This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, INC. and The Coca-Cola Company, all opinions are mine alone. #RefreshinglyHonestSnacks #CollectiveBias
Since I became a mother I’ve become very conscious of what is in the food and beverages we consume as a family, including things I eat myself. I try to stick to products with an ingredient list that I can pronounce, whole foods and all-natural things whenever possible, and I buy organic as much as I can. While it has always been easy for me to find organic produce, I’ve found it challenging to track down good organic options for beverages and snacks when I’m on the go. And as a busy mom of three, I don’t always have time to wash, prep, and pack fruit or veggies — I need easy beverages and snacks that I can just throw in my bag really quickly in the morning.
I have searched and searched for something that is easy to grab on the go but also delicious, organic, and just a tad sweet. I love Honest Tea® because it is real tea brewed with real ingredients and am a big fan of Simple Truth® snacks because they live up to their brand name. And since September was Organic Month I thought it would be the perfect time to share some of our favorite organic options for when I’m on the go and need a quick drink or snack.
My favorite Honest Tea flavor is the Peach Tea, and my husband loves the Pomegranate Blue. We also are big fans of the Half Tea Half Lemonade flavor — so refreshing and a great option to grab and throw in the diaper bag or stroller to have a cool beverage for us when we’re taking the little ones to the park or out for a picnic. I also always have some of our favorite Simple Truth organic snack options for us, like the Cheddar Kangaroos and Animal Crackers, the Simple Truth organic yogurt raisins, or the Simple Truth Roasted Seaweed Snack. While I often find myself swiping a bag of animal crackers to eat myself, I also love having some Simple Truth Roasted Almonds on hand for a good snack option for me.
If you aren’t sure where to find Honest Tea or Simple Truth Organic Snacks, just head to your local Kroger (or Ralph’s for you West Coasters). Honest Tea can be found in the cold beverage refrigeration section of the store. My local Kroger has a whole “Live Naturally” section where I can find most of my favorite Simple Truth foods, but if you don’t have that you can find them in the general aisle for that food category (almonds and raisins in the dried fruit and nut aisle, for example). Want more amazing recipe, snack, and project inspiration? Check out this link!
What are your favorite ways to eat organic on the go?
This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #MyLiteracyStory #DGMyStoryEntry #CollectiveBias
Our family loves books. Like, really LOVES them. I’ve been a “read under the covers until the middle of the night” kind of girl since I started reading chapter books as a kid (I give Nancy Drew and my mother all the credit). My husband is also a book lover, as well as a writer. We even gave our first born a middle name from one of his inspirations (Dashiell Hammett). So obviously when we started a family it was really important to us to teach our kids a love of reading as well. Books are our favorite gifts to give and receive, we read together as a family as part of our daily routine, and now our oldest son loves to write his own stories. Literacy is so very important to the growth, development, and confidence of our kids! Kellogg’s® recognizes that importance as well, which is why they are a proud sponsor of the Dollar General Literacy Foundation.
- Here are some tips for helping to instill a love of reading in your own kids:
- Start early! We started reading to our oldest son when he was a baby. We weren’t as disciplined about that with our second and third sons but we still read books regularly and often once they were around a year old.
- Incorporate books into your routine. If you do it everyday as part of your bedtime routine for example, then they will naturally gravitate towards reading on their own as well.
- Get them a library card and make regular trips to the library and let them choose a book (or a few!) themselves. They’ll look forward to reading what they chose and making future trips to the library.
- Buy books that kids love. If you need some recommendations, here are a few of our favorites:
- BOARD BOOKS:
- All of the Sandra Boynton books
- Hello, Bugs: This one is very visual with lots of graphic black and white patterns for baby’s vision. There’s an animal version too.
- The Very Hungry Caterpillar
- Brown Bear, Brown Bear: I don’t know what it is, but both of my boys freaking love this book as babies.
- Peek-A Who: This one is fun, and interactive. Calvin loves the mirror at the end of the book.
