Simplicity: Family

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Shoes That Make a Difference

We recently came across a shoe brand at a local ski movie and coat drive event that is pretty awesome, so we decided to share! We LOVE featuring companies that give back to the community, but the even cooler thing about this company is that you can CHOOSE where you want them to donate. Awesome right? It’s KURU footwear, and this is what they have to say.


This is Your World, Your Future, and Your Cause

Imagine if you had the ability to control how the companies you patronize give back. Our Consumer Empowered Sustainability™ program does just that. It’s simple: You choose where KURU donates a portion of its profits from your purchase.

We’ve hand-selected causes that focus on The Four Pillars of Sustainability and Social Responsibility™:

  • Education – educating our children towards a brighter future
  • Economic Development – lifting people out of abject poverty
  • Health – solving health and disease to help people live longer, happier and better
  • Environmental Impact – addressing our environmental impact so all can have a beautiful earth to enjoy

We view sustainability as a lifestyle, a change of attitude. It’s about improving the world around us; creating opportunities; and leaving a legacy for our children. All of us have the power to effect social and environmental change. With our revolutionary Consumer Empowered Sustainability™ program, you can help make a difference.

Join us as we make a difference. Simply register your purchase and select your charity of choice.



Isn’t that great? And yes, ladies and gentlemen, it does still get better. Their shoes look awesome and are supposed to be amazingly comfortable and durable. We really love what they’re doing. You should check out their website and see the things they’re up to!

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Keep it on your mind, write it down!

Around this time of year we all start to try and think what we’re thankful for. Each year we say to ourselves that we should be this thankful all year ‘round. We also need to instill in our children their our gratitude, so they realize how blessed they are. So this Gratituesday, here are some FREE printable Gratitude Journals that can help you and your family maintain a thankful perspective through this season. I got this idea from a great blog I follow, Are We There Yet?

#1 Motherhood on a Dime

#2 Happy Serendipidy

#3 Family Your Way

#4 School Express (weekly sheets)

I decided that I really want to do this year ‘round, so I went to the Dollar Tree and picked up a little notebook to keep with me.

I know my little journal isn’t as cute as the other ones, but I wanted a lot of room to write. I remember one time at church a girl was talking about keeping a Gratitude Journal, and she never wrote the same thing twice. I thought that was a pretty great idea because it makes you really ponder about what you’re grateful for. So I’m going to try to do that, and we’ll see how far I get before I start having trouble haha. Remember to go check out Heavenly Homemaker’s Gratituesday, they’re the ones who started this great series. So go check out these ladies’ blogs, print some things out, or grab a $1 journal and start realizing all the great things you’ve been blessed with!

Join us for Gratituesday at Heavenly Homemakers!

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Sweet Sandal, Sweet Cause

There’s this really great company I ran onto the other day that makes uber-versatile sandals (and now gorgeous accessories) while helping send Ugandan women to college with its profits. Sounds like the perfect “Just ‘Cause!”

The motto of Sseko Shoes is to “Using fashion to empower and educate women one sandal at a time.”

Sseko Way from Sseko Designs on Vimeo.

Sseko Designs is a sandal company based in Uganda. We make beautiful leather sandals with interchangeable fabric straps that can be styled in hundreds of ways.

Sseko began as a way to generate income for high potential, talented young women to continue on to university. Sseko has graduated three classes of women. Every woman who has graduated from Sseko is currently pursuing her college degree.

In addition to our university-bound team, Sseko also employs a full-time team of women from all walks of life. By creating an environment of dignity, honor, creativity and dedication, Sseko Designs provides the opportunity for women in East Africa to end the cycle of poverty and create a more equitable society.

We believe that every woman has a dream. When she is given the opportunity to pursue those dreams, we are collectively walking towards a brighter and more just and beautiful world.

We believe that our stuff has a story and that every dollar you spend is a vote for the way you think the world should work.

