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FREE Printable Birthing Affirmations

First of all, what are birthing affirmations? Birth affirmations are sayings or statements created to help you change your mindset.

Why are birthing affirmations important? Whether you want to print them all or select which ones feel best for you, these birthing affirmations can help you stay focused and positive throughout labor and birth (and even before and after)!

In fact, one study published in 2016 in the National Library of Medicine, suggests that affirmations work because of neuroplasticity, which is the brain’s ability to change and adapt throughout life.

You don’t just have to use the ones I provide; you can even create your own! The most powerful, effective, and soothing birth affirmations are ones that empower YOU. Practice them by reading and writing them down before birth and have your partner learn them too. As each surge/contraction comes you can continue to say them, read them, and hear them to help you stay focused and calm(er). 

Top tip: Laminate them after you print them so they’re waterproof and can be easily taken with you (without damaging them) from room to room or house to hospital/birthing centre. 

P.S. If you haven’t added me to your mailing list or received my emails in the past, please check your SPAM folder just in case.

Download Your FREE Printable Affirmations

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Signing off,

Mary Taylor <3


Our Floral Themed Baby Shower

When you first got pregnant, were you already dreaming about your baby shower or was that just me? Either way, a baby shower (especially your first baby shower) is such an exciting, once-in-a-lifetime experience (even if you have another baby shower for future babies, there’s something special about your FIRST ever baby shower).

I had the amazing pleasure of working with several amazing companies to help pull off our floral, garden baby shower! A massive thank you to A Splendid Afternoon (decor rentals), Sunrise Sapphires (resin stands/tray), Designs by Hilly (matching baby and mama resin earrings and jewelry tray), Cake Face Cutter Co (designer fondant cookies), and Kiwi Belle Nails (my nail art). Each of these business owners were easy to work with, generous, kind, and enthusiastic. It truly wouldn’t have been the same without these incredible women. All of the signs used throughout the event are also available on Etsy and linked in each photo! 

Custom resin earrings (click the image to follow Designs by Hilly)
Elephant nails (click image to follow Kiwi Belle)

Games and Signs!

Here’s the list of signs and games that you can purchase to print yourself from Etsy (that we used) – purchase here:

1. Don’t say baby (clothespin game)
2. Clothespin gender reveal game (we did this one at our gender reveal party not at our baby shower)
3. Late-night diapers game
4. Baby bottle with marshmallows game
5. Building a library for baby
6. Baby predictions & well wishes sign (not the actual game, that’s below)
7. Baby in bloom sign

We also had each guest fill out a baby predictions form with a “My Wish For You” section (which we are going to cut, laminate, and turn into a book for baby girl) which you purchase and read more about here. We did this instead of asking for advice (because honestly, new parents get enough unwanted advice as it is haha)! 

Click on the image to purchase on Etsy
Click on the image to purchase on Etsy

Opening gifts! One of my favorite parts about attending other people’s baby showers is watching them open gifts. Baby things are just SO cute! And it helped give me ideas of what to ask for. Blog coming soon with recommendations on what to add to your registry!

Food & Treats! We had a late morning/early afternoon baby shower and provided a delicious candy/sweets bar and a large grazing table! This worked really well because people could eat throughout the party, we didn’t need to cook or heat anything, and we didn’t even need plates (clean up was so much easier without needing to clean cutlery and dishes)! We also had a drinks bar with punch, iced tea, juice/soda, and hot drinks (tea and coffee). For the grazing board, I made cute little tea sandwiches which were a huge hit (there were a mix of flavors: ham & cheese, cheese & homemade chutney, and cucumber w/ chutney and cheese). We even used PINK bread!

Our treats table wouldn’t have been possible without A Splendid Afternoon! They provided everything we needed (jars, linen, stand, signs, boxes, tongs, etc) to create the most gorgeous setup. It also wouldn’t have been possible without Cake Face Cutter Co who provided the softest, most delicious, and cutest fondant cookies I have ever seen/tasted! And last but certainly not least, the dessert table wouldn’t have been the same without the gorgeous additions of Sunrise Sapphire’s resin cake and three-tiered cookie stand! It was so fun customizing these pieces to make them perfect for our event (each stand was different but had elements – either rose petals, gold flakes, or colored resin which matched among the three pieces)! 

