Little Moments with Entenmann's Little Bites + GIveaway

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Disclosure: The coupons for product redemption, information, and gift card have been provided by Entenmann’s® Little Bites® so that I could try the product and share my thoughts and information about Entenmann’s® Little Bites®. The opinions expressed in this post are my own and do not reflect the opinions of Entenmann’s® Little Bites®.

Summer is almost here - for real. I think I can basically taste it. And I'm not the only person in my family who is jumping for joy when it comes to the sounds of summer. My family lives and breathes the season and everything that comes along with it. We play hard all day and at night, we all sleep hard. That's one of the best things about summer. But overall everything I truly enjoy these little moments that are made together as a family - the ones that make our days memorable and our hearts full.

This past weekend we got a taste of what is about to come with warm temperatures and sunny skies. While I had anticipated an extra hour or two of sleep that Saturday, Lola woke me up bright and early ready for breakfast. So instead of waking up everyone else, the two of us tiptoed off downstairs. Together we snuggled up on the couch under a blanket, Lola with her milk and me with my trusty coffee cup enjoying our morning dose of cartoons. I love the feeling of knowing there is nowhere to go and not a rush to get moving along - and in that moment, I was quickly reminded of how much I enjoy our summer mornings like this one together. Sometimes it feels like we are constantly on the go everywhere we go. But in this small moment I started to get excited about being able to turn off the alarm clock and let these sweet little faces be my alarm for the next two months.



Ironically that morning while I was cuddled up with Lola, social media reminded me of one of my all time favorite summer time pictures of Cohen and Lola:



From the precious little bedhead to the darling smiles on their faces - I could eat each one of them up over and over again. I laughed at the muffins in Lola's hand because I realized how often we eat Entenmann’s® Little Bites® as part of our breakfast routine. During my last weekly grocery run I grabbed a box of Entenmann’s® Little Bites® Smurf Blueberry Muffins (only available until April 30th!)  because a day doesn't go by when either of Cohen or Lola asks to see, "Smurfs, The Lost Village" since it hit theaters April 7th.  (When you purchase two specially marked boxes you receive a $5 off movie ticket to see the movie!) Plus Entenmann’s® Little Bites® contain no high-fructose corn syrup, no trans-fat and are certified Kosher. The little bags are perfect for morning bites or afternoon snacks and just 200 calories a pack. My kids loved these things since they were little! I definitely plan to stock up for our summer of fun.





As I left my classroom tonight I glanced at the calendar and counted just 27 school days left until summer break. I'm ready for fun in the sun and lots of time with my littles! What are your favorite little moments with your family?






  For more information about Entenmann’s® Little Bites® Smurf Blueberry Muffins or about the Fandango Movie Promotion, please visit www.littlebites.com.

Easy Cleaning with Bona free & simple

Thursday, April 6, 2017




Spring is FINALLY here. While it may be snowing (yes, SNOWING) here in Indiana today, the forecast is sunny skies and 70 degrees this weekend. (Indiana weather is a hot mess people.) While I love nothing more than the breeze through an open window, it is an even better combination when paired with a fresh and clean house. My husband recently replaced our carpet with wood floors and as a mom of three littles and a wild dog, I love that it makes cleaning up easier. However, my kids refuse to wear shoes when the weather is warm so I find myself mopping and cleaning up little piggy toe marks off the floor several times a week.

But when it comes to cleaners, I like to do a my research a bit. I prefer to find ones that aren't loaded with harmful chemicals but can still give my house a mean clean. After the hard work my husband put into these floors, he too can agree that he prefers a cleaner that provides an effective clean for our hardwoods but one that is gentle without added dyes or scents. Bona free & simple is a water based formula that is hypoallergenic - which means it is safe to use around my kiddos and pets. Plus it removes over 93.3% of allergens from hard surfaces and is certified allergy and asthma friendly by the AAFA, which is especially important for Cohen who has respiratory issues.


Bona free & simple cleaner is simple to use. Just three steps actually!

1. Spray in the area you want to clean.

2. Wipe and clean.



3. Repeat!

I told you it was super easy! My floors look great and those little piggy marks are easily cleaned and wiped away! Now with three kiddos (and six feet) running around this house, Bona free & simple will help make cleaning up after my family so much easier.



For more information and to find where you can find Bona free & simple near you, check out their website!

