Don’t Miss These Healthy Instant Pot Recipes + Giveaway

Save time and get healthy with this great collection of healthy instant pot recipes! Get off to the right start in the new year and finally learn to use your IP! Plus, read to the end and enter an Instant Pot giveaway brought to you by me and my Blogging BFF Nicky, from Little Family Adventure!how to cook soaked or unsoaked dried beans in the instant pot*This post contains affiliate links which may earn me a small commission on your purchase. Thank you for supporting my site.*

Healthy Instant Pot Recipes for 2018!

It’s hard to believe that 2017 is coming to an end so soon! With about two weeks left in the year, many of us are already searching for healthy recipes we’re going to make once January 1 rolls around! Since the Instant Pot really makes cooking from scratch a lot easier, my friend Nicky and I thought it would be nice to offer an Instant Pot Giveaway to one lucky reader!

Here is a week’s worth of Healthy Instant Pot recipes for you to try!Healthy instant pot recipes from Little Family AdventureIf you’re a gumbo fan, you’ll definitely want to try Nicky’s Easy Gumbo recipe! Full of spicy Andouille sausage and chicken served over rice, this recipe is cajun comfort food at its best.

Beef Pho, anyone? Yes, please! Run over to Little Family adventure and try out her homemade Beef Pho recipe. Who needs an expensive pho shop when you make your own quickly and easily with this healthy instant pot recipe?

Finally, try this recipe for Mediterranean Lentil and Chickpea Stew featuring Roasted Cauliflower! When it’s 5 pm and you have no idea what to cook, whip this together with staples you might have in your pantry!

Nicky also put together a great post with 21 different Instant Pot Pasta recipes! I’ve found pasta to be a little tricky to cook in the Instant Pot, so if you like pasta, you’ll want to check out this post for sure.

healthy instant pot recipes from simplify live love

Nicky’s recipe are a little more ethnic, but my instant pot recipes probably qualify for more comfort food. If you’re looking for tried and true comfort food instant pot recipes, I’ve got you covered!

Instant Pot Recipes from SimplifyLiveLove

Feeling down? Make this Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup right in your Instant pot. Made with homemade broth if you have it, and leftover chicken or turkey, this soup will can help boost your immune system and leave you feeling better!

Beef with Rigatoni is perfect for cold winter nights. Easy and impressive, it’s a crowd pleasure for all ages. I was recently served a very similar dish in a fancy restaurant, and I have to say, I liked my version better.

Probably the number one thing I cook in my Instant Pot is dried beans. Dried beans are so much cheaper than canned beans and they’re also a lot healthier because they’re missing most of the sodium! We use beans in our taco meat, taco soup, and in beans and rice. We also eat bean burritos a lot too! Beans can be tricky to cook in the Instant Pot, but this handy post will set yous straight and have your beans turn out soft and yummy every time.

Finally, my recipe for chicken and rice in the instant pot is another winning recipe. Chicken and rice might seem like a pretty bland recipe, but my addition of feta cheese and lemon puts a nice twice on this old-timey recipe!

One final post for you full of Instant Pot recipes is my post with lots of ideas for recipes you can make in your Instant Pot for breakfast, dinner, and dessert! This is another post you don’t want to miss. Go here to find out how to make healthy breakfasts and desserts in your Instant Pot too!

Now that we’ve inspired you with a week’s worth of healthy Instant Pot recipes, plus a lot extra, how about a giveaway? As a way to say thank you to our loyal readers this year, Nicky and I are joining forces in a Instant Pot giveaway you don’t want to miss!

3 qt instant pot


Enter to win this Instant Pot Giveaway – Instant Pot 7-in-1

Why you want to win this Instant Pot!

  • It’s  7 appliances in one! It’s a Rice Cooker, a Pressure Cooker, a Slow Cooker, Steamer, Saute, Yogurt Maker and Warmer! Whew!! Think of all the kitchen appliances you can get rid of!
  • Features 11 Smart Programmable digital codes for effortless cooking
  • It’s stainless steel made from food grade 304, no chemical coating, 3-ply bottom for even heat distribution
  • It includes nice accessories: rice measuring cup, stainless steel steam rack, rice paddle, soup spoon, condensation collector and recipe booklet!

This giveaway is open to US residents only, 18 years of age and older. Giveaway ends at midnight on December 3oth, CST!

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Learn how to use your instant pot this year with this collection of healthy instant pot recipes!

Inspirational Homesteading Books Every Home Library Needs! + Giveaway

Are you looking for homestead inspiration or wondering how to have a backyard homestead? This list of my favorite homesteading books have been very helpful to me during the last few years. I’m a firm believer that you can homestead anywhere if you have the right resources and these books belong in your homestead library!

Inspirational Homesteading Books Every Home Library Needs! long

*This post contains affiliate links which earn me a small commission on your purchase. Thank you for supporting my site.*

My Favorite Homesteading Books for Your Reference Library

Homesteading doesn’t have to be living off grid with no running water. It certainly can be if that’s what you want, but it doesn’t have to be. My family of six is homesteading in a modern house and enjoy a lot of electronic luxuries. I consider homesteaders to be responsible stewards of the earth, right?! People who are taking steps toward self-sufficiency,, no matter how small. If you want to take more control of your own life, these favorite homesteading books will help you!

