I haven’t written on my blog about what it’s like living in an tiny home. I tend to use my blog for recipe posts, but I wanted to start being more personal on here as well. More often, I share everything on my Instagram @indiemamalife and Facebook @indiemamahealth. On my YouTube- Nicole Slater , I have talked about tiny living (you can watch a couple videos about our tiny living situation HERE and HERE), but even then, I haven’t spent much time focusing on it. It’s not because I don’t love it, because I do, but because I’m juggling 100 balls at once with being a stay at home mom for a 5 and almost 3 year old, caring for 4 dogs, a cat and a rat (in 400 sq ft), renovating a small RV and also working on my business where I’m pouring my heart into an epic e-program, Healthy Vibrant Kids for families who want step-by-step instructions on how to clean up their health and create a healthier household. It’s my e-baby and I spend most waking moments thinking about it…when I’m not thinking about the next meal or picking up toys and stopping sibling fights or where I want to travel. 😉
SO..here I am, talking about what it’s like to live in a tiny home. I’m joining up with Small Family Homes Blog Community, which is a collective group of other inspiring small living folk and each month we share a different topic about what it’s like to live in a tiny or small home. Some of us live in brick and mortar homes and others are traveling in RV’s and trailers. Either way…it’s small living and it’s fabulous.
My husband and I learned early on that we actually prefer living in smaller homes….although we didn’t know it at the time. When we moved into a 1600 sq ft farmhouse 3 years ago, it hit us then that we actually liked living in smaller spaces. To some 1600 sq ft is still small, but we tend to thrive in 1100 sq ft or less. Our family is closer and more connected. Our sons are tight knit and play together for hours upon hours. We sleep together and are generally very in sync with each other on a daily basis. It’s not that tiny living doesn’t have it’s problems….it does…but over all it’s something that we enjoy.
One of the aspects of tiny home living that I really enjoy is the requirement to be super creative with storage and organization. Every time we move, it’s like a fun and exciting puzzle for me. Where am I going to put the books, office supplies, all the kitchen gear?
It’s a game and I LOVE it. I love to be organized and I love for each item to have it’s own home. I love to organize items in the home in the order of use/importance. It’s critical to make the most used items easily accessible, especially in the kitchen.
When we made the decision to move into 400 sq feet, I knew that it would be a challenge, but it was a challenge I easily accepted. The most creative part of the organization game for me, is to find aesthetically pleasing ways to store items. I look at all space…especially tiny space… as a connected space and I don’t want any eyesore furniture, electronics or wiring sticking out. Nope! It all has to mesh well together and compliment each other. For example, I cover our TV with one of my favorite paintings when we aren’t using it and to do that, I simply installed a wood block and hook above the TV. The painting is easy on and off.
I always find ways to hide ugly computer cords with old wooden boxes and I try to camouflage modems and other electrical devices.
I ADORE baskets. I have complimenting baskets, crates and boxes everywhere. You can utilize SO much more space by using baskets and bins especially with kids gear. Every type of toy has it’s “OWN” basket. All the different art supplies have their own basket homes. The bathroom has baskets full of bandaids, makeup and lotion. A metal crate on the floor that holds a plant inside, is part of my computer desk and holds a box full of paperwork on top.
It’s really about trial and error and finding what works together physically and visually and I find that tiny living really gives me the creative mental push that I crave.
We’ve been living in our tiny home for 7 months now and I CAN say that 400 sq ft is becoming TOO small with two young children. Recently there have been many days where I’m frustrated and on the verge of screaming because the boys are literally climbing the walls with all their energy. Ha! BUT I’ve really enjoyed the experience of making it work creatively in such a tiny space and we’re looking forward to our next adventure.
You can see my entire tiny home by video below where I talk and show a little about the creative organization.
This post was written for inclusion in the August collection of the Small Family Homes Blog Community. Read below for more writings on living small from our community of writers. Check back next month for a new topic and posts in the series and follow our community board on Pinterest for the latest small homes and family minimalism pins!
Little Bungalow– “Colourful Minimalism” : Sharing my totally made up design style and some images that are inspiring me creatively in my new small home.
A Life Shift– “Do You Need to Be Creative to Live Small?” : Thoughts on whether creativity is the key for this family of three’s harmonious life in a tiny Hong Kong apartment, or if there are other “secret ingredients” that make it a successful lifestyle we love.
Fourth and West– “Hobbies, A Baby and A Tiny House” : Finding space for creativity in a growing family.