- In My Tree: This one has a puppet-like interaction that both of my boys loved.
- Charlie Monkey is our number one favorite – the funny animal faces always get lots of laughs and love.
- PICTURE BOOKS:
- Dragons Love Tacos , Dragons Love Tacos 2, & Secret Pizza Party: So silly and fun.
- The Pirates Next Door: Cute and teaches tolerance and empathy.
- Marshall Armstrong Is New To Our School: teaches the beauty of being different.
- The Way Back Home: We love all of Oliver Jeffers’ books, but this one is a fave.
- I Want My Hat Back and We Found A Hat: author Jon Klassen is a favorite of mine and my kids too.
- Creepy Carrots: cute and fun.
- The Book With No Pictures: brilliant and loved by all kids.
- All of Dallas Clayton’s books: beautiful illustrations and messages.
- BOARD BOOKS:
The importance of literacy is clear when I look at the confidence and love of learning that my kids have. That is why Kellogg’s® is a proud sponsor of the Dollar General Literacy Foundation. Kellogg’s is committed to providing 3 billion Better Days through 2025 through initiatives that feed people and their potential. The Dollar General Literacy Foundation is celebrating over 20 years of helping individuals learn to read, prepare for their high school equivalency, or learn English. Since its inception, the Foundation has awarded more than $140 million to nonprofit organizations and schools that have helped more than 9 million individuals advance their literacy and basic education skills. Isn’t that incredible? I also really enjoyed reading the real literacy “My Story” on the back of our Kellogg’s Frosted Flakes® Cereal box — super inspiring! You can also find the campaign on Kellogg’s® Froot Loops®, Kellogg’s Frosted Bite-Size Mini-Wheats®, and Kellogg’s® Rice Krispies®.
Go here to learn more about this literacy initiative and enter the #DGMyStory Sweepstakes with the hashtag #DGMyStoryEntry to share your own personal literacy story for a chance to win a $50 Dollar General gift card. How do you promote a love of reading in your own families?
I am a member of the Collective Bias Social Fabric Community. This post has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #GiftingforBaby #CollectiveBias
When you have multiple kids, the bath time and bedtime routine can be quite hard to manage, especially if you are doing it alone and without help. If you follow me here or on Instagram, you know that I recently moved across the country and my husband had to stay behind to finish up some work. So I’ve been doing the solo parenting thing for a couple months and really had to simplify things as much as possible to get all my kids to bed successfully and at a reasonable hour. One of the hardest tasks has always been the bath/book/bed routine. While my oldest has become very self-sufficient since we moved, I still have two toddlers to juggle on my own. Which is why anything that helps do two jobs at once has become a lifesaver for me.
I usually bathe the kids together, but sometimes I tandem bathe them one right after the other. Either way, they are using the same bath water (unless one was especially dirty or had a dreaded potty accident in the tub) and bath products. Calvin has sensitive skin and many products I’ve used in the past dry his skin out or cause him to break out in itchy bumps. Quincy, on the other hand, has perfect skin that requires no special products. That is why I love Johnson’s Baby Products. They follow Best for Baby standards and have no parabens, no phthalates, and are hypoallergenic. Safety is their #1 priority, and I love that since it is also my #1 priority for my own babies. They are safe enough to use on newborns but fun enough that you’ll use them well past the baby and toddler phase.
Thanks to those safety standards, I can use the same products on both Calvin and Quincy (and even though Charlie is a bit older he uses them too!) I especially love the Bedtime Bath Wash and Bedtime Lotion because their lavender scent is perfect to help calm my crazy boys before bed. Another favorite of mine is the No More Tangles Shampoo because it is gentle and cleansing but makes combing through Calvin’s usually tangly and knotted hair so much easier. The boys’ favorite product is Johnson’s Baby Bubble Bath. Instead of forcing them to take a bath, they ask me if they can have a bubble bath!
