Life in Lape Haven

Category - Tried It Tuesday

Tried It Tuesday: How to Dye Dry Pasta

Life in Lape Haven: Tried It Tuesday - How to Dye Dry Pasta. Colored pasta noodles are great for kids' crafts, art projects, and sensory bins. Here is how I dyed dry pasta using food coloring for our vacation Bible school Maker Fun Factory and the tips I learned through the experience.

This year our church’s Vacation Bible School was one of my favorite themes ever.

“Maker Fun Factory” was a very hands-on curriculum all about how we’ve been “created by God and built for a purpose.” Throughout the week, the kids were encouraged to be creative and inventive as they learned Bible points and stories focused on knowing God has a plan for each of us. 

As a member of the VBS Preschool Team, I helped in the planning and preparations, and in the process I got to try out something I’ve wanted to do with my boys for a while: DYING DRY PASTA.

(And I got to try it out thoroughly as I dyed 6 boxes worth of pasta! :))

Life in Lape Haven: Tried It Tuesday - How to Dye Dry Pasta. Colored pasta noodles are great for kids' crafts, art projects, and sensory bins. Here is how I dyed dry pasta using food coloring and the tips I learned through the experience.

This dyed pasta was used for crafts, such as bracelets and picture frames and robot decorations, but you can also use the pasta for fun sensory bins or boxes, too. And while we only needed wheel-shapes that mimicked gears for our Maker Fun Factory theme, you can dye any size or shape of pasta that you want, all with this same simple technique.

Having never dyed pasta before I volunteered to do it, I had to get my Pinterest research on, and then make sure that I didn’t mess it up.

What I found was that there are lots of pins about dying pasta, but not many of them give you very specific details on how to do it. So, as I was undertaking this task, I made sure to get the details for you. (You’re welcome.)

What You Need:

Life in Lape Haven: Tried It Tuesday - How to Dye Dry Pasta. Colored pasta noodles are great for kids' crafts, art projects, and sensory bins. Here is how I dyed dry pasta using food coloring for our vacation Bible school Maker Fun Factory and the tips I learned through the experience.

Pasta – As I mentioned, you can use any type, size, or shape of pasta. Larger pasta noodles might require a little more liquid & coloring, though.

Food Coloring – For ours, I did 9 (yes, 9) different colors. We had a rainbow of options. I used your standard food colorings of red, yellow, blue, and green, in addition to the neon options of bright pink, purple, teal, and neon green. Then I also combined red & yellow for a fun orange.

Distilled Vinegar – You can also use Rubbing Alcohol, but since little kids like to put things in their mouths, I went with vinegar.

Plastic zip-top bags – Since I was going to be making so many batches of pasta, I designated a bag for each color. If you are only doing a few, you could try to use one bag for similar colors (For example, do yellow, then orange).

Baking sheets or trays – You’ll need to let the pasta dry after you dye it, so make sure you have enough trays ready to spread out the pasta.

Parchment paper or wax paper (optional) – You can line your baking sheets with parchment or wax paper. This just helps with clean up and transferring the dried, dyed pasta into storage bags.


What You Do:

1.  Mix Up Your Coloring.

Put 2 Tbsp. of Vinegar into you zip-top bag. *TIP: I used our napkin holder to support the bag so it was easier to add each item.

Add in at least 10 drops of your color. I found that for a brighter color, especially with the darker shades, I used up to 30-40 drops. (If I used 30 drops or more of color, I also used an additional tablespoon of vinegar to help get the pasta covered well.)

2. Add Your Pasta

I used 2 cups of pasta for each color. Pour that in on top of your coloring in the bag.

3. Mix It All Together

Seal up the bag, making sure to get most of the air out of it. Then shake, squish (lightly), and massage pasta in the bag to thoroughly coat it in the color. This can take a little while, especially if your pasta has some nooks and crannies. This is a great job to allow your little helpers to do.

4. Let It Set

Lay out the bag of pasta as flat as possible, and let it set for about 10 minutes or so. Be careful of letting it set TOO LONG – pasta sitting in liquid will start to get gummy and soft after a while. Flip it over a time or two during that time so that the liquid isn’t just on one part of the pasta.