Family Pedals– “Creativity in the Cold” : So it is the coldest months when the kids have the most pent-up energy and the fewest outdoor options that we have the least square footage. Having limits–limited space, limited toys, limited options–gives our kids the freedom they need to create.
The Streamlined Life– “When Creativity Spills Over into Something More” : Living small doesn’t make us creative, but living with purpose does.
Tiny Ass Camper– “Crafts and Creativity in a Tiny Space” : Finding the balance in making a mess and raising a creative free spirit.
Justice Pirate– “Creativity Bursts in Small Home Living” : When sometimes you have dreams of fabric, colors, and getting snuggly in a quilt you made yourself.
I discovered Dandy Blend a couple years ago. We were living in WA state where it’s cold and dreary most of the winter months. I got a small package of Dandy Blend for Christmas from the hubby and I instantly loved it. It was easy to make, replaced my desire for something warm and creamy during those cold mornings. I’m super sensitive to caffeine so I stopped drinking caffeinated coffee years ago, plus my youngest was only a newborn and I certainly didn’t want caffeine getting into his system. Sleep is too vital! I’ve always read that decaffeinated coffee is worse for you than caffeinated because of the process used to remove the caffeine, so I mostly stay away from that.
Tea usually just doesn’t do it for me in the mornings and prefer it more as a calming, evening drink.
I love my morning green smoothies, but when it’s REALLY cold, I want something hot to sip on.
Ever since that Christmas, Dandy Blend has been the warm drink that I reach for in the morning…especially for the colder months or for when I’m craving something coffee like. You can drink it hot or cold and I’ve even added it to smoothies. I imagine you could make some tasty raw vegan desserts or ice cream with it as well. It could be a great substitute for coffee ice cream.
My boys also love it. I’ll give them a splash of my drink and make it even creamier with more almond milk.
On top of loving the taste of Dandy Blend, it can have awesome health benefits as well. Most know that dandelion root is a great cleansing tool for the liver. It is also a known diuretic and blood purifier. When my oldest son was born, he was slightly jaundice and I ate dandelion in my smoothies and juices to help cleanse his liver. I wish I had known about this product back then because it’s much tastier and not as bitter as raw dandelion. It’s also not as bitter as dandelion tea can be.
Dandy Blend is not just dandelion…hence the word blend. It contains extracts of roasted barley, rye chicory root, dandelion root and sugar beet.
It is also GMO free. Gluten-Free and Vegan. (how is it gf when it has barley and rye? You can read more on their website, but it’s completely safe for the gf diet.)Whoop whoop!
I love it and I especially love that I can pass this product on to my clients…in particular pregnant and breastfeeding mamas. It’s safe and cleansing and for breastfeeding mamas, it has been known to increase lactation. How amazing is that?!
I also know that there are a lot of parents that are relying on coffee to get through their day. They want to get off of caffeine, but it’s daunting and people can struggle with the withdrawal headaches…especially if they are chasing kids around all day. Dandy Blend can be a seamless transition from coffee as it helps cleanse and decrease withdrawal symptoms.
It tastes great and it’s healthy. I really can’t say enough good things about this tea blend. I drink it often, and I know that I’m helping out my liver in the process. 😉
It’s a win win.
SO how do I drink mine?
I make mine in a latte form! I warm up hot water, pour it over 1 TBS of Dandy Blend, then add almond milk or a dairy free creamer.
If you have a milk frother, you can make your dandy latte even more luxurious. *Donuts not included 😉
It’s delicious and warm and hits the spot.
Have you had Dandy Blend? How do you drink yours?
For more information about this fabulous, nutritious drink you can check out their website.
I got inspired to make these from a recipe I found on Pinterest from The Big Man’s World.
If you haven’t discovered Arman’s site, you should go check it out. It has great recipes and Arman himself has a pretty great story about healing.
I adapted his chocolate peanut trix bar to a bar that our family could eat and I have to say it’s mighty tasty.
It’s crunchy and creamy and nutty and satisfying, yet also not unhealthy like so many of the bars or candy bars that you would normally see like this.
It’s still a decadent treat…although I’m not gonna lie…I did eat it for breakfast more than once.
It’s also extremely versatile.
You can switch out cereals and nut butters easily with delicious results.
Both my boys enjoyed helping me make it, but actually didn’t eat much of the finished product….uhhhhh that job was left to me and my husband. 😉
I think it was a little rich for the boys. Oh darn! It was really horrible having most of these bars to myself.
I won’t keep you from the recipe any longer
I hope you enjoy it!