The Backyard Homestead: Produce all the food you need on just a quarter acre!, edited by Carleen Madigan

This is one of the very first books I bought when we moved out to our five acre homestead. With sections on growing veggies, fruit, grains, herbs and more, this book provides garden layouts for lots that are one-tenth of an acre, a quarter acre, and a half acre too. It tells you how many garden beds should produce x amount of food!

I love the practical tips it gives for growing fruit and vegetables, and also for raising a chicken flock and bees as well. There’s even a section on foraging in the wild! You might think you need a lot of land to be self-sufficient, but this book provides knowledge and inspiration for producing a lot more food on a lot less land than you might think possible! I highly recommend this book be in any wanna-be (or veteran) homestead library!

The Backyard Homestead Seasonal PlannerMy Favorite Homesteading Books to Help You Be Successful written by Ann Larken Hansen

Arranged by season with room for personal notes, this spiral bound book offers lots of  lists and tells you exactly when to do what regardless of where you live! I love the Backyard Homestead series and I’m excited to have this planner in my library of favorite homesteading books.

The handy spiral binding of this book make it super easy to use and reference. It is a new staple in my homesteading library.


The Encyclopedia of Country Living written by Carla Emery

The Encyclopedia of Country Living gives you all the information you need to live off-grid, if you want! With practical tips on bee keeping, goat milking, butter churning, food preservation and more, this almost 1000 page book is considered by some to be the Bible of country living.

If you’re looking for a book to tell you how they did it before electricity and running water, The Encyclopedia of Country Living is your source! But don’t let that description scare you. You certainly don’t have to live off-grid to find this book useful.

My Favorite Gardening Books

rodalesRodale’s Basic Organic Gardening: A Beginner’s Guide to Starting a Healthy Garden, written by Deborah L Martin 

Rodale has long been a trusted reference in the organic gardening arena, and this book is a go-to source for any organic gardening. I reference my Rodale books all the time to help with pests, planting, and soil management.

I also like my Rodale’s Illustrated Encyclopedia of Organic Gardening book, edited by Pauline Pears, as well. It helped me be successful with no-dig potato growing!

Biodynamic Gardening a DK book

Last spring I was able to visit a gorgeous biodynamic farm called Apricot Lane Farms in Moorpark, California,  and fell in love with the concept of biodynamic farms. Biodynamic gardens take organic one step further. It looks at the land in a more comprehensive way – how can all living creatures work together to help the garden? Compost, animal manure, organic practices are all tenets of biodynamic gardening and something that I would really like to implement better on our own acreage.

I’m excited to implement some of the ideas in this book and add it to my homesteading library.


Weedless Gardening written by Lee Reich

The last few of years I have had such weed infested gardens that it really prohibited me from growing much. There has got to be a better way, and I learned about this book thanks to my friend Jami at An Oregon Cottage.

Last year, I started using raised beds and they cut down immensely on the weeding. I also covered my beds this year with tarps and cardboard. I’m excited to use the principles in this book so I can keep gardening, because let me tell you, I just don’t have time to spend 2-3 hours a day in my garden breaking my back to keep the weeds down! This book also helps you reduce water consumption, and I think that’s going to be more and more important in our home gardens.

Carrots Love Tomatoes written by

One key to successful organic gardening is companion planting. The right companions provide nutrients to the soil, repel bad bugs, and also help attract good bugs. I have long touted the importance of companion planting here on SimplifyLiveLove, and this book called Carrots Love Tomatoes is the best explanation for how to companion plant!

If you aren’t currently companion planting in your garden, you need to add this wonderful good to your library! You can also read companion planting tips in this helpful post too.


My Favorite Books on Backyard Chickens!

Because what homestead is complete without chickens? 🙂


Storey's Guide to Raising ChickensBest Books on Raising Chickens written by Gail Damerow

Not only are chickens great for eggs and meat (if you want to go there), but they are also some of the funniest birds you can have around. Watching my flock of free-range chickens can keep my occupied for a long time. And I love that they scratch up my garden and leave their nutrient rich poop in it as well!

Storey’s Guide to Raising Chickens is a great reference book to have on hand. From basic care and feeding, to housing, to first aid for chickens, this book will be an invaluable reference book for your homesteading library!



Free-Range Chicken Gardens: How to Create a Beautiful, Chicken-Friendly Yard written by Jessi Bloom

While chickens are great for your health and garden, they can also be problematic. All of their scratching can destroy a carefully planted garden bed! No one want that, so this beautiful book talks about how to get incorporate your chickens in a positive way at your house.

Blooms provides lots of advice for how you can pamper your chickens – crops to plant that they will love, beautiful pictures, garden layouts, and a lot of practical advice for having a fun and mutually beneficial relationship with your chickens.

Chicken DIY: 20 Fun-to-Make Projects for Happy and Healthy Chickens written by Samantha Johnson

If you have a backyard chicken flock and you’ve thought about building things for them but don’t know where to start, this is the book for you. I received an advance copy for review purposes and think this book is a lot of fun. From DIY coops, to roosts, incubators, and an egg collecting basket, this book as a wide range of projects that you might enjoy making for your chickens!

