Blueberry Hill Farms, Edom, TX

Blueberry Hill Farms, Edom, Texas

 


6/30/16 Update: After I first published this 3 years ago (wow!) picking blueberries every summer here has now become a favorite summer bucket list tradition and we went again this year and loved it as much as ever! Because of this I wanted to re-share about this wonderful place! If you’re not local and want to find out where you can pick your own you can find a local spot at PickYourOwn.org . This year we picked extra so I could make this *delicious* Blueberry Crisp, it was amazing and you should make it even if you have to buy from the store!

What: Blueberry Hill Farms

Where: 10268 FM 314
Edom, Texas 75756

 How Much: Inexpensive — varies (currently $2.85 a lb for blueberries) but we spent under $20 on a two small, full bucket of blueberries and 3 blueberry frozen yogurts!

When: June & July

Picking Blueberries is something that I’ve always wanted to do, so when my Moms Inc group announced that our outing would be to go to Blueberry Hill Farms in Edom, TX I was super excited! There are several pick your own places around here but I wasn’t sure which would be the best to go to, so I was happy to bow to the expertise of seasoned locals!

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Tricks To Keep Your Household Running Smoothly & Still Have Time For Fun This Summer

Big thanks to SheSpeaks and Walmart for partnering with me to help bring you these tips and tricks to help us all keep our households running smoothly this summer by Avoiding the Oops! www.avoidtheoops.com

It’s a beautiful summer day and you have big plans! Maybe it’s going on a wilderness hike, checking out your local zoo, a day of playing in the pool, or a family movie or game day! Nothing is more exciting, and nothing can derail it more quickly than the infamous “Oops Moment”. If you’re a mom I know you, like I, have had this happen once too often. You’re all set for the day when *bam* something like this comes across your path and derails your plans faster than you can check for a backup.

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Yes, whether it’s no toilet paper, squeezing the last ounce out of the toothpaste container, or the very last diaper, there are many everyday essential items that take the household to emergency status when it’s discovered you’re all out. And nothing is more of a bummer than having to hold off your plans to battle the holiday or weekend crowds in store, full of other moms with kids in tow who happen to be there for the very same reason.

You see, summer is this beautiful, crazy mess. On the one hand, the bustle of the busy school schedule and extra circular activities are done and days can be full of staying up late, sleeping in, and those extra fun activities instead like playing games and building blanket forts (what summer should really be all about!). I’ve noticed for us, however, that the lack of the disciplined schedule makes it way too easy to let things slide and fall through the cracks, which leads to those “Oops Moments”!

That’s why as a busy work from home mom I’ve come up with some handy tricks that I use to keep myself from having these “Oops Moments” anymore! Every moment with my family is precious, and I try to make the most of them while still keeping on top of all the jobs that being a mom involves! Because I know most of you are busy moms as well I wanted to share my tricks to keep your household running smoothly & still have time for fun this summer!

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Shop For Your Household Essentials Online

This is a huge one! I’ve been a fan of shopping online (especially for Christmas!) for years, but until recently the thought of combining my “every day essentials” shopping and online shopping just didn’t happen. I’m so excited that I realized I can now stock up on all of my very favorite brands online at Walmart.com , they even have a super handy “Avoid The Oops” page set up right now www.avoidtheoops.com to make stocking up a breeze. The best part is that you get the great prices you love and if you spend over $50 you get free shipping! This works perfectly for me because another part of this trick is buying plenty of the things so that way you’ll be well stocked up (the best way to avoid and get it delivered right to your doorstep! For this shopping trip I literally got to place my order while watching the kids splash around in the pool, how’s that for convenient one-stop shopping?!

Less time running around for errands means more time to run around for fun! Here are the products that made my “must have stocked up” list:

  • Charmin Ultra Soft — As I mentioned before, few things cause bigger “Oops Moments” than realizing you’re completely out of toilet paper. This is something that you always want to have an abundance of on hand!
  • Cascade Platinum Dish Packs — Going to tackle a stack of dirty dishes after dinner and realizing that you’re out of dishwasher pacs is a disaster as well, so I always have at least two of these big containers on hand.
  • Febreeze Air Effects — Summer means wet towels, dirty clothes, and lots of extra smells floating around the house- we help keep those smells be of the good variety by always having several of these throughout the house.
  • Mr. Clean Magic Eraser — A complete oops moment saver when you notice that weird smudge all over the door just before guests arrive (don’t even bother trying to figure out what it might be, just scrub it away).
  • Crest Complete Scope — In case you’re unsure why you need to keep stocked up on toothpaste, just picture hearing this ringing through the house at 8 PM at night, “Mooommm!!!! There’s no more toothpaste!!!”
  • Aussie 3 Minute Miracle — Because summer for us means the Texas heat we’re all pretty much living in the pool these days. This is awesome but is also brutal on our hair! This is a definite must-have product to keep bad hair days away and things running smoothly!

