The Best Allergy Friendly Gluten Free Vegan Bread #foodallergy #vegan #glutenfree #top8free #allergyfriendly

As my kids get older I find myself, and my kids wanting to try foods they can't have.  Just as much as they want it, I want to give them the opportunity.  With severe multiple food allergies, it hasn't been an easy diet to learn but it has been one I'm grateful for.  Over the years I have created so many snacks, meals and all for my kids that I don't really think they're missing out.  I just happen to bake and make everything they eat. 

Every once in a while I get an idea and get in the kitchen, and come out with a new amazing addition to our "menu."  This time it was bread.  This bread is wheat free, gluten free, egg free, dairy free, but free, fish free, soy free, and safe for anyone with the top allergens.  My son asked me the other day "what ever happened to sandwiches, I don't even remember how they taste."  When  he was much younger we bought the frozen gluten free bread a few times, and used to give him sandwiches.  Eventually I stopped buying them, because they were horrible.  I was grateful to have an option, but it didn't taste good.  It was impossible to thaw out, the only option was to toast it, and in the end it was like cardboard.  After that I made pan fried "bread," and made him quick sandwiches that way.  Never could I have dreamed of making soft bread for us all.  But the other day I just thought why not treat the gluten free flour mix as the "regular" all purpose flour, keep it allergy friendly (dairy, egg free etc.) like I always do and give it a go.  I recently learned of using Aquafaba (the brine from canned chickpeas) as an egg replacer, and thought I should just experiment with it also and see how it goes.

I am so happy I did.  Our lives have been changed with this bread.  My 7 year old said it is his wish come true to eat a sandwich as a family, and to have a toothpick with an olive holding his sandwich together.  It was our first time trying Namaste Foods Perfect Flour Blend gluten free flour mix, in fact I haven't tried using it in any other way yet, but it is delicious in this recipe.  The ingredients in it are: sweet brown rice flour, tapioca starch, brown rice flour, arrowroot powder, sorghum flour, xantham gum.   
What you'll need:
  • 9 x 5 loaf pan
  • 3 medium to large mixing bowls
  • Blender (but possible without*)
  • Apple Cider Vinegar
  • Olive oil
  • Salt
  • Active Dry Yeast (I used Red Star Active Dry Yeast 0.75 oz Packet)
  • Warm water (not comfortable for baby's bath warm, more like get the grease off the plate warm)
  • Gluten Free All Purpose Flour of your choice (I used Namaste Foods Gluten Free Perfect Flour Blend)
  • Aquafaba (liquid brine from canned chickpeas)
  • Sweetener of choice, I used honey (or maple syrup, sugar, brown sugar, agave sweetener etc.)
  • Double acting baking powder
Instructions:

  1. Lightly oil and dust the 9 x 5 loaf pan with flour - set aside.
  2. You'll need the yeast to start doing it's magic, so mix 1 1/2 cup of warm water4 tablespoons of honey (or sweetener of choice and 3 teaspoons of active dry yeast.  Set aside, covered (with plastic wrap) for about 5-10 minutes.  Wait until you see the froth forming on top.
  3. Mix 3 cups of the gluten free flour mix (I used Namaste Foods Perfect Flour Blend), 1 teaspoon of salt, 3 1/2 teaspoons of double acting baking powder- and set aside.
  4. Mix 3 teaspoons of apple cider vinegar, and 1/4 cup of olive oil.  Use blender to give it a good mix.  
  5. Then add the "eggs" to it (6 tablespoons of the liquid from canned chickpeas = aquafaba) Mix again with blender.
  6. Now pour the 2 wet ingredients into one bowl.  Give it a quick mix.
  7. In three parts, scoop in the dry ingredients into the wet.  Mixing every so often. 
  8. Place the mix into the prepared loaf pan and let rest for about 30 minutes.  Cover it lightly with plastic wrap.  It should rise.
  9. Once you've seen that it has almost doubled in size, place in preheated 375 degree oven for about 40 minutes.  (*don't worry if it doesn't rise as much, it will still taste really good)
  10. Let cool in pan for a few minutes, about 5 minutes or so.  Flip out into a cooling rack.  (I'm no pro baker so I just about never wait until it cools, so if you've got patience - wait, I heard that's what you're supposed to do before cutting in)
 Warm honey water with active dry yeast frothing up.
 Flour, salt, baking powder mix.
Olive oil, apple cider vinegar, and (egg replacer) aquafaba
 Mix of the two wet ingredients.
Dry mix ready.
 The wet and dry mix together.
Once the bread dough has sat and rose a bit, use wet fingers to shape flat or bumpy like this one.  It will keep it's shape and the crust will be the same way once fully baked. 
I never thought I'd have bread with my kids, I loved bread growing up, took it for granted then.  I wouldn't know the difference between this and a wheat bread.  There are many varieties of bread, and I'd just think this is one of them.  It has a tasty hard crust, and soft inside.  It has the texture of soft fresh baked wheat bread.  Very "glutinous" if you ask me, it might be the Namaste Foods flour mix, I have to try it out with another mix to see it comes out differently, it's just all I had at the moment.  This is the beginning and reminder to always experiment in the kitchen, no matter how impossible it may seem.  I can't wait to make different varieties of deliciousness with this.  Please let me know below if you try it!   I hope it brings you as much joy as it has our family!