Complete and easy instructions, plus a lot of pictures make this book a winner for the DIYer interested in saving money!

The Most Inspirational Gardening Book Ever


Animal, Vegetable, Miracle written by Barbara Kingsolver

This book is beyond a shadow of a doubt the one book most responsible for my gardening endeavors. I first read it years ago. And I continue to re-read it every now and again when I need inspiration.

If you haven’t read this book, you’re in for a treat. Animal, Vegetable, Miracle is Kingsolver’s account of her family’s quest to only eat locally grown food for an entire year. And they followed the calendar and started in January. Think for a moment what’s growing in your garden in January and that might give you pause! This book is funny as well an motivational. If everyone would take such care to eat locally, I think people would be better off, don’t you?


Inspirational Homesteading Books Every Home Library Needs! These favorite homesteading books will teach you how to have a backyard homestead, garden more successfully with less work, raise chickens, and more!

Homesteading Book Giveaway!

How would you like to win a few of my favorite homesteading books? Up for grabs in this giveaway is one copy of Animal Vegetable Miracle, one copy of The Backyard Homestead, and one copy of Chicken DIY! Winner takes all. To enter, simply use the rafflecopter form below. Winner must be 18 years of age or older and a resident of the US. Good luck!

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These favorite homesteading books belong in every homestead library and will help on your path to self-sufficiency through gardening, chickens, and more!


Grab This Week’s Free Kindle eBooks on Amazon

 Here’s my weekly round-up of free Amazon Kindle ebooks ! I found many more books: for cooks,  kids, and then miscellaneous books I’m interested in {and since I am a crunchy mama…I’m calling them books for crunchy people!}

Cookbooks, fiction, nonfiction and children's books are included in this weekly free Amazon Kindle eBooks round-up. Check back every Friday for a new list.

*This post contains affiliate links which means I earn a small commission on your purchase. Thank you for supporting my site.*

If you don’t have a kindle, but have a computer, iPad, or smart phone, head on over to download a Free Kindle App. Or you could go here and buy a Kindle ! Make sure you check the prices as they change quickly on Amazon. While everything was free when I posted, it’s highly likely that they will change!

Grab This Week’s Free Amazon Kindle eBooks

Cookbooks, fiction, nonfiction and children's books are included in this weekly free Amazon Kindle eBooks round-up. Check back every Friday for a new list.

Free Fiction eBooks on Amazon

A Log Cabin Christmas


Just Kin

Fully Involved

Love’s Unfading Light

Cookbooks, fiction, nonfiction and children's books are included in this weekly free Amazon Kindle eBooks round-up. Check back every Friday for a new list.

Educational Free Non-Fiction eBooks

The Total Clutter Makeover

Money Saving Tips and Recipes for the Frugal Homemaker

Crochet for Men

How to Set Goals

Greenhouse Gardening

Cookbooks, fiction, nonfiction and children's books are included in this weekly free Amazon Kindle eBooks round-up. Check back every Friday for a new list.

Free Delicious Cookbooks on Amazon

30 Heart Warming Crockpot Recipes

101 Quick & Easy Cupcake and Muffin Recipes

It’s What’s for Dinner

Thinking About a Nice Brunch?: Here You Go, 31 Brunch Recipes for Grabs!

40 Festive Finger Food Recipes

Cookbooks, fiction, nonfiction and children's books are included in this weekly free Amazon Kindle eBooks round-up. Check back every Friday for a new list.

Kids Books for your littles

Fun Cooking with Kids

Twas the Night Before Christmas

Globaloonies 1: The Big Red Button

The Trouble with Antlers

The Tiniest Elf

I’d love to hear from you about this weekly free ebook post. What types of free ebooks do you most like? Is their a category I don’t cover but should? Please let me know how I can improve this post for you!

Many thanks to Shelly from Frugal Family Home for her help compiling this list of free amazon Kindle eBooks. 

This post contains affiliate links which means I may make a small percentage of the sale at NO additional cost to you. Please read my disclosure statement for more information. Thank you for supporting Simplify, Live, Love!


A Homemade Slime Making Kit is a Great Quick Gift + Giveaway

Need a quick and easy last minute gift? Your slime making enthusiast will love this Homemade Slime Making Kit! This kit features a borax-free instruction book and an assortment of add-ins, and is just perfect for any craft loving kid. Read to the end, because there’s also a giveaway for a copy of Alyssa Jagan’s Ultimate Slime book as well!Wondering what to include in a Homemade Slime Making Kit? It's easy to make this last-minute gift perfect w/ the Ultimate Slime book + many fun ingredients!

*This post contains affiliate links which means I earn a small commission on your purchase. Thank you for supporting my site.*

How to Make an Awesome Homemade Slime Making Kit

It’s official. My kids are 125% totally and completely addicted to making homemade slime. This scene in my kitchen is almost a daily reality and a good portion of the time it drives me completely and totally up the way…just being totally honest here.

slime making in my kitchen

If you know someone who loves making slime like my kids, why not put together a gift they will really appreciate this year? With the help of my kids who have been making all the slime for months, we made a handy list of things you will need to make so you can put together your own diy slime making kit too!