- 3 cups organic crunchy cereal of choice. (I did a combo of Van's Cinnamon Heaven GF Cereal and organic, gf, vegan cornflakes)
- 1 cup chocolate chips (I love Enjoy Life Chocolate Chips)
- 3/4 cup sunflower seed butter
- 3 TBS almond butter
- 1/4 cup coconut nectar
- 3 TBS coconut oil
- Line a 8x8 baking pan with parchment paper.
- Pour the cereal into a large bowl and set aside.
- In a medium sized sauce pan, combine everything but the almond butter and the cereal and stir until melted over low heat.
- Pour the melted mixture over the cereal and stir gently until well combined.
- Next add in the almond butter 1 TBS at a time and gently swirl it in making sure to leave big chunks of it unmixed. It's truly decadent when you bite into a big of fudgey chunk of almond butter.
- Gently press the mixture into the 8x8 baking pan and set in the fridge to set for 1 hour. (Or if you are impatient like I usually am, you can freeze it for 10-20 minutes.)
- Remove from fridge and cut into bite-sized bars.
- Store in the fridge until devoured. Can last for up to 4 weeks refrigerated.
My most favorite memory of pineapple is when I was a child living in Hawaii. My dad came to visit me and we went on a whale watching trip. Half way through the boat trip, the staff put out a huge plate of fruit. I was starving and of course loaded up a plate of fruit. The pineapple on that boat was the juiciest, most delicious pineapple I had ever tasted and I’m pretty sure it was me who finished off the entire portion of pineapple. I remember standing close to the food table, just shoveling it in. I had never tasted anything so magically delicious.
Pineapple can be SUPER delicious and satisfying when ripe and quite gross and acidic when unripe, causing burns on the lips and inside the mouth if not.
Sometimes it’s hard to get a truly ripe pineapple if you don’t live in a tropical location where they grow, but here are a few tips to help you navigate the pineapples in the store.
Pineapples actually don’t ripen after they are picked, so it’s key that they are ripe when picked. Here’s how to tell.
- The smell. Flip the pineapple over and sniff the stem end. A sweet scent is generally considered the most important aspect of choosing a ripe pineapple. If it has no scent, it’s probably not ripe
- Squeeze. Lightly squeeze the pineapple using the fingers of one hand. You want the pineapple to be pretty firm, but soft enough that it gives very slightly when you press down on it.
- Pluck a leaf. A pineapple is ripe when a leaf can be plucked from the top of the pineapple without too much resistance. There is speculation on whether or not this is true, but in my experience, it seems to be true for me.
Pineapple is a good source of vitamin C, manganese, folate (b9). Plus, it is loaded with Bromelain and Anthocyanins.
In particular, Bromelian has had quite a bit of press lately. It has been known to treat a wide range of health ailments such as:
- ACL tears
- Arthritis and joint pain
- Autoimmune diseases
- Inflammatory Bowel Disease
- Sinus infections
- Sprained ankles
Want to know more?
Here are 5 awesome health benefits of pineapples
1.) Digestion perks
Bromelain has been found to help your body digest food and absorb nutrients more efficiently, as well as being extremely effective at healing issues in the gastrointestinal tract. Undigested proteins in the digestive system can form compounds that are absorbed into the bloodstream, creating allergic reactions and stimulating an inflammation response. This can manifest in a variety of seemingly unrelated health problems such as tiredness, allergies, general muscle weakness and regular headaches. (1)
Bromelain is a collection of enzymes that cleaves the protein bonds making concentrated protein foods much easier to break down and digest. It’s so good at this job that it is used commercially as a meat tenderizer. Because of the way it breaks down protein, stress on the gut is relieved and Bromelain has been known to be a huge help with inflammation and give a boost to the immune system. (2)
2.) It helps fight cancer
Studies demonstrate that pineapples and bromelain may have cancer-fighting properties, such as inhibiting the growth of cancer cells and driving them to cell death.(2)
In a recent study it was uncovered that “The addition of bromelain increased the die off of cancer cells (cytotoxicity) significantly… Bromelain has the potential of being developed as a therapeutic agent in treating malignant cancer.”
3.) It helps you heal faster
Just this past July, a study was published that evaluated bromelain’s ability to treat patients just had impacted 3rd molars extracted. Most patients who undergo this surgery experience significant post-operative pain and swelling. Unfortunately, antibiotics and painkillers are not only quite ineffective; they bring with them a slew of side effects.
Of the 80 people participating in the study, those who were prescribing bromelain reported “significantly lower” post-operation pain, swelling and even redness compared to the control group that were prescribed a generic pain killer.