Smithsonian's Discover: EARTH #BookReview

*I received the item/s for the purpose of review.  No other compensation was provided.  All opinions are a 100% my own.
Graphics.  Delivery.  Presentation.
All important in teaching, and learning.  If a student is interested they will learn and remember.  I have come to love Smithsonian publishes, from sticker activity books to fact cards - they have it all.  These give this homeschooling mom a great helping hand in teaching.  Great to have in a classroom or on your home bookshelf.  Great way to keep kids interested as they flip through on weekends.
Separated into three parts: Amazing Earth, The Blue Planet, and Wild Weather
Includes:
Double sided poster 27.8" x 19.7"
12 fact cards
3D globe to build
64 page book
www.silverdolphinbooks.com
It captures my 2nd graders attention, and keeps him asking questions and flipping pages.  The pictures are so great, my toddler comes to ask questions.  This is truly another Smithsonian must have!  Full of pictures and information that'll keep them flipping through and learning with ease.


Amazon Pinterest Blast - Another Chance to Win $100 Amazon Gift Card! #Giveaway

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Makobi Scribe and some other bloggers are bringing you this Amazon Pinterest blast where one lucky reader will win a $100 Amazon gift card. The giveaway is open to everyone and provided by Makobi Scribe. Good Luck! If you are a blogger, you can sign up for this blast here.

Baby's First Month - What I Learned After My 3rd Child #tips #baby #pregnancy #newmom

My youngest little one is already 4 months old.  I wanted to write a recap of his months as it went by, but time and life got the best of me.  First months are so precious, so magical, and the most memorable too.  But it's sometimes the hardest time to get through because you care so much, everything scares you and you want to make sure it's all okay.  Here's a random list of things I went through his first month.  Followed by what I learned about the first month after my 3rd child.

-He slept allot.  He slept all day, and only woke up short moments at a time to feed and give blank stares.
-My little one had baby acne.  Little white dots, that disappeared quickly.  He had signs of eczema.  -Cradle cap that came and went on his head, ears and forehead.  He had what looked like a heat rash all over.  He broke out in what was a red rash all over, started from his face and spread to his whole body.  But with patience, it all went away in about a week and a half.
-He had gas.  Every time he needed to let out gas, or produce a bowel movement he would cry - arch his back and curl up to do so.  It's them learning the process.
-He would have his cute little blank stare and pout his lips.  That's when I knew he was peeing.
-By the end of week one he had longer moments with is eyes open.  Made eye contact, and even gave a few smiles.  Smiles are the best, and the cutest when you catch them doing it in their sleep.  You might even be able to catch baby giggle in their sleep before you see them do it awake.
-He started working on his hand to mouth coordination towards the end of the month.
-He quickly had a stronger neck, looking around.
-Cutting his nails was and is necessary every week.
-By the time he was almost 2 months old he was giving baby "coos."