A Homemade Slime Making Kit is a Great Quick Gift all the slime

What to include in Homemade Slime Making Kit

There are two essential ingredients to borax-free slime that you must include in any slime making kit:

1. White glue and 2. some sort of activator.

You can use a few different things for an activator. One example is borax, but a lot of people don’t like it because it can get dangerous if used improperly. My daughters’ favorite activator is liquid starch. You can also use baking soda and contact lens solution, but Anna thinks it’s hard to work with plus, contact solution is expensive. The nice thing about liquid starch is that it’s also cheap (<$3 at Walmart).

Ultimate DIY Slime Making Kit

All good slime making kits also need a few fun add-ins to make the slime more interesting. Here are a few things you can include:

  1. Elmer’s white glue. Clear glue is also nice, but it’s a little harder to work with than the white glue. We’ve found the gallon of Elmer’s white glue on Amazon to be a pretty good value.
  2. Liquid starch – grocery store or Walmart
  3. Glitter (Don’t shoot the messenger. You can totally omit this if you want. 😉 )
  4. Essential oils – Kid Safe Essential Oils are great for these kits!
  5. Food coloring – get this from Walmart or wherever you shop.
  6. Slime beads
  7. Fake snow
  8. Air dry clay – my kids like the Model Magic by Crayola
  9. Storage containers – you might not think you need these, but trust me, you need some way to store all this slime your kids will create!
  10. Ultimate Slime book by Alyssa Jagan

ultimate slime book by alyssa jagan

 Ultimate Slime book by Alyssa Jagan

My slime makers are in love with the Ultimate Slime book by Alyssa Jagan. I was sent a copy for review purposes a while back and my kiddos immediately put the book to use and haven’t looked back. Anna knows the book has definitely honed her slime making skills. She learned how to make much more interesting slime using all the add-ins and also learned how to make slime without borax and what to do if she used too much activator. She highly recommends this book for any slime making enthusiast!

I’m excited to offer up one copy of Alyssa Jagan’s Ultimate Slime book to one luck winner! If you’d like to win a copy, just enter the rafflecopter form below!
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If you liked this homemade gift idea post, you might like these too:

18 DIY Photography Gifts

Homemade Easy Bake Oven Mixes

10 Practical Homemade Gift Ideas

Gift Ideas for Crafty Kids

Wondering what to include in a Homemade Slime Making Kit? It's easy to make this last-minute gift perfect w/ the Ultimate Slime book + many fun ingredients!

Cheesy Hash Brown Appetizer Bites + Giveaway!

These cheesy hash brown appetizer bites will be the hit of your next party! Made with Simply Potatoes® shredded hash browns and cheese, and topped with more cheese, sour cream, bacon, and green onions, these cheesy hash brown bites are like eating a loaded bite sized baked potato but with your fingers! Try this easy recipe for your next dinner party!Extra Cheesy Loaded Hash Brown Appetizer Bites

Cheesy Hash Brown Appetizer Bites

This cheesy hash brown appetizer recipe is a snap to make, in large part because of Simply Potatoes. Located in the refrigerator (NOT freezer) section at your grocery store, Simply Potatoes are made from real, fresh, and NEVER FROZEN potatoes. They’re convenient and easy to use, because you don’t have to wash, peel, or shred the potatoes yourself. They help make this recipe a breeze!

Let’s make these cheesy hash brown appetizer bites!

Cheesy Hash Brown Appetizer Bites ingredients

First, preheat oven to 425°F oven. Then, combine shredded potatoes, cheese, egg, salt and pepper in medium sized bowl and mix well. Coat mini muffin pans with non-stick cooking spray and then spoon potato mixture into each muffin cup.

Use your fingers or the back of spoon to press mixture firmly on the bottom and sides of muffin cups.

Bake in preheated oven about 22 minutes or until potatoes are golden brown. Sprinkle additional cheese into each potato nest. Bake 2 minutes or until cheese melts. Let cool in pan for 5-10 minutes, then carefully remove the potato nests with a fork.

simply potatoes Cheesy Hash Brown Appetizer Bites

Now comes the best part. Top your cheesy hash brown appetizer bites with your favorite toppings. You can go wild here! Use more cheese, sour cream, bacon, and green onions, if desired. Or, use go for a more Mediterranean flavor with feta cheese, peppercini peppers, and oregano! These appetizer bites are best served warm, so eat up shortly after making them.

Here’s your printable recipe for yummy cheesy hash brown appetizer bites!cheesy hash brown bites with melted cheese 670
Loaded Baked Potato Bites Appetizer
Save RecipeSave Recipe
Recipe Image


  • 20 ounces Simply Potatoes® Shredded Hashbrowns
  • 1 egg, slightly beaten
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper
  • 1-1/2 cups (6 oz.)  shredded sharp cheddar cheese 
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 8 slices crisply cooked bacon, crumbled
  • 3 green onions, sliced


  1. Preheat oven to 450°F.
  2. Combine Simply Potatoes® Shredded Hashbrowns, egg, salt and pepper in a medium bowl and mix well.
  3. Spray mini muffin pans with non-stick cooking spray.
  4. Spoon 2 heaping tablespoons potato mixture into each muffin cup and press mixture firmly on bottom and sides of muffin cups.
  5. Bake 20-22 minutes or until potatoes are golden brown.
  6. Sprinkle cheese into each potato nest and bake 2 minutes until cheese melts.
  7. Top with sour cream, bacon, more cheese, green onions, jalapenos as desired.

