Cute Summer Dresses

Find inspiration here for cute summer dresses to help keep you cool and comfortable on those beautiful hot summer days!

On my blog here at Rachel Home and Life, I may sometimes use affiliate links, which means a small commission is earned if you make a purchase via the link. The price you pay will be the same whether you use the affiliate link or go directly to the vendor’s website using a non-affiliate link.

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Cute Casual Spring Outfits

If you find my posts at all helpful, I do appreciate you taking the time to share my posts or follow my account.

Thanks so much for stopping by!

Warmly,

Rachel

10 Minute Retreats for Busy Women

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Have never ending responsibilities taken the fun out of your days? Are you more stressed than at peace? Taking 10 minute retreats in your busy day can refresh your soul. These are powerful self care ideas to treat stress and calm yourself. Pamper yourself into wellness with little indulgences throughout your day. You can turn these into daily 10 minute habits that will change your life. Enjoy these self care ideas through simple pleasures in your day.

Treat Yourself to Breakfast in Bed

Keep it as simple as possible because the whole idea is to spend time relaxing in bed rather than cooking in the kitchen. Prepare yourself some in-season fresh fruit topped with yogurt or cream. Add to that some sparkling fruit flavoured water. This is an innocent pleasure that will revive your spirit and soul.

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Take time to Meditate

To meditate simply means to focus on something to the point that you are oblivious to outside distractions and the passing of time. Meditate on things that are good and true. To meditate is to listen to the still small voice of the Creator that speaks words of love, direction and encouragement to us. Bishop Fulton J. Sheen said,”Prayer begins by talking to God, but it ends by listening to Him.”

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Find Tranquility in Nature

The simple beauty of a sunset, the softness of a rose petal, the fragrance of a flower. Take time to see the beauty in creation. Somehow the beauty of nature holds our attention but doesn’t demand anything in return. For lots of inspiration from the beauty of nature, check out my Pinterest Spring inspiration aesthetic board and be sure to follow me as I post more inspiration from nature.

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Have a Cup of Tea

Teatime creates an intentional pause in our day. Treat yourself to a quiet break in the day by having tea alone. Add some soothing background music or a favorite book and retreat from the world for a few moments. Find teatime inspiration on my Pinterest tea board.

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Breathe Deeply a Soothing Scent

Enjoy the healing and restoring properties of fragrance. Research has shown that our sense of smell is 10,000 times stronger than our other 4 senses. Try sprinkling your favorite essential oil on a cotton handkerchief and pulling it out during the day, breathing in fully, deeply and slowly to refresh yourself.

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Laugh

A cheerful heart does good like medicine(Proverbs 17:22). When you laugh your brain releases endorphins and a lot of other powerful antidepressant biochemicals that lead to an overall feeling of well-being. Instead of waiting for laughter to happen, be intentional about adding humour into your day. Put together a personal humour survival kit and fill it with jokes, funny books, and anything that will get you laughing. Check out my Humour Pinterest board if you need a smile or a chuckle.

Ashley Byrd /Unsplash.com



Take a Slow Leisurely Walk Outdoors

As you walk with an unhurried stride, intentionally quiet your mind and slow your breathing. You’re more able to notice the details around you as you slow down- the scents, the sounds. Or to beat the winter blues, visit a greenhouse and soak in the sights and scents.

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If you find my posts at all helpful, I do appreciate you taking the time to share my posts or follow my account.

Thanks so much for stopping by!

Warmly,

Rachel

Gorgeous Spring Wallpapers for Your Desktop

Hello Spring! Spring is such a wonderful time of new beginnings and fresh starts! The colours! The sights and sounds that are coming alive! The warmer weather and longer days! Here is a collection of gorgeous free spring wallpapers to download to your desktop to keep the beauty of the season before you.

How to save to your desktop:

Right click on the photo that you want and click ‘save to images’.

Once you’ve saved the photo to your desktop, you can go into settings and change your wallpaper.