Be sure to follow @mybonahome on Facebook for product news, offers and their upcoming sweepstakes!

xoxo,



How I Balance the Crazy Life of Parenthood + $25 Gift Card Giveaway

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Disclosure: This information and giveaway has been provided to me by Store Brand Formula. All thoughts and opinions are my own.



I'm a wife, a mom of three, a teacher of twenty-two second graders and I run not one, but two different sites. Plus I'm a lover of the treadmill and cycling classes. So ask me, how do I balance it all? 

I have to be honest...sometimes I don't.

There aren't enough hours in a day to get everything done nor enough days in a week to get all of the boxes checked off on the to-do list. The thing is, I think even if I was given an extra day each week or an extra hour a day, things would still be left to do. Because life. That's why. Life happens. So I'm learning that it's okay to not get everything done. Of course it's been hard for me. I'm one that can't handle leaving with a desk full of papers or knowing I have emails that need to be checked. But I have also found that I have to let it go because I can't do it all - there's no way. And even though it's hard, I'm finding that my level of happiness only grows bigger.

So what is my secret to parenthood happiness? I love being able to take Lola to ballet on Saturdays, just the two of us. I also love taking time at night to read with Cohen in his top bunk and listening to the stories about his day.   Scooping a running Remy up from the babysitter everyday and hearing her raspy giggle is also one of the happiest moments of my day. I also love my solo runs on the treadmill in the early morning hours as I catch up on my DVR. It's about finding these little moments and not telling the hustle and bustle of the other busy things in my life get in the way. My formula of happiness is when I let things go for a bit and enjoy the moments that really warm my heart.



























Speaking of formula, with all three of my kids, when we switched to formula I quickly found out how expensive the name brands would add up each week. I wanted an alternative that was just as good as the name brands and wouldn't put such a harsh dent in the wallet. Store Brand Formula is nutritiously comparable to nationally advertised brand but costs up to 50% less! It's called formula for a reason, right? And now, Store Brand Formula wants to know what is YOUR secret formula to parenthood happiness? It could be worth $1,000 plus a year worth of store brand formula if you're lucky!

Here's what you need to do:
1. Go to ShareYourFormula.com, enter your name, email address zip code, and your baby’s birth date between now and April 24, 2017 

2. Use our Store Brand Formula emoji keyboard to create your personal formula for parenting happiness. Here's mine!


3.  Confirm you are at least 18 years old at time of entry and agree to the contest official rules.

If there is one thing I have learned in my six and a half years of parenthood, it's that it really goes by so fast. While there may not be enough time in my day to balance it all, I'm going to cherish these small moments with my littles for all that it's worth because that's what counts. Ferris Bueller said it best, "Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it." And he's so right.

Share with me! How do you balance parenthood? Enter below for a $25 virtual gift card!



When Your Kid's Cold Gets Real

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Disclosure: This post has been sponsored by Pfizer Consumer Healthcare and 20th Century Fox. All thoughts and reviews are my own.

Flu season has been rough for my family. It hit early and man, did it hit hard. While the girls have taken the brunt of it all, Cohen seemed to skate on by...until recently.

Last week he woke up grumpy and whiny. While this isn't too uncommon, it just seemed out of the normal grumpy and whiny. (Believe me, that is possible.) By the time I picked him up from school his cheeks were red and he was complaining of a headache.  I could tell just by looking at him that he didn't feel well and he immediately fell asleep as soon as we got home from school. Luckily it was a Friday afternoon so I knew we'd have the entire weekend to recover - and boy did we need it!

As soon as Kurtis got home, I headed to Target (because let's be honest, where else would I go) to stock up on the essentials. I needed to get this kid some relief and get it fast! Now that Cohen is six, I can offer him different medicines that are targeted to specifically ease his cold symptoms. Immediately I grabbed Children’s Dimetapp® Cold & Cough to tackle his stuffy and runny nose and relieve his cough. This stuff brings me back to my childhood when my mom would offer my sister and I both Children’s Dimetapp® when we were sick. The grape flavor was always a favorite of mine so I knew Cohen wouldn't mind it either. Plus Target has a Cartwheel coupon for it too and I can't resist a good Cartwheel deal! I also noticed Children's Robitussin® DM Day/Night Pack (Children’s Robitussin® Cough & Chest Congestion and Children’s Robitussin® Nighttime Cough for ages 6+)  had a great Cartwheel coupon too.  This non-drowsy daytime formula helps break up chest congestion, while the long-acting nighttime formula relieves coughs and runny noses to help kids get the rest they need. If you need to stock up on Children's Advil® (ages 2-11) to ease those aches, pains and fevers, the Cartwheel coupon is going on for this medicine too! If you don't Cartwheel, now is your time to download the app and start saving - it won't disappoint.