In the first month of baby's life you'll worry.  Here's my take on those worries after my third baby, and what I wish I had known.
  • Worrying if they had enough wet & "solid" diapers. Every one of my children were different.  With my first I remember having a chart, and my son going often.  There were different colors, shades, and consistencies.  Similar with my second.  And now with my third, very different.  No pattern.  No shades, nothing.  I've been told to go with - as long as there are enough wet diapers, baby not producing a bowel movement for 7 - 10 days is normal.  There's a wide range of "normal."  So don't stress out over every single everything.  Also forget the wipe warmers, if you're home, just wash baby in the sink..that's what I did (after my first).
  • The stuffy nose.  With my first I had all the bulbs, saline and suckers I could get my hands on.  I remember the big fuss I made that one dry booger I saw and the need I felt to get it out to help him breathe better.  Now I see I shouldn't go picking and poking at everything.  With my third, I use saline if needed and if I don't have it - breast milk will even do the job.  Drop a little of that or saline, help moisturize baby's nostrils and if it doesn't come out right away - he'll eventually sneeze it out.  Oh and don't worry about the sneezes, just smile - it's "normal."  No poking, pulling, sucking...  I wish I could go back in time and tell my younger self to stop stressing over that one dry booger I swear isn't letting my baby breathe. 
  • Skin issues.  My first born didn't have much baby acne that I could recall, but he did have eczema and cradle cap.  Eczema much worse later on but that was because of my "allergen" filled diet at the time.  Here's my tip on baby acne, and cradle cap.  Leave it alone.  Don't go buying every cream and natural remedy you can find.  Chances are you might irritate it more.  Use a gentle wash on baby hair or cradle cap area and while it's wet gently comb through.  That's it.  It will come back sometimes but it will eventually go away too.  For baby acne too, don't use everything you can find.  I remember using things for my son that he ended up being severely allergic to later on (like milk and oat baths).  This time, I was out of options since I knew not to try many things - I just waited it out, and sure enough it cleared up on it's own.
  • Baby not sleeping through the night?  Ok so this one isn't one that everyone will agree with, but it worked for me.  I stayed up with baby, because naturally I was worried and wanted to watch him to make sure he was ok at all times.  But once exhaustion hit, I slept with baby.  I didn't go sleep with my husband and baby.  Just baby and I on a big bed.  He had the whole half of the bed safely without extra pillows or comforters, but he was at arms reach if I needed to nurse during the night.  I think it helped him gain a sense of time and now he sleeps through the night. 
  • Scratch mittens?  I used them with my first, felt like it was important, but somehow with my third all I've had to do was make sure his nails are cut enough.  Accidental little scratches will happen, but I think it's important they're able to have their hands free to start developing their motor skills and sense of touch.
  • Breastfeeding?  I nurse now, and exclusively did with my first 2 as well, but with all three it has been different.  If you plan to breastfeed, and you want to - then don't even let yourself think there is an option for formula.  Once you allow yourself to think there is an out, you'll take it.  For me breastfeeding was incredibly difficult the first time.  My son was latching on wrong, I was extra sensitive.  It was a horribly painful experience with every feeding, but I got through it.  If you want to breastfeed, tell yourself you can and you will.  If you plan on having more than one child, it got easier for me with every child.  It hurt with my second but it didn't keep me up for the first month in pain.  With my third, I kept having issues with what seemed like he kept sucking air in but with patience we got through it.  Patience, that seems to be the pattern to all things parenting. 
  • PPD?  Here's my take on it, don't let it go there.  Don't let your hormones get the best of you, you have control.  It's easy to get wind up in how "down" you might feel, how you feel about your body, your freedom etc. but think positive.  Think happy thoughts, and you'll get passed the sensitive time.  Don't blame yourself for anything right or wrong.  And most importantly if you feel down, speak up and talk to someone.     
None of these are professional medical advice.  These are my tips based on personal experience as mom of three.  However here's my professional advice as a mom: take lots and lots of pictures & videos.  Time flies, enjoy it all - and yes even the cries. :P.   

Being Mom is like Being the Bad Guy By Choice #Parenting

"I'm sorry my love but no"
Being a mom has to be one of the toughest jobs ever!  I spend 24 hours a day being a mom, even in my sleep I'm there by their side, half way asleep.  I'm a stay at home mom, not fully by choice but because there is no other option for us at the moment.  Most of the time I fully enjoy it, but that's most of the time.  I don't enjoy it 24 hours a day, and that's because I am human after all.  Moments I don't enjoy it are the moments when I have to be the bad guy.

I love my kids and probably would want to stay home with them given the choice, but wish I had the choice.  Wish my back wasn't against the wall so much.  With all that said, the parts that I don't fully enjoy is being the "boss" of my kids.  I want to play with my kids all the time, but sometimes I just can't and that simply sucks!
I have to set rules.  I have to make sure they're safe.  I have to be the bad guy in many scenarios when I have to say "no" to them.  I'm also a food allergy, and homeschool mom.  That combination is a recipe for the supreme bad guy. 