A Splendid Afternoon also provided this beautiful photobooth, the buntings around the venue, and the cornhole game (which was a huge hit)! I highly recommend having an outdoor and indoor space so people can spread out and your event isn’t 100% weather dependent. We had time to play organized games and time for guests to mingle and play games/do activities on their own too. One game that we loved playing was having guests guess how big my belly was (by cutting a string as long as they thought would fit around me)! Top tip though: instead of having each person come around to measure their string around you, cut a piece that you’ve already measured around you and go to each guest to compare the two.

I couldn’t be more thankful to those that took the time out of their weekend to come to celebrate our little girl. And for all of the amazing gifts we received. It truly shows who is there for you and who wants to continue to be there for you as your life changes (of course we know that there were several people who wanted to be there to celebrate but couldn’t due to COVID as well)! 

If you enjoyed reading this and would like more information on home, lifestyle, advice, tips, tricks, and more, follow me on Instagram @Its.Mary.Taylor and on Facebook at Mary Taylor! I can’t wait to see you there!

Signing off,

Mary Taylor <3


Fertility Foods | What Food to Eat While Trying to Conceive

Are you patiently, or anxiously, awaiting those two pink lines? Do you feel like you’ve tried everything or haven’t even touched the surface on what you should be doing? Were you hoping to just “do the deed” and get pregnant?

Did you know that the majority of couples become pregnant within six months, says Kenan Omurtag, MD, a professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Washington University in St. Louis?

However, even past six months, there’s nothing to be worried about. But, regardless if you’ve been trying for only a couple months or many months, it’s completely natural and normal to feel anxious, nervous, upset, disappointed, or disheartened (or any range of emotions to be honest). I know that I personally started to get a bit anxious about it on the second month (obviously not knowing that we would be so lucky to conceive the following month). We know how blessed we are and yet several of our friends conceived their first time ever trying.

Whatever your story is, you’re here to learn more about what we did to conceive. PLEASE NOTE: I am NOT a doctor, midwife, or ANY kind of medical professional. Everything I am sharing is based on prior research and experiences I have had. Please seek medical advice from your doctor if you’re unsure about any of this information and to make sure you devise a plan that is right for you.

Here’s what I incorporated into my/our diet daily based on our research:

  • 2-3 eggs per day
  • A protein bar a day (or just protein in general but it was easier for me to have a protein bar)
  • Reduce sugar intake
  • Little to no “wasteful” carbs
  • 2-3 cups of spinach a day (cooked/raw)
  • 2 Brazil nuts (very important for guys) every day
  • We had already been taking prenatals (eEevit and Menevit) – you should start these at least 3 months before trying for optimal results (it takes about that long for your body to feel/experience the positive effects from the prenatals)
  • Other vitamins (fish oil, magnesium, etc).
  • At least half an avocado a day
  • Bean soups weekly
  • 2-3 fish a week (salmon)
  • A handful of nuts daily
  • 1 banana a day
  • 2-3 cups of herbal tea per day
  • Probioticsd aily
  • Tract basal temperature (more information below)
  • Raise those legs 🤣 iyky (if you know, you know. But if not, read below!)

Basal Temperature: What is it, why’s it important, and how do I track it?

As the Mayo Clinic says, “Your basal body temperature is your temperature when you’re fully at rest. Ovulation may cause a slight increase in basal body temperature. You’ll be most fertile during the two to three days before your temperature rises. By tracking your basal body temperature each day, you may be able to predict when you’ll ovulate.” 

How to test your basal temperature/tips to testing your basal temperature:

  • Keep a mouth thermometer on your bed side table
  • Test as soon as you wake up (do NOT stand up, eat, drink, etc).
  • Record your results right away so you remember and can track it over the coming days/months 

It’s best to track your basal temperature for a few months in advance to get a better understanding of your body. This is because some women can have more than one spike in basal temperature during their cycle. You can also use your basal temperature to avoid pregnancy by intentionally not “baby dancing” when your temperature spikes (it’s a great way of “natural family planning” e.i. not using birth control).

