I haven't been posting a lot lately but wanted to pop in and say happy Friday and have a hoppingly good time if you're celebrating Easter this weekend.
When it comes to health, I am very big on small changes. Big changes are hard to adopt long term and absorb into every day life. Little changes and baby steps, however, aren't so hard to stick too.
One small step towards better health I've adopted over the last year has been switching to stevia. Stevia is calorie free and derived from the plant Stevia rebaudiana so it's not a chemical. I used to be a Splenda fan and a sugar free junkie in general but after doing the HCG diet (I know, I know it's controversial but it worked for me) and an elimination diet to pin-point some migraine triggers, I've learned a lot about how not so great some of these sugar free foods and additives are. My version of living Sugar Free was actually mega chemical packed: contributing to my migraines and not helping me lose a single pound.
During my round of diets one thing I had to give up was my coffee creamer. That was such a struggle. I am not a breakfast person so my coffee with my oh so delicious store bought creamer was my morning joy and probably the biggest sacrifice. The regular, fat free and sugar free versions all had so many chemicals in them and had to go. I whittled down my coffee to a little almond milk (or heavy whipping cream) & stevia. It did the trick but wasn't something I looked forward to anymore. I missed flavor. Until now! My new BFF- SweetLeaf Sweet Drops. These flavored stevia drops have brought back my morning joy. A few drops with my almond milk or cream and I'm happy again.
My little change is just a change now and not a sacrifice anymore....
Yikes! I can't believe we are already 2 weeks into 2015. I hope everyone is having a wonderful new year so far. I've really been slacking here on the blog so I thought I would post today about a little something I've had up my sleeve.
My 3 year old Hadley and I have been sick and couch bound since Christmas but before the plague hit us, I had started working on a new build of Top Mommy Blogs. For those of you who don't know what that even means, TopMommyBlogs.Com is a mom blog directory and community for mom & now daddy bloggers. I started this about 5 and half years ago because I was so obsessed with reading other baby and mom blogs. So I created TopBabyBlogs.Com and a year later TopMommyBlogs.Com. Both directories are "ranked" directories so listings are based on activity from member blogs. It's a great way for readers to discover new blogs and keep up with active blogs vs abandoned or stale blogs.
OK, back to the news... a sneak peek of TMB 3.0! One feature that has been requested over and over again was a voting confirmation. A way for a visitor to know if they have actually even "voted" for the blog they just came from. Well great news, TMB 3.0 will have voting confirmation! Even better, it will have a counter showing when you can vote again, a return to website option and a jump to profile link.
There is no date yet on when TMB 3.0 will be launched. I was hoping for February but have gotten a very slow start so now TMB 3.0 is TBD. Members can chime in any requests or feelings they have over in the Lounge on this post (the TMB community forum). Now is a great time to chat about needs, wants, current issues, etc. OK, back to the couch. I'm hoping this is my last day on the DL.
Looking for a Christmas gift for dad? I've got a great one! A Mantry. It's "The Modern Man's Pantry" and can be gifted as either a subscription service or an individual crate. Each crate is filled with 6 full sized American made artesian foods that all have masculine packaging perfect for the gourmet (or just hungry) manly man in your life.
The Mantry that I received was the Coffee And A Smoke Mantry (see past boxes here). This Mantry has a really nice range of coffee & smokey foods from sweet to savory. I love each items packaging (true to the man theme) and the variety. It's a little bit of everything and all so yummy:
- La Quercia Smoky Borsellino Salami
- Granola Jones Mocha Haze
- Lark Find Foods Whole Grain Espresso Chip Shortbread Cookies
- Southern Soul Barbeque's Sweet Georgia Soul
- Dave's Coffee All Natural Mocha Coffee Syrup
- Olive And Sinclair Buttermilk Coffee White Chocolate Bar
**This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.
Black Friday is starting TODAY at Stella & Dot. Head over there now to receive an additional 25% off all sale items now through 11/30. You can save big on lots of Gifts for Her - necklaces, earrings, rings and other beautiful accessories. And to make things even better, right now they are having their DOT DOLLARS SALE! For every $50 you purchase, you will get $25 back to spend later. So what are you waiting for? Head over to the Stella & Dot Black Friday Sale today! www.stelladot.com/shop/en_us/sale/sale-all
If your baby loves snuggling with plush toys as well as chewing on them, the organic Waldorf Doll from Olives & Pickles might just be a winner (you may be too... keep reading for a giveaway).
