Shan

Published on Huffington Post, Okefenokee Living Magazine, her local newspaper and more, Shan Walker is jokingly called the "Guru." A Travel Journalist, Wife, and Mom who shares daily "how to" enjoy planning and executing EVERY single family vacation AND "how-to" find joy with your family in the cozy haven you've created and can't wait to get home to!

Posts by this author:

EASY slow cooker pork chops infused with sweet and spicy barbecue sauceThere’s nothing like sinking your teeth into tender, slow cooker pork chops that have been infused with rich flavor.  Especially when that flavor is a sweet and spicy barbecue sauce.  I’ve shared many a pork chops recipe, but to spice things up (see what I did there?), I made a barbecue sauce recipe with a little heat that turned out quite scrumptious.  If like me, you’re on the lookout for easy delicious recipes that take the pressure off of crazy days, then this bbq dish is for you.

Slow Cooker Pork Chops

You’ll find a printable recipe card and fun video below, but basically, here’s the process for this recipe:  Add seasoned pork chops to an oiled skillet (this step can be skipped but it adds so much flavor) on med-high heat.  Sear for about 2-3 minutes on each side or until golden brown.  Add meat to the slow cooker.  In a large bowl, stir together ingredients for barbecue sauce and pour over pork chops.  Cover and cook on low for 4 hours!  You are done.

Easy Peasy!

BARBECUE PORK CHOPS RECIPE INGREDIENTS

  • olive oil
  • large package of pork chops (I prefer with the bone for this recipe)
  • garlic powder
  • pepper
  • salt
  • 2 cups sweet BBQ sauce
  • 3/4 cup Heinz 57
  • 2 Tablespoons hot sauce

SLOW COOKER PORK CHOPS RECIPE CARD

Here’s your printable recipe card for the best slow cooker pork chops recipe prep in 10 minutes or less:

Tender & Juicy Slow Cooker Pork Chops With Spicy Barbecue Sauce
 
Ingredients
  • 2 T olive oil to skillet
  • large package of pork chops (I prefer with the bone for this recipe)
  • 1 T garlic powder
  • ½ T pepper
  • 1 T salt
  • 2 cups sweet BBQ sauce
  • ¾ cup Heinz 57
  • 2 T hot sauce
Instructions
  1. (optional) Add seasoned pork chops to an oiled skillet on med-high.
  2. Cook for about 2-3 minutes on each side or until golden brown.
  3. Add meat to the slow cooker.
  4. In a large bowl, stir barbecue sauce ingredients.
  5. Pour BBQ sauce over pork chops.
  6. Cover and cook on low for 4 hours!
Like I mentioned, searing the meat quickly on the outside with golden brownness caramelizes the surfaces of the meat, which enhances the pork chops with an incredible depth of flavor.  It also gives the meat a more appetizing color.  I made a video with some visual eye candy just for you!

can’t view video? watch BBQ pork chops
 

I have a hard time finding the Sweet & Spicy Sweet Baby Ray’s BBQ Sauce AND the Moore’s BBQ Sauce brands that we like the best. Of course, Amazon typically has both online!


Let me hear from you in the comments – don’t you love slow cooker pork chops?!


PIN ME FOR LATER!

EASY slow cooker pork chops infused with sweet and spicy barbecue sauce

our favorite BBQ joint 

www.FlirtyAprons.com
 

Follow:
Shan

Published on Huffington Post, Okefenokee Living Magazine, her local newspaper and more, Shan Walker is jokingly called the “Guru.” A Travel Journalist, Wife, and Mom who shares daily “how to” enjoy planning and executing EVERY single family vacation AND “how-to” find joy with your family in the cozy haven you’ve created and can’t wait to get home to!

2 AMAZING DIRTY LAUNDRY HACKS YOU'VE GOTTA TRYTwo things that we can count on in this world are dirty dishes and dirty laundry.  Amen?  To create a less chaotic home, we’ve got to break free from the stress of always worrying about dirty laundry being washed, dried, and put away.  May sound silly, but it’s life-changing, Y’all!  If keeping everyone’s clothes clean and ready is a stressful thorn in your side, then let’s get a handle on it with this one MUST-DO hack and some bonus ones too, shall we?!

Dirty laundry solutions

I could go on and on about the changes I’ve made in how I deal with dirty laundry on a daily basis and it feels as though I’ve pulled that thorn out of my side, so to speak.  It used to be such a burden but I actually enjoy laundry duty now!  Laundry duty is no longer bringing me down AND we actually have clean clothes to wear when we reach for them.

#1 Only one at a time!!!

If you are struggling to get your whole laundry issue under control then lean in close to what I’m about to share with you.  Start your laundry intervention by not putting the second load of laundry in the washer until the first load is clean, dry, and put away.  AND wash at least one load – every single day.  I know it sounds crazy, (especially for large families), but stick with me, friend.

Part of laundry chaos is having clothes in all stages all of the house in an unorganized hot mess – dirty, clean but wrinkled in the hamper, dry but still in the dryer, wet and forgotten in the washer, etc.  The ultimate goal, in the end, is to figure out how many loads a day would be ideal for your family.  When you are just starting out, getting in the habit of following through with one load of laundry to the end is key!  After you’ve mastered that hack, then you can add more loads.

#2  Deal with dry clothes immediately 

The next most important hack to deal with dirty laundry chaos is to deal with clothes immediately after they are clean and dry – and do so in the laundry room.  What do I mean?  By removing clothes from the dryer as soon as it buzzes (or your phone timer goes off) will eliminate your laundry stress by 50%.  Instead of leaving clothes in the dryer to get wrinkled (where most will have to be ironed later), put hangup clothes on hangers immediately.  If you have to throw unmentionables, socks, and PJs in a hamper to fold later, so be it.  But get those shirts, pants, skirts, etc. on a hanger a.s.a.p. and let every family come and retrieve them from the laundry room rod.

I can’t remember the last time I used an iron and ironing board.  Seriously!  I put my dryer on the permanent press setting and hang up clothes as soon as that dryer dings.

Life changing, Y’all!

How to do Laundry fast & easy
There are more tips to share why I love doing laundry and laundry room organization.  I’ll share how I sort clothes, create a place for each family member, treat stains like a boss, and get the fam to pitch in without whining.  All that can wait for our next cleaning hacks post though.  Til then, be diligent to make these two dirty laundry hacks into habits and you’ll thank me later!