Considering he didn't feel well, I decided to grab a movie to make it a night of cuddles together because we all know there's something magical about Mama's snuggles when you don't feel well. With baseball season just around the corner, I knew he'd be excited about The Sandlot. This movie is an all-time favorite classic. One of my favorite movie quotes is, "You're killing me, Smalls!" Plus you got to love the story line. You know, Scotty Smalls, the shy new kid on the block who wants to join the rowdy pickup baseball team that plays every day in the neighborhood sandlot. And the summer passes blissfully as Scotty learns to play ball under the wing of Benny Rodriguez, Ham, Squints, Repeat and the rest of the kid-eccentrics. But then Benny literally knocks the stuffing out of the team's only baseball, a sign of impending doom, or worse, bad luck. So Scotty wants to set things right and returns home and "borrows" his stepfather's ball. But of course he promptly hits his first home run, knocking the ball clear out of the sandlot into mean old Mr. Mertle's junkyard, home to Mertle's legendary guard dog The Beast. If you haven't seen Sandlot in your lifetime, you are totally missing out.



After a low-key weekend with lots of naps, snuggles, movies and Children’s Dimetapp® Cold & Cough, Cohen was finally feeling better by Sunday afternoon. Just one more reason to despise the winter - FLU SEASON. I'm dying for some warm weather so I can open up my windows and air this house out!



Ready to attack your kiddo's cold and cough head on? Enter to win a $25 Target gift card, Pfizer Pediatric products and a 20th Century Fox video on the Rafflecopter below!

 

Interactive Healthcare Education with UnitedHealthcare

Sunday, February 5, 2017



This year has been a doozy when it comes to family illness - upper respiratory infections, ear infections and even a set of tubes. But with one in school and two in daycare, one has to expect that. My pediatrician's office has officially become our home away from home, or least it sure feels like that. But our family is fortunate to have good insurance that offers us the best coverage when these pesky illnesses pop up. I remember when I was first out of college, the only insurance I had covered catastrophic events. When I landed my first job as a teacher, I quickly set up a meeting with our district's provide, UnitedHealthcare , to learn about their options and what they were going to offer me.

One of the things I love about UnitedHealthcare are all of the online resources they offer you to help you ensure you can find a option that fits your lifestyle. Their website is super easy to use and offers plenty of options to browse and check out. This would have been an extremely helpful resource that I could have used when looking for insurance policies.


I spent some time reading about different policies and exploring the options they offered. Honestly, I never realized how important it was to understand the nuts and bolts about your health insurance. But I should have known better because it is so important, and it's important to get your information from reliable sources that you can trust.

UnitedHealthcare has created a way to make learning about health insurance fun and engaging with three new interactive games. These games are meant to help you find the coverage you are looking for by putting a fun twist on your search!

Perfect Match is like a memory game, having you match the definitions with the health care vocabulary.



Look and Learn shows you a brief video and then at the end you answer a quick and easy question.


Health Facts is just three simple questions that you answer about your health care plan.

And the best part about playing these games? After each game you have the chance to fill out an entry form to win a $500 monthly prize and a $100 weekly prize just for answering questions about your healthcare options! You had me sold at prize money!

Maybe you have questions about your insurance options or maybe you are in the market to switch companies, either way I highly recommend UnitedHealthcare® to help you make these important decisions!



Three Beauty Tips to Kick Those Winter Blues

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Disclosure: This post has been sponsored by Pfizer Consumer Healthcare.

 
I've never been a cold weather person, which is ironic considering I live in the Midwest. I loathe all things about winter include the freezing temperatures, trying to get my kids in and out of their cars seats with their coats on to the car but off the second we get into the car seat because you know, safety, and most annoyingly, static electricity. But apparently my skin and especially my lips also hate the weather too. However, I have added three steps to my beauty regime to help ease the pain of my winter skin issues!