Bromelain’s anti-inflammatory properties make it a great natural replacement to harmful medications like aspirin.(3)
4.) It’s great for skin
Pineapple is an unusually high source of vitamin C, far higher than oranges. Just one cup of fresh pineapple chunks contains more than 100% of the recommended daily intake of vitamin C. The collagen that glues your skin cells together is particularly reliant on adequate levels of vitamin C in your diet. Without it, your skin will be one of the first areas of your body to suffer.
Pineapples also contain carotenoids like beta-carotene for skin cell protection and significance amounts of the mineral copper for promoting elasticity in your skin.(2)
5.) It helps with joint pain
Coming from someone who had a lot of joint pain when my gut was so unhealthy, I am all about everything and anything that might help with inflammation and pain.
Due to its powerful anti-inflammatory and analgesic characteristics, bromelain is fantastic for acute or chronic joint pain. This past winter, the journal Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine published a research trial that evaluated 42 osteoarthritis patients with degenerative spine or painful joint conditions. (3)
So there ya have it! 5 AMAZING benefits of spinach.
Go have a big green smoothie or juice loaded with pineapple. Make sure to include the core of the pineapple where most of the bromelain is contained.
Here is a favorite green juice in my house.
I got the original recipe from Fully Raw Kristina and it’s SOOO delicious.
1-2 Large Pineapples, Sliced
5-7 Pink Lady for Fuji Apples
Juice of 7 Oranges
Juice of 1 Lemon
3-4 Leaves of Kale
Juice, strain and serve!
I’m always trying to figure out a vanilla, vegan, gluten-free doughnut that has good texture, stays together and tastes good. Chocolate doughnuts seem to be easy to create…something about the chocolate factor keeps the doughnuts tasty and with a good texture, but vanilla? Vanilla baked goods that are vegan AND gluten-free end up tough or gummy a lot of the time or they just don’t taste that great.
I think I finally have a recipe that works!
You’ll have to tell me what you think.
The secret ingredient is potato.
It binds the doughnut, makes it stay moist and not gummy and well…these are my most successful vanilla donuts I’ve made yet.
In fact I need to go get another one to eat while I’m typing out this post. Just to make sure. 😉
They have a bit of a caramel flavor from the coconut sugar, but if you wanted to omit that, you could certainly use cane sugar. I tend to stay away from cane sugar because it’s very inflammatory for me. As my gut has healed, it doesn’t bother me as much, but I still prefer to use coconut sugar or maple syrup when I’m cooking and baking.
Anyway…lets get to the donuts.
I topped them with a simple avocado frosting recipe and per Milo’s request, sprinkled some of his Freedom Fruity Rainbow Rocks cereal on top. I added some Enjoy Life Chocolate Chips on mine and there you have it! A healthier doughnut that tastes delicious and doesn’t have the consistency of rubber or goo. Always a plus!
And the secret? Potato. Who would have known?!
Make sure to comment below after you try the recipe and tag me on IG @indiemamalife with your photos.
I hope you love them!
- 1 cup almond or coconut milk
- 1 TBS apple cider vinegar
- 1 1/2 cups All-Purpose Gluten-Free Flour (I used Bob's Redmill)
- 1 1/2 cups Almond Flour
- 1 cup coconut sugar
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 1/2 tsp xanthum gum
- 2/3 cup boiled and mashed potato
- 2 TBS coconut oil, melted
- 2 TBS vanilla extract
- 2 ripe avocados
- 1/2 cup cocoa powder
- 8 TBS pure maple syrup or coconut nectar
- 1/8 tsp sea salt
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- Prepare two 6-doughnut pans with avocado or coconut oil. Preheat oven to 350. Or if you have a doughnut maker, plug it in.
- In a small bowl, combine the almond milk and vinegar and set aside.
- In a standing mixer, combine all of the dry ingredients and mix with the paddle attachment.
- Add the potato and melted coconut oil to the milk mixture and then add that to the dry ingredients.
- Mix well until you have a thick batter. Scoop it into a large Ziploc back and snip off the corner to make a easy piping bag. This is much easier than trying to scoop the batter into the doughnut maker or pan!
- Bake the doughnuts for 10 minutes or cook them in the doughnut maker until done. Allow them to completely cool as they are very soft when they first come out of the oven or doughnut maker.
- While they are cooling, make the avocado frosting.
- Dip the cool doughnut face down in the frosting and top with chocolate chips, sprinkles or crushed nuts. The possibilities are endless!
Recipe adapted from Heather Christo's Blueberry Donuts