Family-Friendly Recipes: Easy and Healthy Meals for Busy Parents


Cooking with kids can be both fun and educational, fostering their creativity and teaching them about healthy eating habits. Here are some family-friendly recipes that are easy to make and nutritious, perfect for busy parents.

Breakfast: Banana Oat Pancakes

Start the day with a nutritious and delicious breakfast. These banana oat pancakes are easy to make and packed with essential nutrients. Simply blend oats, bananas, eggs, and a touch of cinnamon to create a batter. Cook on a non-stick pan until golden brown.

Lunch: Veggie Wraps

For lunch, try making veggie wraps. Use whole wheat tortillas and fill them with a variety of fresh vegetables like bell peppers, cucumbers, carrots, and spinach. Add hummus or a light dressing for extra flavor.

Dinner: One-Pan Chicken and Veggies

One-pan meals are perfect for busy evenings. Arrange chicken breasts, potatoes, and your favorite vegetables on a baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil, season with herbs, and bake until the chicken is cooked through and the veggies are tender.

Snack: Fruit and Yogurt Parfaits

Create a quick and healthy snack by layering Greek yogurt with fresh fruit and a sprinkle of granola. This parfait is not only delicious but also rich in protein and vitamins.

Dessert: Chocolate Avocado Mousse

For a guilt-free dessert, blend ripe avocados with cocoa powder, honey, and a splash of vanilla extract. This creamy chocolate mousse is a hit with kids and adults alike.

Enhance Your Cooking Videos

Sharing your cooking adventures on social media can inspire other parents to try new recipes. Adobe Express is one of the best free video editors available, making it easy to create engaging and professional-looking videos. You can add music, text, and transitions to make your cooking videos stand out.

Sensory Bins: A Fun Way for Kids to Learn

 Sensory bins are a fantastic way to engage young learners in open-ended, creative play. These bins, filled with interesting textures and materials, provide a stimulating environment for children to explore their senses of sight, touch, and smell. But sensory bins are more than just fun – they offer a wealth of developmental benefits for children of all ages.

Why Sensory Play is Important

Sensory play allows children to learn about the world around them through their senses. As they explore the textures, sounds, and smells of the materials in a sensory bin, they are developing important cognitive skills, such as problem-solving and critical thinking. Sensory play also helps to refine fine motor skills, those needed for tasks like grasping, pinching, and pouring.

In addition, sensory bins can be a calming and therapeutic for children. The repetitive motions of scooping, pouring, and sorting can be very soothing, and the focus required can help to improve concentration. Sensory bins can also be a great tool for promoting social interaction as children take turns playing and exploring the materials together.

Getting Started with Sensory Bins

Creating a sensory bin is easy and affordable. All you need is a bin or container, a filler material, and some objects to add variety. Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • Filler Materials: Dry rice, beans, pasta, crinkled paper, play dough, sand, water beads
  • Objects: Scoops, cups, spoons, tongs, toy cars, figurines, buttons, pom poms

Once you have assembled your bin, let your child take the lead in exploring it. There are no right or wrong ways to play with a sensory bin. The important thing is that your child is having fun and engaging their senses.

Sensory Play Ideas

Here are a few sensory bin themes to inspire you:

  • Rainbow Disc Sensory Bags: These rainbow bags are easy to make and offer a colorful yet mess free sensory play option.
  • Garden: Fill the bin with crinkled paper grass and add plastic flowers, ladybugs, and gardening tools for a one of a kind, kid friendly garden sensory bin.
  • Pot of Gold Sensory Bin: Make this easy sensory bin for Saint Patrick's day to offer a hands on play experience.

Sensory bins are a fun and educational way to keep your child entertained. So next time you're looking for a creative activity, consider putting together a sensory bin and letting your child's imagination run wild!

You can find more of my sensory play ideas here:

Starry Night Sensory Bags

Easy Dyed Rice

Lemonade Sensory Bin

Veggie Garden Sensory Bin

Rainbow Sorting Bin

Stars and Stripes Bin

Unicorn Fine Motor Bin

Egypt Sensory Bin

Feeding Frenzy Sensory Bags

Glow in the Dark Sky Bin

Here’s How You Can Get Your Realty License in Texas Online

Working as a realtor is ranked as one of the best careers in the U.S. The property market in TX is experiencing a boom thanks to the rising population, favorable interest rates, and growing house inventory. But before you can start helping people buy or sell their homes, you must get the required credentials.

A few years back, getting your realtor’s license meant that you had to attend a community college or enroll in a four-year degree program. However, that has changed with the latest developments in technology that have made online learning a more convenient option.