Every Sseko has a story.”

Pretty sweet, right? Now maybe this isn’t the time of year when sandals are on your mind, but take a look anyways because they’re way cute. They are roughly $50 per sandal, which comes with a color strap of your choice, and info on all the ways to style your sweet Sseko sandal.  Check ‘m out, they have a great blog if you want to follow along.

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Incubus- Friends and Lovers

Last week while doing dishes and listening to the new Incubus CD, “If Not Now, When?” I listened to the following song, like I had so many times before, but a certain stanza really stuck out to me this time. Here’s the lyrics of the whole song.

I’m a ne’er do well
Runnin’ off black gold
It’s high time I pulled over
And walked around a while

I’ve seen that porcelain shell
Your exoskeleton
And I feel like we’d walk well together

Because in the end, we are friends and lovers.

If asked of me I would
Gobble them to bits
The things that wall us off from
Where we belong

What’s wrong with you is good
For what’s wrong with me
And I think maybe we should stick together.

Because in the end, we are friends and lovers
We are friends and lovers.

Abandon all the bones
We’ve got to pick
They’ll only weigh us down and
We’re better than that
If they all throw stones
Start a collection
Of everything we’re not
And wont (be)cause

You should never have to defend
Being friends and lovers.
Being friends and lovers.
Being friends and lovers.

First of all, I like this song because it’s chill and I can relate with the idea with Josh being my husband, therefore friend and lover (By the way, doesn’t “lover” just sound like a taboo word? Like I would never say it out loud in a conversation kind of thing… maybe it’s just me). It’s like walking through life with your companion, which is sweet.  Oh, and we don’t endorse being a “lover” if not married yadda yadda, but I want you to focus on that bolded stanza. Here it is by itself.

Abandon all the bones
We’ve got to pick
They’ll only weigh us down and
We’re better than that
If they all throw stones
Start a collection
Of everything we’re not
And wont (be)cause 

I thought this was really profound, by itself out of context even. It’s saying to drop your grudges, let it go because it’s only affecting you, and it’s affecting you negatively. You ARE better than that, holding onto your grudges like a poison. And if people try to bring you down, just keep moving, don’t give them the time of day. Think of all of the things that people have ever said to you, how often did you get offended? The thing about being offended is that you CHOOSE to be offended… Not saying that it’s not easy to get offended, but how much better of a person would you be if you straight up didn’t let it get to you? Because those things they’re saying are only going to slow you down. Life is fleeting. We have so much we want to do with our time so why give someone else that pleasure of stealing some of your precious time while you bitterly take offense. The only way you’ll move on is if you forgive them at a drop of the hat, and continue on, without losing stride. Because you CAN forgive those who offend you. I don’t need to drop Bible verses here for you to understand that that’s what we’re supposed to do anyways. Move on, be happy.

I’ve struggled with this a lot in my life. Only recently, with much prayer, have I been able to forgive people, and myself.

Here’s the music video if you want to watch it and hear the song.

Keep on lovin’ the music,


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Spaghetti Dinner with Eggplant

So I have this AMAZING cookbook I’m going to cook my way through and post about the recipes. We’ve been eating out of these recipes for a couple weeks now and everything is fantastic. Here’s the kicker – it’s all meat-less. We are not vegetarians. Simple as that. Josh is one of those guys who always asks where the meat is if he doesn’t see it, but he loves these dishes too! The cookbook is “The Forget-About-Meat Cookbook” by Karen Brooks. The name is straight-forward and so are the recipes. There aren’t weird ingredients like in other vegetarian dishes that I’ve seen, and the dishes are super cheap to make, but they don’t lack flavor my any means.

<<<Please forgive the quality of these photos, they’re from my tablet because I can’t find my camera for the life of me. And my tablet only has a conference camera, so I had to flip it around and shoot blind, which is why everything is… off center >>>

Here’s a picture of the cookbook.