So to my kids when they're old enough to read this... 
I'm sorry I have to set screen time limits.
I'm sorry you have a bedtime.
I'm sorry you have to floss and brush multiple times a day.
I'm sorry but you do have to hold my hand when we cross the street.
I'm sorry you can't just do whatever you want all day.
I'm sorry you have to clean up after yourself if you make a mess.
I'm sorry you do have to do "school work" and study.
I'm sorry there are foods and products out in the world that aren't safe for you, making you be aware and cautious all the time.
But I promise even though I might always seem like the bad guy..you'll understand why one day.

I will always do my best and give my all to you all.

Inside I want to just play and break the same rules I seem to make but I want to make sure they learn, be safe, and be good people.  Parenting is tough.  But if I have to be the bad guy all the time for the price of raising happy safe healthy good people, I'll take it.  It sometimes breaks my heart for a second when my kids choose fun dad over me.  Or when my son who I felt so close to, now growing up goes to daddy to whisper and hide things from me, but it's all for the bigger picture.  I'll be the bad guy.  I'll be the one to set rules and have a million and one "commands" all day for them.  Being a full time food allergy, homeschooling mom isn't easy, specially when I don't have many friends & family supporting us.  To the many parents out there, I know you know my struggle.  It's not easy being the bad guy.  Between the "don't chew with your mouth full" and forcing your kids to buckle up in the car seat, we'll get through it with the fuel of laughter & giggles in between.  If we're doing anything right, one day our kids will thank us for all those times we had no choice but be the "bad guy."

       

Smithsonian Sticker Creations - Sticker Acitivity Books for the "mommy I'm bored" Moments!

*I received the item/s for the purspose of review, all opinions are a 100% my own.  No other compensation was provided. 
Whether you homeschool or not it isn't always easy to get children interested in books when there are so many other distractions.  Books with topics that interest them, and activity books are a must have.  Smithsonian's Sticker Creations Under the Sea and Sticker Creations Dinosaurs are not only fun but educational.  You and your child will love it! 
Author: Emily Rose Oachs $15.95
Smithsonian's Sticker Creations Under the Sea will allow your child to dive right into the sea of information and fun.  Dangerous predators, enormous sea animals, and strange creatures are just the tip of what they'll learn about while having fun with over 175 reusable stickers in this 64 page sticker activity book. 
Author: Ruth Tepper Brown $15.95
Smithsonian's Dinosaurs will have your child go back in time, introducing them to giant creatures that roamed the earth millions of years ago.  This also includes over 175 reusable stickers in 64 pages of activities.  

The stickers are high quality, the book is colorful and beautifully put together.  It isn't just about learning about under the sea creatures or dinosaurs, kids will brush up on making a time-line, reading skills, puzzle solving, creativity, geography, organization skills, concentration, and more all while having fun.  You can put a whole lesson plan around each page or take the book along on road trips, it is great for anytime!  I've reserved the book for all the "bored" moments our kids have, but also reference back while we learn during our "school" days.  Just like other Smithsonian products I highly recommend these.
For more information and other great finds visit www.silverdolphinbooks.com



 

Softjox - Personalized Sports Plush Characters! #Review #Video #BBNYC #SweetSuite15

*I received the item/s as a gift.  No other compensation was provided.  All opinions are a 100% my own.

Softjox plush toy characters are a must have for everyone young (and old), sports fans or not!  I don't know about you, but I love anything customizable, and these characters are customizable.  You can put your name, sports team, and number on the backs of these characters.  With an extra charge of $7.95 you can even put a little personalized logo on the front of your character too.  Softjox was created by the parents of two young boys who are into sports, they knew first hand what children and parents look for in plush products.  Made soft with quality these characters are huggable as they don't have any hard pieces or costumes.  Softjox aren't based on any shows, don't come with specific names, they aren't animal mascots, they aren't exactly human beings but an animated fun character that you get to make your own.  My kids 7 and 2 years old both love their characters, we even made a quick video - check it out below!  
Currently available in two character varieties; Football guy that comes with black/white, blue/white, green/white, and red/white color choices.  Soccer girl character that comes in the color purple/pink.  I have been hearing that other sports characters such as cheerleader, baseball, hockey and basketball characters are in the making.  I'm excited to see those characters come out, they would be the perfect gift for the holidays and birthdays.  These are great for companies, fund raisers, teams, and of course just as fun gifts for anyone.  The 17" soccer girl costs $19.95 and the 15" football guy for $19.95 and the 20" football guy for $29.95.  If you look on the site right now Softjox is offering free priority shipping on all orders and offers a 100% money back guarantee. 

