Jul 26, 2016

Who Else Wants to Make Sure Their Baby Eats Healthy?

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Sprout Organic Foods. All opinions are 100% mine.

Sprouts Organic Foods, Baby Food, Sprout Pouches, whole foods
My sweet 11 month old baby still only has 4 teeth and 2 of those teeth are barely popping through so they aren't doing much good grinding up food.  At about 9 months she started HATING baby food.  She didn't like me feeding her with a spoon.  She would swat the spoon out of my hand after only a few bites.  

I started letting her have finger foods at that time, but I quickly started to worry about how healthy she was eating.  I also did not want her to become a picky eater and research has shown that developing a love of healthy foods early on helps foster healthy eating habits for life (which is what all moms want, right?).  So I made it a priority to make sure she had a diverse range of foods. 

I would do the following things to make sure I had a good balanced diet for her:
  • Provide a vegetable with lunch and dinner.  Green beans are my daughter's favorite, but I would also provide carrots, broccoli, and cauliflower for the most part.  
  • Provide a fruit at each meal.  I have some mesh feeding bags that help her eat fresh fruit that she can't chew otherwise.  It is a mess, but she loves it.  We have a fresh apricot tree in our yard so she has been eating those.  Also, strawberries and peaches are usually our go to fruits. 
  • Provide grain at each meal.  She loves her grains so that is never hard to get in.  That usually consists of bread broken up into little pieces, graham crackers, or oatmeal. 
  • To give her some protein I usually give her some peanut butter, yogurt, or eggs.  I offer these at every meal as well.  
  • For drinks she still is breastfed and then at meal time she has a sippy cup of water. 
When she eats all of this then I feel good.  I feel like she is getting good nutrients into her body and she is more full to help her sleep through the night.  However, when I am out and about, which happens a lot when you have an older sibling, then it is hard to do finger food.  Although, she is eating from the spoon better than when she was at 9 months it still isn't her favorite.  

So I had to find something that would give her good nutrition and that wouldn't be a disaster to eat.  That is when I found that pouches were a great solution.  They are easy to pack, because they aren't bulky.  You can twist the top off and they are ready to go.  For some reason Isla doesn't mind me helping her with them; maybe it is because she gets to suck the food up herself.  I don't let her hold it  herself yet because she hasn't figured out how to not squeeze it out all over the place, but she still doesn't mind me helping her. 

Sprouts Organic Foods, Baby Food, Sprout Pouches, whole foods
Then to try and keep up with being healthy I didn't want to get any pouch.  So I researched different pouches.  Have you heard of Sprout Organic Baby Food?  Here are the reasons that I like using Sprout pouches:
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  1. Unlike leading competitors that primarily focus on two flavors (apple or pear); Sprout offers delicious blends of whole fruits, vegetables, and grains giving babies greater exposure to wholesome foods and the foods they use are  only certified-organic, non-GMO whole fruits, vegetables, and grains.
  2. They don't use concentrates 
  3. There are no preservatives.  Only ingredients that would be found in your own kitchen are used! 
  4. They also have an Honesty Pledge (you can find out more about it on their Mission & Values page) that communicates the company's commitment to transparency and honest labeling.  Sprout's new tagline is "Keep it Honest, Make it Real"! (This is super important to me because I want to know that I can trust the food that I give my girls!)  This way I know that the flavor names will match the primary order of ingredients inside it. 
  5. They have 4 new yummy flavors. 
    1. Mango
      Who Else Wants to Make Sure Their Baby Eats Healthy?
    2. Spinach Banana Apple
      Sprouts Organic Foods, Baby Food, Sprout Pouches, whole foods
    3. Blueberry Banana Oatmeal
      Sprouts Organic Foods, Baby Food, Sprout Pouches, whole foods
    4. Pear Spinach Prune
      Sprouts Organic Foods, Baby Food, Sprout Pouches, whole foods
So if you are like me and struggle with finding something convenient on-the-go or if you need something convenient at home that doesn't lack the nutrition then give Sprouts a try!  Also, if you are like me then when you try something new you want to make sure you get the best bang for your buck and you don't want to overspend.  Right?!  I hear you!  Thankfully on their website there is are Sprout Coupons so you can buy one and get one free!  

Give it a shot and then come back and let me know what you think! Click the Where to Buy link to see where you can pick some up.