5. Dry It Out

Carefully pour your pasta out onto the parchment –lined baking sheet(s), spreading it out into one layer. This part can take some time, as you want to avoid having the pasta pieces touching. Then set the baking sheets up and out of the way or outside to dry. Depending on how warm or humid the day is, your pasta should dry within 20-30 minutes. Give the trays a little shake every so often to help keep the pasta from sticking to the paper. *CAUTION: Beware of curious pets eating your pasta if you have it where they can get to it…such as outside on the ground. I speak from experience and from having lost half of my blue and pink pasta batches to a curious Labradoodle.

6. Store It /Use It

Once it is COMPLETELY dry, you can transfer the pasta to a zip-top bag or a lidded container until you are ready to use it. Store it somewhere cool and dry. (One of the ladies at church stored some in her car for a few hours…in the middle of summer…and it got really soft and squishy.)

Need ideas for what to do with your pretty dyed pasta? Honestly, your kids will probably come up with some amazing ideas on their own, but if you need a place to start, here are some fun pasta projects:



Homemade Sidewalk Paint

Homemade Play-dough

My Boys and the T-shirts

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Protein Balls

Life in Lape Haven: Tried It Tuesday - Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Protein Balls. A simple recipe for healthy energy bites. Great for the whole family.

In the past three months since Isaiah’s birth, I haven’t done a lot of extra cooking or baking. Right now, I’m doing well to get dinner made most nights. 🙂 However, I still like my goodies and making what I can from scratch, and on occasion my older two boys will behave and Isaiah will nap or be content long enough for me to throw together a little something special.

As a mom with a newborn, I haven’t only been looking for recipes that are quick and easy, but also ones that could be helpful to my milk supply since our new little guy LOVES to nurse. In the first few weeks especially, I needed healthy, easy-to make and easy-to-eat snacks for both my boys and myself. I found a perfect answer for all of those in the form of simple, customizable protein balls.

I’d seen these little treats, also called “energy balls” or “energy bites,” before online, and I’ve even sampled some that a mom friend of mine had made. However I’d never made any myself. So, I had to find a recipe.

Since protein balls can be made with such a wide variety of ingredients, I wasn’t sure which particular recipe to try from the myriad I found on Pinterest, so I looked for ones with ingredients that I had on-hand, especially ones with oats and flaxseed, since both are foods that can boost a mother’s milk supply.

Once I found a few options, I compared the recipes, used the common measurements of ingredients, and made up my own recipe, following the same basic procedure that all the protein ball recipes followed.

I have made up several batches since then, and my whole family loves them. However, since the protein balls do pretty much give you a boost of energy, I try not to let the boys have them too late in the evening. 🙂

I have also tried a few different variations, such as using different nut butters (I like using both almond butter and peanut butter as the same time) and using either date syrup and/or raw honey as a sweetener (I prefer the date syrup because the honey can make the balls very sweet and a bit stickier).

I think the fact that I can easily adapt the recipe to what I have makes this a fun, almost foolproof snack. However, here’s my favorite way to make protein balls…so far. 🙂

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Protein Balls

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Protein Balls


  • 1 cup Oats
  • ½ cup Mini Chocolate Chips
  • 2/3 cup Coconut Flakes, toasted
  • ½ cup Ground Flaxseed
  • 1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
  • ¼ cup Almond Butter
  • ¼ cup Peanut Butter
  • 1/3 cup Date Syrup (or can use Raw Honey)


  1. Prep a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a medium mixing bowl, thoroughly combine oats, chocolate chips, coconut, and ground flaxseed. Set aside.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together nut butters (or can do ½ cup of only one type of nut butter), date syrup, and vanilla extract.
  4. Pour wet mixture over dry ingredients and mix until combined.
  5. Roll mixture into small balls. I use my cookie scoop to portion out the mix. You can roll them large or small, depending on what you want. If the mixture is too sticky or melty, you can chill it in the refrigerator a bit before rolling it into balls.
  6. Place balls onto the prepped baking sheet.
  7. Chill protein balls until they harden.
  8. Keep refrigerated in an airtight storage container.