Your Chance to Win $100 Amazon Gift Card! #Giveaway


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Makobi Scribe is bringing you this Amazon G+/YouTube blast where one lucky reader will win a $100 Amazon gift card. The giveaway is open to everyone and provided by Makobi Scribe. Good Luck! If you are a blogger, you can sign up for this blast here.


My Babies 3rd Month

My little boy has grown right before my eyes.  He has gained weight and is starting to look like a little chubby baby, it seems like just yesterday he was a newborn.  Gaining weight as well as gaining lots of strength to hold up his head and control of his body.  He puts his hands in his mouth, constantly drooling..possibly teething?  He smiles, in fact I call him "smiley" sometimes.  When he isn't smiling away, he give coos - he looks right at us  and takes one big breath to tell us something.  When he wants to complain and make a point before crying, he "talks" allot blowing spit bubbles.  It is super cute!

He only cries when he gets really tired, has gas, and needs to be picked up.  He hangs out on his swing, which he doesn't like swinging.  He just likes to have company in the room and sit there.  He loves tummy time, he has great control of his neck now.  A week ago, he was sick for about two weeks.  He had a stuffy congested chest, coughed a little but luckily we got through it. 
smiles & giggles when I play with his little toesies
He has chunky rolls and folds.  So much so that he has a rash on his neck from it, which we haven't figured out how to completely fix.  His hair is still super spiky and standing up.  He has a very strong grip, if he gets a hold of anything it goes directly towards his mouth.  He sleeps through the night, but he always has.  He sleeps with us in the bed, not because he wont sleep on his own but because I like to have him near. 

I breastfeed and am a stay at home mom so he nurses on demand.  There is no set schedule, even though naturally there is a pattern.  His skin has gotten better then his first month when it was breaking out nonstop.  He has what looks like eczema, and the rash on the folds of his neck but not out of control.  As moms we worry about everything, and one of those is how often they go...  My son, very different from his older brother and sister only goes every 7-10 days.  Apparently if all else is well, it is "normal" because there is no normal.  ;)

Overall being a mom of three hasn't been much harder than it is with two.  Strange enough it has been an easy transition, but that's thanks to my daughter who has grown up so much in the last few months.  He stays awake allot longer and is a bit more demanding for attention.  He loves company and loves being held.  He has his older siblings, and his parents spoiling him with love nonstop.  He has very recently started holding onto a few teething toys.  We took him to the beach for the first time this month, it was so cute to see his hair blow in the wind.  He is changing by the day, right before my eyes, excited to see what the next month will be like. 


Smithsonian's "Everything You Need to Know" Fact Cards for Grades K-1

*I received the item/s for the purpose of review.  No other compensation was provided.  All opinions are a 100% my own.
Smithsonian's Everything You Need to Know Face Cards for Grades K-1 is something every parent needs!  Whether you are a homeschooling family or not these wont take much space on your bookshelf, and it's a great way for kids to keep learning throughout the year.  Kids are naturally interested and eager to learn, feed their enthusiasm with easily accessible fun facts. 
275 colorful fact cards with everything your K-1st grader needs to know at hand, broken down into 20 categories.  
great colors and clear print

 
  1. A-Z fun facts
  2. Outer Space
  3. Our Solar System by the Numbers
  4. The Five Senses
  5. Opposites
  6. From the Soil
  7. A Rainbow of Animals
  8. Weather
  9. U.S. Presidents
  10. Inventors
  11. Around the World
  12. Money
  13. National Parks and Monuments
  14. Let's Celebrate
  15. From Limb to Limb
  16. Animal Homes
  17. Transportation
  18. 50 U.S. States
  19. United States in the Past
  20. Lay of the Land
It goes without saying that we love these fact cards, and highly recommend them.  It would make a great gift anytime of the year.  Unlike other fact cards we have owned before, these are in a great hard case to store them in, and just full of information!  These would also make a great gift!