If you’ve tried ovulation tests or have heard about them, you may know that ovulation tests tell you when you are about to ovulate (usually within 24-48 hours of getting a positive ovulation test) but, your basal temperature will tell you after you have ovulated. This a great way to check that you have ovulated and that your ovulation tests were correct. If you are trying to conceive, you want to “baby dance” the day you get your positive ovulation test and the following few days until you get a spike in your basal temperature (remember you need to test your basal temperature EVERY day). 

What do you mean “raise those legs”?

First, a disclaimer: Although this theory is said to not be accurate by many, it has worked for a lot of people I know personally and stories I have read online. If you’re really trying to pregnant, you will want to do everything possible (even something like this that has mixed reviews – of course, when it comes to taking medication/etc. you should always consult your doctor. Do not just try everything you see on the internet).

When I say “raise your legs,” I mean elevate your pelvis area to make sure the sperm is staying within you after you baby dance. Based on what I read, it was suggested for a minimum of 20-30 minutes afterward. This is similar to the advice of not going to the bathroom (urinating) directly after (this has nothing to do with the actual urine because of course this comes from a different place but just gravity/wiping can cause his swimmers to escape). Some people have even used their period cup or disk (inserted it) afterward to make sure there was no leakage. Some even slept with it in overnight. Just be wary that you could get an infection afterward if you keep it in too long (every body is different). I even recently read a story of a woman who had been trying to conceive for over a year and didn’t get pregnant until she used the cup suggestion. So, ya never know! 

Remember, you can try ALL of this and more and still not be successfully conceiving. Then, one month, it happens and you think, “But, I didn’t do anything differently!” We have friends who conceived right away without needing to do any of this, friends who did all of this right away and conceived straight away, friends who gradually introduced these steps, friends who are still trying to conceive, etc. Everyone is different and our experiences are all unique. However you are feeling throughout this journey is validated. You’re allowed to be scared, mad, frustrated, excited, happy, unsure, etc. Whatever you’re going through, you’re not alone.

And again, I am not a doctor or medical professional in any way, shape or form so please take everything I have said today for what you want. Do more research. Talk to friends. Talk to a midwife. Consult a doctor.


I wish you ALL the luck in the world in your journey to conception and pregnancy! If you’d like to connect more on social media, I would love to see you there. You can follow me and contact me directly on Instagram @its.mary.taylor


Signing off,

Mary <3 


My Pregnancy Journey (Up to 12 Weeks)

Let me know if this sounds familiar. You’ve been trying, hoping, and praying to become pregnant. You’ve done ovulation testing every month and basal temperature daily. Waiting to see those two pink lines.

And then, it happens. ➕

You’re pregnant and it’s time to get excited! But wait…

You’re told ‘The first 6 weeks are really fragile. Don’t tell anyone. Don’t get too excited.’ ‘Now that you’ve reached 6 weeks, 10 weeks is really fragile too.’ ‘The safe zone is really 12 weeks. Only tell a few close friends and family members.’ It’s almost like you’re supposed to hide. 🙅🏻‍♀️

Hi, I’m Mary (@its.mary.taylor) and I’m 8 weeks pregnant 🤗🤰🏻

I want to normalize spreading joy and excitement throughout pregnancy – especially in the first trimester. You’re not alone if you’re feeling unsupported because there are little to no resources early on. Because your first midwife appointment isn’t for 8+ weeks and you’re unsure what’s going on with your body. ‘Is this normal? Am I okay?’ Because you ‘aren’t supposed to tell anyone.’ Well mama, I say shout it from the rooftops. Throw positivity towards it. 😍

And of course, know that something could happen but regardless, you’re pregnant right now. You should not only be allowed to be but also encouraged to be excited!

I want to bring you on my journey of my first pregnancy. To tell you like is. Support you. Encourage you. And bring you JOY (and maybe sometimes tears, questions, and pain)!