I hope these dirty laundry hacks have helped ease the struggle of getting it done.  Be sure to share your tips below in the comments also!


PIN ME FOR LATER!

2 AMAZING DIRTY LAUNDRY HACKS YOU'VE GOTTA TRY



 

Follow:
Shan

Published on Huffington Post, Okefenokee Living Magazine, her local newspaper and more, Shan Walker is jokingly called the “Guru.” A Travel Journalist, Wife, and Mom who shares daily “how to” enjoy planning and executing EVERY single family vacation AND “how-to” find joy with your family in the cozy haven you’ve created and can’t wait to get home to!

I get more passionate about good wholesome family shows every day.  I know you love them too because you’ve made my family-friendly entertainment posts some of my most popular ever.  You’ve loved:

Family shows

You probably already know like I do that money makes the world go ’round in this industry.  Even in the “wholesome” or Christian entertainment industry, money has to be made.  Producers (no matter who they are) are not interested in creating anything that’s high risk or that will lose them money.  This can work in our favor though. Even if a less-than-conservative producer or sponsor doesn’t believe in a wholesome show’s message -but KNOWS that it will make them money – they’ll produce it!

So how in the world do we let “Hollywood” know that we want quality family shows???  Here are 5 easy steps to spread the message that wholesome family shows are what we want:

1. Get engaged on Social Media

Social media has changed from a personal social spot to one that brands/businesses are using to spread their message.  I’ve learned from working with travel, food, and home brands that they are paying attention to what you are saying about them on social media.  Most of them really want to please us because, in the end, they make more money with great customer service.

Figure out the network that your favorite family shows are on.  HERE’S a link to television and movie producer’s websites.  There you will find contact and social media links.  Follow them and then…  Talk about why you love quality TV shows and tag these producers.

Twitter and Facebook are the top ones that will definitely get their attention.  Encourage your friends to do the same.

2. Watch good shows consistently 

No matter whether you get your TV show fix on cable, Sling TV, Netflix, or others, be sure to watch good shows consistently.  This leaves the profound message that they are doing something right when they see how much consistency there is.  This also makes them money!

Sign up here to be the first to know when the new Illustrated Faith Collections arrive!

3. Buy full seasons whenever possible

If you are without cable or satellite like us, you watch your family shows on Netflix, Sling Tv, or the like.  Rather than buying one episode of a TV series at a time, go ahead and buy the whole season.  This not only saves you money but sends a clear message that we can’t get enough of quality entertainment!

4. Send FB post to producers

Most folks spend lots of time on Facebook.  Why not make your time count?!

Remember how you followed the producers of TV shows back at #1?  Go to that Facebook page and leave them a message about what you think of the show.  You can also talk about them and tag them easily.  Really elaborate and encourage your followers to share your message.  This will get lots of attention.

5. Thank the sponsors

A fabulous way to keep quality family shows on the tube is to thank the sponsors that support them.  In the past, people have been asked to boycott specific sponsors for being a part of controversial shows.  Let’s follow that same idea but with positive reinforcement for companies that are supporting wholesomeness.  If enough of a stir is caused, they will continue to put their money behind these family sitcoms, TV series, and such.

Family Friendly Shows on insp


What did I miss?  Do you have easy tips for making family shows common instead of a rarity?


PIN ME FOR LATER!



TV shows to watch together

Follow:
Shan

Published on Huffington Post, Okefenokee Living Magazine, her local newspaper and more, Shan Walker is jokingly called the “Guru.” A Travel Journalist, Wife, and Mom who shares daily “how to” enjoy planning and executing EVERY single family vacation AND “how-to” find joy with your family in the cozy haven you’ve created and can’t wait to get home to!

King and Prince beach resort on St. Simons Island the WHOLE fam will ADORE!How would you like to escape from the reality of daily life to a luxury beach resort with mild, subtropical weather almost year ’round?  But wait, what if you also want or need to take the whole family too?  We were invited to one of these places and I’m dishing the real truth because it’s tough to please everyone on family vacations (especially those past the age of “kiddie stuff”).  So I’m sharing all the details that women REALLY want to know when considering a family trip – info, way too many images, and video footage that tells it like it is.  Sharing the real nitty-gritty takes time so there will be more than one post.  Be sure to catch the video at the end.

St. Simons Island 

St. Simons Island is part of a string of sea islands and a port city called “the Golden Isles.”  It’s located 75 miles south of the Savannah Historic District, 65 miles north of Jacksonville, Florida, and a 37-minute flight from Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.

The island has maintained its sophisticated but small beach town vibe with a family-friendly Pier Village, Oceanfront water park, quaint shops, and a historic lighthouse.  Yes, please!  Because of the tides, the wide beaches are hard-packed and perfect for biking, strolling, and shelling.  Familiar with Davis Love III, Jonathan Byrd,  Zach Johnson, or Hudson Swafford?  These are a few of the PGA Tour golfers that are residents on this idyllic island on the southern Georgia coast.

On the way to the King and Prince beach resort on St. Simons Island!

ON THE ROAD TO ST. SIMONS ISLAND

St. Simons Island Golf Course near King and Prince beach resort the WHOLE fam will ADORE!

THE GOLF COURSE [source: King and Prince Resort]

King and Prince Beach Resort

The King and Prince Beach & Golf Resort is the one and only Oceanfront beach resort available on St. Simons Island.  Back in 1935, it began as a seaside dance club and then it was open to the public as a hotel in 1941, getting rave reviews for the “bridal tower room.” Soon after, the hotel became a naval coast-watching and training facility during World War II.  Over the years it has undergone extensive renovations and became a member of the prestigious Historic Hotels of America.

King and Prince Beach Resort History on Memorabilia Wall in the St. Simons Island Lobby

MEMORABILIA WALL IN THE LOBBY OF THE KING AND PRINCE [souce: King and Prince]

Here are just a few of the accommodations available:

  • Tower rooms
  • Cabana rooms
  • Two or Three-bedroom Beach Villas
  • Resort Residences – some are dog-friendly
Lawn View of St. Simons Island King and Prince Beach Resort the WHOLE fam will ADORE

SIDE VIEW OF KING AND PRINCE LAWN [source: King & Prince]

View of King and Prince Beach Resort Oceanfront Tower Room on St. Simons Island

ONE OF THREE MODERN “TOWER ROOMS” [souce: King and Prince]

All three pools at the main building/outdoor restaurants have an ocean view.  One is for adults and two of the pools are for children with one being only 1-foot deep and the other is 3-feet deep.  What this means is that adults can snack or have refreshments while watching the kiddos frolick in the water!  There’s a beach villa building on either side of the main building and both the north and south villas have their own outdoor pool and hot tub.