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Jul 10, 2016

Worldwide Indexing Event: Are you in?

family history, ancestors
 I received compensation in exchange for writing this blog post.  Although this post is sponsored, all opinions are my own.

Family history?  Indexing?  Why are they so important?  Do I seriously have time to add something else to my plate? If I add it to my plate will it really even make that much of a difference?  These are all questions I ask in my head every time I hear about indexing or family history even.  

I have heard many people's stories about how indexing/family history has been an amazing experience for them.  They talk about how they have found family members that have been "missing" from their family tree. I also think it is amazing to know where you came from and everything that your heritage entails.  However, even with all these reasons to do it I still haven't touched it. 

The last 2 years there has been a Worldwide Indexing Event.  Every year I want to be a part of it, but every year I haven't done it for some reason or another.  This year is different.  This year I will be participating in it.  Honestly, it is the first time I will have indexed and I can't wait to get involved.  

I have set up a time and I am going to stick with that time.  I am going to do as much as I can to make a difference.  I can't wait to start experiencing this for myself instead of only hearing it through stories.  I can't wait to learn more about it and actually dip my toes in.  Who knows?  I might even become hooked like many people become after trying it.  

So do you want to know more about it and join the event?  Of course you do!  

family history, ancestors

Here are some details about the event and why it is even an event:

From July 15-17, FamilySearch International will sponsor the third annual “Worldwide Indexing Event,” bringing 72,000 people from around the globe together online during a 72-hour event to save the world’s records by making them searchable to the public.  

During the 72-hour indexing period, volunteers participate by downloading the FamilySearch software and completing as many names as they would like.  Anyone with a computer and internet connection can join.   

Volunteers have made over one billion historic records searchable online since FamilySearch introduced online indexing in 2008. The demand for indexed records continues to grow as millions of historical records worldwide are added every year. To join 72,000 teammates in saving the World’s records, visit https://familysearch.org/worldsrecords

FamilySearch International is the largest genealogy organization in the world. It is a nonprofit, volunteer-driven organization sponsored by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. FamilySearch and its predecessors have been actively gathering, preserving, and sharing genealogical records worldwide for over 100 years. Patrons may access FamilySearch services and resources free online at FamilySearch.org or through over 4,921 family history centers in 129 countries.

On the website it talks about what indexing is and why its so important.  Here is how they explain indexing, but they have a fun interactive way for you to learn about it online, if you want to check it out.  Its so fun that my daughter has done it a few times.  

Here are the steps:
  1. Before the internet was around there would be priests and clerks that would write down all the births, christenings, marriages, and deaths by hand of everyone on the earth.  
  2. Nowadays there are genealogists that go into the churches and recover these historical records. 
  3. Volunteers then take pictures of the documents and put them online. 
  4. Since the computers can't read the written text, that is where people like you and me come in.  We type the records in so computers can understand them. 
  5. Once the computer understands those records they are now searchable.  So people can find their ancestors.  That is pretty amazing! 
Worldwide Indexing Event: Are you in?

After learning more about it I am so excited to get involved with this.  I am so excited that I am actually doing it.  The even better part is my husband is doing it to with me and many of my family members.  We are going to hold each other accountable.  

I can't wait!  I would love for you to join with me as well.  Just like I wrote above.  You can do as little or as much as you want.  Every little bit counts and helps!  Happy indexing!


family history, ancestors

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Jul 6, 2016

Happy Through Trials: Lessons She Learned From Infertility

faith, happiness, hope, love, adoption, girls, miracles


Triumphs and Trials

The next post in this series is by Melissa from Triumphs and Trials.  She is amazing and you will see that from this post.  I also met Melissa at a blog conference in February.  So glad that I did because she is an inspiration to me!

Happy Through Trials: Lessons She Learned From Infertility
I am the oldest child in my family. When I was eight years old my mom had my third sibling...a little girl. I love my little sister. I loved rocking her to sleep and feeding and playing with her. I was the girl who loved to babysit. My ultimate goal in life was to be a wife and mother. I got married at 24 and after three short months we decided to start trying for a baby “not preventing.”