This snuggly soft square figured little guy is a wonderful shape for little hands not only to hold, but to curl up and fall asleep on. He's almost like a mini pillow. His knotted hand hold a 3” teether made with 100% untreated solid Beech wood. This is a clever attachment because it's easy to remove for washing or even adding other little toys, pacifiers, etc. Although he is hand washable, I like the idea of being able to remove the teether to wash separately. Or when the baby has outgrown the teething stage, like mine, it can be removed and you have a wonderful stuffed toy.
Of course babies don't just chew on what they are supposed to so it's nice to know the fabric is 100% GOTS certified organic cotton that has been printed with low-impact dyes and stuffing is 100% organic too. PVC, BPA & Pthtalates Free....
I'm smitten with my share for today. It's part 2 of my Gifts Under $50 from Uncommon Goods and today's gift idea is for my kids. If you missed it, see my pick for hubby/dad here. I had my son in mind with this fun find but it will be entertaining for the whole family I'm sure. It's a Portable Table Tennis Set (a.k.a travel ping-pong; $39.95 here).
This will make an excellent Christmas present for him. He's a picky 11 year old boy and this is a good activity for him because we need things to get him away from video games. Plus he just started tennis lessons.
I love things that come in their own container or travel case. Especially with kids, it makes cleaning up and storing so much easier. This set is really slick and well-built. When your playing, everything is sturdy and normal sized. But when it comes time to clean up, it winds up and folds down to store into its bag. The two weighted ends not only hold the net in place while playing (very securely), they also store the net and the tennis balls while in storage. Plus the paddles fold down.
I was pleasantly surprised on how durable it was as well as how easy it was to make compact for travel/storage. It fits perfectly on my dining room table which is much larger than the one pictured above....
I found a way to have been for breakfast! Beer Jelly. Go ahead... get toasted *ha ha*. I love this for myself since I love cooking with beer but even more so as a gift for the beer drinkers in my life. This is a creative and delicious alternative to a six pack. The Potlicker Beer Jelly 4 pack (here) is the first of two Uncommon Goods items I picked out to share (both gifts under $50). I had my son and husband in mind so obviously this one's for daddy. My pick for my son will posted next.
Uncommon Goods has for a long time been go-to source for me for gifts and inspiration. It's been around for a while... at least as long as I can remember being active on the internet so back to 1999. (A.K.A- the olden days). They usually have several goods that have made it into my gift guides as well as my own shopping cart or wish list. Some things there are a little wacky but most are unique and fun but still useful. It's a great place to go when your looking for something a little less traditional or something extra special that you likely won't find a the mall.
While I would of loved to have saved these as a gift, we had to test them out. And boy was it fun. It really stirred up my holiday baking ideas. They taste like jelly with a beer kick to them. The beer flavor really balances the sweetness nicely....
Especially for the kids... I love wireless. My little mouse/puppy children have to chew on everything and destroy delicate parts (like chords) so minimizing breakables is essential. I was excited when Kinovo wanted to team up and they had a great variety of tech gadgets for me to choose from. I instantly homed in on the BTH220 Bluetooth Wireless Headphones // here. There are so many crazy game sounds and random songs blasting through out my house. If I can silence just a few of those, I'll be a happy mom.
First off (since the holidays are coming up), price. You can pick these up for around $20 (Kinovo.Com, Amazon.Com). After price, I love how compact and portable these are. They fold down, again no wires to untangle, and come with a little travel bag for storage. I extra heart products that come with their own storage bag or case.
Out of the box you open it up, plug it in via a USB chord to charge then pair it w/your device (iPad, iPhone, iPod touch, Android Smart Phones, etc) like pairing any bluetooth device. It's really easy to get started with. Another very cool feature is that they go on backwards. This was a little different for me and I admit I had to go onto YouTube to see how to put these on. I had never seen/worn this style so it was new to me. My Walkman headphones from the olden days weren't like this so I needed some training.
Once we figured out how to wear them, (and laughed out ourselves for not figuring out on our own) we loved them. No one in our house really likes ear buds and traditional headphones can be really bulky. Especially for exercising. I actually might end up stealing these back from my son for the gym. They aren't as bulky or intrusive and are nice and light weight. I'm not a sound junky so for me and the kids, the sound quality is great. It doesn't get blasting loud which is very nice for little ears....