Publisher: Silver Dolphin Books
Author: Ruth Strother
Ages: 5-7 years
Price: $19.95

Ping-Ping Panda's Bamboo Journey by Maurice Pledger #BookReview

*I received the item/s for the purpose of review. No other compensation was provided. All opinions are a 100% my own.
What a cute read this was for my kids and I.  This adorable story tells a story of Ping-Ping Panda searching for some tasty bamboo running into friendly creatures along the way.  Your little one will not only enjoy the adventure as she uncovers different surprises under each flap and turn of a page but will also learn what different animals eat.
A great read for you to read to your little one, and a great beginner book for your child to read on their own.   The book as easily become a favorite for my 7 year old, he enjoys reading to his toddler sister.  Easy to read, great story, multi-sensory, and educational!

Crayola Goodies Your Kids Should Try Out Before Summer's Over #SoFamilyPlayDate #ChalkArt

*We received item/s as a gift as attendees. No compensation was provided. All opinions are a 100% my own.
We went to our first event hosted by So Family Online yesterday at South Street Seaport, New York City.  At #SoFamilyPlayDay we all got to play with chalk and let out our artistic sides.  Arts & crafts, hopscotch challenge, sidewalk selfie, bean bag toss, obstacle course, and create with chalk stations were set up where kids and adults got to have fun.  At the end of the event, kids left inspired and with a fun goodie bag from Crayola to take home.  These are the products in the kids gift bags from Crayola we feel parents need to get their hands on before summer's officially over!     
Crayola Washable Sidewalk Chalk Grab 'N Go Games - Draw to Play - Play to Win
Build your own obstacle following the directions and play a game  with this chalk game set.  It includes 4 sidewalk chalk sticks, 4 pylon cone course markers & instructions.
Crayola Washable Sidewalk Chalk in 12 Different Bright Bold Colors
Anti-Roll shape
Crayola Outdoor Colorfoam "Color Magically Rubs Off Skin" - sounds like a colorful good time for kids *outdoors.
Crayola Color Alive where you bring your coloring to life with free app download on IOS, Android and Windows. 







Shopping for Back to School Clothes? Count on Primary for Quality, Simplicity and Price!

*I received item/s as a gift.  No other compensation was provided.  All opinions are a 100% my own.
Looking for good quality basics for your kids this back to school season?
(Boys) the t-shirt $10 the short $16
(Girls) the reversible twirly $20 the tank $10
Whether you are shopping for back to school or simply looking to add pieces to your child's wardrobe, check out Primary.  Primary is a children's clothing company founded by two moms (Galyn Bernard and Christina Carbonell) whom you could probably relate to.  These women understand the struggle many parents go through when shopping for our children.   

They've put it perfectly on their site:
  • Why do we have to wait for a 40% off sale to pay a reasonable price?
  • Why do we have to scroll through 23 pages of clothes before we get to what we need?
  • Why is a simple white t-shirt out of stock?
  • Why are the navy leggings we loved last year no longer available?
  • Why is there anything size 2 that is dry clean only?
If you can relate, they've done the work for us and have brought us Primary.  We can count on them for quality, simplicity and price.  Don't get me wrong there are many times I love the many options and dressing my kids up but most days I just want them comfortable with cute simple pieces. 
the baby hoodie $18
I love everything about Primary, but what truly sealed the deal for me was it's quality.  I love how soft the cotton pieces are, and of course the colors!  You have to check it out to see what I'm talking about. 
 
I was on their website looking for my favorite, the babysuit for my little one when I saw this promo going on.  You can get a free t-shirt with your first order of $25 or more.  Now would be a good a time as any to go check them out!
 
 

Wanting to Live "Forever"

 
quick drawing of our family by my son - it's extra sweet since little sister gave it a few folds
When I lost my mom back when I was a teenager, the last thing I wanted to do was live forever.  In fact I was deeply depressed not wanting to do anything with my life.  But now no matter how tough my days are, no matter how stressed out and busy I am, I want to live forever.  I don't have time to feel sad, sorry, or anything silly over small matters when I have three little kids who I brought into this world.  I only wish for my loved ones and I to be healthy & happy. 

My children; three beautiful little minds, all so amazingly creative, funny and full of life.  My heart aches knowing my mom didn't get to see her three kids grow up into adults.  She never met her grandkids, she has five.  She never got to grow old with her husband.  Just as I have hopes for the future of my life, my mom did and her life was cut short because of her health.  I want to live a long life for my kids, my husband, my family, my mom, and for myself.  Life isn't to be taken for granted and life isn't to be wasted on silly matters.  Life is to be lived everyday.           