Before we take it back to the beginning (fertility), let’s recap on the last month. I’m now 12 weeks ~ yay!! which means I have one more week until my second trimester. When they say pregnancy goes quickly, it really does (the minutes and days can feel long but the weeks feel short). Did you find pregnancy to go by quickly or slowly?

I told you it wouldn’t be alllll ups and excitement. This month has been rough and tough. Lots of nausea. Constant 24/7 to be exact. If you’re feeling like this for weeks on end and especially if you’re unable to keep food down, please see your doctor! I was prescribed a pregnancy safe medication to help with the nausea and vomiting and now I’m only slightly nauseous most of the day and severely nauseous rarely. And I keep food down – nearly all the time 🤣

Now that you know the most recent updates, I would love to touch on fertility. Again, as I stated last month, I am not a doctor or a specialist by any means. This is just based on the research I have done and my personal experience.

We are told that on average it takes a healthy couple six months of trying to get pregnant. And although even if we think we truly accept this, when you’re in that time of trying, it feels like forever. You may even see your friends, colleagues, acquaintances, or even random‘s online getting pregnant (planning or not) and feel a little (or a lot of bit) jealous. The first month is fun – it’s the hope and the want but not the need. It’s only been a month. Month two comes around and you’re thinking OK maybe we should be a bit more precise and start to do more research. By month three it no longer just feels like a want but a need. I need to get pregnant. I’m starting to worry. Again, even if we know it’s normal. This is when we started to really dive into research and change what we were doing. A lot of it had to do with diet! Check out this blog for more information on the fertility foods/supplements we started taking (before trying to conceive and during conception). 

The month that we made changes to our diet, we successfully conceived! Now, again, I’m not a doctor and I’m not 100% sure what made it “happen” for us but if you’re at the point of doing everything you can to make it happen, this is what I suggest. Feel free to DM me or comment below with any questions including ovulation testing and basal temperature readings etc 🤍

I am SO excited to take you on this journey with me! To see more frequent updates or chat to me, follow me on Instagram!

Signing off,

Mary Taylor <3


How I Told My Husband I Was Pregnant

Hi there! Thanks for coming to my blog. I am SO excited to share the story about how I told my husband we were expecting. I haven’t shared this story with many people yet, besides a few close friends/family members maybe. It was a few months in the making because we had been trying to conceive for a little while before getting pregnant.

I had decided I wanted to announce that I was pregnant with something that my husband would resonate with. Hence why I did a beer pregnancy announcement!

The next step was to design and order custom pregnancy announcement t-shirts! Then, I had to plan how I would give my husband, Robbie, the t-shirts and show him mine! 

I decided to also create a custom beer bottle label (pictured below the video) which would be used for the real announcement. Then, I would give him the t-shirts.

Some background to the video: Robbie always fulfills all of my wants and needs.

Before lunch, while he was still in the other room, I placed the custom labelled beer bottle in the fridge and waited for the right timing to capture him opening our drinks drawer and seeing the bottle. However, things weren’t going quite to plan. I made lunch and we sat down directly across from the fridge at our “breakfast” bar/counter. Part way through lunch I sighed, “I am really thirsty!” thinking that Robbie would of course offer to get me something to drink. But he didn’t! I even said, “After all your hard work organizing this morning, you deserve a beer,” but he responded that he didn’t want one. A little later, I mentioned it again while he was in the kitchen. But, again, he took no notice to my “dire thirst!” 

We were supposed to be getting ready to leave but I refused to get up from my seat (as it was the PERFECT place to capture the moment and I didn’t want to miss him seeing the baby announcement beer bottle). So I asked if he could get my shoes for me and I put them on while still sitting at the counter. When he came back in the room, I asked if he could get me a kombucha while I put on my shoes. That’s when this happened….

“First came love. Then came marriage. Then came a baby in a baby carriage.”

SURPRISE! You’re going to be a dad Robbie! 

Robbie, you’re not the only one brewing anymore. Drink up because you’re drinking for two now.”

Thank you so much to everyone who has shared in our pregnancy announcement excitement! We are so grateful for the love and support. I cannot wait to continue to share my pregnancy journey on the blog and on my Instagram. You can follow me here to stay up-to-date!