Tried It Tuesday: DIY Hand-Lettered Wooden Sign

Life in Lape Haven: Tried It Tuesday: DIY Hand-Lettered Wooden Sign. One of the projects I wanted to complete for decorating our boys' new combined room was this DIY Hand-Lettered Wooden Sign featuring a scripture that fits their "adventure" theme. Here's how I made this wall art at home.

Earlier this school year, right about the time we were making plans to move Josiah out of the nursery and into Elijah’s room, I got a text from Elijah’s teacher about his school work for the day. She was very excited about something he had written on one of his papers.

While she had attempted to send me a picture of it, it never came through, so it wasn’t until later in the afternoon, once Elijah got home, that I saw what had made her day and what she’d tried to let me know about.

Life in Lape Haven: Tried It Tuesday: DIY Hand-Lettered Wooden Sign. One of the projects I wanted to complete for decorating our boys' new combined room was this DIY Hand-Lettered Wooden Sign featuring a scripture that fits their "adventure" theme. Here's how I made this wall art at home.

Each day the students have to use their “Sight Word of the Day” in a sentence on their daily review sheet. That day’s word was “as.” Elijah’s sentence was: “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”

I was pleasantly surprised. I didn’t even know that Elijah really knew that verse. I’m sure he’s heard it before, but I didn’t know he’d memorized it. However, I knew immediately where he’d most likely seen it most often: on the wooden sign in our living room over our pocket doors.

When I asked him, he just smiled and nodded.

While I want our boys to be encouraged and know the priority that we place on God’s Word in our lives, I hadn’t really thought about whether or not our boys were really noticing or remembering the scriptures or sayings they see hanging on the walls throughout our home. His schoolwork was a nice little reminder of how much our children notice the things around them every day and how important it is that some of those things speak to their spiritual growth.

With that in mind, I was determined to make sure that as we made “Elijah’s Room” into the “Big Boys’ Room,” that the first big project I completed was a wooden plank sign I’d already saved on Pinterest. It featured a scripture that fit perfectly with the “adventure” theme for their new combined room. It is a verse that will encourage them in their walk with God and His calling on their lives:

“Be alert and on your guard; stand firm in your faith. Act like men and be courageous; grow in strength!” – 1 Corinthians 16:13

Unfortunately pregnancy and life in general pushed this wooden sign project to the back burner for a bit, so I didn’t get to do it as soon as I’d originally hoped.

But over the past couple of weeks or so, I managed to work on it a little at a time, and TAH-DAH! It’s finally done and ready to hang up! (I knew I needed to get it done before Baby #3’s arrival, or it would have to wait even longer.)

So, how did I do it?

Well, it was easy…and it wasn’t. 🙂 Or rather, it was easy, but it was a bit more time-consuming than I’d expected because I had to change my approach a little after I started the project. However, I am still really happy with the results.


Blank Wooden Sign (I got mine from Hobby Lobby with their weekly 40% off coupon)

Print Out of the Verse



Ink Pen

Acrylic Craft Paint (I actually used some from my parents, so that saved money)


Small plate or container for paint

Sealant (Rust-oleum Matte Clear Ultra Cover)

Hand sanitizer



1. PLAN – The first thing I did was type out the verse on my computer in different fonts and laid it out close to what I wanted it to look like on the board.

2. LAYOUT – Then it was a little bit of trial and error to find the right size that I needed it to be when I printed it out. I would print out the first couple of lines, cut out the words, and arrange them on the board. At first some lines were too big – too long for the board or too tall – so I had to play around with the font sizes and arrangement until everything fit neatly on the wooden sign.

Life in Lape Haven: Tried It Tuesday: DIY Hand-Lettered Wooden Sign. One of the projects I wanted to complete for decorating our boys' new combined room was this DIY Hand-Lettered Wooden Sign featuring a scripture that fits their "adventure" theme. Here's how I made this wall art at home.