I've been fighting with old and on the verge of exploding computers lately so when I got an email from Picture Keeper to collaborate I was thrilled. It didn't take me more than a few seconds to see that this was product that I would not only LOVE to use for myself, it's also a fantastic gift idea. Keep reading for your chance to win one for yourself just in time for the holidays...
The Picture Keeper is a Plug & Play USB drive that, with no software to download (love that part) finds and backs up your photos. JUST YOUR PHOTOS! All on a teeny tiny little USB drive. It's easy to use, easy to store... easy to love.
How does it work? You simply plug it in, the built in software pops up and you get started. At first I love'd this idea for the concept of quickly pulling photos of older computers but really, my new computer is already overloaded w/photo's and needs a photo backup just as much as the older ones....
We are that family that decorates pretty intensely for the holidays. All the way down to the outdoor entry light colors. We change the outdoor bulbs each Halloween & Christmas (orange, black red or green to match the season). My hubby gets a little obsessive when it comes to decorating for the holidays and I fully encourage it. But it takes him forever so I love cool, time/money saver gadgets like these colored light bulb covers called Moodies.
When our Moodies arrived, I was thrilled. These little things are fantastic. You slip the silicone (like the bakeware) Moodies over the regular CFL or LED bulb you already have in and it lets off that particular colors glow. No changing of the bulbs! Not that changing light bulbs is hard, but these are way easier and it's fun to swap the colors. When these arrived, I was strictly thinking 'great for our outdoor lights during the holidays' but my kids of course quickly jumped in to pick their room color for everyday use and hijacked my plans. Luckily, there's a rainbow of colors so I only had to share a little. Everyone is happy.
I've been really making an effort to switch to re-usable products for the kids lunches. Russbe snack & sandwich bags are a few in my lunch prep arsenal. Since I am officially making 4 lunches, with my 3 year old in preschool, we would otherwise be going through a plethora of packaging. It could gets spendy and wasteful fast.
The Russbe bags are durable and washable so they and are standing up to my rough kids beautifully. Literately. They stand up. The propped/standing feature, outside of the modern the designs and colors is my favorite part. Filling them with snacks (or soapy water) is way easier than w/disposable sandwich and snack bags and washing them is easy because I can let them soak to wash. Having snack bags cuts down on food waste for us as well. My kids seem to think they need to fill the entire back and would always bring home (and throw away) extra snacks....
I admit I've had eyelash envy lately. My kids were all blessed with my husbands long luscious eyelashes. Like seriously long. Like touch your eyebrows long. I used to love my eyelashes for their natural curl and not ever having to use an eyelash curler but compared to my hubby/kids... they are super short. So short in fact that my eyelash envy has lead me to start using Latisse. I'm loving my longer lashes thanks to Latisse but I am not great about putting it on every night, don't love the cost and my lashes aren't really any thicker. They didn't quite have that is-she-wearing-fake-eyelashes effect I was hoping for.
That leads me to this product: Moodstruck 3D Fiber Lashes by Younique. I've seen ads/reviews for this and had been really curious so I was excited to give it a shot. The pitch: get the look of fake eyelashes via mascara. My response: Yes... that's exactly I'm looking for! The result: They work... noticeably thicker and even longer lashes. Like fake eyelashes w/less fuss or worry about them falling off! I heart them.
The application is simple and similar to putting on normal mascara. It ia a 4 step process but I think much easier then applying fake eyelashes. Since I usually do two coats of mascara, an extra two coats wasn't that much more work and it's actually fun because you the transformation of your eyelashes:...
Meet Ringly. Kind of like a mood ring but instead of telling you you're cranky, it tells you that you have a text, phone call, email, etc via light & vibration. It's smartphone jewelry and a busy moms stylish new best friend. Beautiful, brilliant and I totally can't wait to get my hands on one. Available right now for pre-order ($195.) @ Ringly.Com
Love these! It's a classic brown bag motif but reusable and so cute. The Eco Lunch Bags from A Little Lark (a local Portland co.) are made from recycled cotton fibers and have aVelcro® like closure. Best of all... machine washable. If purchasing the Heart Bag through their website, 10% of profits goes to Oregon Food Bank.