View of 3 Oceanfront pools at the King and Prince Beach Resort on St. Simons Island the WHOLE fam will ADORE!

POOLS AT THE MAIN BUILDING WITH OCEAN VIEWS [source: King and Prince]

Because I’m a Travel Writer, my family has been blessed to experience many destinations and resorts and we couldn’t wait to see what our partial oceanview beach villa was like.  I was impressed that they don’t charge a resort fee like most do.  How luxurious would it really be? Would we be able to see the beach? But wait, I’m getting ahead of myself here.  Let’s go in a play-by-play order of our first day and final thoughts on it all at the end…

Ready for part one of our beach resort & island adventures? Here we go!

Day 1 | Arrival to the island

We opted to drive around the island since we had a little time to spare before check-in to our beach resort.  We cruised in the car in the area of the pier, lighthouse, and shops and restaurants.  We stayed in the car except to check out the Golden Isles Visitors Center and have lunch at Southern Soul Barbecue. I knew the address of the 2017 HGTV Dream Home so we drove by that as well.

View of Southern Soul Barbeque near King and Prince Beach Resort on St. Simons Island Georgia

View of Southern Soul Barbecue plates near the King and Prince Beach Resort on St. Simons Island Georgia

View of the King and Prince Beach Resort entrance on St. Simons Island the WHOLE fam will ADORE!

[source: King and Prince Resort]

It was time to check-in.  Once we pulled up to the circular drive of the jaw-dropping lobby and went inside, the staff was over-the-top friendly and helpful.  Our secluded beach villa building came with its own gated parking and designated parking space.  Our villa was classy, yet comfortable – so much that we stayed in the room until it was time to head downstairs for dinner at Echo, the resort’s Oceanfront restaurant.

View of the spectacular King and Prince Beach Resort Lobby on St. Simons Island Georgia

KING AND PRINCE ENTRANCE [source: King and Prince]

View of the spectacular King and Prince Beach Resort Lobby and ECHO Restaurant Entrance on St. Simons Island Georgia

KING AND PRINCE LIVING ROOM & ENTRANCE TO RESTAURANT [source: King and Prince]

View of the King and Prince Beach Resort Balcony on Day One of our St. Simons Island Georgia Family Vacation

WE MADE IT!!!

View of King and Prince Beach Resort Villa Exterior on St. Simons Island Georgia

VILLA EXTERIOR [source: King and Prince]

Not only did our beach resort villa have a spacious living space with big screen TV, but the bedrooms were huge with TVs and full bathrooms of their own.  Our villa was over 1200 square feet!  A washer and dryer, dishwasher, full-size refrigerator, stove/oven, complete silverware, dinnerware, glassware, cooking utensils, cookery set, a microwave oven, blender, and coffee maker were all ready for us.

Don’t even get me started on the balcony and its gorgeous views!  It had a breakfast table and comfy chairs and was accessible from both the living room and the master bedroom.  There were sliding glass doors at both doorways with sliding screen doors to allow the lovely sound of crashing waves and beach birds.

Seriously, Y’all.  This place is perfect for family vacations because this luxury hotel has thought of everything so us gals don’t have to!

They've thought of everything at the King and Prince Beach & Golf Resort!Click To Tweet

Restaurants near the King and Prince

Although you’ll find the Crab Trap, Boulevard Cafe, and Beachcomber BBQ & Grill within walking distance of The King and Prince Resort, we didn’t eat at any of those restaurants.  We wanted to stick around our beach resort for dinner.  It’s called ECHO Oceanfront Restaurant because of its tribute to the WWII Naval History [get it? radar & echo]. This was actually a former location for officers’ quarters, radar towers, and after-hours gathering spot for soldiers and their wives.

Awesome!

What’s also amazing about ECHO is that you can choose to dine in the lobby’s “living room,” the bar, dining room, or outdoor seating.  It’s definitely upscale but Southern casual dining of coastal cuisine at its best.

View of outdoor dining at ECHO Restaurant at the King and Prince Beach Resort on St. Simons Island Georgia

We began our fun dining experience with a Black truffle fries plus black truffle aioli [skinny-sliced and seasoned fries with partial skins and a yummy dipping sauce] and a sampler containing fried okra, pimento cheese hummus, crab cake with tartar sauce. The menu listed both of these as gluten-free.  I then moved on to the main course of a grilled bison filet served with sweet fingerling potatoes and Sea Island pea succotash.  My crew both ordered beef steaks and potatoes.

For dessert, we all wanted the fudge brownie cheesecake. It was two house-made cheesecake brownies served with vanilla ice cream and chocolate sauce.  Every bite was truly incredible!  Our waiter’s name was James and he was absolutely the best – attentive and genuinely sweet.

View of Brownie Cheesecake at ECHO Restaurant on St. Simons Island Georgia

FUDGE BROWNIE CHEESECAKE WITH COFFEE [source: King and Prince]

One thing you can’t miss in the evenings whether your family swims or not is the pool area.  It’s just gorgeous with all of the lights.

Oceanfront Pool at Sunset at the King and Prince Beach Resort on St. Simons Island Georgia

[source: King and Prince]

View of King and Prince Beach Resort Pool lit up at night on St. Simons Island Georgia

OCEANFRONT BUILDING AND POOL

Things to do near our beach resort

Although we stayed tucked into our wonderful beach resort on day 1, we ventured out and found lots of family adventure and more amazing food on day 2.  Details about that will be in the next post, so stayed tuned.  But I wanted you to realize that besides the restaurants mentioned, there is also an Ocean Motion Surf Co. within walking distance as well.  If you don’t want to drive, you could walk west along the beach for about a mile and find the St. Simons Lighthouse, Neptune Park, and the fishing pier.  Y’all can catch a trolley to see the island too, but more about that next time!