This guide will help you understand the process of getting your realtor’s license in Texas online.

Finding a Pre-Licensing Program

Before looking for an online program, ensure that you meet the state’s eligibility requirements. As an applicant, you must be a legal U.S. citizen of 18 years or older. You don't need a GED or high school diploma to become a realtor in TX.

However, you must be a person of good moral standing. If you have prior run-ins with the law, take the fitness determination test before enrolling.

Once that is out of the way and you have checked every requirement box, it is time to start hunting for the best pre-licensing program in Texas. Identify your learning style and choose a program that delivers content in an easy-to-understand format.

What to Expect in the Coursework

The coursework will introduce you to various topics related to state and federal property laws and regulations. The main topic covers real estate principles, where you will learn about valuation, property types, and property market analysis.

Under property laws, you will learn how to handle transactions. You will also be introduced to fair housing policies, contract law, and agency disclosure. You will delve into financial aspects such as mortgages and loan qualification to help your clients make the best decision when purchasing property.

Studying Online: Creating a Schedule

Enrolling in an online real estate school in Texas, like RealEstateU, offers flexibility and convenience. However, you must do your fair share to finish the course on time and be well-prepared for the final exam. Create a learning schedule based on your daily routine and stick to it.

Also, don’t skim through the notes without testing your knowledge. Most online study plans come with interactive quizzes after every topic. Attempt the quizzes and look for additional testing material before moving to the next topic.

If your program has a discussion forum, don’t hesitate to ask questions if you have trouble understanding some concepts.

Exam Preparation Tips

You are a step away from becoming a realtor in TX. The exam will test how well you understand the pre-licensing coursework. Exam fever is normal, but you can calm your nerves and boost confidence levels through practice and studying.

Purchase an exam preparation course or hire a personal tutor to help you revise for the test. You can also use free materials available online. Also, download a copy of the students’ handbook from the Pearson VUE website to learn about exam room rules and regulations and the exam format. 

A Guide for Planning Your First-Ever Solo Vacation


Embarking on your first solo vacation marks a significant milestone in personal freedom and self-discovery. Solo travel not only allows you to explore at your own pace but also offers profound benefits, such as boosting your confidence and providing a unique sense of accomplishment. If you're considering a solo trip, the Great Smoky Mountains offer an ideal destination. With its breathtaking landscapes, accessible trails, and wealth of activities, it’s a place where you can truly connect with nature and yourself.

Here’s how you can make the most of your first solo adventure.

1. Choosing the Smoky Mountains: Why It's Perfect for Solo Travelers

The Smoky Mountains are a paradise for solo travelers seeking both adventure and tranquility. Known for their mist-covered peaks, these mountains offer endless opportunities for exploration and personal reflection. The well-marked trails range from easy walks to challenging hikes, making it easy to find something that suits your pace. Moreover, the area's safety and the friendly locals ensure that even as a solo traveler, you'll feel right at home. The diverse range of activities, from exploring historic cabins to participating in ranger-led programs, means every day can be as relaxed or as adventurous as you wish.

2. Booking the Perfect Cabin Rental

When booking your Smoky Mountain cabin rental, prioritize location for stunning views and ease of access to trails and local attractions. Look for cabins that offer the comforts of home, like a kitchen and a cozy living area, which are essential after a day of hiking. Many cabins also feature decks or hot tubs where you can unwind while surrounded by nature. When choosing your cabin, consider its proximity to the park’s main entrances or key landmarks, as this will minimize travel time and maximize your immersion in the natural beauty around you.

3. Packing Essentials for the Mountains

Packing properly is key to enjoying your solo adventure in the Smoky Mountains. Essentials include weather-appropriate clothing—think layers that you can add or remove as needed. Sturdy hiking boots are a must, along with a first aid kit, a flashlight, and a waterproof jacket. Don’t forget to pack a map and a compass, even if you plan to use your smartphone or GPS, as these traditional tools can be invaluable if technology fails. Additionally, bring a reusable water bottle and snacks to keep your energy up throughout your explorations.

4. Planning Your Itinerary

Planning your itinerary ahead of time can help you make the most of your solo trip. Start with the must-see highlights of the Smoky Mountains, such as Clingmans Dome and Cades Cove, then add in activities that cater to your interests, like photography or bird watching. Balance your days between bustling activity and moments of solitude. Schedule some downtime to relax or write in your travel journal, especially after more strenuous activities. Being flexible with your plans can also lead to unexpected discoveries and opportunities to engage more deeply with the place and its people.