3. TAPE – Once I had the layout as I wanted it, I taped each section to the board so the words wouldn’t move around.

4. TRACE – Using an ink pen, I traced over each letter, FIRMLY, leaving an indent of the word in the wood underneath. This took a little bit of time, especially since I chose a long verse and fonts that were more ornamental. I worked on tracing the words over a few different days, as I could find time to do it. (I made sure to peek at the “tracing” I was leaving on the wood. I didn’t want to be missing a section when I removed the print out)

5. PAINT – With all the words traced onto the wood, I was ready to paint. My original plan was to use a paint marker, which would have saved a lot of time. However, those require a much smoother surface than the wood provided, and the tip was way too wide for fine detail. It just didn’t work. So, I went with a paintbrush and some acrylic craft paint. (Thanks, Mom!)

Starting at the top, I peeled back the first section of words, but left it taped on the far side, just in case I needed to retrace a letter or something. Then, using a very fine-tipped paintbrush, I first traced the outline of the letter, then filled it in. Some parts of the wood were really easy to paint on, but other areas were rougher or had little divots or more obvious grain to them. But that’s part of working with actual wood. A smoother plank or surface would have made the painting easier, but I really wanted that rustic look of real wood.

Once I got a section painted, I removed the print out completely. Then I went on to the next section. The painting takes time and not having little boys bumping into the table constantly, so I could only work on it off and on. But a little here and a little there, and I managed to finish it all. 🙂

*FIXING MISTAKES – As I went along, a few slips of the paintbrush were inevitable, especially when the boys were running around in the kitchen as I worked on the sign at our table. However, thanks to all my work with various stains on the laundry, I knew that rubbing alcohol and hand sanitizer both work to get most paints out of things. So I kept a small bottle of hand sanitizer right by my paint. If a letter got uneven or I dropped my brush on the wood (it happened more than once), I used another paint brush with a little hand sanitizer on it to dissolve the mistake, carefully wiping it away with a paper towel.

6. SEAL IT – After the whole verse was painted on, and I was happy with it, I covered the whole sign with a matte clear sealing spray to protect all my work (spraying it outside, of course). I’m not sure that it’s entirely necessary, but since it’s going into the boys’ room, it can’t hurt to have a little extra protection against damage. 🙂

Life in Lape Haven: Tried It Tuesday: DIY Hand-Lettered Wooden Sign. One of the projects I wanted to complete for decorating our boys' new combined room was this DIY Hand-Lettered Wooden Sign featuring a scripture that fits their "adventure" theme. Here's how I made this wall art at home.

Is my wooden plank sign perfect? No. But it really wasn’t meant to be. It was hand-lettered, so imperfections are to be expected.

Will I be making more scripture or word art signs for our home? Probably. But not until after Baby #3 is here and a bit older (leaning over a baby bump as I traced and painted did NOT make the project easier). And next time, I think I’ll choose a shorter phrase and larger fonts. Haha.

Overall, this was a fun project, and I’m proud of it. Our boys were ecstatic when they saw the finished sign, and they can’t wait for it to be hung on their wall. Hopefully, the message on the wooden sign will find its way into their little warrior hearts and stay with them throughout all the adventures God has ahead of them.


How to Easily Create Beautiful Chalkboard Lettering

The Most Important Thing My Child Learned from His 1st Grade Teacher

Inexpensive Crafts that Make Great Christmas Gifts for Grandparents

Life in Lape Haven: Inexpensive Crafts that Make Great Christmas Gifts for Grandparents. We've made it a holiday tradition for our boys to make something special for their grandparents' Christmas gifts each year. These are some of our favorite DIY craft ideas.
Ever since Elijah’s second Christmas, when he was old enough to “help” a little, we’ve made it a holiday tradition to have the boys make something special for their grandparents’ Christmas gifts each year. We want our children to take an active part in giving, using their own talents and creativity and thinking about ways to bless someone else during the holidays. (We do give our parents additional gifts. These homemade items are just part of their Christmas.)