Day 1 final words

This is the moment where we typically give the family travel destination thumbs up, thumbs down, or thumbs to the side – from members of the whole family.  To sum it up, our teenage daughter calls the King and Prince Beach & Golf Resort her happy place [“the K & P” is now her fond nickname].  She loves St. Simons in general but loved all the attention to families that our beach resort showed to her as a kid.

We all gave it a thumbs up because it is a perfect choice for families with older kids that wish to escape normal life and seek refuge at beautiful accommodations that are secluded yet convenient to the beach, shopping, restaurants, family adventures, and historical sites.  Be sure to catch the interview I gave Superman and Princess at the end of the video below.  

trouble viewing the video? Watch King and Prince Beach & Golf Resort 


Don’t miss day 2 of our beach resort & island adventures coming next!


PIN ME FOR LATER!

King and Prince Luxury beach resort on St. Simons Island Georgia the WHOLE fam will LOVE

Special thanks to the King and Prince Beach & Golf Resort for showering us with hospitality, meals, and excursions. 

Follow:
Shan

Published on Huffington Post, Okefenokee Living Magazine, her local newspaper and more, Shan Walker is jokingly called the “Guru.” A Travel Journalist, Wife, and Mom who shares daily “how to” enjoy planning and executing EVERY single family vacation AND “how-to” find joy with your family in the cozy haven you’ve created and can’t wait to get home to!

Deliciously Guilt-free chocolate chip muffins with simple and wholesome ingredients!Guilt-free chocolate chip muffins with simple and wholesome ingredients that are delicious, easy to make, and chocolate-y? Yes, please! The gooey-in-the-middle lava cake feel is experienced by shortening the cooking time by about five minutes.  Either way, you’ll end up with perfect chocolate muffins that you can feed the fam guilt-free.  They are also easily adaptable to be gluten-free and dairy or lactose-free as well as freezable. 

If you know me well, you know that delicious easy recipes are my jam.

Perfect chocolate chip muffins

While visiting my friend years ago, she pulled out her homemade chocolate chip muffins as a snack for our kiddos. I held my breath as my daughter bit into her muffin, hoping she would be graceful with her response.  To my shock, she remarked, “This is the best muffin I’ve ever had.”

Her recipe was our go-to treat for a couple years while making the switch away from junk food.  Since then, I’ve tweaked and experimented with gluten-free flour, lactose-free milk, and different oils.  The result is always amazing and no one knows that they are “healthy” chocolate chip muffins.

Shhh! That’ll be our secret.

Why these chocolate chip muffins?

Here are six reasons why I’m convinced that these are the best chocolate chip muffins and why they are definitely a girl’s best friend:

  1. Just two bowls are needed and no mixer
  2. Simple, real food ingredients
  3. Staple ingredients found in most kitchens
  4. Many ingredients can be substituted easily
  5. The healthy version seriously tastes better
  6. They are full of 2 kinds of chocolate – DUH!

Forget diamonds: these muffins are a girl’s best friend!Click To TweetForget diamonds: these muffins are a girl’s best friend!

Chocolate chip muffins recipe

Believe me when I tell you that I have experimented with this recipe for these chocolate chip muffins many different ways.  The most surprising discovery I have made is that using whole wheat flour or gluten-free flour tastes better than typical white flour. One time during the holidays I used all white flour and it just didn’t taste as good.

True Story.

Girl’s Best Friend Chocolate Chip Muffins

Ingredients

  • 2 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 3/8 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup oil
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/3 cup chocolate chips

Here’s your printable recipe card…

4.5 from 2 reviews
Girl's Best Friend Guilt-Free Chocolate Chip Muffins
 
Ingredients
  • 2¼ cup whole wheat flour
  • ⅜ cup cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup oil
  • ½ cup honey
  • ⅓ cup chocolate chips
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Spray muffin tins or muffin papers.
  3. Measure dry ingredients in one bowl.
  4. Add liquids in another bowl, then combine.
  5. Bake for 12-15 minutes for normal muffins.
  6. Only bake for 10 minutes for lava cake muffins.
 

 

Flour

Use the same measurement for all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour, or gluten-free flour.  With my favorite gluten-free flour, you are able to substitute cup for cup.  They aren’t all that way.

my fave gluten-free flour
Milk 

Keep the measurement at one cup but you can use regular milk, buttermilk, lactose-free milk or full-fat sour cream.

Oil 

I’ve tried this recipe using all types of oils but coconut oil and olive oil give the best results and are the healthiest in my humble opinion.  Be sure to have your coconut oil to liquid room temperature before adding in and to mix quickly so that it won’t turn solid when touching the cold milk.

Chocolate Chips 

I like to use the dark chocolate chips.  My favorite is the Enjoy Life Mega Chunks chocolate chips when I have them on hand.  You can use any type of melting chocolate chips that you prefer.  Don’t skimp on the amount of these that you use!

I LOVE this brand!
 

Whether using the original recipe or trying some of the substitutes that I use, you almost can’t mess this up as long as you keep the measurements the same.  Experiment with the timing and your oven to see which level of “doneness” that y’all like best.

Have fun and enjoy the chocolate-y goodness!

 


When do you plan to make these double chocolate chip muffins?


 

PIN ME FOR LATER!

Deliciously Guilt-free chocolate chip muffins with simple and wholesome ingredients!

a girl’s best friend

 

Follow:
Shan

Published on Huffington Post, Okefenokee Living Magazine, her local newspaper and more, Shan Walker is jokingly called the “Guru.” A Travel Journalist, Wife, and Mom who shares daily “how to” enjoy planning and executing EVERY single family vacation AND “how-to” find joy with your family in the cozy haven you’ve created and can’t wait to get home to!

How to Get Organized Within Your Home For Good - pile of laundryWant to eliminate some chaos to get organized?  If you want to get organized for good – without seeking perfection, you’re in the right place, Mam! A few hacks-turned-into-habits can change us from unorganized mad women to MUCH happier gals. I’m living proof! Here are easy life hack ideas to get organized around the home… for good!

Get organized

I challenge you to choose a couple to implement every week. Before you know it, they’ll be second nature and…..

these fabulous life hack ideas will have turned into amazing, life-changing habits!Click To Tweet

Prepare your heart

Might sound kind of simplistic, but I firmly believe that having a specific mindset can move mountains. Start with how we can prepare our hearts to have a cozy home free from unnecessary chaos.