We believed that if Heavenly Father wanted us to have a baby it would happen...but nothing happened. It was a little after a year of trying, when we started infertility treatments. We tried everything we'd heard about...Clomid, Famara, Homeopathac doctors, surgery and IUI. For years there were countless nights me and my husband would cry and wonder if we would ever have a child of our own. I remember begging Heavenly Father to send me just one! If He would send us just one child, I promised that I would be HAPPY.

Happy Through Trials: Lessons She Learned From Infertility
We had been trying for over four years when we got our first positive pregnancy test! We were so excited, that we took at least five tests before going to the doctor the next day. We worried probably the whole nine months and then we had our MIRACLE! I felt so complete and so blessed. I loved having a sweet baby in our home.

It was a little after Kaylee's first Birthday when people started asking when we were going to have another baby. We hadn't been “preventing,” but I think it was somewhere around her second birthday that we officially started to “try again."

adoption, love, hope, gratitude, positive, attitude, faith, thankful

Jul 2, 2016

How to set up the perfect Olympic Party

Oriental Trading Company, red, white, blue, stars, stripes, Team USA

“This post is based strictly on my opinion. I will be compensated with free product for this post.  No other type of compensation was received.  All ideas and opinions are my own.”

The Olympics are this year!  I LOVE watching the Olympics and if you have been following me for a bit then you know I love parties.  I love going to them and I love throwing a great party.  Since the Olympics happen every 2 years (when taking into account Winter AND Summer Olympics), I think its the perfect excuse to have a party.  

My oldest daughter is getting into the party planning with me and I love it!  We have already been brainstorming.  This year I really wanted to go with the American theme.  In the past I did food from all the different countries.  I did games and activities with all the countries, but this year I want to do everything American.  Maybe get to know our American athletes, have some good American food, and of course have America decorations.  

I have been on the hunt for some cute American decor.  Right now is the perfect time to look because the 4th of July is right around the corner.  In fact we are right in the midst of the 4th of July weekend.  I have looked and looked and I have finally found some fun items that I am going to get right away.   They won't break the bank either, which is a plus.  I don't know why I didn't start with Oriental Trading Company, seriously they have everything.  I don't even have to look anywhere else since they have anything I can think of.  I am so excited to share what I have found with you! 

First off I want to show you some fun projects that I found that would be so much fun to make.  Then I will show you products that I love that are ready to go without any work.  
Oriental Trading Company, red, white, blue, stars, stripes, Team USA

Fun DIY Projects for Olympic Party Decorations

If you want to see the directions on how to make these and the supplies that are needed for each project, click on each of the pictures.

How to set up the perfect Olympic Party
American Flag Table Runner Idea


How to set up the perfect Olympic Party
Fabric Garland Idea

How to set up the perfect Olympic Party
Luminary Idea

How to set up the perfect Olympic Party
Bandanna Wreath Idea
  
How to set up the perfect Olympic Party
Clothespin Wreath Idea

How to set up the perfect Olympic Party
Mason Jar Idea

How to set up the perfect Olympic Party
Place Setting Idea-Since it isn't for the 4th of July I would do without the firework part, but the rest is perfect!

Favorite Olympic Party Decorations

How to set up the perfect Olympic Party
Hanging Fans-LOVE THESE


How to set up the perfect Olympic Party
Jumbo Confetti-I love how these will look on the food table


How to set up the perfect Olympic Party
Stars and Stripes Banner-I love banners


How to set up the perfect Olympic Party
Scalloped Balls-I love the ways these look! 

The other great thing about Oriental Trading Company is that they have category pages that make it easy to find what you are looking for.  I plan on using the "Patriotic Grand Events Party" category page to help me put together the PERFECT Olympic party this year.  

I cannot wait to be surrounded by family and friends watching our country compete in the Olympics.  GO TEAM USA! 


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Jul 1, 2016

Princess Birthday Party-Games


Once I knew that we were going to be doing a princess party I knew we had to play some fun games.  The problem that I was facing is that there were only going to be 5 girls total AND the ages ranged from 3-8.  So I had to come up with something that would be okay for all of the girls no matter their age.  

I also struggled with how many games to plan.  I didn't want to do too little because I didn't want them to be bored, but I didn't want to overwhelm them.  Honestly, this was the first year I actually planned games for her party.  (Other than "Pin the Nose on Olaf" for her Frozen party last year.)  So I had NO idea what to expect.  