1. Hydrate
When I haven't been drinking enough water, my body is quick to remind me. My skin will start to feel itchy and tight while my lips get super dry in the corners. Invest in a quality water bottle and set a daily goal to keep yourself accountable for your own H2O game. I try to drink at least 90z of water a day which sounds like a lot but you'd be surprised! My water bottle with a straw has been a game changer for me because I find that I drink way more water when I have a straw than when I don't.

ChapStick® Total Hydration products are also my go-to products when it comes to hydrating my dry lips. Last week when I was in Target, I was sure to stock up on a few of my favorite products to help me survive the rest of this winter. One of my favorites,  ChapStick® Total Hydration 3in1, is a Korean-inspired, 3-in-1 formula that provides triple action lip care in one lip balm. It moisturizes, renews and transforms lips to provide smoother, healthier looking lips. The triple action renewal formula contains unique ingredients like Madecassoside and botanical oils. Total Hydration 3in1 is available in five flavors – Coconut Hydration, Soothing Oasis, Sweet Peach, Wild Acai Berry and new Cooling Peppermint. 





I also love ChapStick® Total Hydration 100% Natural is an age defying formula with 100% naturally sourced ingredients like Argan Oil, Omegas 6 & 9 and Avocado Butters. It is clinically proven to provide healthier looking and more youthful looking lips and I love they way they feel after using this stuff! Total Hydration 100% Natural is available in three flavors – Fresh Citrus, Soothing Vanilla and new Honey Blossom.


2. Exfoliate
I have two different face washes - one for the morning and one for night. Besides the dry, winter skin, think of everything that your face, skin and lips comes in contact with on a daily basis. When I think of my day the things that pop into my mind include sweat, school grime, kid sneezes and thousands of germs that have manifested on my phone throughout the age of time. Super disgusting, right? That's why I make sure to scrub it all away before I go to bed. I only exfoliate once a day because I find that if I do it too much, my skin starts to get overly dry which defeats the purpose in the first place.

Recently I have started using ChapStick® Total Hydration Conditioning Lip Scrub a few times a week too. This stuff is amazing! It is a lip scrub that gently exfoliates and conditions leaving your lips feeling silky, soft and smooth. ChapStick® Total Hydration Conditioning Lip Scrub is formulated with naturally sourced ingredients, including Sugar Crystals, Maracuja and Coconut Oil, Shea Butter and Vitamin E and features a refreshing Fresh Peppermint flavor. All you do is massage a small amount onto wet lips in a circular motion then rinse or wipe off with a damp cloth. After exfoliating, seal in moisture by applying a ChapStick® Total Hydration lip balm as a finishing touch. My lips feel so good after I use this lip scrub.

 
3. Moisturize
Dry lips and skin are one of my major annoyances of the winter. Some days I'm an itchy mess while the next day my face is more oily. Personally, it's all about finding a balance with your skin type. I have a mixture that I use in the morning with a tinted moisturizer for my daytime look. Then at night I use a different moisturizer that is just light enough so it won't clog my pores but still does the moisturizing trick.

Peeling lips also drive me bananas! ChapStick® Total Hydration with CoQ10 is a lightweight formula that provides long-lasting moisture, helping lips stay hydrated for a full eight hours, and reduces the appearance of fine lines. The formula is comprised of advanced skincare ingredients including antioxidant CoQ10, Vitamin E, and ultra-hydrating Hyaluronic Spheres for soft, supple lips. Total Hydration with CoQ10 is available in a Vanilla Cream flavor. I love to use this stuff at night before bed because I wake up in the morning with silky, smooth lips to start my day.



I'm not a huge lip color person, but I do love just a little tint. I've recently become obsessed with
ChapStick® Total Hydration Moisture + Tint. This tinted moisturizer features a formula with 100% naturally sourced ingredients that deliver long lasting moisture, plus a hint of alluring color specifically formulated to enhance the lips’ natural color. The Total Hydration Moisture + Tint formula is comprised of premium ingredients, including Rosehip Oil, Jojoba Oil and Avocado Butter.  It is available in three shades – Rose Petal, Coral Blush and Merlot, my favorite – so there’s a shade for every occasion!


Apparently Phil saw his shadow today so we still have six more weeks of winter. I'm crossing my fingers that these are the six fastest weeks of the year!