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If you find my posts at all helpful, I do appreciate you taking the time to share my posts or follow my account.

Thanks so much for stopping by!

Warmly,

Rachel

Gorgeous Spring Wallpapers for Your Phone and Desktop

Hello Spring! Spring is such a wonderful time of new beginnings and fresh starts! The colors! The sights and sounds that are coming alive! The warmer weather and longer days! Here is a collection of gorgeous free spring wallpapers to download to your mobile or desktop to keep the beauty of the season before you.

How to Save on the Phone:

Press and hold the photo that you want and click ‘add to photos’ or ‘save to iPhone’. This should work on Androids as well!

You might need to crop these photos slightly depending on the size of phone that you have but every photo here should still look just as good when adjusted. 

Once you’ve saved the photo to your camera roll, you can go into settings and change your wallpaper.

Keep in mind that you can set a different photo for your lock screen and home screen respectively.

For spring wallpapers for your desktop click here.

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Spring Decor: Spring Kitchen Refresh

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Bringing on Spring(Forcing Indoor Blooms)

If you find my posts at all helpful, I do appreciate you taking the time to share my posts or follow my account.

Thanks for stopping by!

Warmly,

Rachel

St. Patrick’s Day Picture Books to Read to the Kids in Your Life

Children’s books were such a part of our daily rhythm as our kids were growing up. There is something wonderful about how books that are meant for kids offer all of us something worthwhile to learn. It takes a special author and illustrator to brings those ideas to life on every page. Below is a list of some of our favourites that go along with St. Patrick’s Day. Use books to connect with the children in your world.

(This post may contain affiliate links. If you purchase a product or service with the links that I provide I may receive a small commission. There is no additional charge to you!)

You can shop for these books by clicking on the images or titles below.

Fiona’s Luck by Teresa Bateman

An original folktale full of wit, magic, and leprechauns, that is sure to delight for St. Patrick’s Day as well as all year round. The luck of the Irish has waned after the greedy Leprechaun King has taken all the good fortune in Ireland and locked it away. It is up to one cunning girl, Fiona to come up with a plan to get the luck and good tidings back from the leprechauns to help the people of Ireland. Through clever charades, Fiona uses her wit to outsmart the powerful Leprechaun King and restore luck to the Emerald Isle. 

Luminous and enchanting illustrations add to the wonder of this original folktale, that is sure to charm readers young and old who are looking for a bit of magic to spark their story time.

St. Patrick’s Day in the Morning by Eve Bunting

Jamie seeks a way to prove that he is not too young to march in the big St. Patrick’s Day parade.

Fiona’s Lace by Patricia Polacco

An Irish family stays together with the help of Fiona’s talent for making one-of-a-kind lace in this heartwarming immigration story from the New York Times bestselling creator of The Keeping Quilt.

Many years ago, times were hard in all of Ireland, so when passage to America becomes available, Fiona and her family travel to Chicago. They find work in domestic service to pay back their passage, and at night Fiona turns tangles of thread into a fine, glorious lace. Then when the family is separated, it is the lace that Fiona’s parents follow to find her and her sister and bring the family back together. And it is the lace that will always provide Fiona with memories of Ireland and of her mother’s words: “In your heart your true home resides, and it will always be with you as long as you remember those you love.”

This generational story from the family of Patricia Polacco’s Irish father brims with the same warmth and heart as the classic The Keeping Quilt and The Blessing Cup, which Kirkus Reviews called “deeply affecting” in a starred review, and embraces the comfort of family commitment and togetherness that Patricia Polacco’s books are known for.

Patrick: Patron Saint of Ireland by Tomie dePaola

An illustrated tribute to the Irish patron saint from the best-selling author of Quiet, Strega Nona, and many others.

This timeless picture book, available in large-format paperback or as the board book Saint Patrick, is a perfect introduction to important Irish legends and an ideal St. Patrick’s day gift. 