Cheesy Hash Brown Appetizer Bites

If you liked this appetizer recipe, you’l like these too:

Cheese & Pear Crostini

Baked Camembert with Pomegranates and Hazelnuts

How to Make Queso Dip with real cheese

Focaccia Pizza Appetizer

How would you like to win coupons for 3 FREE bags Simply Potatoes??

Please use the rafflecopter form below to enter. To win, you must be a US resident 18 years of age or older. Contests ends on Dec 31 and winner will be notified via email. Winner has 48 hours to reply with mailing address or a new winner will be chosen. Enter below and good luck!
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These cheesy hash brown appetizer bites will be the hit of your next party! They're the perfect two bite appetizer, featuring potatoes and all the fixins!

Giving a Travel Experience Gift This Year!? You Need This!!

A travel experience gift is an awesome way to opt out of the holiday craziness.  The shared experiences and memories you make are better than any gift you can buy. But don’t let those favorite family memories disappear on your phone. Instead, convert your treasured digital images to metal prints from to perfectly display your cherished memories for years to come.

Metal prints make great photo gift ideas to preserve your amazing Travel Experience Gift!

*This post is sponsored by All opinions are mine.*

Giving a Travel Experience Gift This Year!? Now What?

More people than ever are opting out of the holiday craziness and giving a travel experience gift instead. Personally, I think an experience gift is the way to go. Less wrapping. Less stress, less cleaning, less cooking, and the list goes on! A travel experience gift is a simple way for the entire family to relax and enjoy each other more. This is in stark contrast to the one person (mom in my experience) who has to clean, cook, buy, wrap, and create most everything associated with the giving season.

Once you get back from your trip, though, make sure to preserve that experience! That’s where vacation photo gifts come in. We recently went on an awesome road trip through South Eastern Iowa. You might not think that a travel experience gift can be close to home, but it absolutely can be! You don’t have to go far to have an amazing travel experience! Staycation at a nearby hotel anyone??? Think of all the fun things to do that are right in your own backyard!!

Metal Prints Make Amazing Vacation Photo Gifts

What good do pictures do your phone_ Make metal photo gifts with to preserve your travel memories!

On our road trip (that was just a couple hours from home) we took some of the most iconic photos ever. I was thrilled when recently turned those memories into impressive metal prints! My new metal prints are absolutely stunning and I will be delighted when I talk my husband into finally putting a few holes in the wall so we can display them properly.

metal photos from

If you would like to order your own metal prints to give as vacation photo gifts or to preserve your own travel experience gift, I highly recommend They made the whole ordering process really easy and shipping was lickety-split. Don’t you love these metal prints of our visit to the American Gothic House?

Make sure you get your digital photos off your camera roll and into a format you can display! Head over to for great vacation photo gifts and make your memories last! They have a limited time offer for Buy 1 Get 3 Free plus free shipping!!

If you liked these ideas for vacation photo gifts, you might also like these ideas:

Gift Guide for Overworked Mothers

Games that make awesome Stocking Stuffers

Our Family’s Favorite Fun Games from 2017

12 Green Gifts for your Eco-Friendly Friends

Looking for vacation photo gifts? Convert your favorite digital images to metal prints and perfectly display your travel experience gift for years to come!

Amazing Gift Ideas for Crafty Kids + Giveaways!

Need amazing gift ideas for crafty kids? Here’s a list of items my own kids, ages 7-13, love and highly recommend!

Amazing Gift Ideas for Crafty Kids + Giveaways!

*This post contains affiliate links which earn me a small commission at no cost to you. I also received some of the items listed in this post in exchange for inclusion. As always, all opinions are mine and thank you for supporting my site. This post is also part of a sponsored campaign with MomSelect. All thoughts and opinions are my own*

Amazing Gift Ideas for Crafty Kids + Giveaways!

My kids spend hours crafting, sometimes just to spite me, I think. 😉 From drawing and coloring, to making slime and painting, my kids are always busy making messes erhm being creative and using their brains. Here are the top crafts that have been occupying their time this past year. I’ve also included a few new to us products that we’re excited to try. If you’re looking for gift ideas for your own crafty kids or nieces or nephews, I’m sure you’ll find something on this list to make them happy!

Ultimate slime - The Best Gift Ideas for Crafty Kids

Slime Making Kit

My kids have been making slime in all colors and styles possible, thanks to the Ultimate Slime book by their favorite Instagrammer, Alyssa Jagan, @craftyslimecreator. The book contains over 100 borax-free slime recipes and my kids have been very successful at following Alyssa’s easy instructions!  If you aren’t scared by the slime phenomenon, get your kids this book and a few supplies so they can make their own slime! Ultimate Slime by Alyssa Jagan costs $12.99 on Amazon for a physical book or $9.99 for a kindle version! Or, you can win a copy here!

pinbox 3000PinBox 3000 – make your own pinball machine kit!