Signing off,

Mary Taylor <3 


Halloween Party Inspiration | Homemade Aladdin Costumes

This year we hosted our first EVER Halloween party! Halloween isn’t traditionally a very big holiday in New Zealand but being from the States, I had to show the kiwis what it was all about: dressing up, eating candy, lots of decorations and having any excuse to get everyone together for a party! So, we did just that!

My favorite parts about the party (besides seeing everyone have fun and dress up), were the grazing table filled with Halloween-inspired treats and our DIY homemade Aladdin costumes (including our dog’s Abu costume, of course)! 

Our Costumes

We try to be as eco-friendly as possible which made making these costumes even more exciting! Kona’s, our dog, costume was made out of an old purple pillow case, an old brown sheet, and a red cardboard box. All of which we no longer wanted and were going to donate/recycle. My husband, Robbie’s, costume was made from the same materials except his pants were made from old white winter sheets! And his shirt was just a painting shirt he already had lying around (which he cut the sleeves off of). My costume was a mix of things I already had (like the headband, jewelry, and shirt) and two op shop finds (the pants and a scarf which I used as a belt). Although our costumes weren’t perfect, we enjoyed making them and wearing them!  

The Food

I highly recommend turning your table into a full-on grazing “board” for your next party! Whether you supply everything needed for grazing or your guests each bring something to contribute, it’s a perfect way to have a mix of everything and allow for the optimum snacking experience.

For some Halloween inspired food, we made adorable pumpkin shaped bread (they were way easier than I thought), ghost pastries, deviled egg eyeballs, carrot fingers, and hot dog fingers!

To make the pumpkin-shaped bread, just make your dough of choice and tie around it with string before baking it. When they’re done baking, remove the string and the dough/bread will be in the shape of a pumpkin. Best part is, every pumpkin is naturally different so not all of them need to be “perfect.” Then, add something to represent a stem (we chopped up pretzels and died them green. A celery stick (or little shaved piece of celery/green apple skin/etc) or something already green would be a better option though. 

When dinner time came around, we pulled out the hot dog “bloody” fingers!

To make these, simply cut the “fingernail” out of the top of the hot dog and cut slits where the bends in the fingers would be. Then, cook the hot dogs and watch them transform. Sprinkle with ketchup and they’re ready to be devoured. 

You’ll also see below in the video that Robbie made four different drinks on tap (three beers and one cider) which were a HUGE hit as well! It’s so fun to bring out the kegerator for parties.

The Decor

I don’t have much to say about the decor to be honest. We did the usual, balloons, spider webs, spiders, Halloween table cloths, rats, tombstones, and more. 

We hope you had a lovely Halloween and got some inspiration from our party that you can use in the future too!


Singing off,

Mary Taylor <3


The Big Surprise

After your first date with someone that you really hit it off with, the first question is, “When’s the second date?” Later comes, “When will he propose?” And then, “When’s the wedding,” and “When will you have kids?”

We’re all looking forward to the next part of life. For us, the answer was simple but the steps were more difficult. Although we love children and couldn’t wait to grow our family, we had a checklist of things we wanted to accomplish before having kids.

In July of last year, our finally checklist item was marked off: For my husband, Robbie, to work from home!

And so, the adventure began…

Not a trick, just a treat 🍭
Our family is growing by two little feet! 👣

Based on a true story!

A Burke Production Presents 2 Little Feet, starring Robbie, Mary, & Kona Burke. Introducing ‘Yet To Be Decided.’ Produced by nature & written by our hearts. Directed by “morning” sickness. Featuring lots of ginger & naps.

In select theaters June 2022. 

If you know me personally or even just follow me on Instagram, you may know that I like to do things big. Announcements. Parties. And just life in general. So, creating this pregnancy announcement was just my style! We even did a separate photo for our dog’s Instagram account to really highlight her “Big Sister” promotion (bandana). 

If you’re pregnant too and wondering how you can surprise your family with an announcement, we had tons of compliments on our movie theater poster pregnancy announcement. People had fun looking through all the little details and kept finding new and things to look at (the little kiwi onesie, bottle of ginger essential oil, jar of pickles, stretch mark cream, and ginger sweets were some of my favorite things! 