5. Navigating Solo Safely

Staying safe is paramount when traveling alone. Always let someone know your plans for the day, especially if venturing into less populated areas. Stay on marked trails and be mindful of wildlife, keeping a safe distance at all times. Check weather conditions before heading out and start your hikes early to ensure you have enough daylight. Carrying a whistle and a small, portable charger for your phone can also enhance your safety during longer hikes.

6. Meeting New People and Making Friends

Traveling solo doesn't mean you have to be alone all the time. The Smoky Mountains region is known for its warm hospitality and community-oriented spirit. Participate in group hikes or guided tours offered by local outfitters or the park itself to connect with fellow travelers. Attending local events such as festivals, craft shows, or live music evenings also provides great opportunities to meet locals and other solo travelers. These shared experiences can lead to meaningful connections and even lasting friendships.

7. Best Dining Experiences

The Smoky Mountains are not just a feast for the eyes but also a delight for the taste buds. The area boasts a range of dining options that highlight Southern cuisine. Treat yourself to local specialties like smoked barbecue, fresh trout, and homemade biscuits. Restaurants with mountain views offer a scenic backdrop to your meal, enhancing the dining experience. Don’t miss out on visiting local breweries or distilleries for a taste of regional craft beers and spirits. Dining alone can be a liberating experience, giving you the chance to truly savor the flavors and reflect on your day.

8. Capturing Memories: Photography Tips

Solo travel in the Smoky Mountains provides picturesque landscapes perfect for photography. To capture the best shots, consider waking up early to photograph the sunrise when the light is soft and the mountains are quiet. Use your phone or camera to take panoramic shots of the vistas or close-ups of the flora and fauna. Experiment with different angles and settings to find unique perspectives. Most importantly, don’t forget to occasionally put the camera away and soak in the beauty with your own eyes, ensuring the moment is captured in your memory as well as your memory card.

9. Budgeting for Your Trip

A solo vacation can be as luxurious or as budget-friendly as you desire. To keep expenses in check, plan your travel dates during the off-peak seasons when accommodation rates are lower. Consider preparing some meals at your cabin rental, especially breakfast and dinner, to save on dining costs. Many of the best experiences in the Smoky Mountains, like hiking, wildlife watching, and visiting historical sites, are low-cost or free. Keep an eye out for discounts on tours or attractions, and always set aside a little extra for unexpected opportunities.

10. Reflecting on Your Solo Travel Experience

As your solo trip comes to an end, take time to reflect on your experiences. Consider keeping a journal throughout your journey to jot down thoughts, feelings, and discoveries along the way. Reflecting helps cement the memories and lessons learned from traveling alone. It can be incredibly rewarding to look back and see how you've navigated challenges, embraced new experiences, and grown. 


Planning and executing your first solo vacation in the Smoky Mountains can be a deeply rewarding experience. It’s a chance to meet a new you against the backdrop of nature’s grandeur. Each step of the way, from the trails you trek to the quiet evenings spent in your cabin, you'll build confidence and collect memories that last a lifetime. Embrace the journey as much as the destination, and let the Smoky Mountains inspire and transform you.

Vegan Summer Side Dishes

 Summer is near, and I have gathered some of my favorite vegan side dishes to share with you. These are easy, healthy and are made with loads of fresh summer veggies. I know you are going to love a few of these tasty side options, if you are eating vegan or not!

I am not completely vegan, or vegetarian. I just rarely eat meat these days. I like it! But, the rising costs of groceries keeps me from buying it often. Adam and I are totally fine with meatless meals, Harper never eats meat unless it is in a taco. Rolf is our resident carnivore. So, these side dishes are perfect for our family.
I am sure you will find  few recipes to try and love too.

  1. Vegan Waldorf Salad by Happy Kitchen

  2. Lentil Quinoa Salad by Green Bowl 2 Soul

  3. Mexican Pinwheels by Sprinkles and Sprouts

  4. Baba Ganosh by The Lazy Slow Cooker

  5. Vegan Pasta Salad by Nourish Plate

  6. Four Bean Salad by Aussie Home Cook

  7. Avocado Bean Dip by Sungrown Kitchen

  8. Summer Rolls by Drive Me Hungry

  9. Vegan Jalapeno Poppers by Food Sharing Vegan

  10. Sweet Potato Salad by Plant Based on a Budget

  11. Jackfruit Tuna Salad by LB Health and Lifestyle

  12. Black Chickpeas by Tips and Recipes

  13. Fire Roasted Corn Salsa by The Helpful GF

  14. Vegan Pasta Salad by Strength and Sunshine

      15. Artichoke Pasta Salad by The Conflicted Vegan

Find more favorite recipes here: