Whole-Grain Buttermilk Waffles

The waffle recipe I turn to, time and time again are these delicious Whole-Grain Buttermilk Waffles. These waffles are already sugar-free (sweetened with ripe bananas), and can be made dairy and egg-free as well!

This post contains some affiliate links, meaning when you click on some of the links and make a purchase, I receive a commission which supports my efforts to share with you in this space the products and resources I used and love most.

whole grain buttermilk waffles

Why We Love These Waffles

It’s simple: they’re hearty, delicious, and there’s no extra dishes dirtied with seperating eggs to whip the whites. Some waffles recipes need that, this ain’t them. The combination of oat and whole-grain flour gives these a unique flavor and fullness. Being naturally sweetened with ripe bananas is a plus (without too much of a banana flavor, I don’t even taste them at all)!

Meet the Waffle Maker

Alright I’ll admit it, I love me some fancy kitchen gadgets. But, hear me out. I’ve wanted to throw every waffle maker I’ve owned out the window while I’m using it and I have never, ever felt like that with my Breville waffle maker. Come to think of it, I’ve never felt like that with any of my Breville small appliances. But we’re here to discuss the waffle maker today, and my friend…it’s glorious. It makes 4 waffles at once, has various settings, and even a cute little “a bit more” button. Yes, it seriously says exactly that and I adore it.

whole grain buttermilk waffles

If you’re like me and avoid making waffles because you can’t stand the making them part, do yourself a favor and budget for this gem. You could even do what we did and find one used for much less. You’ll be thanking yourself when you make these whole-grain buttermilk waffles. Is this waffle maker necessary? Absolutely not, if you’re thinking it’s not I’m pretty sure you have more patience than me and that’s worth celebrating.

Freezer-Friendly and Customizeable

Easily halve or double this recipe to feed fewer folks or stock up the freezer. These are very filling on their own, but we tend to eat more on the first day and then load them up with extra protein from peanut butter when we reheat them. If you decide to freeze them, pop them in a single layer on cookie sheets protected with plastic wrap and freeze. Once frozen (don’t forget about them!), place them in a freezer safe bag like Stasher Bags and they’ll be ready when you want them!

If you’re eating the leftovers the next day, you can toss them straight into a Stasher Bag instead. These reheat great, and make great leftover breakfast for busy mornings!

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My Motherhood Story + Restore Your Home Challenge

I’ll never forget the memory my husband shared with me as a snippet of the birth of our first son. That is where my motherhood story truly begins. He said, “Something in you changed in that moment, you became a mom.” He was referring to what he physically witnessed in me just moments before our first baby was born. Him saying that to me is one of my most cherished memories. That experience did change me, drastically. As many other mothers will attest, I had no idea a love so big existed.

At 20 years old, I wasn’t ready for a lot of the information I would absorb during my first pregnancy. At 21 years old, ready or not I was giving birth. I would also be plummeting into my first year of caring for a newborn baby. No, this isn’t a birth story, you can find those here, if you’re interested.

However, my story doesn’t start at that moment. It starts long before the transformational moment that baby was placed in my arms…

Before I Became a Mama

Few people know the full story behind my unconventional ways, and I’ll keep it sweet and short for you here. I grew up eating the typical red-capped whole milk from the grocery store. We ate fish sticks, and the same cereal you probably did. (Not in that order, or all together, yuck haha). I didn’t grow up wealthy, and we ate what we had without giving it much thought. I was not taught to cook, and not raised to question ingredients in things, etc. However, we grew up relatively healthy and active. I spent a LOT of time outside growing up and without any serious medical issues.

Fast-forward to entering into adulthood, and my physical activity came almost to a screeching halt. I wasn’t playing sports anymore, or riding horses, and my coupon clipping supported diet was absolute trash. Not knowing how to cook, I found myself married at 19 and really struggling mentally. I was quickly given a diagnosis and multiple prescriptions to counter the symptoms I was experiencing. It wouldn’t be until 2-3 years after that diagnosis that I would realize that I was grossly mis-diagnosed. A bandaid was placed on me with zero consideration for my nutrition or lifestyle.

A few months after starting those meds, I wanted to get off of them. I was offered no help when I shared that with the doctor’s office that had prescribed them. No one would help me. My general practitioner told me, “You’re already on the lowest dose. I don’t know how to help you wean off of these.”

This was the pivotal moment in my life when things started to shift. When I started seeing benefits from using things like essential oils and switching to raw dairy, the questioning of everything else began.

My First Pregnancy

My first pregnancy was…difficult. Not because I was high-risk or because I have any medical conditions that made it so, but because I didn’t know what I didn’t know.

I was worried and stressed at every turn:
What if I move too quickly, or pick something up that’s too heavy?
How am I going to handle the pain of childbirth? I have such a low pain tolerance and I have no idea what to expect.
Why do I need to get a flu shot, and can that effect my baby?

It wasn’t until I found a Bradley Method instructor and doula at 7 months pregnant that I was at peace with the thought of giving birth. I was terrified before meeting her and taking those classes. Despite having just moved 8 hours north of almost everyone we knew and loved, we ended up doubling down and taking a 12-week childbirth education class in just 6 short weeks. We finished the course just in time to wait for me to go into labor. If you’d like to you can read my first birth story here.

I am a firm believer that the more education you can provide yourself with before your first pregnancy, the less stress and overwhelm you’ll experience during that pregnancy. That will also naturally effect your birth experience, and first year of life with your new baby. People in our culture don’t pass down wisdom like they once did (or welcome it when it’s offered), and our motherhood journeys suffer for it.

My Second, Third, and Fourth Pregnancies

Sadly, we experienced an early miscarriage with our second pregnancy. This taught me it’s own set of lessons, but some of those weren’t understood until years later……

My third pregnancy with our second son had it’s own set of difficulty and stress, especially following a miscarriage. The biggest difference in this in contrast to my first was the care team we chose for this baby. I knew after the hospital birth with our first that I would seek an out of hospital birth next time. This time, we hired a certified professional midwife for my prenatal, birth, and postpartum care. We had a very quick home birth with a skilled team, you can read that birth story here.

My fourth pregnancy was much easier on my body than my previous ones. We had our second home birth with him as well.

I want to clarify something that I learned through my years as a birth photographer and doula. (I did this from the time my first baby was 2 years old until he was about 6.) Just because I have had unmedicated hospital births, home births, and choose differently than you might, doesn’t make me right and you wrong.

Do I think you should consider all of your options fully, including home birth with a skilled and professional team of midwives? Whole heartedly, yes. Do I think you’re wrong if you choose differently than I did? Absolutely not. However, you can’t make a fully educated decision without fully understanding what your options are. Just like there are some phenomenal obstetricians, there are just as many skilled midwives helping women deliver babies safely at home. You may be surprised to learn that many professional midwives learn the exact same skillset as OBs. The biggest difference being that they don’t learn to perform surgery. The reality is if you don’t know what your options are, you don’t have any.

Learning Through Motherhood

I share so much about my pregnancies because without them, I wouldn’t have the knowledge or skills to share my story with clarity. The compelling I’ve always felt to share my own birth stories openly have undoubtedly had a positive impact on many other’s pregnancies and birth experiences.

It’s not just through pregnancy and childbirth that I’ve learned, though. When I was 9 months postpartum with my first son, I did my first Whole30. I had no clue what I was doing in the kitchen as a young stay at home mama with a small family to feed. In 2014, you couldn’t buy many things that were compliant for Whole30 in the store. I had to learn quickly how to make things from scratch if I wanted to eat and stay on track. Homemade mayo, ranch, and ketchup are skills still pressed on my memory now.

Sometime after that, I learned about some real food and natural living meetings local to me. The woman I was picking up my fresh, raw Jersey milk from led a local Weston A. Price Foundation Chapter. They held monthly nutrient-dense potlucks and meetings that covered a different topic each time. There may have been mostly older crowds that showed up for this, but I learned priceless valuable information that I couldn’t have learned elsewhere.

Motherhood is a Marathon

There is so very much to learn when we enter into motherhood. I believe we go through waves of absorbing massive amounts of information, to learning how to apply those, and even getting overwhelmed when it all becomes too much. This is all part of learning. Mistakes will be made. Without mistakes, how can we really learn anything?Motherhood is a marathon, which gives us the grace of space to learn and make small adjustments overtime.

If I would have switched my lifestyle from what it was for the first 20 years of my life to what it is now overnight, I would have crumbled under the pressure. I started making sourdough bread less than 3 years ago and I just the other day learned something new about using my starter (thank you to my friend Liz from Homegrown Education, you’re a literal culture saver, pun-intended).

Let this be an encouragement to you now. Life is a journey of living and learning and making small adjustments for the sake of serving your loved ones. It will take change, sacrifice, and hard work sometimes. But, when you make the adjustments over time at a pace that serves you and your family, you make space to flourish. You make space to cultivate a more holistic, healthy, and natural home.

Restore Your Home

Readiness wasn’t even on my mind when I began this lifelong journey of restoring my own home. I’m still doing it now, and I hope to never stop. There is always more to learn, but I hope that you’ll at least start somewhere. If you need a place to start, my Restore Your Home Challenge is a fantastic option. I created this challenge and resource with the hopes that it will get you started on your own journey. Or, perhaps encourage you to keep going if you’ve been at it for a while.

Over the course of this next year, I will be providing a different free printable PDF checklist that focuses on a different part of your home.

  • January | Kitchen
  • February | Medicine Cabinet
  • March | Cleaning Products
  • April | Furniture, Closet, + Linens
  • May | Catchup + Review
  • June | Air Quality
  • July | Technology
  • August | Water
  • September | Garden + Yard
  • October | Bath, Body, + Haircare
  • November | Catchup + Review
  • December | End of Year Wrap Up

This is for you to have an organized place to dig into all of the nooks and crannies of your home. Customize this challenge how you want to restore your own home. This is going to look different for everyone, don’t play the comparison game and just start.

If you consider yourself a homemaker at all, I invite you to join me alongside numerous other homemakers and start restoring your home, today.

Turkey Bone Broth

turkey bone broth

One of the best parts of cooking a turkey over the holidays is the turkey bone broth you can make with the bones. Yes, save those bird bones no one wants because you’re going to want this broth for your next batch of Green Soup! This hearty broth will help your gut heal after all of the sweets, too.

If you’re asking yourself if you really want to be that person on Thanksgiving that shouts, “NO! Don’t throw out the bones, I want them!” Allow me to answer that question for you with an absolutely yes, be that person.

Sourcing Your Turkey

What’s the deal with pasture-raised? Most of the meat we eat in our home has been raised and processed with the utmost care in mind. This means they also contain higher levels of bio-available nutrients from being raised in natural, outdoor conditions. If you’re local to Houston or San Antonio, Texas Farm to Home delivers many farm to table meat and dairy products straight to your door. We’ve been utilizing his services for over three years now. Our turkey(s) will be delivered by him next week!

You can learn more about why it’s important to consider meat sources on my Weston A. Price Foundation Overview here.

Some Other Helpful Tips

I have shared both my chicken and beef bone broth recipes as well. Be sure to check them out for a fool-proof way to store your broth as well:

Cranberry Sauce Recipe

cranberry sauce recipe

Either you love it or hate it, but chances are someone you know loves it. Cranberry sauce happens to be one of my personal favorites on our Thanksgiving table each year. This cranberry sauce recipe is the same one I’m serving up this week, I hope you love it as much as I do!

Why I Avoid the Canned Stuff

There are a few reasons why I choose to make this from scratch. One, I love the process of starting with simple ingredients and turning it into something incredible. Two, I like to control the type and amount of sweeteners and additives in the food I feed my loved ones. (Many canned cranberry sauces contain undesirable additives like high fructose corn syrup, corn syrup, etc.) Three, I think anything freshly homemade is going to taste better than anything you can pickup on the grocery store shelf that might have been cooked in the very can it’s packaged in.

This is one of the times I do choose to go with cane sugar instead of something alternative because I really love for the cranberry flavor to stand out and cane sugar doesn’t take away from that. 80/20 around here, folks.

Making Cranberry Sauce is Really Easy

Don’t be intimidated! For some reason, I get impressed reactions anytime I make this myself and bring it somewhere. It makes me giggle because of just how simple it is to make. The hardest part for me is sourcing the organic cranberries. I prefer fresh, so if I forget to plan ahead I settle for frozen. That happened this year!

Without further ado…

Pasture Raised Turkey Brine Recipe

turkey brine recipe

When it comes to Thanksgiving and Christmas, I go all out with homemade all the things. I came up with this simple Turkey Brine Recipe in 2020 when I couldn’t find the one I’d been loving for years in stores. Needless to say, it was delicious and I’ll never look back. If you’re looking for a simple way to DIY this year for the holidays, give this easy recipe a shot!

This post contains some affiliate links, meaning when you click on some of the links and make a purchase, I receive a commission which supports my efforts to share with you in this space the products and resources I used and love most.

Gather Your Ingredients

If you’ve been around here long enough, you’ve noticed I’m pretty particular about my ingredients. I love to purchase fresh, organic spices from Mountain Rose Herbs. Most sugar cane grown in the US is heavily sprayed with pesticides and grown as a GMO crop, so I always opt for organic for that. I think the Himalayan sea salt really shines in this recipe, too.

If you don’t have dried orange or lemon zest on hand, fresh is always great too! Last year I used all dry, but this year I am using fresh rosemary as well as fresh orange and lemon zest instead of dried. You can even get more creative with optional add-ons like dried cranberries, if you’d like!

Sourcing Your Turkey

What’s the deal with pasture-raised? Most of the meat we eat in our home has been raised and processed with the utmost care in mind. This means they also contain higher levels of bio-available nutrients from being raised in natural, outdoor conditions. If you’re local to Houston or San Antonio, Texas Farm to Home delivers many farm to table meat and dairy products straight to your door. We’ve been utilizing his services for over three years now. Our turkey(s) will be delivered by him next week!

You can learn more about why it’s important to consider meat sources on my Weston A. Price Foundation Overview here.

Plan Ahead!

Don’t forget to consider thawing times based on the weight of your turkey, and gathering your necessary ingredients well before the need to prepare your brine. Your bird should be thawed completely and plan to brine for 12-24 hours before you plan to cook it. Print this recipe and get started!

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Holiday Gift Guide for the Family in 2021

When it comes to showing your loved ones you care, the Christmas season provides a sweet opportunity to do that and do it well. This family holiday gift guide has a little something for everyone. It’s jam-packed with unique and sustainable options. You can buy confidently knowing you’re picking out some great things while supporting some wonderful companies. Just like everything I share and do, the 80/20 rule applies. Not everything is perfect on these lists, but they’re perfect for someone!

This post contains some affiliate links, meaning when you click on some of the links and make a purchase, I receive a commission which supports my efforts to share with you in this space the products and resources I used and love most.

I’ve organized three separate lists for you on this single blog post:

  • Holiday Gift Guide For Kids
  • Holiday Gift Guide For Him
  • Holiday Gift Guide For Her

I hope this family gift guide will help you choose meaningful and unique gifts this season! Keep an eye out for the bold text for discount codes!

Holiday Gift Guide For Kids

holiday gift guide 2021
  1. Baby Björn Bouncer from Baby Björn or Amazon. $199.99+
    This has been my favorite baby item I’ve ever had between my three children for the newborn stage, absolutely wonderful.
  2. Play Gym from LOVEVERY. $140
    Sustainably sourced wood, organic cotton, this is hands down the best play gym for a baby or toddler.
  3. Baby Toys & Play Mats from The Natural Baby Company. $4.99-$89.95
    First Stacking Ring Pastel $15
    Manhattan Toy Artful Skwish $19
    Wee Gallery Forest Playmat $89.95
    If you’re in the market for cloth diapers as well, The Natural Baby Company makes Grovia Diapers which are by far my favorite.
  4. Kwik Stix by The Pencil Grip. $12.99 [Save 10% off your entire purchase with code CULTIVATING10]
    Solid tempera paint, the Classic 12 pack provides a full rainbow of colors to paint with the washable and formula that allows them to dry in 90 seconds! No cups, smocks, water or brushes needed.
  5. Forest Friends Kidsafe Diffuser by Plant Therapy. $59.95
    With three different interchangeable ears, our fun Forest Friends diffuser can turn into a feisty fox, cute bunny or precious bear. This diffuser requires no chemicals or heat, allowing the essential oils to retain all of their natural benefits and chemical profile. Find Kidsafe oil blends here.
  6. Block Beeswax Crayons by Stockmar. $19.40 (current sale price)
    The best non-toxic first crayon a little one could ask for.
  7. Baltic Amber Teething Toy by Bambeado. $19.90
    Used on all of my three children, baltic amber is an incredible pain reliever for teething.
  8. Wooden Rainbow Stacker by QZMTOY. $54.99
    A toddler+ favorite with tons of versatality.
  9. Pact Baby Clothing and Holiday Socks. $7-18 [Save 20% off your purchase with code CULTIVATINGMOTHERHOOD20]
    100% Organic clothing with unmatched quality.
  10. Wooden Block Set by Melissa & Doug. $50.89 (current sale price)
    A classic set of blocks that every little one should have.
  11. Block Set by LOVEVERY. $90
    For ages 18 months-48 months+ this is a brilliant, practical system of solid wood blocks for building spatial, language, and problem-solving skills.
  12. Thin Stix by The Pencil Grip. $12.99 [Save 10% off your entire purchase with code CULTIVATING10]
    Solid tempera paint with all the same qualities and features of Kwik Stix (gift guide #4 above), but a thinner tube for better detail and different grip. Closer to the size and shape of a marker, these are great for more precision and as grip develops and improves.
  13. Wooden Scoop & Serve Ice Cream Counter by Melissa & Doug. $38.48 (current sale price)
    One of the most interactive toys my kiddos have played with together, this is on their wish list this year!
  14. Artist Grade Wax Stick Crayons by Stockmar. $63.80
    An excellent option for the young artist in your home ready to upgrade from block crayons.
  15. Wheely “Bug” Ride-On Toy by Prince Lionheart. $59.99 (current sale price)
    A BIG favorite in our home, played with every single day and made very well and sturdy.
  16. Artist Quality Colored Pencils by Prismacolor. $19.98-$85.91
    When we switched to these pencils from the basic Crayola’s, the coloring enjoyment for my boys increased like crazy. These pencils are remarkable and worth every penny.
  17. Board Games Ticket to Ride First Journey and Catan Jr. $17.99-$22.39 (current sale prices)
    The top two board games we enjoy playing together as a family with our 8 and 5 year old are easily these two.
  18. Blackboard Playmat Kit by The Pencil Grip. $18.99-$25.99 [Save 10% off your entire purchase with code CULTIVATING10]
    This set is great for travelling, play dates, dinner time, restaurants and more!  Draw directly on the playmats, and remove with a damp cloth and start over and over again.
  19. Plush Avocado by Squishmallow. $19.88
    There is something so loveable about these soft and squishy things, we all love them! Find many more designs here.
  20. Balance Bike by Strider. $82.99 (current sale price)
    One of the best things we ever did was skip the training wheels entirely and start our boys on balance bikes. It gave them the best foundation to bike riding and none of them have ever used training wheels because of these bikes.

Holiday Gift Guide For Him

holiday gift guide 2021
  1. Sauce Pot & Basting Brush Set by Cuisinart. $14.99 (currently on sale)
    For the serious BBQ chef.
  2. Stainless Steel Meat Shredding Claws by TOFTMAN. $18
    For the chef or soux chef to pull and shred meat without burning fingers or ruining utensils.
  3. Organic Grilling Spice Gift Set by FreshJax. $24.99
    These five organic sampler spice glass bottles will have your man’s grilling game on full throttle.
  4. Andalou Naturals Shampoo & Conditioner and Highland Pine Deodorant. $10.99
    They take the tricky guess work out of regimens by combining Fruit Stem Cell Science® with unique and innovative ingredients to provide skincare solutions that target specific concerns.
  5. Classic Clogs by Crocs. $44.63+ (current sale price)
    Every dude needs a nice pair of classic Crocs. Once you go Croc, you never go bock.
  6. Pact Organic Clothing. $12-$85 [Save 20% off your purchase with code CULTIVATINGMOTHERHOOD20]
    Holiday Socks
    Boxer Brief 4-Pack
    Black & White Crewneck Undershirts
    100% Organic clothing with unmatched quality.
  7. Muscle Aloe Jelly by Plant Therapy. $13.95
    The perfect icy/hot combination after a long workout or worry-some day, a combination of soothing and relaxing essential oils mixed perfectly with hydrating aloe jelly.
  8. Espresso Tamper by Blue Bottle. $87
    For the espresso lover, don’t forget to add on an organic coffee subscription while you’re at it. Cancel anytime!
  9. Athlete Sport Collection by Charlotte’s Web. $89.97 [Save 15% sitewide with code CULTIVATINGMOTHERHOOD]
    Soothe sore and achy muscles and temporarily relieve with the support of the best ingredients mother nature has to offer.
  10. Fish/Flag hat by Columbia. $16.97+
    Mesh Tree Ball Cap features a classic fit that provides comfort for long fishing days to casual wear.
  11. Portable Speaker by Bose. $219
    Deep. Loud. And immersive, too. Eyeballing this for my hubby this year for sure.
  12. Taza Chocolate. $5-29.99
    Peppermint Bark
    Gingerbread Cookie
    Comfort & Joy Sampler
    Some of the best chocolate I have ever had. Fantastic gift option.
  13. Double-Insulated Warm/Cold Lookout Bottle by Berkey. $24.99 [Save 10% sitewide with code CULTIVATINGMOTHERHOOD]
    Built tough from rust-resistant 18/8 304 stainless steel—ideal for camping trips, sporting events, workouts, school, on the job, or everyday. 
  14. Parker Clay Sustainable Genuine Leather Items. $72-$558 [Save 20% sitewide with code PC-NICOLE20]
    Abera Billfold Wallet
    Mekonnen Leather Belt
    Axum Dopp Bag
    Parker Briefcase

Holiday Gift Guide For Her

  1. Pact Organic Clothing. $10-$60 [Save 20% off your purchase with code CULTIVATINGMOTHERHOOD20]
    Marsala Honeycomb Knit Scarf
    Holiday Socks 3-pack
    100% Organic clothing with unmatched quality.
  2. Memory Foam Slippers by ULTRAIDEAS. $24.99 (current sale price)
    A new pair of slippers each year is a well-loved gift.
  3. Parker Clay Sustainable Genuine Leather Items. $128-198 [Save 20% sitewide with code PC-NICOLE20]
    Abby Drawstring Backpack
    Parker Clay Zahra Wallet
    Desta Belt Bag
    If you’re looking to make a big impression on her, this is your golden ticket.
  4. Jade Roller & Gua Sha Tools by MoValues. $18.98
    Two tools that every woman doesn’t know she needs.
  5. Linen/Cotton Weighted Blanket by YnM. $105.90
    If she’s ever mentioned she’d like to try a weighted blanket, now is your chance!
  6. Wall Hanging Glass Planter by Mkono. $15.99
    If you have a plant lover in your life, this is a great option!
  7. Taza Chocolate. $5-29.99
    Peppermint Bark
    Chocolate Covered Espresso Beans
    If she loves chocolate, she’s going to LOVE this chocolate.
  8. Gut Health Starter Tea Bundle from Pique. $96 [Save 5% off your order with code CULTIVATINGMOTHERHOOD]
    If she’s a tea lover, GET THESE (or anything other teas from this website).
  9. Temperature Control Mug by Ember. $99.95
    If she’s always re-heating her coffee or tea, do her a big favor and buy this mug.
  10. Mama Bear Coffee Mug by Brooke & Jess Designs. $20.95
    For the mama bear in your life!
  11. 18-ounce Stump Teapot Infuser by FORLIFE. $39
    This was a gifted to me and it is the best personal teapot to share with a friend over a joyful cup of tea.
  12. Barnwood Planter & Organic Culinary Herb Garden Kit by True Leaf Market. $37.79
    The perfect gift for the beginner or experienced gardener in your life!
  13. Wonder Stix by The Pencil Grip. $16.99 [Save 10% off your entire purchase with code CULTIVATING10]
    Don’t let the description fool you, if she uses chalk regularly she’s going to adore this thoughtful gift.
  14. Himalayan Salt Lamp by Levoit. $39.99 (current sale price)
    Improve the quality of her sleep with this dimmable night light.
  15. Picnic & Outdoor Blanket by Scuddles. $26.99 (current sale price)
    For the outdoorsy type!
  16. Plant Therapy. $10.95-$159.95
    Precious Flowers Set
    Passive Sunflower Diffuser
    Holiday Magic Bath Bombs
    A treat for the essential oil lover in your life.

Happy Shopping

Remember, it’s the intentional thought and heart behind gift giving that really spreads the love. I hope these ideas help you to bless someone else this season. Happy shopping!

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Road and Tent Camping Trip with Children

We did it, we took a road and tent camping trip with children and lived to tell the story. Traveling just over 4,000 miles total we left Houston, Texas to head to Victorville, California and back again. Visiting a total of only four states, we saw a variety of terrain and have memories that will last a lifetime. We weren’t sure it was a good idea, but now that we’ve done it we wouldn’t have changed a thing. Well, there are a few things we would change… for instance, duct tape is forever on our must-have list of camping supplies.

At ages 7, 5, and 22 months our three boys overall handled the trip really well and had tons of fun. If you’re a family who enjoys camping together, then I highly recommend you consider giving this a shot for your next family vacation. If you’re not used to camping as a family, then I highly recommend you find a local place and get your feet wet ASAP!

This post contains some affiliate links, meaning when you click on some of the links and make a purchase, I receive a commission which supports my efforts to share with you in this space the products and resources I used and love most.

road and tent camping trip with children

Road Tripping For Less

We knew we wanted to make a trip to California to visit family while my husband (Craig) had two weeks off this year. We debated back and forth on affording it, and finally decided we would go. Knowing money was a huge factor, we decided to tent camp along the way both to avoid expensive hotel stays, as well as to be able to bring and cook our own food. Eating out along the way can be very expensive and risk stomach aches and diminished immune systems from food we’re not used to.

We had two choices. We could get there as fast as possible in two days minimum. Or, we could take extra time getting there and see some incredible things we would otherwise drive right past. We want our kids to see God’s beautiful creation, and this was a great opportunity to do just that.

The Necessity of Planning

I did a bit of research, and decided that planning to drive in 2 1/2-3 1/2 hour increments would be doable with our children’s ages. Toddlers to early elementary boys need a lot of stimulation and breaks to make it through a long road trip. Some stops included sight-seeing and others were 20-minute quick potty breaks and a quick stretch of our legs.

I used Google Maps to create my own saved map with stops all planned out. All the way from our home to where we would stay for 5 days in California it was all mapped out. I utilized Roadtrippers to check for major places along the way. Without this planning, I would have missed a lot of opportunities for learning and adventure for our family.

We did not stick 100% to the planned stops I made, but I was very glad to have them for guidelines along the way. It would have been very chaotic day-to-day without these plans. Planning also made it possible to not miss out on visiting places. New restrictions meant having reservations even for a day visit to some places necessary.

Major Stops Between Texas and California

A while back I posted on social media asking for recommended places to camp in Texas. One of the places recommended over and over again was Big Bend National Park. When it occurred to me that we could drive an extra few hours and stop there, I was sold. I didn’t know what to expect, and we questioned that decision a lot in a matter of a couple of hours while we detoured that way. One of the things we definitely learned on this road trip is:

How drastically terrain can change in a matter of ten minutes of driving. One minute you’re in a seemingly endless desert, and the next you’re in awe of new greens to discover and massive canyons just ahead. Nature provides the unexpected beyond our wildest imaginations.

Nicole | Cultivating Motherhood

Places we stopped on the way to California from Texas:

Had I failed to plan, I would have also wasted us a lot of money. I would have failed to realize how worth it the $80/year National Park Annual Pass would be. We saved a lot choosing this because of how many national parks we visited! Definitely worth the time to add up entrance fees if you plan to visit a number of national parks in a year or road trip like ours. I highly suggest purchasing yours at the first park you visit so that your pass begins as late as possible as well as being able to avoid waiting for the mail to deliver yours.

Major Stops Between California and Texas

The trip home was a bit trickier than on the way. We took five entire days to get to California and planned to get back to Texas in only three. We still wanted to sight-see. The most difficult part in planning this was the reality that we could leave from the home we stayed at in California super early in the morning. However, leaving a campsite in the early hours would be impossible. This meant we needed to go as far as possible the first day, leaving the other days a bit shorter. We originally booked a campsite at the Grand Canyon, but had to change that when we realized we’d need to drive much further that first day. Looking back, I really wish we would have just added on an extra day to be able to make that stop work out.

Places we stopped on the way back to Texas from California:

  • Grand Canyon National Park in Grand Canyon, AZ
  • Bearizona Wildlife Park in Williams, AZ
    this last minute decision to go to Bearizona instead of the Grand Canyon was an expensive but worth it detour, looking back I wish we had done both and extended our trip by one day, MUST DO if you have children!
  • Petrified Forest National Park in Petrified Forest, AZ
  • Holbrook/Petrified Forest KOA in Holbrook, AZ
    camped 1 night – with reservations, much prefer camping in national parks
  • Hotel el Rancho in Gallup, NM
    I actually wish we would have taken a chance and booked a room at this historic hotel instead of camping that night, we drove by from taking Historic Route 66 for a bit and it was stunning
  • Palo Duro Canyon State Park in Canyon, TX
    camped 1 nightwith reservations, would love to come back here to spend a week, tons to do

Would We Do It Again?

Without a doubt, it was worth every mishap and change of plans. We ran into holes in our tent, a nail in our tire, freezing overnight temps, and much more. But, it was a grand adventure that made for wonderful memories that we’ll never forget. We can’t wait to plan our next major family road trip, and we hope you feel more equipped to take your next (or first!) one, too.

We have got to be honest though, all the Airstream’s we passed by looked awfully nice along the way! Don’t forget to checkout these must-haves for your next camping trip:

Making Beef Bone Broth at Home

Once you use this beef bone broth recipe, you’ll never want to go back to buying store bought again! I’ve taken a lovely and decadent recipe by Rhoda Boone I found on Epicurious and adapted it to make a more affordable, bulk batch of delicious beef broth.

Be sure to visit my Chicken Broth Recipe for instructions on how to bag your broth to both store and thaw it easily!

Quality Matters when Making Beef Bone Broth at Home

When it comes to nourishment, you are what your food eats. It’s really important to source grass-fed beef from reputable farms (local is best!) to obtain the most nutrients out of what you’re feeding yourself and your family.

Making Beef Bone Broth at Home

Optimum health requires animal foods and fats. Vitamins A, D, K2, B12, B6, Zinc, essential fatty acids, and amino acids are all beneficial nutrients. You will find some of these beneficial nutrients exclusively in sustainably raised animal products.

Conventionally Raised vs. Pasture Raised

Conventionally raised animals are typically raised in ultra-confinement conditions with little to no access to the outdoors. They are almost always fed artificially with inexpensive GMO feed. They are often given performance-enhancing drugs which causes them to be efficient and profitable. There is also usually zero regard to humane processing options available when it comes to conventional meat. Modern conveniences do not come with consequences on both the animals well-being and the health of those consuming the meat products produced this way.

Pasture raised animals are raised primarily outdoors with appropriate access to shelter to protect them against the elements. They are almost always fed expensive non-GMO feed or grass. They are not given antibiotics (mainly because it’s often unnecessary in their living conditions with no confinement). These animals are typically processed humanely with care and thanks being given to the animal. Regenerative farming is also common with these farming methods.

Making beef bone broth at home requires some homework, if you want to do it right.

Know Your Farmer(s)

The most important thing to consider when sourcing animal products we consume is not always looking for the cheapest cut. Sometimes we are in positions where we have to consider the cost of our food. I am currently one of those people. Based on what I know, though, I can no longer make a decision based ONLY on the lowest price tag.

I think what we have been conditioned to blindly do in our culture is walk up to the meat section of our grocery store and not consider it’s origination. We don’t ask questions like, “Did this animal have access to sunshine and grass over the course of it’s life?” Instead we tend to think more like, “What’s on sale this week?”

There are nutrients our bodies require to obtain optimum health. Some of those are EXCLUSIVELY found in animal products raised in the right environment (pasture raised, etc.) These nutrients are simply not found in nature outside of these conditions.

Let’s stop considering simply the cost of the meat we are buying. But, let’s also consider the cost of what looking the other way could mean for these animals, as well as our health. Are you with me?

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Weston A. Price Foundation Overview

Every time I have a conversation with someone about nutrition, the Weston A. Price Foundation (WAPF) is sure to come out of my mouth. I am not sure if anyone has every answered, “Yes,” when I ask if they have ever heard of the WAPF. Why does this so frequently come out of my mouth? Evidently, it’s been an invaluable resource I’ve grown to rely on when it comes to feeding myself and my family well. It’s past time I provide you with a Weston A. Price Foundation Overview. Shall we?

How Did I Learn About the Foundation?

Living in Northern California for five years following the final weeks of my pregnancy with my firstborn provided me with a slew of resources. It is only natural that the Weston A. Price Foundation practically fell into my lap, too. There was a local chapter that met monthly to potluck with real, homemade foods. In addition, they also sought out to learn about a relevant topic that changed each month.

weston a. price foundation
Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

I chose the above image here because it very perfectly portrays the feeling I would get when I would attend these meetings. I was back in time. An era where knowledge is shared openly and wisdom is passed down from older and wiser generations. Knowledge that was once passed down, and started slipping through the cracks at some point in the last few decades.

So, What is the Weston A. Price Foundation?

While the foundation covers a vast amount of topics, I think they describe their overall intentions best by how they explain their logo (pictured below). I can’t give you an adequate Weston A. Price Foundation Overview without this vital information, the heart of everything they share.

Weston A. Price Foundation

The Weston A. Price logo (a registered trademark of the Weston A. Price Foundation) superimposes three faces over the map of the world.

Reading from left to right, the first face is the broad face of someone who was nurtured with a nutrient-dense traditional diet, as were the traditional peoples of Alaska, Australia and the Pacific region, over which the face is positioned.

The left-hand face is the past. The middle face is the narrow face of someone brought up on industrialized food. It represents the present. The face is positioned over North America where these foods originated. The deleterious effects of these industrialized foods were first described by Dr. Weston Price whose name indicates to us that this legacy is truly the “price of the west,” the price cultures pay for western modernization.

The face on the right is the goal, the future–once again broad faces that come from nourishing diets. The face is superimposed on Europe and Africa, the ancestral homelands of many Americans. We must re-embrace traditional foods in order to restore nutrient-dense foods to our tables.

Weston A. Price Foundation Website

We don’t pass down the knowledge of nourishing foods anymore to our children and grandchildren. Raise your hand if you were raised on cereal, pasteurized milk, top ramen, and fish sticks. ✋🏼
(Obviously I ate more than that, too, like: boxed mac n cheese, “I Can’t Believe it’s Not Butter!” …the list goes on.)

I spend a lot of time investing in my calling within marriage and motherhood, reading and teaching myself new skills in the kitchen. Skills that I simply wasn’t raised on. You can, too.

Who Was Weston. A Price?

Dr. Weston A. Price was a dentist who lived from 1870-1948.

In his search for the causes of dental decay and physical degeneration that he observed in his dental practice, he turned from test tubes and microscopes to unstudied evidence among human beings. Dr. Price sought the factors responsible for fine teeth among the people who had them- the isolated “primitives.”

Weston A. Price Foundation

Price’s studies include various different primitive cultures. These studies lead to the conclusion that the vast majority of physical issues find their roots in nutritional deficiencies.

When Dr. Price analyzed the foods used by isolated indigenous peoples he found that they provided at least four times the calcium and other minerals, and at least TEN times the fat-soluble vitamins from animal foods such as butter, fish eggs, shellfish and organ meats.

Weston A. Price Foundation

You can find more details in this biography about Dr. Weston A. Price here.

What Can I Do to Start Feeding my Family an Ancestral Diet?

Thankfully, we’ve been provided with great resources because of modern technology and foundations like the WAPF and The Price-Pottenger Foundation. Homegrown Education is a sweet online friend of mine who participates in her local chapter in Ohio. Liz has created a phenomenal upper elementary curriculum-middle school nutrition curriculum that is perfect to supplement any learning environment. She is working on a lower elementary curriculum that I cannot wait for!

In addition to resources like I’ve mentioned above, I always recommend the books that the founder of the WAPF has provided. This wouldn’t be a Weston A. Price Foundation Overview if I didn’t mention these vital resources:

Nourishing Traditions: The Cookbook that Challenges Politically Correct Nutrition and Diet Dictocrats

“This well-researched, thought-provoking guide to traditional foods contains a startling message: Animal fats and cholesterol are not villains but vital factors in the diet, necessary for normal growth, proper function of the brain and nervous system, protection from disease and optimum energy levels. Sally Fallon dispels the myths of the current low-fat fad in this practical, entertaining guide to a can-do diet that is both nutritious and delicious.”

I resource this book regularly to this day. Some of the best meals I’ve ever made have come from the inspirations in the recipes provided. This is a must-have book whether you are just beginning this journey or have been on this path for a while.

The Nourishing Traditions Book of Baby & Child Care

“The Nourishing Traditions Book of Baby & Child Care makes the principles of traditional nutrition available to modern parents. The book provides holistic advice for pregnancy and newborn interventions, vaccinations, breastfeeding and child development, as well as a compendium of natural treatments for childhood illnesses, from autism to whooping cough. The work of Rudulf Steiner supports the book’s emphasis on the child’s spiritual requirement for imaginative play.”

Equipped with the only formula option I would ever be comfortable making, this is another invaluable resource that every family should read through. If you ever plan to or already have children, add this to your bookshelf.

The above books are the two I have, but you can find those along with many more incredible books by visiting my Amazon Storefront here.

This post contains some affiliate links, meaning when you click on some of the links and make a purchase, I receive a commission which supports my efforts to share with you in this space the products and resources I used and love most.

Getting Passed the Overwhelmed

Look, I understand that there is a lot pining for your attention, including on the WAPF website itself. From raw milk, cod liver oil, and soy to dentistry, women’s health, and vaccinations it can be a lot to take in. I hope this overview provides you a more simplistic view of starting somewhere and growing at your own pace.

Start with something affordable and relatively simple like Making Chicken Bone Broth at Home using my free, printable recipe. Instructions on how to freeze it with little space included!

This is a huge reason I am working very hard to finish my Restore Your Home Checklist. I want you to restore your home to health and wellness. I want you to know how to combat modern conveniences that may be interfering with that goal. Newsletter subscribers will get the resource first when it’s available. Get on the list right here if you’re not already and share this with a friend who might be interested too!

Please feel free to reach out to me or comment below anytime if there are any specific questions you have about this Weston A. Price Foundation Overview!

Weston A. Price Foundation Overview
Photo by Destiny Stansel of Freckled Fragments Photography

Homemade Maple Granola

homemade maple granola

Look, I know you don’t think you need anything else to make from scratch in the kitchen. I get it, but…this is a must try. Homemade Maple Granola is something you have to make from scratch at least once. You’ll save money, your house will smell divine, and your kids will think you’re the coolest ever (maybe, idk).

Make it Your Way

One of the best things about this recipe is how customizable it is. Don’t like walnuts? Leave them out! Need to make it gluten free? Go for it! You could also sub honey for the maple, but I’ve never enjoyed my homemade granola near as much without the maple syrup as my sweetener of choice.

Much like my Homemade Bone Broth Mac N Cheese Recipe, it’s super easy to make it your way with this super versatile recipe.

Where to Buy Ingredients

The more of these ingredients you buy in bulk, the more affordable this granola becomes. Utilizing places like Costco, Azure Standard (learn more about Azure here), and Thrive Market are great to price shop and save tons with compared to just picking up something at the local grocery store. This post provides a quick comparison break down for an idea of modern day coupon clipping.

Add this to your bowl of yogurt on your Simple Meal Plan Rotation and your full belly will be happy you made it yourself!

These are my favorite oats to get from Azure, they’re gluten-free! I also purchase raw, organic nuts and seeds as well from Azure! My maple syrup budget is currently only Costco friendly, but if it weren’t I’d be getting this really good stuff in bulk from Azure, too.

I like to use refined organic coconut oil by Nutiva for the oil content. Refined coconut oil has no taste. But if you and your family enjoy the extra coconut flavor, feel free to use un-refined!

Invest in Quality Spices for Your Homemade Maple Granola

I can’t express enough how amazing fresh, high-quality spices are in your kitchen. They’ll last WAY longer if stored correctly, and there’s just nothing better. I buy all of my spices from Mountain Rose Herbs, and store them in glass spice jars and mason jars to keep them fresh.