I also love the adorably designed packaging, which is available exclusively at Target. Look for it at a special aisle endcap in the baby section or you can click directly on my first image to purchase it online. But in case you’re anything like me (and I would bet that you are) Target is your happy place and you’ll be adding this to your in-person shopping list 🙂 You can also add it to your Target Baby Registry or buy it for someone expecting a baby because that packaging makes for such a cute gift and we all know you can never have enough bath stuff for baby, whether it is your first child or your third.
How do you juggle bath and bedtime with your kids, especially if you have more than one? Do you have any tried and true tricks or products that make your life easier?
I knew I would lose sleep once I became a mom, but I didn’t realize how much. Not only am I getting less sleep (way way less), the sleep I do get is often interrupted (sometimes multiple times). And I am now the lightest sleeper on the planet, waking easily and often taking forever to fall back to sleep. I have also been dealing with low energy, fatigue, and have battled thyroid issues since I had my first baby. Between hormones, stress, exhaustion, and children who have their own idea of when to go to bed or when to wake up in the morning I’m lucky I get any sleep at all.
Since it can be so hard to come by, I decided I wanted to monitor my sleep to see how much I’m actually getting and how efficient it is. l did a sleep tracking experiment years and years ago, but it was a device you wore on your arm and it was such a pain. You had to remember to put it on each night and then it bugged me when I was sleeping (which didn’t help me sleep better, that’s for sure). This time I used EarlySense LIVE. EarlySense LIVE is an easy and accurate way to monitor your sleep and is the first hospital proven contact-free sensor. It’s super simple to use. You plug it in, which automatically activates the Bluetooth in the device, place the device under your mattress, and pair it with your smart phone. All data collected will sync with the LIVE app on your phone.
One thing I really like is that you don’t have to charge a battery or remember to turn it on to collect data. All you have to do is lay down in bed where the device is located and it automatically starts collecting data, which makes it perfect for someone like me with way too much on my plate to remember one more thing. Plug it in, place it under your mattress, download the app, and lay down — that even I can manage!
So after tracking my sleep for two weeks, here is what I learned. I was not getting quality sleep. My REM sleep was way low. I was getting out of bed multiple times a night (usually related to kids). And from the time I started tracking my sleep to the end of those first two weeks, my stress level went down. When I first started my stress level readings were high. But as you can see above, by the second week my stress level was medium. So just being conscious of my sleep patterns helped me to set myself up for better sleep each night. I started diffusing essential oils again, sometimes took a nice lavender epsom salt bath, had a cup of tea, or read a book instead of watching tv before bed. I moved a couple of weeks later so I stopped tracking during that process. But I just unpacked my EarlySense LIVE so I can start tracking again, because I can tell I’m not sleeping well again. Once I start tracking again, I’ll share my progress in my Instagram stories, so stay tuned!
Even though I used EarlySense LIVE to track my own sleep, you can also use it to track your baby or child’s sleep or if you are caring for another family member like a sick or elderly parent. You can share the data collected with caretakers and medical professionals. For example, my tracker alerted me that my heart rate was higher than usual a couple of times, and that I had breathing interruptions a couple times which could be indicative of sleep apnea.
Overall, I found the ease of use and the accuracy of results to be extremely helpful and I’m eager to start tracking again so I can get my sleep and overall health back on track. Because if momma is tired she’s no good to anyone. Like many other methods of self-care, I think tracking and trying to improve one’s sleep is incredibly important to the overall wellness and happiness of the whole family. Now if I could just get my kids to sleep later than 5 am… 😉
Have you ever tracked your sleep? Or do you think that tracking yours could shed some light on other health issues you might be facing?
This post is sponsored by EarlySense LIVE, but all opinions are my own.
With three little (and oftentimes very LOUD) boys at home, I find myself going a little crazy at times. I can feel my patience running out and feel the anxiety monster creeping in. This happens more quickly when I have neglected my own self-care, or at certain times of the month when my hormones are shifting into high gear. I’ve been trying to find ways to cope and tools I can use in those moments when things are putting me on edge and I feel like I could very easily bite someone’s head off. Enter: the mama timeout.