Thankfully both our boys enjoy crafty things and drawing, so they are usually pretty excited to help out and work on their “projects.” Of course, since they are children, Mommy has to be ready for lots of supervising, some mess (or a lot), and stepping back to give them room to actually do it themselves (as much as they can).  Their vision of the finished product might not always match mine, but if the Christmas gift is to be from THEM, it needs to be THEIRS. (And sometimes, younger kids, like Josiah, are more interested in the process than actually finishing the craft, which can try a parent’s patience.)

Over the last few years, we’ve made a number of different items, so I thought I’d share with you some of our favorite inexpensive, homemade Christmas gift ideas. (The title of each project has the link to more instructions.)

(This post may contain affiliate links, which means that at no additional cost to you, I may receive a small commission if you use the links.)


Our boys love all the decorations at Christmastime, so making keepsake ornaments is one of their favorite things. They love seeing the ones they’ve made in the past on their grandparents’ Christmas trees and ours each year.

Salt Dough Ornaments: These were one of our first DIY gifts from Elijah. It was a relatively easy dough to mix up, if I remember correctly (it HAS been about 5 or 6 years). We rolled it out, then used a portion of it to make a couple prints of Elijah’s hand (because baby handprints are always adorable). We also cut out circle shapes for smaller ornaments and gift tags. Once the ornaments were baked, I had Elijah paint his handprint and draw designs on the circle ornaments, too. Then we added a nice ribbon to hang them with. (Note: The bigger the ornament, the heavier they will be, so roll them out as thinly as possible and keep them small).

Popsicle Stick Snowmen: Elijah has always loved snowmen, especially Frosty, so this was a really fun Christmas gift for him to make, and they turned out so adorable. I had the boys paint the sticks and help me glue them together, as well as adding the googly eyes. Then I painted the rest of the faces, including the noses.

Wooden Ornaments with Photos: This Christmas gift project was a bit more tedious than I expected, so the boys didn’t get to help as much. However, I was really pleased with how they turned out. The idea is to take a picture printed out on a laser printer and after coating a small piece of wood with gel medium, you glue the picture onto the wood, smoothing out all the bubbles. Once it has dried overnight, you use a sponge and water to remove the paper (the TEDIOUS part), leaving behind the print. I had to do the sponge and water step several times to get all the paper off (you can see it as little white specs and lines when the project dries). For our ornaments, we used differently shaped pieces of wood – rectangular, round, and heart-shaped (maybe 2”x 3”). Two of the pictures were ones that I took of the boys playing with the Christmas lights, and then I used a photo editor on my phone to add fun word art. Also, I used some pictures of them in the snow. I did some in color and some in black and white, and they all turned out nicely. (By the way, the link above is only to the Pinterest pin because the site is no longer active.)



If we aren’t making ornaments, our projects tend to involve painting or drawing on something else. 🙂

Oven Gloves: Another “handprint” project was the “Grandma’s Helper” oven gloves that we did. I basically just bought some plain oven gloves, had the boys add their handprints on the front, and then wrote “Grandma’s Little Helper” or “Grandma’s Helping Hands” (something like that – haha.). They were really cute, though, and both grandmas were delighted with them.

Mugs: Since the grandmas got oven gloves, we wanted to do something for just the grandpas, too, so that year I had the boys paint on plain white mugs. There are tons of ways you do this, and I think the most popular seems to be to use Sharpie Markers. However, we didn’t. We did paint with a clear coat. I’m not sure how well they’ve held up through a dishwasher, but from what I’ve seen on other sites, there are ways to make them last a long time. (Note: We made sure to keep the paint and clear coat more toward the bottom half of the mugs. Also, the link above it NOT to the tutorial we used. Again, that tutorial is no longer available.)

Picture Frames: Another thing that the boys have painted as Christmas gifts was picture frames. We bought some plain black 4×6 frames, removed the glass, and let the boys paint designs on them. Then we put a nice family photo in it. Simple.

Blank Canvas: Elijah always wanted to do finger painting when he was little-little, so one Christmas, I simply bought a pack of blank canvases, and let him do his thing. They actually are quite neat. He made paintings for his grandparents and great-grandparents. He even had one left over for us, which is still hanging in our bedroom.



