Author Archives: Jodi Mockabee

About Jodi Mockabee

Jodi Mockabee is a photographer, writer, speaker and homeschooling mother of five from Northern California. With a passion for health, wellness and parenting, Jodi created, a blog documenting her family’s journey as well as sharing tips and tricks of living a healthy and active lifestyle - all while keeping her home a place of peace and beauty. She also writes curriculum for creative and artistic learning.

Kids in the Kitchen

Because I had five children so close together, it was important to me to have them learn independence in the kitchen at a young age.  The sooner they learned how to cook and bake, the sooner my load was lessened!  Plus, the kitchen is the heart of the home and it's important to me that they are a part of it.

4011 Cloudburst Concrete

Starting around the age of 2 or 3, my kids and I began baking together. They learned how to read measuring cups and how to stir. They got a dull knife around that time to help chop softer vegetables and fruit.  At about 5 years old, they learned how to use the range and sharp knives.  This is an age where developmentally, they are able to focus more on how to hold their fingers when using knives and pay attention to safety.

As long as an adult is present, each child is able to make their own eggs every morning, according to their preference.  They are fully capable!  

We are a homeschooling family and every Wednesday, we have a tradition of making something.  It can be stressful for a parent to let children help in the kitchen, but if you start from the beginning with high standards, they are sure to follow.  With my children, we have a rule that the best chefs and bakers clean as they go.  They know to wipe down counters, wash bowls, and sweep flour from the floor.  Usually, by the time the item is in the oven or on the stove top, the rest of the kitchen shows no evidence of the chaos that took place prior! This strategy has helped me to give my kids more freedom in the kitchen.

The children all have a few favorite recipes up their sleeves and if I'm ever in a pinch with work or other responsibilities, they are capable of making dinner for the family! It's such a treat!

If you have young ones, I'd encourage you to stretch yourself a bit and know that your children are more capable than you think.  Keep in mind that not too long ago, young children were running kitchens, tending to farms and helping their parents in great capacities. Our children have the ability to do the same, only we have the luxury of teaching them for convenience and recreation, not out of necessity. 

As we wrap of the end of the summer and the garden is full to the brim with zucchini, we figured we would share one of our favorite zucchini bread recipes.

Gluten Free Zucchini Bread (adapted from Pamela's Baking & Pancake Mix)


  • 2 cups Pamela's Baking & Pancake Mix

  • 3 tsp cinnamon

  • 1 tsp salt

  • 1/2 tsp ground cloves

  • 2 large eggs

  • 1/4 cup avocado or coconut oil

  • 3/4 cup coconut sugar

  • 1/4 cup white sugar

  • 2 tsp vanilla

  • 2 cups of drained and grated zucchini

  • 2 tsp grated lemon zest



1. Preheat oven to 350°F.

2. Mix Pamela's Baking & Pancake Mix, cinnamon, salt, ground cloves, coconut sugar and white sugar in a bowl.

3. Beat eggs, oil, vanilla, zucchini and lemon zest in a separate bowl.

4. Stir wet ingredients into dry ingredients until just combined.

5. Pour batter into a greased loaf pan and bake for 55 to 60 minutes (about 45 minutes for convection ovens).

6. Enjoy!

For more Jodi Mockabee articles: Kitchen Reveal | Five Solutions for Storing Kids' Toys

Five Solutions for Storing Kids’ Toys

1. Baskets

Baskets are a practical way to hide obnoxious colors and shapes in a beautiful room.  Not only do they look nice, but they are typically made from natural materials, which help absorb noise and energy.

Image: Jodi Mockabee Photography

For the past ten years, we’ve had a basket of wooden blocks, a basket of Shleich® animals and a basket of legos that all of the children have enjoyed. These baskets have moved from room to room, depending on their use, and have never affected the design of any room due to their aesthetic.

TJ Maxx, Home Goods and Ross usually have great prices and a variety of sizes for baskets–however, I have gotten quite a few at thrift stores. Don’t limit your basket use to just toys. Organize your pantry, your closets and your bathroom with baskets as well!

2. Shelving

If your child is into something specific, for example, dinosaurs or horses, displaying them can be an artistic element in a room. You can either display just a few toys and then style the shelving with plants and nature items or you can use the shelving to display their entire collection.  This keeps the toys off of the floor and allows the child to showcase their passion.

3. Hooks

Hanging hooks on the wall is another way to showcase toys or instruments.  This allows for more floor space and also doubles as filling wall space that would normally take up another form of clutter.  Some toys or instruments can double as art and create a beautiful vignette! If your child has an attractive backpack, creative handmade necklaces or a special souvenir (such as artistic masks, a hand-carved flute or an etched leather purse), display those by hanging hooks or making a shelf with hanging hooks below!

4. Minimize

This is probably the most important solution for managing children’s toys!  Observe how your child plays and what he or she plays with. You will notice very quickly that there is only a small amount that he or she is drawn to. Donate the rest. We have a 6-week rule in our home for toys and clothes. If something isn’t played with or worn in 6 weeks, we donate it. There are some exceptions to this rule, such as skis and snow clothes, which are seasonal, but overall, this helps us keep waste outside of our home and allows another family to enjoy a barely used item.

5. Replace

When minimizing your selection of toys, think about replacing them with something that may be more educational for your child. Through years of raising babies and toddlers, I realized that they don’t need much in the form of toys, but they could be developing other skills had I provided the opportunity and the materials.  