Command station

Creating a command station is simply finding an area that will hold those items that are needed often.  A place to put all of the essentials in one place.  There’s a small table that my family must walk by on our way in and out of the house. It displays all of our keys, bookbags, and sunglasses.  In the winter it holds gloves.  In the summer it stores sunscreen and bug spray.

It took a while to get into the routine, but now everyone drops their keys when they arrive home on this table. Because all of the keys can be seen at a glance, no one in my family is in a mad dash to find them when they are rushing out the door. This was a huge problem in our home that has been eliminated. I’m not stressed out or fussing about it anymore.

Simplify the kitchen

This one may sting a little but here’s the truth -> you probably have way too many gadgets and junk stuff in your kitchen that needs to go.

If your kitchen is clutter-free and pretty, you just might cook more!Click To Tweet

I challenge you to simplify life in the kitchen. You’ll be amazed at how quickly you’ll lose some stress by also following routines in that post as well.

Shop your pantry

Last year I started a challenge called shop your pantry. Basically, it was a challenge I set for myself and my readers to:

  • Waste less food
  • Eat a little healthier
  • Have more time to do other important things
  • Enjoy the lost art of cooking again (get yo’ kitchen mojo back)
  • A new dish may be discovered that’s a keeper

I’ve included the pantry hack today because it reduces the amount of “food clutter” that you have. Less food clutter reduces your choices and stress.

Declutter that laundry room

How and why should you declutter clothes and chaos in that laundry room? I’m glad you asked! There are many benefits but losing the dread of doing it in the first place is golden. I can honestly say that I enjoy laundry now. Weird, right?  Here’s an example video from that post:

Organization Containers

 hot mess laundry room (keeping it real!)
There are other areas of the home to utilize when getting prepared for new seasons.  Don’t you find that as each season changes, you are more motivated to get organized, declutter, and make your home as cozy as possible?  God’s so wise like that.  He knows we need external changes to put that pep in our step.  Be sure to subscribe if you haven’t already so you won’t miss out.


Ready to get organized with me?


PIN ME FOR LATER!

Get Organized for good - pile of laundry

 

Follow:
Shan

Published on Huffington Post, Okefenokee Living Magazine, her local newspaper and more, Shan Walker is jokingly called the “Guru.” A Travel Journalist, Wife, and Mom who shares daily “how to” enjoy planning and executing EVERY single family vacation AND “how-to” find joy with your family in the cozy haven you’ve created and can’t wait to get home to!

Throw in homemade popcorn and chocolate to watch family movies with my people and you’ve got one giddy girl on your hands!  It’s not easy to find good movies without the unnecessary trash though, so I created the ultimate cool movies list two years ago [#3 post of all time!].  I’m back at it again and have created a new list of MUST-SEE clean family movies that you haven’t heard of or thought of in a long time.  Classic movies, action and adventure, mystery, Christmas movies, oh my!

20 Safe Family Movies

There are so many animated movie lists for small kids, so most of the family movies below are for slightly older kids and adults.  CAVEAT: I’m personally pretty prudish when it comes to movie content.  But, I may have missed something or forgotten a scene, so I challenge you to do your own research with the links provided to ensure that each of these is right for you and yours.

Classic Family Movies

I list the year the movie was made on purpose.  I can’t recommend movies that have the same title but are a different version/year.  Just another reason why I include the links so that there is no confusion.  Enjoy!

Herbie Goes to Monte Carlo 1977

Herbie Goes to Monte Carlo trailer
Such happy memories watching all of the Love Bug movies with my family.  Don Knotts makes this one extra funny! Amazon says, “Herbie, the VW with heart, falls hood over wheels in love when he encounters a sleek, sporty, light blue Lancia. Also vying for Herbie’s attention is a gang of jewel thieves, who’ve ingeniously hidden a stolen gem in Herbie’s gas tank!”

Amazon, YouTube, or DVD

The Shaggy D.A. 1976

The Shaggy D.A. trailer
I distinctly remember how much I enjoyed this movie the first few hundred times I watched.  OK, joking, sort of.  A delightful story!   Amazon describes it as, “Disgusted by the shady dealings of not-so “Honest” John Slade (Wynn), Wilby Daniels (Jones) decides to run for District Attorney, but when robbers steal a magic Borgia ring, the fur really begins to fly! Once again, Wilby keeps turning into a large, talking sheepdog at the worst possible moments.”

Amazon Video, Youtube, or DVD

Cheaper by the Dozen 1950

Cheaper by the Dozen trailer
I’ve seen all of the different versions of this film and this one is the best, in my opinion. Amazon describes it as “The light-hearted family comedy is the true story of Frank and Lilian Gilbreth, efficiency experts and parents to twelve precious children.”  You see, it’s based on a true story, and knowing that made it even more fun!

Amazon Video, YouTube, or DVD

Roman Holiday 1953

Roman Holiday trailer
If you or your family have been wanting to see what all of the hype about Audrey Hepburn is, this is a great place to start.  This was her debut film and she won an Oscar. The rest, they say, is history.  She portrays a modern-day princess rebelling against her royal obligations.  She runs into an American Journalist who helps her enjoy one day in the city after being medicated by her doctor.

Amazon Video, YouTube, or DVD

 Escape to Witch Mountain 1975

Escape to Witch Mountain trailer
I remember watching fascinating movies like this one with my family on Wonderful World of Disney Sunday Nights.  This original movie about two orphans with extraordinary powers was fun and interesting then (when I was a kid) and still is today.  Amazon describes it as, “A vehicle floats in midair a coat rack comes to life and attacks a sheriff and wild animals are putty in the hands of Tony and Tia Malone in Disney’s thrilling fantasy adventure about the psychic powers of two young orphans. ” It’s also great to see how things have changed since the 1970s too!

Amazon Video, YouTube, or DVD

A Christmas Carol 1984

A Christmas Carol trailer 
A movie with a classic message for every single generation. I’ve seen every version possible of this film and although I love the original, it isn’t as readily available. This 1984 version is the best of the modern ones. Amazon says, “Christmas elicits nothing more than “Bah, humbug!” from Ebenezer Scrooge (Scott), a miser whose sole pursuit of financial success has left him a bitter and lonely old man. But a Christmas Eve visit from the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future ultimately teaches him to open his heart to the spirit of Christmas and to the joys of friends and family.”