Once you have all these items on hand and stocked back up it’s time to tackle how you’ll handle the rest of your grocery list.

Meal Plan Once a Month & Shop In Store Once a Week

Can you tell I’m all about getting things done at once these days? It’s amazing how dedicating a chunk of time to getting a task done at once saves so much time in the long run! I have a spreadsheet where I keep track of all the different meals currently on our menu rotation and then schedule them out using my Google Calendar a month at a time, having it online makes it easy to swap around days and make last minute changes if we are invited out to eat or something comes up. Once you have monthly menu planning in place it makes it much easier and faster to come up with a grocery list and go shopping once a week at Walmart in-store. Only having to pick up fresh items thanks to shopping online makes those trips quick and easy as well, and planning ahead let’s you pick days and times where you can avoid the rush, which leads into our next trick.

Come Up With a Loose Schedule

As I mentioned the beauty of summer is the lack of structure, but without some kind of a schedule things descend into chaos and it’s too easy to forget things or realize that the kids have been watching the screen for hours on end. Planning your week out loosely at the beginning will help keep you on track, make sure you’re taking care of essentials, and also make sure you’re knocking some things off that fun summer bucket list. Alternating days where you stay at home and days where you’re out running around makes for a great variety so you don’t feel exhausted or cooped up, as will varying days to take care of tasks like shopping and cleaning and your all-day fun days. If you’re wondering how you’ll manage to fit those in you’ll need my next trick!

Have The Kids Help Around the House For Screen Time

I just mentioned on Instagram that one of the things that “stuck” from our ticket system that we used a few years ago was that our kids have to work to earn any screen time. This is especially great during the summer when they have more time at home and free. It also really helps you out as a mom because it frees you up to focus on other things that need to get done, so you can have more time for fun together!

Hopefully, these tricks will help you keep your household running & still have time for fun this summer! Don’t forget to stop by www.avoidtheoops.com. Do you have any amazing ones I didn’t mention or that I need to know about? What about a hilarious “Oops Moment” that happened to you (surely I’m not the only one!)? Leave me a comment and let me know!

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5 Things You Need To Know About Being a Husky Lover

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #PawsToSavor #CollectiveBias

 5 Things You Need To Know About Being a Husky Lover

Our family has always been dog lovers, particularly of medium to large breed dogs. Growing up my family had German Shepherds and Labs, and hubbies had Labs and mixes, including a Husky mix which was his favorite childhood pet. During the 7+ years that we were married and hubby was in the Coast Guard, however, it was difficult enough to tackle constant relocations and finding nice places to rent even without the added complication and restriction of a dog. Because of this we sadly had to put our love of dogs as pets on major hold.

Considering this, it’s no surprise that one of the very first things we did when he got out of the military was to go and purchase an adorable puppy for a pet for our little family. In fact, the very first weekend we arrived in Texas we headed to Canton and immediately fell in love with a gorgeous Siberian Husky puppy who we named Apollo. When we got home I discovered that he and I share a birthday, which seemed completely fitting. This July he’ll be 3 and he’s such a huge part of our family now, it’s hard to imagine life without him!

We’ve discovered over the years, however, that Siberian Huskies are definitely a unique, amazing, and challenging breed, and I’d love to share these tips and insights for anyone who is considering becoming a Husky Lover!

 5 Things You Need To Know About Being a Husky Lover

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They LOVE and NEED You 

Although they’re not super clingy, one fun thing about Huskies is how much they love their owners. I had to give Apollo a good amount of loving, pets, and snuggles before this shoot so he’d get away far enough for me to take photos. I thought this shot perfectly shows this first point. Like many dogs, Huskies are especially sociable and don’t do well in isolation. It’s important to give them time, attention, and love every day.

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I’ve found that the best and easiest time to do this is when we feed him each day. Since the kids help me out with feeding and watering him each day it’s a great chance for all of us to be able to pause from the busyness of the day and enjoy some sweet moments together! It’s amazing how taking time to savor the things you love truly is the simplest way to find happiness each day!

We used to purchase the same food for both our Husky and my Mom-in-Law’s Peekapoo, but now that Apollo is full grown we’re in the process of switching him over to Purina® Pro Plan® Savor Shredded Blend. I love that it’s made with real poultry, meat or fish as the #1 ingredient in all dry formulas, and it features a combination of crunchy kibble and tender shredded pieces for a taste and texture dogs love.

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Even better, right now at PetSmart when you SPEND $15 on any Purina® Pro Plan® product, 5/31–7/5. SAVE $15 on your next purchase of 10.5-lbs. or larger Purina® Pro Plan® Dry Cat or Dog Food or Litter by 7/31. I took advantage of this and stocked up for us while shopping at PetSmart the other week when we ran into Tyler for some errands. The kids love visiting the store so they can see all the fun pets from snakes and fish to guinea pigs, while I love the huge selection of dog items!