For example, have little baskets of beads and string available, or provide baskets of yarn for your child to create with.  By the age of 6, a child can learn to finger knit, and around the age of 8, they can learn to knit.  There have been many studies related to the art of knitting, the motor skills involved and how it creates a more grounded child.

Books should never be limited, but instead provided in each room!  We store ours in wooden crates and there is typically one crate in each room.  This allows the child to move throughout the home and find a place of refuge in a corner with some good books.

By replacing toys with learning materials, your children will build a base for creativity and learn to use their imagination as a form of play.


For more Jodi Mockabee articles: Kitchen Reveal

Kitchen Reveal | Jodi Mockabee

Five months ago, our family of seven purchased a farmhouse built in 1864. We knew that we wanted to gut the kitchen immediately and open up a few walls to let some additional natural light in.  After receiving the keys, we went to work—starting with demo!  We needed to engineer two separate headers in order for the room to be structurally sound.  I chose to keep them exposed, which created an English kitchen vibe that ultimately drove the design style of the room.

After the room was opened up, we tore down all of the existing drywall to create a new and cohesive look. During this time, I made quick decisions on cabinetry, appliances and the kitchen design. The middle of the room, which hosts the main part of the kitchen, is the least lit so it needed bright, cheery cabinets and appliances. I chose to go with traditional shaker cabinets painted in Swiss Coffee by Benjamin Moore. The walls are Simply White, by Benjamin Moore, which helps to cool down the Swiss Coffee and provide a subtle contrast. 

Cloudburst Concrete 4011

We knew before renovating that this home's purpose was to be a place of hospitality. Therefore, all of our decisions were filtered through a lens of durability. For example, in our previous home we had chosen to have stylish legs around the kick plates of our cabinets, but after noticing how much dirt and grime got stuck in the crevices, we opted for closed kick plates and paintable baseboards. 

We flooded our kitchen more than a handful of times, which is humbling to admit, but because of the level of active bodies in our home, our flooring had to be the most durable of all! We chose to go with Coretec flooring in Calypso Oak as this was, by far, the most durable and efficient choice for our household as they are 100% waterproof!

For countertops, our last home had timeless marble. However, my children and husband always struggled with remembering to not place an open lemon or tomato on the countertop, causing all types of etching and stains. I was always reluctant to inform a guest that acidic items could not sit on the countertops, and because of that, we had many blemishes. In the end, we chose to go with Caesarstone's Cloudburst Concrete, which resulted in a neutral and classic finish to the cabinetry, much like marble would, but is scratch, stain and crack resistant. 

I chose Fisher & Paykel Integrated appliances because I wanted to keep the room free from too much dimension and contrast. I hoped to create a very soothing feel when walking into the kitchen where not one item would distract the eye. Having five children, it's important for me to keep our home as free from distraction as possible, as they create plenty of visual and auditory noise on their own!  

When choosing the range, I knew that I would want a dual fuel range and that it needed to accommodate a large family that hosts groups of people. After doing a lot of comparing and contrasting, I decided on the AGA Elise in Ivory. Not only does it look absolutely beautiful, but it's also is a workhorse! We've had four burners going at once while using both ovens and the broiler drawer. We have no doubt that this range will give us years of durability while increasing our culinary skills!

Sticking with the English kitchen style, we purchased parts to create a hanging pot rail.  This has been a great spot to keep our cast iron pans and to hang our most used cooking tools.

I am an avid Craigslist shopper and on the Saturday before Mother's Day, I found a neat work table that I thought would be great for an island. I had to sand it multiple times (it was painted lime green) and we added a butcher block top to it, but it has proven to be the most rustic and used piece of furniture in the entire kitchen. I was also able to thrift four mid-century countertop stools for $25 each, which was a great start to adding a twist of mid-century into the space.

I chose to mix up all of the finishes for faucets, hardware and lighting. I wanted it to look like we had pieced the kitchen together over time, not just in one big project. Our faucets are from Signature Hardware, cabinet hardware is from Top Knobs and our sink is from Highpoint Collection, available on Overstock. 

Because I chose to brighten up the darker space in the kitchen with ivory cabinetry and appliances, I knew I wanted to anchor each side of the room with warm wood. On the pantry side of the room, I designed a prep table made from red oak, topped with Caesarstone Cloudburst Concrete. This serves as a potting table, the children's sink, and a drink bar when hosting.

On the other side of the room is our dining room-slash-schoolroom as I homeschool my children. Creating a learning environment that is efficient yet aesthetically pleasing to me is important. When we purchased the home, it was fully furnished.  While we donated most of the furniture, we kept a few key pieces and this large hutch was one of them. It was originally redwood, but we caulked and painted it to match our cabinetry. I added doors on the top so that some of our materials would be hidden. 

My friend's father custom built our table and bench for us and I was able to find these mid-century rattan chairs on Craigslist after months of searching for the perfect chair! We are looking forward to our school year starting so that we can enjoy the beautiful view from the giant windows as we learn together. 

I'm a little shocked over what we have been able to accomplish within the last five months. We worked so diligently and fast to be able to have a peaceful home by the time our school year started and I am just so pleased with the results. Hard work certainly pays off!


For more Kitchen Reveals: Sugar & Charm| House That Lars Built