Okay, technically this isn’t a “craft,” but it’s always a good gift idea. I don’t know about your family, but my parents and in-laws always enjoy getting actual printed pictures of their grandchildren. While I try to get prints to them throughout the year, I know that many of the photo-printing sites offer coupons and great deals on not only prints, but other fun Christmas gifts around the holidays.

I always watch Shutterfly for their coupon codes for free 4×6 prints, but my two favorite coupon codes to get are either for free photo books or calendars. In the last couple of years, I’ve gotten at least two calendars each season for just the price of shipping. 🙂  You can personalize the calendars with multiple photo layouts and add important family dates, such as birthdays and anniversaries. This way the grandparents get to spend the whole year adoring their grandbabies.

Life in Lape Haven: Inexpensive Crafts that Make Great Christmas Gifts for Grandparents. We've made it a holiday tradition for our boys to make something special for their grandparents' Christmas gifts each year. These are some of our favorite DIY craft ideas.

I like to make the photo books into stories. 🙂



As of right now, I don’t know what project our boys will be working on for their grandparents’ Christmas gifts. Of course, even if I did, I couldn’t write about it, yet. 😉 With Baby #3 due mid-December, it will definitely have to be something simple that doesn’t require as much supervision from Mommy. Thankfully, they’ve had several years of practice at being crafty and creative for Christmas, and no matter what they do, as long as it’s from them, I’m pretty sure their grandparents will love it.




My Best Christmas Gift Idea Ever…So Far

Why We Don’t Need MORE This Christmas

Why We Started Celebrating St. Nicholas Day

10 Ways to Help Your Kids Make Christmas More About Others

The Best Thing I’ve Gotten for Myself This Pregnancy: BabyBellyBand Maternity Support Belt

Life in Lape Haven: The Best Thing I've Gotten for Myself This Pregnancy: BabyBellyBand Maternity Support Belt. After a month of wearing a BabyBellyBand maternity support belt, here's a review of my experience wearing it, how it has helped with varicose veins, swelling, and other pregnancy discomforts, and a coupon code for you.

As a mom of two, when I found out I was pregnant with our third child, I figured I knew what I was getting into. For the most part, I was right. My experiences with my previous two pregnancies were pretty good preparation for what I was going to face over the next 40 weeks.

However, as every mom learns, just like no two children are alike, each pregnancy is different and comes with its own set of adjustments and symptoms.

And this pregnancy, while similar enough to my last two, has still been introducing me to a few new issues that I’d never faced before.

The biggest and most difficult to manage was how quickly my baby bump grew, causing my weight to accumulate sooner than I was used to, and how low this baby has stayed the entire pregnancy. (And I didn’t eat differently or do more or less exercise than my previous pregnancies).

My bigger and lower belly so early on meant that I was dealing with lots of discomfort, pressure, and soreness through my belly, pelvic floor, legs, and feet earlier than I was used to. I remember telling my doctor that I was feeling late-pregnancy symptoms already, and it was only the middle of my pregnancy.

Life in Lape Haven: The Best Thing I've Gotten for Myself This Pregnancy: BabyBellyBand Maternity Support Belt. After a month of wearing a BabyBellyBand maternity support belt, here's a review of my experience wearing it, how it has helped with varicose veins, swelling, and other pregnancy discomforts, and a coupon code for you.

Nearly 26 weeks pregnant.

It actually became difficult for me to be up on my feet for too long, even just the time it took to vacuum the house or do the dishes, and I was only in my second trimester.  So I started looking for solutions because there was no way I was going to spend the next 15 weeks with this kind of pain slowing me down.

I needed something to help support this ever-growing baby bump.

Having heard of maternity support belts through various different sites, I began looking at the prices and reviews of various brands that offered everything from light support to compression to postpartum hip and belly shrinking.

I also talked to my doctor again as I was experiencing more pressure and a bruise-y, burning pain…um…down below…that was not ligament or muscle-related. Her diagnosis was something I suspected from my online research – varicose veins in that area (vulvar varicosity), which was something I’d never heard of before this pregnancy.