Tonight I’m making Spaghetti with eggplant in it instead of meat. I added some health benefits of the ingredients used just to make you feel that much better about the dish J. The eggplant was a variation, so you can add it or not.

Here’s the ingredients.

And here’s the choppable ingredients all chopped up nice!

So you have to add a quart of tomato puree… which, before you Google how many cups in a quart, is 4 cups. I had huge tomatoes, so each tomato ended up about 1 cup pureed. I just worked them through my Magic Bullet one at a time and it was pretty quick.

So add your chopped veggies to a large pot.

Then the tomatoes, bay leaf, cayenne, Italian seasoning, and salt. As you can see by my big wooden spoon in the picture, you should now stir it.

Maybe it was because I added a whole eggplant, but I felt it was too chunky so I added some tomato sauce to it.

Bring this to a simmer and set your timer for 45 minutes (because I’m sure you needed a picture of my stove timer to complete your experience)

When there was 15 minutes left I cooked some spaghetti up in salt water, and enjoy the sweet aroma of your sauce. Now is also a good time to taste test it to make sure your seasonings are on point.

Serve and enjoy!

And now for the real recipe!


12 oz. buckwheat or soy spaghetti (I’m using regular spaghetti because it’s there)

1 T oil (I use olive)


4 T olive oil (vitamin E and antioxidants)

½ onion, chopped (antioxidants and is great for your liver)

½ green pepper, chopped (vitamin E and C and six carotenoids)

3 stalks celery, chopped (lowers blood pressure, has vitamins B1, B2, B6 and C)

¼ pound mushrooms, sliced (vitamin D, antioxidants and B vitamins)

1 clove garlic, chopped (great for your heart and preventing cancers)

1 eggplant, chopped (antioxidants and heart health)

1 quart tomato puree (vitamin A, C, K, folate, potassium and a bunch more)

1 t honey (boosts immune system and helps prevent cancer)

1 bay leaf

Salt, cayenne pepper, basil and oregano (I’m just using Italian seasoning) to taste


  1. In large pot, cook spaghetti in water with oil until spaghetti is tender. Drain and rinse with cold water.
  2. For sauce, in heavy sauce pan, mix first 7 ingredients.
  3. Add remaining ingredients and simmer sauce 45 minutes.
  4. Serve over spaghetti.

*** Note: if sauce is too thick, add a little water to thin out, or replace part of tomato puree with tomato juice as I did***

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How KIND Are You?

Have you heard of KIND bars? A couple months ago I got a free sample of them and they were fantastic. They’re like a super-amazing granola bar. But the cool thing is that the company is so much more than a producer of healthy deliciousness – they change the world, one BIG KIND act at a time.

They describe what they do as follows, “Each month KIND challenges its community to carry out a specific act of kindness.  If enough people sign up to complete that act of kindness, KIND carries out a BIG KIND Act for a group of people that really needs it.”

They work on one mission at a time, and show the progression towards that goal on their website. Here was the last mission —>>>


In September, KIND asked people to go out of their way to make someone feel special. Because enough people pledged to do so, KIND partnered with Birthday Wishes to host birthday parties for hundreds of children in need throughout the upcoming year.

For our first birthday party, KIND worked with Birthday Wishes to host a birthday party for our special birthday boy, Eddie by outfitting his celebration with decorations, gifts and a Halloween-inspired birthday cake. Joined by 20 of Eddie’s closest family and friends, the KIND team shared in a day of songs and games – making it a birthday party to remember. Thanks to the KIND community for making this possible.


Isn’t that awesome? Now the mission has changed, this mission involves them providing Thanksgiving meals to families in need. All you have to do to support their cause is pledge on their website to give thanks to someone who has impacted your life. Easy right? So let’s all go pledge to do something good, so our efforts will be multiplied. I’m going to write a letter to  my older brother, who helped raise me.

Who will you write the letter to? Remember to pledge on their website!

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