Nothing is more important than health, and if you haven't had something happen to you to make you realize that - you're actually lucky.  But cheat on this one a little and know that the health of you and your loved ones comes first.  Have some perspective and no matter how bad a day you're having - get up and live, find something to smile about.  Think "even though __(fill in the blank)__happened, I have/can _(fill in the blank)__.  There's always an upside.

I want to live long enough to be have grown conversations with my children.  Although I am terrified of it but I want to deal with my growing teenage kids because I want to believe I'll be the kind of parent that my kids feel comfortable talking to me about anything.  I want to be with them when they fall in love, and be there to hug them when they have their first broken heart.  I want to be there annoying them when they have children of their own.  I want to host holiday dinners with my kids, and their kids.  I want it all, and I want to do this not only for myself but for my mom who never got to do it with us.  I want to grow old with my husband, and be that old cute couple still holding hands.  I never met my grandparents from her side of the family either, and I never met my grandpa from my dads side.  I want to give my future grandchildren grandparents.  I'm only in my late twenties, but I think of this.  I wish for this, I hope for this.  I fear of not being able to live a "forever."  My forever isn't forever, it's just a long healthy life with my family.

If you are feeling down whether it's a crappy day you had, or you had something horrible happen to you recently, know that it will get better.  And maybe it isn't children in your life, but you will find a reason to want to live forever.  Your family, your friends, maybe visiting a destination, maybe trying a new food - however big or small take that wish & hope and use it to want to live everyday to the fullest.  It's when you have something important to you when you realize there isn't enough hours in a day to live life to the fullest.  Don't waste time on something that isn't important, because you are going to regret the time wasted once it passes by you.  And I promise you, it will pass you by...  Living life to the fullest is different for everyone, and everyday is different. 

Since none of us have full control of our lives, and the future of it, all we could do is make sure we live today to the fullest.  Living life to the fullest doesn't mean doing something extraordinary everyday, it might just be in the simple joys in your day.  Life changes daily, here are some of my recent (simple) ways I like to live my life to the fullest:
  • Spend a day not worrying about cleaning, letting the kids make a mess, and spending the day being "careless" at home.  Just enjoying each other's company.
  • Making sure we get out into the world and see something new.
  • Learning something new, something we can talk about before falling asleep in bed.
  • Waking up on a Saturday morning and lying in bed as a family for an hour before getting up.
  • Enjoying family meals.
  • Cooking and eating something really good as a family.
  • Traveling as a family.
  • Dressing up to feel confident and pretty.  Also dressing up to be silly with the kids.
  • Forget about finances (within reason) and do something spontaneous every once in a while as a family.
  • Quality time with my kids.  Laughing, hugging, kissing... 
  • Cleaning up, decluttering - it could be unbelievably fulfilling.
  • Making someone else's day - even a stranger.
Don't wait for something horrible to happen to you to realize life is short, or to realize you should appreciate every little positive thing in life. 

What are you doing lately to live life to the fullest? 
Anything make you want to live "forever?"


KODAK MOMENTS App is Ready For Use! Plus a 40% Off Code for the Month of August!

It's without question that we all have tons of photos in our phones and tablets.  With three kids my phone is always at it's max full of moments I couldn't help but capture, the problem is I never print them out.  But it's a good thing there are so many ways to print our photos directly from our phones now.  I know there are other apps out there similar to this one, but we all like to have options, and I want to share one great one with you.  KODAK MOMENTS App has officially launched this week, I learned about the app at the Getting Gorgeous event last month where everyone was able to test out the app and print images directly from their phones. 

With the KODAK Moments app you can order prints from anywhere right after capture.  You are actually able to take photos using the app which enables you to edit, enrich images with tools and filters from the app right away.  Share them to your social media channels, send them in a message or email straight from the app.  You can order prints to your home, or pick them up at nearby CVS or Target stores.  Create prints, greeting cards, collages, photo books and more.  Using the app is great because it is full of options, you can print from 4"x6" to 24"x36" and posters, including square options too.   
__
"The KODAK MOMENTS App’s all-in-one features include:
  • Camera and Social Media Functionalities – Capture a picture without leaving the app, edit and enrich images with tools and filters. Post them to social media (such as FACEBOOK, FLICKR, INSTAGRAM, DROPBOX), send via instant message or e-mail them with just a few clicks. No need to close out of one app and open another.
  • Print Options – Users choose what works best for them – print in store at a Wi-Fi enabled KODAK Picture Kiosk; send to one of thousands of stores for same day pick up; or, ship to home.
  • Photo Gallery View – Conveniently access from the main menu, and easily view, select and print photos.
Additional app enhancements and photo products will be available soon.__"
I love that it gives me options to edit the images, and can't wait to test it out.  You can download the app from Google Play or App storeGet 40% off your orders for the entire month of August using code SAVE40PC. 