And because I love you and want to whisk the rest of this winter season away as quick as possible, how about a little something special...

Win It!
One (1) lucky winner will win a $25 Target gift card and their own ChapStick® Total Hydration products. Enter the Rafflecopter below!


Life Lately

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Life has been overly busy lately.  I'm not even sure where I begin! But let's find a starting point...

Back in October I took over a new role - I am now co-owner of Indianapolis Moms Blog, the premier parenting website for Indianapolis. We are slowly sorting our way through this business and in the process we have begun to grow an amazing group of writers with a strong and loyal readership. I'm learning a lot about myself in this process. I'm figuring out how it works as a business owner, I'm learning how to manage and collaborate effectively with my co-owner and I'm growing as a person in every aspect imaginable. Being a part of IMB has helped me find my voice again and I've met some amazing people that I would have never known otherwise. I'm excited to see where this journey takes me and hope you will follow along with us!

So what does that mean for this blog?


I have been stewing over this because working full time as a teacher and running two sites isn't happening. But I love my blog and what I have grown it to be too much to let it go. My plan is to continue writing and being visible again but getting back to my roots - focusing on the experiences and life stories of my family. I love sharing my mom life stories because I get it, #momlife is hard! And it's fun to be able to laugh with other people and compare your stories. So that's my plan, getting it focused more on my family and continuing to write so I can have this personal diary to look back on in the years to come.



So let's get to it - what HAVE we been up to lately?

Cohen
This kid is a rockstar. Kindergarten has been amazing for him both socially and academically and I couldn't be happier with how things are going for him. I love his teacher and school which makes all the difference. His reading and math levels are age appropriate and it has been fun, both as a mom and a teacher, to watch him grow academically. The kid killed flag football season and scored at least one touchdown every game. Next year it's pads and the whole shebang, which will be interesting. He starts basketball next week and then baseball is right around the corner. Cohen is the typical big brother - a lover one minute and a torturer the next. I'm pretty sure it just comes with the territory. While he has a rough exterior the kid is still super sensitive which drives his dad nuts. Personally I don't have a problem with it and feel it just adds to his character. He really had a sweet, sweet heart. Cohen is growing up into an amazing little boy and I struggle to think that he is already halfway through Kindergarten. Time is such a jerk.



Lola
Miss Sassy turned 3 in November and may the threenager gods save my soul. One moment she is sweet as can be but the next minute she turns into a hormonal teenager. Girl threenagers and boy threenagers are completely different. I'm not sure I'll make it through one more girl...
Lola loves all things princess, baby and Doc McStuffins and has to wear a dress everyday. The kid refuses to stay in her pjs all day (unlike her brother) and has to get dressed the second she wakes up. Lola is loyal to her people and when you're her friend, you're her friend for life. She is still super mommy attached and shy in unfamiliar situations. I'm hoping to get her into preschool next year to watch her bloom and become more social and less attached to my hip. Lola started ballet last week and I'm not sure who is more excited - me or her. While her shyness took over most of the class, I'm confident this will help her come out of her shell. That darn paci continues to be a thorn in my side and I have slowly started clipping the tips back in anticipation that she will just throw them away. Despite her threenager tantrums, Lola is my sweet little girl and continues to melt my heart on the daily.



Remy
Bam Bam has officially turned one! The kid is a champion climber and I have never seen someone go up stairs so fast in my life. After months of ear infections, Remy got tubes in December and it has made a WORLD of difference. While her sleep isn't perfect, it definitely is a million times better. Remy no longer just walks - she runs, jumps and basically sprints to wherever she needs to go. As far an appetite the kid eats more than Cohen and Lola combined. I'm watching her snag a bowl of crackers from her sister as I type this. Remy's favorite word is Dada but will say Ohla (for Lola), Mama, Nana, Sat (for What's that?) and waves bye to anyone that looks her way. She loves to shake her head yes and no and the moment she hears music the girl gets low. Remy can also turn a clean room into a disaster in less than ten seconds which is how she gets the name Bam Bam. But boy does this girl have her Dad wrapped around her finger!




I have missed you all and look forward to getting back into the swing of things!  But now, my wine glass is empty and the Real Housewives are calling my name so I'm sure you can infer what that means.



xoxo,