If you want to do your own movie poster announcement but don’t have photoshop or Canva pro, don’t hesitate to reach out. I’d love to help!  

I know I have skipped around a bit and missed some very important details, but don’t worry, they’re coming soon! For now, let’s celebrate what is! 

With love. Signing off,

Mary Taylor <3


Tips for Staining Your Deck: What we Learned Staining our Deck Ourselves

If you have been following along our home building process for the last two years on Instagram (@its.mary.taylor), you probably know that we finally moved it! Although we moved into a brand new home, there were some things we just didn’t have the budget for. This included all of the landscaping and our deck! From building the deck to staining the deck, it’s taken us over a month of everyday work to get it to where we want it to be.

The good news is, the deck is stained! We’re so thrilled that the deck is finally stained to match our flooring inside. We LOVE the color! But much like everything in our building, home buying, and DIY experiences this far, we have learned a lot!

Bad news, it’s not perfect. And, that’s okay. DIY projects are a learning process so if you’re wondering how to stain a deck or how to fix a deck that you stained wrong, we have some tips for you!

If this is your first time staining a deck, check out these tips below to learn from our deck staining mistakes!

  • Stain entire rows of wood, rather than in sections
  • Mix the container as much as possible before starting (if the container says not to create bubbles, do not just roll the container on its side – turn it upside down, mix it by hand, anything to get it to fully mix.
  • Clear the deck 24 hours before you start to let it fully dry out e.g. under pot plants 
  • Sweep the deck before you start to remove any extra debri
  • When staining wood that’s next to something (against your house for example) use some cardboard or painters tape or something so that no stain gets on the house
  • If the stain is turps based, have plenty of bottles of extra turps nearby in case there an accident (stain gets on your house, the tin tips over, etc) so if you need to, you can dilute/clean off the stain
  • If your stain is too dark in some areas (and your stain is turpentine based), you can rub extra turps onto the stained area with a lint-free rag/cloth or your cleaned (not filled with stain) staining brush

You can see two things in the above image:

  1. There’s a water mark where our umbrella was beforehand (we did not remove items the day before staining).
  2. Robbie stained by section not by board. If you scroll above, you’ll see where there are clear sectioned-off marks of stain and we are now having trouble fixing. Don’t be us. Learn from our mistakes!

The water mark has fixed itself by drying out before we applied the second coat of stain. We can try to fix the other mistake by re-staining the parts of the deck that are a bit lighter with a light coat of extra deck stain.

Are you DIYing parts of your home too? I would love to see what you’re doing! Let’s connect on Instagram!

If you enjoyed reading this and would like more information on home, lifestyle, advice, tips, tricks, and more, follow me on Instagram @Its.Mary.Taylor and on Facebook at Mary Taylor! I can’t wait to see you there!

Signing off,

Mary Taylor <3


Cleaning Tips to Reduce Odor

I asked on Instagram stories the other day if you’d like to see some cleaning tips and you voted YES! We (I say we but I mean I) have been doing a lot of cleaning (and organizing) lately in the new house. We’re pretty much organized but the ongoing cleaning (especially from the dust brought in from building the deck and lack of grass) has been overwhelming.

Here's what I did/do!

  • Deep cleaned my Crockpot Express using 1 cup of white vinegar, 1 cup of water, and 8 drops of citrus essential oils (lemon and wild orange – you don’t need to be specific on the amount of drops). If you don’t have essential oils you can use half a lemon and one orange’s rind. Turn it on steam for 5 minutes, let it naturally release for 2 minutes, and quick release until it’s able to be removed. Then, drump out the mixture and rinse. This will remove odors from your pressure cooker!
  • Cleaned our garbage disposal using ice. Fill your garbage disposal with ice, turn it on, and run water through it (some say hot water, some say you don’t even need water – try it both ways). The ice is so cold it actually helps sharpen the blades. You can also toss down some citrus peels or a few drops of citrus/Purify oils to eliminate odor and leave a fresh smell.
  • Stinky trash can? If your trash is in a drawer/pulls out and you have room below it, fill a small container with baking soda and drop a few drops of essential oils in the container. Cover with mesh, plastic with holes in it, or another breathable material. Baking soda absorbs nasty smells! You can also put a paper towel underneath your trash bag and drop a few drops of oils onto that (lemon, doTERRA Purify, Young Living Purification, Tea Tree, Eucalyptus, etc are great options)
  • My favorite DIY odor reducing spray! This is an all around perfect spray for every day use – musty clothes, smelly bathrooms, stinky trash, room freshener, and so much more. You’ll need doTERRA Purify, doTERRA On Guard, water, and alcohol (optional – great for a hand sanitizer option or to kill more germs). Put them all in a spray bottle and shake before use. Easy as that. You can put as many drops as you want to get the desired smell you would like. This DIY deodorizer is life changing (okay, my opinion but seriously, you have to try it – I use it all the time). 