We saw this fun kit at ChiTAG 2017 and my kids are totally enthralled with the PinBox 3000 kit! In a nutshell, kids create their own pinball machine using their creativity and the supplies in the box! No tools are necessary for this creative endeavor and the fun is unlimited, since after the game is made, the kids can use it to play pinball! Included in this kit are 12 die cut slides containing 39 essential parts, 30 box rivets, 12 rubber bands, 3 marbles, 1 hook tool, 1 mini pencil, 1 hole puncher die cut extra parts for classic pinball layout! Pinbox 3000 costs $49.99 over here. Or, you can win one here!

color it gel pens

Gel Pens

Coloring supplies also make great gift ideas for crafty kids! At the top of my 10 year old’s Christmas list for a second year in a row is a huge pack of gel pens. She loves these gel pens more than about anything and they get tons of use, which is why we need another set this year! Last year we bought the big set of gel pens at Costco, but they also sell them on Amazon. I love this Color It set which includes refills and an organizing case as well! I think the price of $32 is worth it because of the handy case and refills. You can buy the ColorIt Gel Pen set with 48 pens, case, and refills for $32.40 on Amazon.

prismacolor pencilsPrismaColor Colored Pencils Set 

Not only do my kids love gel pens, but they also really, really, really love colored pencils as well. We’ve had the 24 set of PrismaColor pencils for quite some time, and this year my eldest daughter is also getting the 132 set for Christmas! She’s going to be thrilled because like I said, she really loves creating with these beautiful, soft colored pencils.

You can buy the 24 set PrismaColor Colored Pencils with a sharpener on Amazon for $13.99.

little house coloring bookLittle House Coloring Book

Of course, if you get those gel pens and colored pencils, you’ll need something to color. After we visited DeSmet, South Dakota this summer, my ten year old has become obsessed with Little House on the Prairie. She’s going to love opening this Little House coloring book on Christmas! The Little House Coloring book costs $11.19 on Amazon and looks absolutely beautiful.

HP Sprocket 2-in-1

HP Sprocket 2-in-1 both Camera & Printer!

Last year I included the HP Sprocket on my gift guide for overworked mothers last year, and this year a new and improved version is back that’s even better. The HP Sprocket 2-in-1 is both pocket size printer AND a 5 mp camera, equipped with LED dual color flash! How awesome is that? The HP Sprocket 2-in-1 is about the size of a smartphone and fits easily in a purse or backpack. We love that it provides instant, high-quality 2″ x 3″ photos and think this is the perfect gift for a crafty kid who loves photography! The HP Sprocket 2-in-1 Photo Printer costs $159.95 and is available for pre-order at Best Buy.

LEGO architectureLEGO Architecture Sets

My crafty kids also really love the LEGO architecture sets, especially my 13 year old daughter. They are little more sophisticated than the LEGO geared for younger kids. And we also like to commemorate places we’ve visited with LEGO architecture kits!  Anna has built the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, the Leaning Tower of Pisa, and more! Last summer we visited Seattle and went up in the Space Needle, so this year she’s getting that kit. You can buy LEGO architecture sets on Amazon. Ironically, I bought the Space Needle set for my nephew who lives in Seattle several years ago for only $19. Now it costs $65! YIKES!!

Gelli Arts Craft Kits

Another gift I’m excited to give my crafty kids this year is a Gelli Arts card printing kit! They haven’t made these before the video looks amazing. I know  my kids will love creating fun cards and other fun projects with these kits. The kits cost $24.99 and are available here.

Are you looking for gift ideas for crafty kids? I’d love to hear what you think of this list, or what else you would add. 🙂

If you need gift ideas for crafty kids and more, check out these posts:

Gift Guide for Overworked Mothers

Games that make awesome Stocking Stuffers

Our Family’s Favorite Fun Games from 2017

12 Green Gifts for your Eco-Friendly Friends


Looking for gift ideas for crafty kids 7+, this amazing guide will give you plenty of ideas! From books, to crafts, to games, you'll be inspired by this list!

Tips for Teaching Children Poetry in a Fun & Engaging Way + Giveaway

Teaching children poetry is very important for social and emotional learning but can be intimidating for parents. If you’re wondering why to teach children poetry and looking for tips to teach poetry, this post is for you! There’s also an exciting giveaway for American Girl® Doll Gabriela McBride at the end!Tips for Teaching Children Poetry in a Fun & Engaging Way

*This post is sponsored by American Girl®. All opinions are mine.*

Tips for Teaching Children Poetry in a Fun & Engaging Way

Poetry, according to William Butler Yeats, “is blood, imagination, intellect running together…It bids us to touch and taste and hear and see the world, and shrink from all that is of the brain only.”

American Doll Girl of the Year 2017 Gabriela McBride has spent 2017 encouraging girls around the world to tell their stories through poetry. 2017 might just go down in the history books as the year of empowerment as more and more people are speaking up and taking risks. I have been so impressed with American Girl’s mission to empower girls that I’m dedicating an entire blog post to help you teach you own kids poetry and empower them at the same time!

This post is Day 5 of my 12 Days of holiday Giveaways! Find all the giveaways here.