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You Need a Huge Amount of Training Time

Siberian Huskies are pack animals, which means that either they need an Alpha in their life or they will become one (read: they think they’re the boss and won’t listen to you). For us, my husband had a large amount of time off when we got Apollo as a puppy that he was able to dedicate to establishing that relationship and training him. These dogs can be absolutely amazing pets, but require much more work and dedication to get them there than many popular breeds. In our minds, it was well worth it, but if you’re a super busy family they might not be the best fit for you.

They Need to Run…a LOT

Born and bred to thrive in the cold wilderness and cover great distances, Huskies have an innate need to run and explore. To make sure this is a good thing, and not a bad thing, you’ll need to have a contained space that your dog can exercise in each day. A large fenced-in yard works best, since even though Huskies love their owners, they love to escape even more. We also make sure to encourage Apollo to run like crazy a few times a week by either playing fetch or by running around the yard with him, to help him fulfill this inner need in a productive way. We love watching him speed past in a crazy blur as he laps around the yard.

DSC_0212They Love to Dig

As part of their energy, playfulness, and love of escaping they also love to dig holes. This can be adorable, or infuriating depending on how much you spent on your yard. Much like having a sandbox for kids to funnel those urges into, having a “digging is ok” area for your Husky can help make everyone happy!

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They Talk, Not Bark

One of my favorite things about Apollo is that he isn’t a “barky” dog. While he will occasionally bark, he is usually silent and observant, or, my favorite, he’ll “talk” to us. He has this adorable habit of talking, complaining, or explaining things that stole its way into my heart completely. One reason that our family doesn’t like small dog breeds as much is that so many of them tend to be “yappy”. If this describes you as well then a Husky might be great fit.

So there you go! 5 Things You Need To Know About Being a Husky Lover, this list is just the start, so of course do plenty of research before you bring any animal home as a pet! I hope I was able to give you a fun little peek into our Husky Loving world, though!

Siberian Huskies are extremely intelligent, extremely active, very playful, fun, and beautiful dogs. While they have their quirks to families like ours those quirks just make them that much more lovable. With the right amount of time, training, and proper care and nutrition like Purina® Pro Plan® Savor Shredded Blend everyone in a Husky family can be happy with experiences that are truly rewarding and worth savoring together!

What dog breed is your favorite and why? Leave me a comment letting me know!

Simple Chocolate Pretzel Bars

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #EssentialVitamins #CollectiveBias

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Simple Chocolate Pretzel Bars

When I was expecting my last child, I promised myself that I would invest the time to take care of my body and mind after she was born. There is always so much mommy guilt when I try to do anything that takes me away from the kids. But, I wholeheartedly believe that I am a better mom when I take care of myself. I also believe that being physically active has a major impact on my emotional wellbeing. Once she made her arrival and we got into a good schedule, I started trying to keep that promise. I started out by eating better and eventually worked up the nerve to start going to the gym.

Part of my weight loss plan was to find alternatives for the unhealthy things in my diet, instead of trying to remove everything that I enjoyed. I found some cereal bars that were quick to grab, low in calories, and delicious. They became a part of my daily diet. As time went on, I realized there is more to eating healthy than looking at calories and I started trying to eat foods that were less processed. A big part of that included me learning to make some of my favorite snacks at home. I literally pulled my favorite cereal bar apart and tried to get an idea of the main ingredients. Then, I looked for the healthiest version of each ingredient and came up with a simple chocolate pretzel bar recipe.

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This recipe has four ingredients-cereal, pretzels, chocolate, and honey-that’s it!

  1. The prepackaged bar has cereal flakes as the base so I looked through all the options available and found sprouted grains cereal. When grains get to the point of sprouting, they release more nutrients. So, eating products that are made with sprouted grains is supposed to provide a higher concentration of nutrients. In addition, the sprouted grains cereal that I found is low in sugar and high in fiber.
  2. There is nothing special about the pretzels I chose, they’re in the recipe to provide some salty flavor and a little extra crunch.
  3. I used dark chocolate in this recipe instead of the milk chocolate that comes on the prepackaged bars. Dark chocolate contains antioxidants and there is a lot of research available about other possible health benefits such as lower blood pressure and increased brain function.
  4. I chose raw, local honey as the sweetener and binder for my homemade bars. Raw honey is less processed than the white sugar you find at the store. In addition, there are some claims that using honey from local sources can provide some relief from pollen allergies. I do not struggle with pollen allergies so I cannot give a personal opinion about that claim. But, I love buying local ingredients whenever possible because it is beneficial to the local economy and I have an idea of where the food came from.