Do you like this kind of post and want to see more recipes, hacks, and tips on IG instead of just on my blog? What kinds of things should I focus on next? Let me know on this post on Instagram.

If you enjoyed reading this and would like more information on home, lifestyle, advice, tips, tricks, and more, follow me on Instagram @Its.Mary.Taylor and on Facebook at Mary Taylor! I can’t wait to see you there!

Signing off,

Mary Taylor <3


Why, Which, and How to use All of Your Veggies

Let’s start with the why. Why should you use all of your vegetables? And what does that even mean?

The answer is pretty simple: because it produces less waste and saves you money. What I mean by “use all of your veggies” is to use as much of the vegetable as you can. This means leaving the skin on when possible (potatoes, tomatoes for soups/sauces, carrots – they don’t even have “skin” but lots of people still take off the outer layer – etc.)

Which vegetables can I use entirely?

Lots and tons! I won’t name every single vegetable but here’s some that you might not have thought of using the whole thing:

Broccoli – Yes, even the stem. Chop it up into smaller bite sized pieces or shred it and add it to your dish (salads, roasts, soups, etc). Broccoli is absolutely delicious!

Caulifower – Just like broccoli, you can chop up the stem to use in soup, on the grill, in the oven, or on the stovetop. You can even steam it and just add butter! 

Carrot – There’s no need to shred off the outer layer of a carrot. The only part you shouldn’t eat is the very top (where the leaves normally come from). If there are little strings coming off the bottom, either pull them off or eat them. If you wash the top those, you can use it in a smoothie or soup (especially if you like to make your own veggie broth).

Celery – Try to eat as much of the celery as possible. The leaves of celery you use in soup/broth, a roast, a stir-fry or even eat them in a salad (choppped up or whole). The only part you might not want to eat is the base. Place the base of the celery into a glass container with a little bit of water on the bottom. Continue to water and watch as a new celery grows. Then, you can plant it in a small amount of dirt or keep it growing in your water.

Tomatoes – You don’t really have the cut out or off the top of the tomato. Just chop it up with the rest of the tomato and enjoy! This would be great for salads, soups, and even sandwiches.

Pretty much every vegetable – If there are parts that you don’t want to eat, wash them and freeze them. Once you have enough, boil them in water with your favorite herbs and make your own vegetable broth. This is another great use for your celery leaves!

To make your own vegetable broth with leftover vegetables, simmer your vegetables in a large pot with water and spices for about an hour (really, the longer the better). This will allow the flavor to really develop. Good spices for soups include: mixed herb, garlic, rosemary, bay leaves, thyme, and parsley. You can also add tomato paste or a can of tomatoes. 

Pro tip: you may want to sauté garlic and onions in olive oil (additional not just what was leftover) before adding the rest of your vegetables and water.

To read more about my recipes and why I create them the way I do (without specific measurements, times, and temperatures) check out this blog post. Post a picture of your soup and vegetables to your stories on Instagram and tag me (@its.mary.taylor) so I can see and share it to my story too!

If you enjoyed reading this and would like more information on home, lifestyle, advice, tips, tricks, and more, follow me on Instagram @Its.Mary.Taylor and on Facebook at Mary Taylor! I can’t wait to see you there!

Signing off,

Mary Taylor <3