We have long been fans of American Girl. Each of my daughters gets a trip to the American Girl store in Chicago sometime around their 8th birthday.  The picture above was our first trip to the American Girl store on New Years Day in 2013 when my eldest daughter turned 8!! Over the years, I used many American Girl materials in our home school. We’re no longer homeschooling, but my girls still love their American Girl books and dolls because they are always inspired by what they read.

Tips for Teaching Children Poetry in a Fun & Engaging Way

Why teach children poetry

Poetry teaches children a variety of life lessons – from helping them express their ideas, to empowerment, to building community and fostering understanding and much more. Elena Aguilar’s essay on poetry at  Edutopia is a must read! She says poetry is the most kinesthetic type of literature. Even boys can become passionate about poetry when we teach rhythm and rhyme. Poetry also gives students a way to express themselves without worrying about grammar and helps them use metaphors and imagery in creative ways.

That said, poetry is often intimidating. Do you remember learning about poetry when you were in school? I know I got so caught up in trying to figure out the meaning that I was not able to enjoy the words! Fortunately, there are enjoyable ways to learn about poetry too.Tips for teaching children poetry

Tips for teaching children poetry

Teaching children poetry doesn’t have to be hard or intimidating! Here are a few easy ways you can encourage your kids to learn poetry.

  1. Write silly little poems to your children and encourage them to write you back. You can even put love poems in their lunch boxes! Or take turns adding lines to poems and see what you end up with!
  2. Have a poem memorization contest. We love the literature ideas shared at Mensa. My kids can still recite poems they memorized following Mensa’s recommendations.
  3. Have a Slam Poetry contest at home. In Slam Poetry, each person writes their own lyrical poem and then performs it in front of an audience. The concept came about in the 1980s with Open Mic contests. Slam Poetry’s goal is to make poetry less stuffy and more accessible! While it often features adult and sometimes controversial topics, your family Slam Poetry contest certainly doesn’t have to!
  4. Find a favorite book on poetry, my kids enjoyed anything by Shel Silverstein for example, and read together!
  5. Check out the amazing resources that American Girl and Scholastic put together to encourage learning about poetry specifically for 3rd-5th grades. With classroom resources, printable worksheets, and fun educational videos, you will find a lot of useful information and tips on teaching poetry to kids here! You’ll find Poetry is My Power here.
  6. Read the book series Gabriela (Girl of the Year 2017) by Teresa E Harris and learn how Gabriela overcame her struggles with stuttering to become empowered and confident!
  7. Whatever you do, just be a good role model and encourage your children to be creative! Use the video below to find inspiration and watch the other American Girl videos about poetry with your kids!

Giveaway for American Girl Doll Gabriela McBride

I’m very excited to offer one lucky reader the Gabriela McBride doll! This contest is open to US residents 18 years of age and older. Please enter via the Rafflecopter form below. Winner will be notified via email and will have 48 hours to reply. Good luck!


Giveaway for American Girl Doll Gabriela McBride

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Want to make poetry fun for kids? Here's why you should teach your children poetry and 7 practical ways you can help your children have fun learning poetry! Plus there's a giveaway for Girl of the Year 2017, Gabriela McBride!

One Easy Way to Set a Good Example + Giveaway!

Remember last year when I told you how much I love my Jord Watch? Well, I still do! I’m so excited to offer a $100 JORD Watch Gift Card Giveaway so you can get your own luxury watch to love and set a good example for your children as well.One Easy Way to Set a Good Example for Your Children + Jord Watch Gift Card Giveaway!

*This post is sponsored by Jord Watch. All opinions are mine.*

It’s Day 2 of my 12 Days of Giveaways Series! Head over here for Day 1 and to see what’s in store for you!

One Easy Way to Set a Good Example for Your Children

I told you last year how excited I was to be wearing a watch again because it made me feel pretty. And that’s still true! But in the year that I’ve been wearing lovely wooden watches, I’ve learned that it’s also a super easy way to set a good example for my children. Wearing an actual watch means I reach for my phone less frequently. Trying to set a good example for four electronically obsessed kids is not easy when you rely on your phone for practically everything.

$100 JORD Watch Gift Card Giveaway!

How would you like to win a Jord Watch Gift Card? Today, I have $100 for one lucky winner! And, just by entering this cool watch giveaway, you’ll get an automatic 25% off your purchase and free sizing too! So go ahead on enter today!

To enter the giveaway and get your own instant discount, go here! It’s super easy to enter. Just head to this websiteWinner will be selected and contacted by JORD. Giveaway ends at 11:59 pm 12/10/2017.

Jord Cassia watch gift card giveaway

My amazing JORD Watch helps me set a better example to my kids because I no longer have to reach for my phone when I get the inevitable question, “what time is it?” Let me tell you how often my kids ask me that question! No matter that we have clocks on the walls, and in the cars, and on the computers and all the devices…They still ask me. It’s kind of like that dreaded question, “Are we there yet?” So I really love that my luxury watch (which everyone notices and compliments, by the way!) not only helps me feel fancy and lovely, but also helps me set a good example for my children.

Cassia Jord Watch Ebony & Sable Jord Watch Gift Card Giveaway

My newest and most favorite unique watch is the Cassia series by Jord. I think it has a lovely vintage and European feel with its big head and the narrow wrist band. It complements my existing jewelry and my style very nicely. I have the Cassia in Ebony and Sable, but I also LOVE the other three Cassia varieties too! With a $100 discount, my lovely Cassia watch is under $100. It would make a great gift for a lucky person in your life ( YOU!). <3

Don’t forget to enter to win a $100 JORD Watch Gift Card Giveaway!