Beloved children’s book author-illustrator Tomie dePaola recounts the life of Saint Patrick—from his noble birth in Britain, to his captivity in Ireland, to the visions which led him to return and found the first Christian church in Ireland.  

With his signature bold illustrations and engaging prose, Tomie dePaola recounts a number of legends about the Saint—including the well-known story of how he drove the snakes from Ireland, and his association with the shamrock.

Jamie O’Rourke and the Big Potato by Tomie dePaola

This Irish folktale illustrates that taking the easy way out is sometimes more trouble than it’s worth. Dim witted farmer O’Rourke, Ireland’s laziest man happens upon a Leprechaun and is given a potato that grows to huge proportions and creates humorous problems.

Brigid’s Cloak by Bryce Milligan

The wind groaned and swirled that night and likely it seemed to tear
the thatch from the roof. But when the baby gave her first cry, the
wind shushed to a whisper and the stars began to sing.

Brigid’s Cloak retells an ancient tale about one of Ireland’s most beloved saints. On the day she is born Brigid receives a brilliant blue cloak from a mysterious Druid. Years later, the young girl still wears the now tattered but beloved cloak while she tends her sheep. Is it her imagination that suddenly takes her to an unfamiliar land? Or is it something far greater that leads Brigid to a crowded inn in a town called Bethlehem?

Bryce Milligan’s eloquently told story about Brigid is a moving tale of compassion and wonder. Beautifully illustrated by Helen Cann, Brigid’s Cloak sparkles with the timelessness of legend and the transcending power of faith.

That’s What Leprechauns Do by Eve Bunting

What do leprechauns do? They bury a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, of course. But as Mrs. Bally Bunion’s ox, Miss Maude Murphy’s hen, and Old Jamie soon find out, they can’t resist having a little fun along the way. For, besides burying pots of gold, mischief is what leprechauns do!

From this amazing picture book duo comes a lively fun tale that’s perfect for mischief makers of all ages!

Fin M’Coul: The Giant of Knockmany Hill by Tomie dePaola

Fin M’Coul lives atop windy Knockmany Hill, and spends his days with the other giants of Ireland, moving huge stones to build a causeway to Scotland.  But one morning, he hears a rumor that Cucullin, the strongest giant in the land, is coming to find and fight him. 

Fleeing home, Fin tells his wife of his worries.  But clever Oonagh the giantess has a plan— with her wits and her skills and her magic charms, she sets out to trick Cucullin and save her husband. 

Full of humor and charm, Tomie dePaola’s retelling of this classic fable is boldly illustrated, with detailed borders based on ancient Irish metalwork.

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If you find my posts at all helpful, I do appreciate you taking the time to share my posts or follow my account.

Thanks so much for stopping by!

Warmly,

Rachel

St. Patrick’s Day Food Ideas: Dairy Free Shamrock Shake

This dairy free creamy minty vanilla milkshake is a great St. Patrick’s Day Shamrock Shake tradition! We use a vanilla bean coconut base frozen dessert in place of ice cream and with the mint flavouring, it doesn’t really taste any different than a regular milkshake. For the whipped cream, we also use a coconut based whipped topping. We’ve also used canned coconut cream (not canned coconut milk-there is a big difference in the whipping component) in the past and that whips up nicely as well.

Ingredients:

Serves 1 large Shamrock shake or 2 smaller sized milkshakes

  • 2 1/4 cups dairy free vanilla ice cream or frozen dessert
  • 1 1/4 cup almond milk(or dairy free milk of your choice)
  • ½ tsp peppermint extract
  • 4-5 drops green food coloring
  • dairy free whipped topping of your choice
  • rainbow candy strip
  • optional: chocolate sauce

Blend all together in a blender and top with dairy free whipped cream and a candy rainbow strip. I sometimes also add chocolate sauce to the bottom of the glass.

Enjoy this St. Patrick’s Day treat with a delicious meal of St. Patrick’s Day Slow Cooker Irish Stew and Irish Freckle Bread.