With that diagnosis, I asked her opinion about a maternity support belt, especially one with groin compression straps. Since I still had nearly 10 weeks to go at that point, she said that a belt would definitely be worth it.

So, I went back to the options I had researched, and decided to go with BabyBellyBand by Cabea Orthopedic Designs, which offered not only an abdominal support band that could be used both during and after pregnancy, but also had optional compression therapy groin bands to help with the varicose veins.  Their bands were also less expensive than other brands I’d seen, but they still had great reviews.

Life in Lape Haven: The Best Thing I've Gotten for Myself This Pregnancy: BabyBellyBand Maternity Support Belt. After a month of wearing a BabyBellyBand maternity support belt, here's a review of my experience wearing it, how it has helped with varicose veins, swelling, and other pregnancy discomforts, and a coupon code for you.

The final selling point was the quick response I got from their customer service when I had a question about what size band to order. Caroline, the CEO and designer, replied and offered her suggestion and let me know that I would be able to exchange it if necessary.

I chose the 2-3 day shipping because I was ready for some relief (even moving my legs to turn over in bed was painful).

I was seriously excited when my maternity support belt arrived.

The instructions for putting on the belt were easy to follow, even if I did look like a sumo wrestler once I had it on (the pregnant belly only adds to the effect).  🙂

I’m not exaggerating when I say that the support belt made an IMMEDIATE difference. It was almost like magic!

In the first week I had it, I really put it to the test, too. I went with Elijah on his class field trip to the pumpkin patch, where I kept up with first graders all day as we walked around the farm, through a sunflower maze, all over the barn with its straw-strewn floors (VERY uneven, slippery footing), and out into the pumpkin fields via a rather bumpy hayride (in a wagon with a very high step to get in and out of). Then a couple of days later, my family and I enjoyed a day at a local fall festival, which meant walking around for several hours without sitting down once.

Through all of that, I was able to move around comfortably and with very minimal pain, especially compared to what I had been experiencing on even my easiest days of just doing basic housekeeping.

Out of curiosity, I did try going without the band one evening while I was working in the kitchen, cleaning and making dinner, which would mean that I was up on my feet for a couple of hours. In less than 30 minutes, I felt the support belt’s absence. In another half hour or so, I was putting it back on.

When I first got it, I was worried that the maternity support belt would be uncomfortable or that it would show through under my clothing. Neither one of those worries were necessary.

Once I wiggle into it and get it in place in the morning (it IS a very strong elastic band – kind of like getting on a pair of Spanx), I can forget that I have it on, and no one else can tell. The only inconvenience is when I have to go to the bathroom (since I have the groin straps), because then I am wiggling it down and back up. But again, no worse than other things we women put ourselves through, and the relief is worth it.

The belt does get a little sweaty when I’ve been very active or it’s a warm day, but I won’t feel it until I take it off, so it’s not that big of a deal. Plus, it is machine washable and dryable, so it’s easy to keep it clean.

I’ve been wearing this maternity support band every day for about a month. The only time I take it off is when I’m sleeping or taking a shower, or it’s being washed.

Before I got it, I would have to take frequent rests throughout the day, and I still had pain, discomfort, and swelling.

With it, I’ve noticed significantly less pain, not only from the varicose veins, but also from my belly stretching in general, less aching in my legs, and less swelling and pain in my feet. I’ve been able to continue doing things or get back to doing things around the house or out and about that were getting difficult for me without it.

It has seriously been the best thing I’ve gotten for myself this pregnancy, and I wish I’d had it for my previous two.

Since I’ve seen such a difference with this maternity support band, I wanted to share my experience with you. I contacted Caroline at BabyBellyBand again and asked her if I could use pictures from her site (because you don’t want to see me in my pregnant sumo wrestler get-up…trust me. The band works amazingly, but it’s not for looks. 🙂 ).

I also asked her if there was anything special I could offer my readers who might be interested in her products, too, because I know so many mommies who are expecting right now who could benefit from a BabyBellyBand Abdominal Support belt.

Caroline was very happy to hear how much the product helped me, and she graciously offered a special coupon code for you all to use! 🙂

By entering the coupon code lapehaven , you’ll get 10% off your purchase from BabyBellyBand.