Wooden Wristwatch

This simple trick is an easy way to set a good example for kids in this electronic obsessed world. Also, enter the $100 Jord Watch Gift Card Giveaway!

12 Days of Holiday Giveaways at SimplifyLiveLove!

Welcome to a very special post! 🙂 I’m so excited to have my first ever, 12 days of holiday giveaways here at SimplifyLiveLove! Check back every day for the next 12 days and each of the exciting giveaways I have in store for you!12 Days of Holiday Giveaways at SimplifyLiveLove!

*This post contains affiliate links which means I earn a small percentage of your purchase at no cost to you! Thank you for supporting my site.*

12 Days of Holiday Giveaways

Thank you so much for letting me into your life this year! I’m very pleased to have a few gifts in store for you and I hope they arrive in time for gifting! From games, to books, to household items, I hope you’ll find something you’d like to win! Make sure to check back each day to enter the day’s new giveaway!

spike ball

Day 1 – Win a Spike Ball Game!

Did you read my post game post earlier where I shared my family’s top games for 2017? Spike Ball is my 12 year old son’s most favorite of 2017 and I’m so excited to have one to give away! We learned about this game from my sister this past summer. Her family plays it a lot in Seattle. When we went to ChiTAG 2017, Ben was so excited to see it there too.

Spike Ball was featured on Shark Tank and is an active outdoor game. It doesn’t take a huge yard and it’s a big hit with boys and girls alike.  You can buy Spike Ball at Amazon for anywhere from $45 – $60 or enter to win a game here! 

This giveaway is open to US residents 18 years of age and older. SimplifyLiveLove is not responsible for shipping.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Day 2 – JORD Wood Watch Gift Card!

Jord Cassia watch gift card giveaway

Go here to enter my giveaway for beautiful Jord Watch Gift Card Giveaway! I love my Jord watch so much! Enter here!

Day 3 –  Bonk Board Game!

Bonk is fun wooden board game for 2-4 people. In a nutshell, each player slides small balls down a chute to try to knock the wooden ball into one player’s zone! It’s trickier than it looks because the board slopes down from the middle! We played this at ChiTAG and had a lot of fun. You can buy Bonk for $39.99 at Target  and all orders ship free through 12/23! You can also win one here!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Day 4 $50 NatureBox giveaway!

Day 4 – $50 giftcard to Nature Box!

How would you like a $50 gift card to spend at Nature Box? We love Nature Box healthy snacks and I’m excited to offer a $50 giftcard to one lucky winner! This is an Instagram giveaway, so head to Instagram to enter!

Day 5 –  American Girl of the Year 2017 Gabriela McBride

To enter this amazing giveaway sponsored by American Girl, head over here to this post and learn about Gabby’s mission to empower girls through poetry and enter to win a Gabriela McBride doll!

happy salmon

Day 6 – One Happy Salmon Game

Up for grabs today is one of our favorite fun games, Happy Salmon! This silly game takes about 30 seconds to learn and is a loud and fun time for the entire family. It makes a great stocking stuffer or gift for hard to buy family member! Enter the Rafflecopter giveaway here. Note, you must be 18 years of older and a US resident. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

pinball 3000

Day 7 –  PinBall 3000

It’s Day 7! Up for grabs today is an awesome PinBall 3000 craft kit and game! Your crafty kid or pinball enthusiast will love this! Contest is open to US residents 18 years of age and older. Enter via the rafflecopter form below. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Ice Cool Board Game - fun family games

Day 8-   Ice Cool Board Game!

Enter to win a copy of the Ice Cool Board game – a new to us game that we just learned about at ChiTAG last month!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Day 9 – $25 Amazon eGiftcard 

Day 1 is actually 2 giveaways. To thank my loyal readers, I’m giving away a $25 Amazon eGiftcard to one lucky person here! And a separate giveaway for the 3 Free Bags of Simply Potatoes, head here.
a Rafflecopter giveaway


Day 10 – Ultimate Slime Book by Alyssa Jagan

ultimate slime book by alyssa jagan

This book is a must have for any slime making enthusiast! Head over to this post on how to make the perfect homemade slime making kit and enter the giveaway to win your own copy!

Inspirational Homesteading Books Every Home Library Needs!

Day 11 – 3 of Michelle’s Favorite Homesteading Books!

Since gardening posts are also a bit part of what I write about here at, no 12 days of giveaways would be complete without a giveaway to some of my favorite homesteading books! To enter this giveaway, head on over to my post Inspirational  Homesteading Books Every Home Library Needs!


3 qt instant pot

Day 12 – How would you like to win a 7-in-1 Instant Pot???

I’ve teamed up with my bloggy BFF Nicky from Little Family Adventure to offer one lucky reader their very own Instant Pot! This is the one kitchen appliance I use more than anything else and I know you will love it as much as I do!

To enter this giveaway, head over here and enter the rafflecopter form!

Bookmark this page and check back each day for the next giveaway!