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If you find my posts at all helpful, I do appreciate you taking the time to share my posts or follow my account.

Thanks so much for stopping by!

Warmly,

Rachel

St. Patrick’s Day Food Ideas: Irish Freckle Bread

Are you looking for St. Patrick’s Day food ideas? Irish Freckle bread is a fun addition and a great St. Patrick’s Day recipe. It’s referred to as freckle bread because of the raisins or currants that are sprinkled throughout.

(This makes one very large loaf)☘️

Prep time:15 minutes

Dough rising time: 40 minutes

Baking time:40 minutes

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.(after the dough has risen-see below)

For this recipe you will need:

hot water

2 Tbsp instant yeast

1 cup unbleached white flour + 4 1/2 cups unbleached white flour

1/3 cup maple syrup or honey

2 slightly beaten eggs

1 Tbsp Real Salt (or regular salt)

1/4 cup olive oil(or other type of cooking oil)

3/4 cup golden raisins (note: I have a child who doesn’t like raisins, so I have at times substituted cooked bacon and cooked onion for the raisins and currants)

1/2 cup dried currants

1 cup grated carrots

In a stand mixer or by hand mix thoroughly:

2 cups hot water

2 Tbsp instant yeast 

1 cup unbleached white flour

1/3 cup maple syrup or honey

Then add:

2 slightly beaten eggs

1 Tbsp Real Salt

1/4 cup olive oil(or other type of cooking oil)

3/4 cup golden raisins (note: I have a child who doesn’t like raisins, so I have at times substituted cooked bacon and cooked onion for the raisins and currants)

1/2 cup dried currants

1 cup grated carrots

Add 4 – 4 1/2 cups flour to the mixture to very slightly clean the sides of the bowl. If you add too much, it will be too dry- so just slowly add it at the last until the dough starts to pull away from the sides of the bowl as it is mixing. The dough should be sticky. Knead 5 minutes.

Shape into one free formed loaf or place in a large loaf pan. Put dough in a well oiled large bowl or loaf pan and set in a warm place with a damp tea towel over it to rise.

The dough after kneading and before rising:

It takes about 30-45 minutes in a warm place to rise to double in size:

If you’re making a free formed loaf, after the dough has risen, place it on a well oiled cookie sheet. I find it easiest to just put my well oiled cookie sheet on top of the bowl that the dough has risen in and then turn it all upside down and let the dough fall out onto the cookie sheet. I then shape the dough how I like it and put it in the oven.

Turn on the oven to 375 F. Bake for 30-35 minutes in the center of the oven. Enjoy!☘️. Enjoy this Irish Freckle bread with Slow Cooker Irish Stew and a Shamrock shake to complete your St. Patrick’s Day meal.

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Set your meal and mood to Celtic Music:

Relaxing Celtic Music

Instrumental Traditional Irish Music

Relaxing Celtic Harp Music

If you find my posts at all helpful, I do appreciate you taking the time to share my posts or follow my account.

Thanks so much for stopping by!

Warmly,

Rachel

St. Patrick’s Day Food Ideas: Shamrock Shake

This creamy minty vanilla shake is a great St. Patrick’s Day Shamrock shake tradition and is easy to make!

Ingredients:

Serves 1 large shamrock shake or 2 smaller sized milkshakes

  • 2 1/2 cups vanilla ice cream
  • 1 cup milk
  • ½ tsp peppermint extract
  • 4-5 drops of green food coloring
  • Whipped cream and a candy rainbow strip
  • optional: chocolate sauce

Blend all together in a blender and top with whipped cream and a candy rainbow strip. I also added some chocolate sauce to the bottom of the milkshake glass.

Enjoy this St. Patrick’s day treat with other delicious St. Patrick’s day recipes such as a delicious meal of St. Patrick’s Day Slow Cooker Irish stew and Irish Freckle Bread.

