Food

onlineclasses

I get super giddy when I discover new online classes!  It’s perfect for moms like me because I can work at my own pace, and around the kids sleeping schedule. Two years ago I took a wonderful class for bloggers called Blogshop (now you can take it online!). I brushed up on my seriously lacking Photoshop skills, and made some new blogger friends.

Most of the time I take classes to fill my brain with blogging tips, and how to write better. Other times I just want to try something new. There is literally a class for everything! Here are my top 5 online classes to try.

ALSO, AMAZINGLY we are offering a discount code for LPP readers who sign up for Nicole’s Classes! 20% off with code LAPETITEPEACH

BEST Online Classes:

1. Nicole’s Classes: I took the photography 101 class which I recommend for anyone who wants to learn digital camera skills. Perfect for bloggers, photographers or anyone looking to take better photos, period.

2. The Blogcademy: If you are a blogger just starting out, haven’t started yet, or have been blogging for years, you MUST take this class. I won’t say anything more-just trust me! The headmistresses are seriously so knowledgeable about every aspect of blogging.

3. A Beautiful Mess: I took the “blog life” class for fun, but it turned out to be super informative. You get to see how these girls took their blog from the ground, to a million dollar business. They also offer creative classes.

4. Blogshop: I mentioned above, this was a fantastic way to get to know Photoshop functions as they apply to bloggers. You meet other fabulous bloggers as well!

5. Braid Creative: If you are in the creative industry or you want to be, then you need to take the Braid, Personal Branding Course ASAP! These girls are legit! I love the letters for creatives too-it’s an email a week from owners Tara and Kathleen sharing business advice.

6. Atly: Hand Lettering is an amazing creative class. There are also classes on business and photography!

*Bonus-I haven’t taken a class from Lynda yet, but I have heard great things!

**Bonus-for friends across the pond-Check out The School of Life

 Photo by Cambria Grace

I’ve been keeping a secret from not just all of you, but from my friends and family as well. I have the secret to the best coffee ever.

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The best kept secret to making the most perfect cup of Joe is…VANILLA SUGAR! It’ so delicious you will be stashing it in your purse because you’ll NEVER want coffee again without it.

It’s SO simple.

Take regular ol’ white sugar-I love natural cane sugar but it doesn’t absorb the vanilla properly-and fill it half way into a mason jar. You can buy fresh vanilla pod at any grocery store-I got mine at whole foods but I don’t think it matters too much-slice the pod right down the middle to expose the meat. Place the pod into the glass jar, and fill the remaining amount of sugar to the rim. Store in your cool/dark cabinet. The longer you have the sugar, the more tasty and fragrant it gets.

I discovered this tip two years ago when I checked a French cookbook out from the library to collect some new recipes (I can’t remember the same for the life of me-but when I do I will be shouting it from the roof tops so stay tuned). This Madame had called for vanilla sugar in her baking recipes, which she recommended you keep a jar of, in your baking cabinet. She suggested you use this concoction whenever she mentions “sugar”.  So I did, and it is delicious in cakes and breads, and the most divine in banana bread.

Since I take my coffee with extra cream and sugar-I thought it might be nice to try the vanilla sugar (I don’t actually like the taste of coffee which is why I take it light and sweet). The result is the BEST cup of coffee-ever! Try it out and let me know what you think!

Other Tips:

1. There is nothing like fresh ground coffee! It’s so easy to grind your own beans, you can get a grinder almost anywhere and they range from $ 30-12 . Plus, you can buy beans in bulk and keep them for up to a year in a cabinet, which saves a ton of money.

2. French Press! When I make my coffee in the morning, I am making it for just me, so there is no need to make a whole pot. A French press makes coffee strong, and delicious. I barely need one cup.

3. Save your French press coffee! I save my left over French press coffee to either, make ice coffee later (just store in the fridge) OR pour into an ice cube tray to add it to ice coffee or a smoothie.

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The Best Baby Carriers

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Every year we travel to Blackberry Farm in the Smoky Mountains during February school vacation. My mom is there and we love to get to spend some time with her.

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Now that Luke is getting older, he is harder to travel with when we go to places that Craig and I want to go to. We had to start getting creative with our trips. Here are three things to do at the farm, or anywhere that doesn’t have a kiddie pool.

Things to do on the Farm:

1. Fly Fishing: SO cool that Blackberry offers this. It’s a super great way for dads to bond with the kids. They get all suited up and head to the creek with the fishing professional they have on staff.

2. Scavenger Hunts: This was a LIFESAVER for us this year. Craig and I drew up a contract and check list for Luke to accomplish on his own. We had things like, take a picture of the pigs, bring back a napkin with the Blackberry logo, and meet someone new at the main dining room. The reward is something that we can all agree on and typically related to food.

3. Rent Bikes: You can rent bikes at the farm and there are a ton of trails and golf cart paths to keep you busy for hours. I love this because we got to see the entire property which is stunning!

*Ask for a s’mores kit and sit by the outdoor fire pit!

** You cannot leave without trying the sweet tea…seriously I didn’t know what the big deal was with Southerners and sweet tea…until now.

Bonus: If you are traveling without the kids, or have a night off, we highly recommend the whiskey tasting. Craig did that last year and LOVED it. This year I got a pedicure at the spa and it was heavenly!