The mama timeout can take many forms, depending on what your abilities are in the moment. When I have two toddlers at home with me, I might put them in their high chairs, give them a snack, and throw the iPad on for a 15-30 minutes. Then I will go to another room and put on some music, try to meditate (try being the operative word – I’m not often very successful…), or read a book or magazine for a few minutes — whatever helps shift my brain into a different mode.
Sometimes taking a quiet break is too hard to manage, so I’ll try aromatherapy with essential oils. Diffusing oils is a great way to both start and end the day. I like to diffuse Happy Joy in the morning to get everyone in good moods. If I’m working from home I sometimes need Energy Boost instead of that afternoon cup of coffee. And Peace and Quiet or Tranquility (or both!) in the evening during dinner gets everyone calmed down. I also like to diffuse Sleepy in our bedrooms to help with, well, sleep. I also sometimes use a Sleepy roller (made the same way as I linked to above but with relaxing oils) and roll on the bottoms of feet before bed. You can find even more about how I use oils in our home in this post.
I’ve also recently discovered some amazing candles from Chesapeake Bay Candle that incorporate some of my favorite essential oil combos. My three favorites are Balance + Harmony from the Mind & Body Collection, Focus + Patience also from the Mind & Body Collection, and No. 11 Neroli & Bergamot from the Alassis line.
When I’m trying to create a calmer, happier environment for all of us, I burn the Balance + Harmony. With the Sandalwood, Rosewood, and Orange Oil, our moods are uplifted and balanced. The floral notes create such a pleasant aroma combination and just make me feel happy. This is the one I like to start the day with, since morning schedules and crabby toddlers often set a chaotic tone.
When I need a little help in the patience department or am trying to work from home while caring for my kids, I light the Focus + Patience candle. This scent has notes of black tea, cinnamon bark and cedar, and contains essential oils of Birch Tar, Cedarwood, Patchouli. It helps slow my pace (in a good way) and restores my patience. I also love how it diffuses the candlelight and the wooden lid.
I think my favorite is the Alassis No. 11 candle. It contains two of my favorite essential oils: Neroli & Bergamot. Bergamot helps ease tension and stress and Neroli helps reduce anxiety and anger and is a big reliever of chronic anxiety, which is something so many mamas deal with. And the scent is just heavenly — totally relaxing for my mama timeouts!
In the morning (or all day long) when I need a little help perking up, I like to burn the Wild Lemongrass Jar Candle from the Heritage collection. The combination of eucalyptus, lemongrass, peppermint, and spearmint really help me wake up. And it smells so good!
How do you decompress, destress, or give yourself a timeout? Are you able to prioritize self-care in your home?
This post is sponsored by Chesapeake Bay Candle Co. but the opinions are my own.
If you follow this blog or my instagram feed at all, you probably know our family lives in Los Angeles and that we truly love it here. My husband and I have been here for 16 and 13 years respectively, we were married here, we started our family here. Each of our sons were born in the same hospital. We’ve lived in the same general part of LA (in three different apartments) over the course of our 13 years here together. But in the last year or so I’ve started to realize that as much as we love it here, our true home is wherever we are, all together. And as the mom of three small and crazy boys, I’ve found myself more and more longing for a simpler existence — for a place where everything isn’t quite so challenging or so exhausting. Without our families at all close by, we’ve been neck deep in the parenthood trenches together, just the two of us. It is wonderful in many ways, but really draining in others. We’ve reached a point where we were ready for a change, and I think the boys are too. They want a yard and a dog and to be closer to their grandparents. We want to be able to give them those things and more. So after a lot of thought and weighing the pros and cons, we decided to take the leap. We bought a home about 10 minutes outside of Columbus, Ohio and will be moving there in a few short weeks. So we’ve been adventuring and saying goodbye and taking in this city we love so much. And our dear friend Jennifer documented our family one last time. Read More