Amazon Video, YouTube, or DVD

Swiss Family Robinson 1960

Swiss Family Robinson trailer
A childhood book for many of my generation, I didn’t watch this until I was much older.  Amazon says it’s, “a spectacular screen version of the literary classic that is full of breathtaking South Seas scenery, hundreds of exotic animals, and treacherous pirates. This heroic tale chronicles the courageous exploits of the Robinson family after they are shipwrecked on a deserted island. Using teamwork and ingenuity, they skillfully overcome the obstacles of nature and transform their new home into a “civilized” community.”

Amazon Video, YouTube, or DVD

The Parent Trap 1961

The Parent Trap trailer
One of my favorites because of all of the lively adventure. And the fact that I always dreamed of having an identical twin to switch with! Amazon describes it, “Twins girls, separated at birth, scheme to reunite their biological parents.”

Amazon Video, YouTube, or DVD

Blackbeard’s Ghost 1968

Blackbeard’s Ghost trailer
Ever heard of scary family movies? Now you have because this one is clean and pretty entertaining! Amazon describes it, ” a foreboding scroll recounts the legend of one of the bloodiest pirates in the history of the Caribbean. Leave it to Disney to turn him into a fun-loving old prankster with a whimsical side.”

Amazon Video, YouTube, or DVD

Action & adventure family movies

I think you’ll agree that the list of more modern family movies below is quite an eclectic mix.  There should be something here for everyone!

The Adventures of Ociee Nash 2005

The Adventures of Ociee Nash trailer
I had never heard of this movie until another Mom asked me if I wanted to borrow their DVD. I wasn’t sure what to expect but I remember this one made us laugh and caused great discussion.  A spirited nine-year-old’s rural Mississippi idyllic life is thrown into a tailspin when she’s sent to live with her Aunt Mamie to become a “young lady.” Amazon says, “Ociee’s true bravery, character and spirit are put to the test in this uplifting family drama.”

DVD

Enchanted 2007

Enchanted trailer

Just thinking of this movie makes me smile.  Although somewhat silly at times, that’s part of its charm.  One of my teenager’s favorite fun movies of all time.  Amazon describes it, “Beautiful Princess Giselle is banished by an evil queen from her magical, musical animated land and finds herself in the gritty reality of the streets of modern-day Manhattan. Shocked by this strange new environment that doesn’t operate on a happily ever after basis, Giselle is now adrift in a chaotic world badly in need of enchantment. But when Giselle begins to fall in love with a charmingly flawed divorce lawyer who has come to her aid even though she is already promised to a perfect fairy tale prince back home she has to wonder, can a storybook view of romance survive in the real world?”

Amazon Video, YouTube, or DVD

Yours, Mine & Ours 2005

Yours, Mine & Ours trailer
This movie is so funny and fast! You definitely won’t get bored, that’s for sure. There is an older version of this that stars Lucille Ball, and for once, I like the modern one MUCH better! Amazon says, “A widowed Coast Guard Admiral and a widowed handbag designer fall in love and marry, much to the dismay of her 10 and his 8 children.”

Amazon Video, YouTube, or DVD

The Lost Medallion 2013

The Lost Medallion trailer
A fast-paced movie that should pull in every age group.  Amazon describes, “A man who stops into a foster home to drop off some donations soon tells the kids a story about two teenage friends who uncover a long-lost medallion that transports them back in time.”

Amazon Video, YouTube, or DVD

Ramona and Beezus 2010

Ramona and Beezus trailer
Whether or not you were a Beverly Cleary book fan like I was in elementary school or not, the whole family can enjoy this hilarious story of a girl with an outrageous imagination. One of our very favorites that we own and have watched over and over!

Amazon Video, YouTube, or DVD

Nim’s Island 2008

Nim’s Island trailer
I love this movie about an 11-year old girl sharing an idyllic life on a private island in the middle of the South Asiatic Sea with her father, a microbiologist. She heads out to sea to help her father collect plankton specimens often, plays soccer on the beach, plays with her animal friends, and reads adventure novels. Everything changes when her father departs on the boat for a two-night expedition to collect plankton specimens and gets caught in an unexpected storm. How she deals with being alone and saving her Dad are amazing!

Amazon Video, YouTube, or DVD

Forever Young 1992/1997

Forever Young trailer
This movie is fabulous, Y’all. I saw it years ago and the storyline has stuck with me all of this time. Warning: when Mel Gibson’s character wakes up from his 50-year “nap,” he isn’t wearing clothing. I remember that it shows his backside but he quickly wraps a jacket around himself.

Amazon describes, “In 1939 Army Air Corps test pilot Daniel McCormick (Gibson) has a perfect job and a woman he loves. But a tragedy suddenly strikes his love, and Daniel’s future is snatched away in an instant. Grief-stricken, Daniel volunteers for a top-secret cryogenics experiment–which accidentally puts him into frozen slumber for more than 50 years. He awakens in 1992, lost and alone. But through friendship with a fatherless young boy (Elijah Wood) and the boy’s mother (Lee Curtis), Daniel discovers that time waits for no man, but true love waits forever.” *chill bumps*

DVD

Spy Kids 2001

Spy Kids trailer
It’s action-packed, funny, and super clean. My kind o’ movie.  Amazon describes, “The children of secret-agent parents must save them from danger.”

Amazon Video, YouTube

Love Comes Softly 2004/2010

Love Comes Softly trailer
Oh, my. I can’t say enough about the amazing family movies in this series. This is the first in a saga based on Christian Author, Janette Oke.  It’s a crowd pleaser even for the fellas because of the “Western Prairie” pioneer events and settings.  I dare you to be able to stop after this movie is over and not move on to the others! Amazon says, “Stubborn Marty Claridge (Katherine Heigl, Grey’s Anatomy) travels west with her new husband–but after they find a beautiful patch of land, her husband dies in an accident before they’ve even started building. A man named Clark makes a proposal: If Marty will enter into a platonic marriage with him, he’ll pay for her passage back east in the spring.”  Watch what really happens in the end!