(In the checkout/shopping cart area, above where you enter you billing and shipping info, is a gray box that says, “Have a Coupon ? Click Here to Enter Your Code.”)

Roasted Cinnamon-Spiced Butternut Squash with Sweet Potatoes & Apples

Life in Lape Haven: Tried It Tuesday: Roasted Cinnamon-Spiced Butternut Squash with Sweet Potatoes & Apples. This delicious roasted butternut squash side dish spiced with cinnamon and sweetened with sweet potatoes and apples is a great healthy addition to any meal or holiday table throughout the fall and winter.

As much as I love summer, there is something to be said about all the crisp weather, cozy clothes, fall fun, and tasty treats that come with autumn. While I love all the apple and pumpkin goodies to be made (Apple pie? YUM! Pumpkin cookies? Yes, please!), I also get really excited when I start seeing butternut squash in the stores.

I’m not sure when I first tried cooking butternut squash for my family, but it quickly became a staple of our autumn pantry. I love making this Winter Squash soup (Pumpkin-Butternut Squash Soup) by the Food Network’s Ina Garten. However, I think my absolute favorite way to enjoy this seasonal veggie is to simply dice it up and roast it, usually along with some sweet potatoes and apples.

The other night I was ready to make this sweet combination as a side for our dinner, but I couldn’t remember at what temperature I usually roasted it. So, I searched online for “roasted butternut squash.”

The first recipe I checked out was one for cinnamon roasted butternut squash from Chew Out Loud. Suddenly, I was ready to spice up my usual recipe a little bit. 🙂

While their recipe calls for adding brown sugar to their squash, I didn’t since I already add sweet potatoes and apples to the mix. I didn’t want to make my dish into too much of a dessert. I also had to adjust the oil and seasoning a bit, since I had more to roast overall.

The resulting Roasted Cinnamon-Spiced Butternut Squash with Sweet Potatoes and Apples was delicious! (Even my little picky eater Josiah ate it well.) Not only is it a tasty side, but it is simple and healthy! This is a perfect dish for any meal throughout the fall and winter and would be a great new addition to your Thanksgiving table.

Note: Don’t let the prepping of the butternut squash intimidate you. It seems tricky, but it’s not that bad. I’ve learned that if you microwave it for a few minutes, that will make peeling it much easier. It will even help make it easier to cut up (butternut squash is a hard squash). Of course, be careful, as it will be hot! For more info on prepping your squash, you can check out this How-to from Simply Recipes.

Here’s how I make this yummy fall dish.

Roasted Cinnamon-Spiced Butternut Squash with Sweet Potatoes & Apples

Roasted Cinnamon-Spiced Butternut Squash with Sweet Potatoes & Apples


  • 1 large Butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and diced (in about 1” cubes)
  • 3 small Sweet Potatoes, peeled and diced (in about 1” cubes)
  • 3 medium Apples, peeled and diced (in about 1” cubes) I used Gala apples, but any sweet variety of apple will work.
  • 5 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 1-1/2 teaspoon Salt
  • 1 teaspoon Pepper
  • 1 to 1-1/2 teaspoon Cinnamon


  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
  2. Line baking sheet(s) with aluminum foil.
  3. In a large bowl, stir squash, sweet potatoes, and apples together.
  4. Drizzle oil over mix, and gentle toss/fold until all pieces are coated.
  5. In a small bowl, combine salt, pepper, and cinnamon.
  6. Sprinkle about 1/3 of the seasoning over the squash mix, then stir to evenly coat pieces. Then sprinkle another 1/3 and stir. Then sprinkle the remaining seasoning and stir until all pieces are evenly and thoroughly seasoned.
  7. Spread squash mix out on prepped baking sheet(s) into a single layer so that the pieces are not over-crowded and will bake evenly. (I needed two baking sheets).
  8. Roast about 35-40 minutes (depending on the size of your dicing – mine were slightly smaller, so it cooked faster), until squash is fork-tender. You may want to stir the pieces halfway through or rotate your pan to ensure even browning.