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St. Patrick’s Day Dairy Free Shamrock Shake

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Year Round Fun:

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Set your meal and mood to Celtic Music:

Relaxing Celtic Music

Instrumental Traditional Irish Music

Relaxing Celtic Harp Music

If you find my posts at all helpful, I do appreciate you taking the time to share my posts or follow my account.

Thanks so much for stopping by!

Warmly,

Rachel

St. Patrick’s Day Food Ideas: Slow Cooker Irish Stew

Are you looking for St. Patrick’s food ideas? This slow cooker Irish stew is a great St. Patrick’s Day recipe. Irish stew is traditionally made with lamb or mutton but beef is great too if you can’t find lamb stewing meat in the grocery store.

Slow Cooker Irish Stew:

2 Tbsp cooking oil

2 Lb. mutton, lamb or beef chuck stew meat, cubed into 1″ pieces

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp Freshly ground black pepper

1/2 head of cabbage, chopped into 2 inch chunks(don’t use/cut through root end)

1 onion, chopped

2-3 medium carrots, peeled and cut into coins

2 stalks celery, chopped into 1 inch pieces

2 cloves garlic, minced

3 medium russet potatoes, peeled and cut into large chunks

4 cups low-sodium beef broth

1 can (28 oz-796 ml)diced tomatoes

fresh thyme

1/2 cup cornstarch mixed with 1/2 cup cold water

Freshly chopped parsley, for serving

  1. In a large Dutch oven over medium heat, heat 2 tablespoons oil. Season beef with salt and pepper, then add to pot and cook on all sides until seared, about 10 minutes. Transfer meat to slow cooker and add remainder of ingredients .
  2. Cook in your slow cooker on high for 4 hours or low for 6-8 hours.
  3. Add the cornstarch and water to the stew to thicken 1 hour before serving.
  4. Garnish with parsley before serving and serve with Irish Freckle Bread and a Shamrock Shake.
Slow Cooker Irish Stew and Irish Freckle Bread

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St. Patrick’s Day Picture Books to Read to the Kids in Your Life

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Set your meal and mood to Celtic Music:

Relaxing Celtic Music

Instrumental Traditional Irish Music

Relaxing Celtic Harp Music

If you find my posts at all helpful, I do appreciate you taking the time to share my posts or follow my account.

Thanks so much for stopping by!

Warmly,

Rachel

Spring Nails Inspiration

Spring is just around the corner! To help celebrate all things spring, here you’ll find beautiful nail art inspo in fresh beautiful pastels as well as brighter more festive colours to help celebrate and bring in the new season!

(This post contains affiliate links. If you purchase a product or service with the links that I provide I may receive a small commission. There is no additional charge to you!)

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Amazon has some GREAT manicure and pedicure essentials. They’re a little hard to find (considering the site has thousands upon thousands of items to browse through, is this really that surprising?) but with a little persistence and clicking through the “customers also bought” items, you might just score a treasure or two. Lucky for you, I did the legwork. Check out the beautiful manicure and pedicure essentials I sourced below – Happy Shopping.

Click on the text links below to take you directly to the products:

1. Nail Dryer

2. Nail Files and Buffer set

3. Grip and Tip Nail Polish Holder

4. 10 piece Plastic Acrylic Nail Art Soak Off Cap Clip

5. Electric Bubble Nail Soaking Bowl

6. Ginger Lily Farms Botanicals Pedicure Spa Tablets

7. Pedicure Kit

8. Tea Tree Oil Foot Soak with Epsom Salt

9. HoMedics Bubble Mate Foot Spa

10. Professional Cuticle Cutter Trimmer Manicure Tool

11. Zizzon Professional Nail Care Kit

12. Wistonia Nail Art Brush Set

Nail Art Rhinestone kit

Rosalind Pastel Gel Nail Spring Summer Gel Polish Kit

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Bringing on Spring(Forcing Indoor Blooms)

If you find my posts at all helpful, I do appreciate you taking the time to share my posts or follow my account.

Thanks so much for stopping by!

Warmly,

Rachel