Amazon Video, Youtube, or DVD

Journey to the Center of the Earth 2008

Journey to the Center of the Earth trailer
I remember being surprised out how much our whole family enjoyed this when we watched it the first time.  The original is good but this 2008 version is better in my opinion.  Amazon says, “During a scientific expedition in Iceland, visionary scientist Trevor Anderson (Brendan Fraser), his nephew Sean (Josh Hutcherson) and their beautiful local guide, Hannah (Anita Briem), are unexpectedly trapped in a cave from which their only escape is to go deeper and deeper into the depths of the Earth. ”

Amazon Video, YouTube, or DVD

When Calls the Heart Christmas

When Calls the Heart Christmas trailer
One of my favorite TV shows had a Christmas special last year and it was the most special holiday movie!  A lovely story where Christmas is coming to Hope Valley, and everyone’s in a festive mood. Lessons are learned about faith and trusting others is more than meets the eye.

DVD

Shop now to get up to 65% off faith-filled home decor.

WHEW!!!   That was a lot of work but worth it to share clean family movies that may otherwise be forgotten.  One last gem I wanted to share with you is how I decipher whether a movie is fit for my family.  I simply put the movie title in the search box on a site called Kids in Mind.  It doesn’t have information on every movie yet, but I love their rating system when they do!


Which of these family movies is your favorite?  Did I leave any out that you adore?  Let me hear from you in the comments!


PIN ME FOR LATER!

Couple watching 20 best family movies on list

Follow:
Shan

Published on Huffington Post, Okefenokee Living Magazine, her local newspaper and more, Shan Walker is jokingly called the “Guru.” A Travel Journalist, Wife, and Mom who shares daily “how to” enjoy planning and executing EVERY single family vacation AND “how-to” find joy with your family in the cozy haven you’ve created and can’t wait to get home to!

Secluded Fernandina beach Florida spot Fernandina Beach Florida was on my bucket list to show the hubs and my teenage daughter the beaches I frequented when I was her age.  Back in the day, my friends Christel, Patty, Barbara and I loved to jump in the car for day trips to Amelia Island. Recently my fam and I took off for a lovely weekend trip where we discovered a secluded beach spot that I didn’t know about and fabulous restaurants that made the trip extra special and fun.  

When your teen can’t hush about a vacation destination, you know it was a success!

Fernandina Beach favorites

I knew Fernandina Beach Florida was the northernmost city on Florida’s coast but didn’t realize that there are over 50 blocks of Victorian-inspired downtown stores, restaurants, and boutiques. Since I was only interested in the most popular beach hangout during my teenage years, I also had no idea that there’s a lesser-known, secluded beach that’s perfect for families.  

Woohoo!

Secluded Fernandina Beach

I remember visiting Fort Clinch State Park’s campground with my grandparents as a kid at Fernandina Beach, Florida.  What I didn’t know is that there’s not only a campground in the forest and Civil War reenactments at the Fort, there’s also a wonderfully secluded beach just beyond the nature-lined boardwalk.

Fort Clinch State Park has a three-mile shoreline with lots of family-friendly recreational activities including swimming, fishing, sunbathing and wildlife viewing.  Shelling and shark-tooth hunting are also popular activities near the jetty and along the St. Mary’s Inlet.

For directions, check out this Discovery Map of Amelia Island and find Fort Clinch State Park on the right side, just below Cumberland Island.

Secluded Fernandina beach Florida boardwalk

Best of Amelia Island
 

watch Best Amelia Island Beach

Favorite Fernandina Beach Restaurants 

One of our favorite parts of any family vacation in a new location is eating our way through town to discover the best food.  We ate at many good establishments on Amelia Island during our stay like 1000 Degrees Neapolitan Pizza and Pepper’s Mexican Grill and Cantina.  Our favorites though were Tasty’s and Townies.  Like I’ve mentioned before, one way to enjoy cool vacation spots every single time is to eat like a local.  We just love supporting the little guys and they typically have the tastiest and freshest food anyway!

One of the best parts of our family vacation is eating our way through new towns to discover the best food. Click To Tweet

Tasty’s Fresh Burgers & Fries:  Princess and I were won over because they lived up to their name. Homemade burgers with warm and crunchy buns?  Freshly cut and fried french fries?  Oh yeah, honey!  Another thing that wins us over is yummy dipping sauce that’s made in-house and they had plenty to choose from.  Of course, I ADORED the retro vibe.  

Secluded Fernandina beach Florida spot & fabulous restaurants

Townies Pizzeria:  This was Superman’s favorite place.  The calzones served at this laidback pizza joint were fresh, huge and scrumptious.  The hubs loved the atmosphere where we all felt like we were a part of the community while we were there.

watch Best Amelia Island restaurants
There was so much that we saw and did, but that will be for another post. We were blessed to spend this weekend trip at a friend’s private condo this time.  We’re definitely heading back for a longer visit to the Historic and Victorian seaport town of Fernandina Beach, Florida and I’ll share be sure to share the lodging choice that we choose and why.




Have you been to Fernandina Beach yet? Any beach or restaurant tips to add?


PIN ME FOR LATER

a lovely weekend trip where we discovered a secluded Fernandina beach spot

 

Follow:
Shan

Published on Huffington Post, Okefenokee Living Magazine, her local newspaper and more, Shan Walker is jokingly called the “Guru.” A Travel Journalist, Wife, and Mom who shares daily “how to” enjoy planning and executing EVERY single family vacation AND “how-to” find joy with your family in the cozy haven you’ve created and can’t wait to get home to!

Cast iron skillet for beef stir fry recipeDon’t you love it when a meal comes together with lots of flavors, protein, and veggies?  Normally, those types of dishes take forever to get on the table.  Not this time, friend!  This beef stir fry recipe is a wonderful go-to dish that sticks to your ribs, uses one skillet, and can be ready in 10!  WHA?  Yep, you’ll love this simple meal that requires no brain power but will thrill your taste buds.

Beef Stir Fry Recipe

You’ll find a printable recipe card and fun video below, but basically, here’s the process.  Add your thawed and seasoned beef tips to an oiled skillet.  While your meat is warming up, throw stir fry veggies in the microwave.   I ADORE the steamable bags you can microwave for 5 minutes or so right in the bag.  If you don’t have ‘steam in the bag’ veggies, place frozen veggies in a bowl with a tiny bit of water and microwave per directions.  When the veggies are done, the meat should be finished browning.  Place seasoned veggies into the skillet and toss around with meat and your choice of soy sauce.  We have used Liquid Aminos for years, but have recently started using Coconut Aminos instead [there is no coconut flavor – just a soy sauce flavor].  You are done.