Celebrate Slinky's 70th Birthday on August 30th and Help Donate Toys #SlinkyDay70

Remember Slinky?  We all love Slinky right?  I remember playing with Slinky as a kid, it was one of those classic toys that never gets old.  I'm sure you remember it from your childhood too.  Slinky is celebrating its 70th birthday this year, and August 30th is Slinky Day.  You can join in on the celebration by posting a video of yourself (family/friends) singing the Slinky Jingle using the #SlinkyDay70 hashtag. 
Watch the video above to hear the jingle.  By making a fun video and posting you'll help donate a Slinky toy to Marine Toys for Tots FoundationAlex Brands will donate one for every post for up to 1,000 Slinky toys.
 
 

Get Your Little Ones Ready for BTS with PBS Kids DVD's + #Giveaway

*I received the item/s for the purpose of review.  Sponsor is responsible for prize fulfillment.  No other compensation was provided.

Summer is passing us by, and children will be heading back to school soon.  Some little ones will be heading to school for the first time, it can be both scary and exciting.  Let PBS Kids beloved characters Caillou and Daniel Tiger help your little one feel ready, and even if it isn't for school they'll be sure to enjoy the adventurous stories.  PBS Kids programs were the only ones I allowed in our home for the first years of my kids lives, check them out and you'll see why.
The Caillou Goes Back to School DVD & Bonus Book bundle will help children learn about reading, imagination, nature and art with everyday growing up adventures.  The DVD bundle includes 12 adventures and special features.  The titles are many of our favorites, and are:
  • Caillou the Librarian
  • Caillou the Bookworm
  • Caillou the Storyteller 
  • Magnet Madness
  • Caillou the Dinosaur Hunter
  • Caillou the Astronaut
  • Caillou Goes Shopping 
  • Caillou Goes Apple Picking
  • Caillou’s Halloween Costume
  • Caillou’s Present
  • Caillou the Chef
  • Caillou the Painter
Approximate run time 100 minutes
SRP: $12.99
The Daniel Goes to School DVD includes stories that even you will enjoy as your little ones watch. The titles are: 
  • A Trip to the Crayon Factory”
  • Be a Vegetable Taster!”
  • Line Leader Daniel”
  • Problem Solver Daniel
  • The Class Votes
  • O Builds a Tower
  • Play Pretend
  • Safety Patrol
Approximatw run time 100 minutes
SRP: $12.99
 
Check out these DVDs for your little ones today.  They will enjoy it whether headed back to school or not.  They are full of imagination, being kind, and learning - full of traits you want your child to pick up from.   And while you're at it, you can enter to win these 2 great titles from PBS Kids below.
Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood: Daniel's Big Feelings
Dinosaur Train: Explore Outdoors
Make sure to share with friends and enter away - there will be 5 winners!
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Learn About Lysol's New Moms Program + Win Some Lysol Products #Giveaway

*I received the item/s for the purpose of this post.  No other compensation was provided.  Giveaway is sponsored.
As a parent, especially a new parent it is hard to feel ready for baby's arrival.  It is actually impossible to be ready which is when resources like Lysol's New Moms program comes in handy.  It's where you can find checklists and various tips to keep baby safe.  As a mom of three I know I could use all the tips I could get and really found the site helpful.  I even learned that Lysol has a Healthy Start Program where a clinic on wheels visits communities offering free services to moms and young children.  All the dates for this year seem to have passed but I'd keep an eye on the site for an update and more useful resources. 

Baby proofing checklist, tips on cleaning, a guide on how to teach toddler hand washing and other helpful resources are just some of the useful information that could be found.  Keeping your home clean and free of viruses & bacteria are made easier with Lysol products.  Whether you are a fan of these products already or you're looking to try them out, you can enter to win a Lysol Power and Free Multi-Purpose Cleaner, a Lysol Touch of Foam Hand Soaps and the Lysol Disinfectant Spray To-Go below.

While we are on the subject of cleaning, what's your best tip for cleaning around kids?  I always clean when kids aren't in the room - for a number of reasons.  Keep them away from the chemicals and also you'll be able to clean without them making a mess at the same time.

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