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Combine the cereal, pretzels, and honey in a bowl. As you mix, you can break up the cereal and pretzels into smaller bits. If the mixture does not seem to be sticking together enough, you can add more honey.

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Melt the chocolate in the microwave or double boiler. While it is melting, prepare your casserole dish by lining it with wax paper so it will be easier to remove and cut the bars when they’ve set. Once the chocolate is melted, pour it in the bottom of your prepared dish. Then, pour the cereal mixture on top of the chocolate and pack it down. Put it in the freezer for 30 minutes to an hour to let the chocolate harden.

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Once the chocolate has had time to harden, remove the dish from the freezer, pull the entire piece out of the dish, and cut it into individual bars. They get crumbly if you let them sit out too long so I suggest wrapping the bars individually in wax paper and returning to the freezer until you’re ready to eat them. These can be eaten straight from the freezer and are easy to grab for a snack as you’re walking out the door.

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In addition to learning to make my own snacks, I decided to add multivitamins to my daily regimen. I’ve always thought multivitamins were important, but I hate taking pills! I know it’s not that difficult to grab a pill and a glass of water, but I never did it because of my general aversion to taking pills. But, I made a promise to myself so I started looking at all the multivitamin options.

I was excited to find that there are a ton of adult multivitamin options that do not include swallowing a pill! I found two chewable options from Centrum that are available at my local Walgreens, Vitamints and Multigummies. There are more than one flavor of Vitamints, but when I saw the raspberry I knew it was the one for me-I love the combo of mint+berry! The Vitamints are crunchy and minty while the Multigummies are chewy and tasty. It is simple for me to grab these vitamins, along with a bottle of water and midmorning snack (such as my simple chocolate pretzel bars), as I head out the door.

walgreens, store, vitamintsin store photo, walgreens, adEase of use and great taste are not the only benefits to Centrum Vitamints and Multigummies.  If you decide buy either type of vitamins at your local Walgreens, like I did, you will have the added benefit of giving back to people in need. Walgreens is partnering with Vitamin Angels which is an organization that provides vitamins to children and mothers in places where vitamin deficiencies are common.  Every time you make a vitamin purchase at Walgreens, they will make a donation to Vitamin Angels. You get to do something good for yourself and good for others at the same time!

As you get started on your journey to a healthier lifestyle, focus first on good things that you can add-like homemade snacks and multivitamins-so you do not feel like you are being deprived.

*These statements have not been evaluated by the food and drug administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

Simple Chocolate Pretzel Bars
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 6 to 8 bars
Ingredients
  • 2 1/2 Cups Sprouted Grains Cereal
  • 1 Cup Pretzel Bits
  • 2 Tablespoons Raw Local Honey
  • 4 OZ Dark Chocolate
Instructions
  1. Combine the cereal, pretzel bits, and honey in a large bowl
  2. Line a medium casserole dish, such as 8×8, with wax paper
  3. Melt the chocolate using a double boiler or microwave
  4. Pour the melted chocolate in the casserole dish, on top of the wax paper
  5. Pour the cereal mixture on top of the melted chocolate and press down firmly
  6. Cover the dish and put it in the freezer to set for 30-60 minutes
  7. Once set, remove the entire cereal mixture and cut into six to eight bars
  8. Wrap the bars individually in wax paper and return to freezer until you’re ready to enjoy

 

“Rest.” Free Printable!

Round Three of printable art coming your way! To download this original 8.5 x 11 watercolor typography, just click “Download Rest Printable Here!” below. 🙂 Then just print from the PDF file, and go ahead and hang it on your fridge, write a message on the back for a friend, or stick it in a frame… at least until you feel rested again and don’t need the reminder anymore. 😉 What are you doing with yours?

 

restadDownload “Rest” Printable Here!

The inspiration behind this printable is probably pretty obvious.

This one is for the mommas and dads and caregivers and students and volunteers and career peeps and project-doers and those with physical pain, all who are so tired they can’t breathe. Or for anyone else who just needs a nap before they can tackle their day. Life in general gets so heavy sometimes! Stepping away for any time at all to relax and realign can only ever help, right? I find that even a five-minute pick-me-up rest can make a huge difference in my busy momma and pregnant girl world.

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Don’t let the guilt of taking a break get to you, either! Being a good steward of the bodies given to us by God is a huge responsibility, and enables us to fulfill the needs of others. Because of course, step two after resting yourself is to get up and go let someone else rest. Honestly, we could all use the break, and don’t always know how to get it! Help someone else find their chance, trade some rest time for some rest time. Aside from the fact that this is a great way to follow Christ’s example of caring for others, helping someone else maintain their health and wellness can only give you a boost in confidence and purpose.

Please comment and let me know how you find time to take a break! Also, if you’re enjoying my printables, give me a holla! Also, follow me on Instagram here to keep track of my artistic goings-ons!

Love,
Brianne