Easy Peasy!

Beef Stir Fry Recipe Ingredients

  • olive oil
  • beef tips
  • frozen, stir fry vegetables
  • garlic powder
  • pepper
  • salt
  • soy sauce or liquid aminos

Beef Stir Fry Recipe Card

Here’s your printable recipe card for the best beef stir fry recipe in 10 minutes:

5.0 from 1 reviews
How To Make The Best Beef Stir Fry Recipe If You Only Have 10 Minutes
 
Ingredients
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 Large package beef tips
  • 1 Large bag frozen, stir fry vegetables
  • Dashes of garlic powder, pepper, & salt to taste
  • 1-2 Tablespoons Soy Sauce or Liquid Aminos
Instructions
  1. Add seasoned beef tips to an oiled skillet
  2. While your meat is warming up, cook stir fry veggies in the microwave
  3. Use 'steam in the bag' frozen veggies or place frozen veggies in a bowl with a tiny bit of water and microwave per directions
  4. When the veggies are done, the meat should be finished browning
  5. Place seasoned veggies into the skillet and toss around with meat and soy sauce.
  6. Enjoy!
Of course, you can serve this alone, or over leftover rice, quinoa, or pasta of your choice.  Enjoy the video I made just for you…

You can make this in 10 minutes!

You can keep it going with these other ideas.

kitchen gadgets


Will YOU be trying this beef stir fry recipe this week? Let me know in the comments!


 

PIN ME FOR LATER

How To Make The Best Beef Stir Fry Recipe If You Only Have 10 Minutes

Follow:
Shan

Published on Huffington Post, Okefenokee Living Magazine, her local newspaper and more, Shan Walker is jokingly called the “Guru.” A Travel Journalist, Wife, and Mom who shares daily “how to” enjoy planning and executing EVERY single family vacation AND “how-to” find joy with your family in the cozy haven you’ve created and can’t wait to get home to!

Top 15 Posts for BUSY Wives - Family travel, family entertainment, & easy recipes2017 has been a big year for The How-to Guru community of busy wives!  This is such an exciting post that I’m writing on New Year’s Eve because I’m sharing with you my top 15 posts of the year.  Together we’ve discovered the best family travel spots in the South, watched the best family friendly entertainment, cooked more, and got closer to the cozy [stress-free] homes we desire.    Be sure to see if your favorite posts made the cut.  Enjoy!

 

Top 15 Posts

Most of the top 15 posts of 2017 were about Southern family travel, but you also enjoyed wholesome entertainment and wife life hacks.  I am thrilled to continue to bring you the best of these topics. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for your support and sharing.

The most popular travel articles were about Georgia, Florida, and South Carolina – go figure!  That’s where we spent most of 2017.  There will be more travel insider tips from Georgia and Florida in 2018, as well as some new Southern states!  Let’s get on to those popular posts, shall we?!

The King and Prince Beach & Golf Resort on St. Simons, Georgia – A wonderful, last minute travel weekend [in January] to this luxurious beach town resort was the perfect recipe for a fabulous Mother-Daughter weekend getaway.  My teenager and I reconnected while Superman was on a hunting trip and it was just what the doctor ordered to strengthen our relationship and give us more special memories that we can count.  It’s one of our ABSOLUTE favorite trips of all time!

Top 15 Posts of 2017 - Southern Family travel, family friendly entertainment, & easy recipes

source: King & Prince

Best kept secret on the Atlantic Coast – One of our favorite spots in North Florida [and one of the top 15 posts] is a Coastal village along the Florida Coast that I had no idea about until this year.  I just had to let my peeps [my wifey friends] know so you could enjoy this all-inclusive resort with your family too!

4 Spring Break/Summer Vacay ideas – I love all of the “off the grid” vacation spots in the Southern states.  I’ve been travel writing for a long time, and these destinations typically turn out to be the most enjoyable for families.  Spring Break 2017 & Summer ideas and 7 things to do in Charleston were posts that were enjoyed by many.

Most fascinating accommodation on Jekyll Island – It just so happened to be my birthday weekend near the end of November when we visited this incredibly fascinating resort hotel on a secluded island off the coast of the state of Georgia.  They must have heard that I [a crazy Christmas-obsessed lady] was coming because when we arrived the island was decked out in its Victorian holiday splendor.  The millionaire’s village and 188o’s resort was more charming than ever with the Gilded Age decorations.

More posts about Jekyll Island Georgia – Jekyll Island is obviously a favorite family vacation destination for our family.  I realized that it’s also one that all of you can’t get enough of either.  Everyone enjoyed reading about our RV vacation 2017, Day #1 and Day #2 of at the Westin Jekyll Island, and how to snag the perfect family getaway.

Family friendly entertainment

Family travel articles here at THTG were definitely most popular, but the ultimate cool movies list was close behind!  You can now print the movies list by clicking the print friendly button at the bottom of the page.  As a matter of fact, all pages are print friendly now!

Top 15 Posts for BUSY Wives - Family travel, family entertainment, & easy recipes

Delicious Easy Recipes

Everyone has raved about my low-carb cheeseburger pie recipe [thanks, y’all!].  Also in the top 15 posts was the how to cook green beans and best pork chops recipe.  It thrills my soul that I’m helping women get in the kitchen again to feed their people great-tasting food.  But without the pomp and circumstance.  It’s so rewarding to get a scrumptious meal on the table FAST, isn’t it?!

Wife hacks

The two most popular posts that I wrote sharing hope and hacks with wife hacks was the simplify life in the kitchen and how do you clean ceiling fans without the mess?!

Thanks again for hanging around and leave me a message to say high or answer the question below.  Happy New Year, Y’all!

 

Did your favorite post make it on the top 15 posts this year? If not, which one was it?  I’d love to hear about it in the comments below!

family friendly entertainment ideas

PIN ME FOR LATER!

Top 15 Posts for BUSY Wives - Family travel, family entertainment, & easy recipes

 

 

Follow:
Shan

Published on Huffington Post, Okefenokee Living Magazine, her local newspaper and more, Shan Walker is jokingly called the “Guru.” A Travel Journalist, Wife, and Mom who shares daily “how to” enjoy planning and executing EVERY single family vacation AND “how-to” find joy with your family in the cozy haven you’ve created and can’t wait to get home to!