slices of bread in the toaster until lightly toasted. Slice an avocado and place the slides on top of the toasted bread. Top with arugula and/or black beans on top of the avocado slices. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

[DAY 2] LUNCH

Arugula Salad with Grilled Chicken

Make avocado sauce by adding a few slices of an avocado into a blender. Add water into the blender and blend until desired consistency. Season the avocado sauce with salt and pepper to taste. Season a few pieces of the chicken tenderloin with salt and pepper. Grill the chicken until fully cooked. Build a salad by putting the arugula in a bowl. Toss the arugula with the avocado sauce and top with avocado, beans, and chicken.

[DAY 2] DINNER

Grilled Chicken Over a Bed of Arugula and Quinoa

Make avocado sauce by adding a few slices of an avocado into a blender. Add water into the blender and blend until desired consistency. Season the avocado sauce with salt and pepper to taste. Toss together the avocado sauce and arugula. Season a few pieces of the chicken tenderloin with salt and pepper. Grill the chicken until fully cooked. Cook the quinoa according to the directions and add a few black beans. Season with salt and pepper. Place the quinoa, grilled chicken, and salad on the dish.

What’s your favorite meal planning tip for a healthy lifestyle?

The post Two Days of Healthy Meals for Under $20 appeared first on How To: Simplify.

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Let’s face it. Mornings can be tricky. First of all, who jumps right out of bed excited to tackle the day? I sure don’t. I’ve never been a morning person but I also have never been a sleep in person. With that being said, it takes me a few minutes to get up and get going for the day, especially after working late. 

With two kids (a four-year-old and a one-year-old), a husband (who usually has left the house for the day before the time my alarm goes off), two dogs, a house to take care of, a work-at-home full-time 40+ hour a week job as the Director of Account Management for an online agency, a photography business, and this blog, my to do list every day is pretty intense. I don’t nap (I’ve never been a napper) so when my head hits the pillow every night, I’m fast asleep within minutes (if not seconds).

To help me keep things organized, I rely heavily on a strong morning routine. I’m very much a routine person. Yes, I can veer away from the routine when need be. But, I always try to get back to the routine as soon as I can. My weekday morning routine helps keep me on track, accountable, responsible, and productive.

My Weekday Morning Routine Schedule

If you were to ask me, “What helps you accomplish things through the day?” My answer would easily be one word: routine. Here’s a quick at-a-glance of my weekday morning routine.

My Weekday Morning Routine Breakdown

Without a routine, I feel a bit unorganized and hectic. I rely so much on my weekday morning routine to help me get through the busy mornings. 

  • 6:00 a.m.:Wake up to an alarm, check the baby monitor, scroll through my phone, make the bed, put on workout gear, and go downstairs.
  • 6:30 a.m.: Grab a bottle of water, turn on my workout app (I’m in love with the BBG Program by Kayla Itsines and have been doing it for the past 12 weeks) and the television (I like to watch the news while I work out), and complete my workout for the day. My son usually comes downstairs around 7:00 a.m. I’ll change the channel for him and he’ll cuddle up on the couch and watch cartoons while I finish up my workout.
  • 7:15 a.m.: Give my son a shower and get him ready for the day, give myself a shower and get ready for the day, bathe my daughter (she wakes up around 7:30 a.m.), and prepare breakfast (smoothies for everyone, coffee for me, and food for everyone).
  • 7:45 .a.m.: Hop on the computer and answer work emails while my kiddos play in the playroom. I’ll usually bounce between answering emails and playing with the kids until my son has to go to school.
  • 8:00 a.m.: Run the dishwasher and toss a load of laundry into the washing machine.
  • 9:00 a.m.: Drop of my son at preschool and then head home with my daughter so that we can play. Every Friday, my daughter and I go on breakfast dates to a local cafe  after my son is dropped off at school.
  • 9:45 a.m.: Put my daughter down for a nap. I spend the rest of the morning on my computer getting work done. My daughter wakes up a few minutes before noon which is perfect since we pick up my son from preschool at noon.
  • 11:55 a.m.: Hop in the car with my daughter and head to my son’s preschool to pick him up at noon.

What’s your weekday morning routine like?

The post My Weekday Morning Routine appeared first on How To: Simplify.

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