I thought it would be fun to plan a game for each of the Princesses, but decided that might be a little much.  So I went with the girls favorite princesses (I asked their mom's before hand). There were some duplicates so I planned 4 games.  

I was provided free product from Oriental Trading in exchange for a blog post.  No other type of compensation was received.  Also, there are some affiliate links included as well.  All ideas and opinions are my own.

The Little Mermaid
Princess Birthday Party-Games

The girls went "fishing" for treasure.  They each got a princess necklace from Oriental trading.  They were a hit and since I gave them the same thing there were no hard feelings.  The "fishing pole" was so easy to make.  I took a wooden dowel and tied on bakers twine.  Then tied the opposite end of baker's twine to a clothes pin.  That's it.  Very simple.  I have a chaise lounge chair that I tipped on it's side and put a blue blanket over it for the "sea" part and then cut out some fish with my Cricut and taped them to the blanket. 

Cinderella

The next game we didn't end up playing.  The younger girls really wanted to do presents, cake, and hopefully have time for free play.  So we didn't do it, but I did have it planned. I was going to have them sit in a circle and have one girl hold a wooden "glass slipper" and then have another girl on the opposite side of the circle hold a ball.  Then they were going to pass the slipper and the ball clockwise constantly trying to get the ball to catch the slipper.  Sort of like the prince trying to catch Cinderella when she ran from the ball.  





Jun 29, 2016

Happy Through Trials: A Woman Shares 3 Little Known Ways to Stay Positive During Trials

trial after trial, many trials, positive, happiness, beautiful life

This next post is so amazing.  I was lucky enough to meet Jamie at a blog conference in February this year.  We happened to sit down together at breakfast and I'm so glad I did.  I was immediately drawn to her blog and I knew I wanted her to be a part of this series.  Thankfully she said yes.  She is amazing and gives some amazing advice! 


As a child, I looked forward to being "off-track" so I could spend the majority of my 3-week break stay with my beloved grandma and grandpa.  One particular stay when I was 9-10 years old, I woke up from a little afternoon siesta and walked into the kitchen. My grandma was sitting in her normal spot at the kitchen table, reading her bible, and crying softly. When I asked her why she was crying, she told me her heart was heavy today.  It was the day my sister passed away several years ago. Lindsay passed away before I was born when she was 14 months old.

My grandma wept not only for the loss of Lindsay, but she wept for my mother's (her daughter) pain. I made a comment about how unfair it was that my parent's had to endure the loss of their child. My grandma began talking about the trials of life and told me this that has stayed with me 20 years later.

"I believe when we come to this world, we are handed a manila envelope (it had to be manila, I asked her) and inside are the pages/transcript of our life. Some of us are given more pages than others, and some of these pages are filled with sadness, pain, and suffering. It is up to us to create something beautiful with our stories."

Happy Through Trials: A Woman Shares 3 Little Known Ways to Stay Positive During Trials
One of the last pictures of me and my grandmother, who passed away in 2010. She was my cheerleader and my number one fan. I look to her in my moments of darkness. She managed type 1 diabetes for 55 years and I never heard her complain once.

At 14 years old, I found out that my 'manila envelope' was stuffed full. A life-changing event made my teenage years even more emotionally tumultuous and depression consumed me. At 16, I was in my first major car accident. It was around this time that I began having horrific back pain that didn't go away with rest. I chalked it up to the car accident. At 17, I had my heart broken for the first time. Dealing with immense physical and emotional pain, I found solace in drugs, alcohol, and smoking heavily. I went from a 3.9 GPA and scholarship opportunities to not caring and failing classes. I could sleep 23 hours a day and never come out of my room. I wallowed in self-pity and my relationships suffered. For the next couple of years, I wandered aimlessly and partied hard.


Create beautiful stories, happiness, love, hope, positive



Jun 22, 2016

Happy Through Trials: How This Woman Finds Happiness Despite Tragedy Striking

car accident, gratitude, service

This next woman in this series is amazing.  She seriously amazes me everyday.  I went to high school with her husband and I never really knew her, but since I really met her at a blog conference in February I feel like she has been my friend forever.  She is an inspiration to me and I know she will be an inspiration to you as well.  You can follow Alyssa on her blog, After the Victory

service, wife, mother, daughters

Hi! My name is Alyssa Chambers. I’m a wife and the mother of two daughters. I love anything outdoors…hiking, biking, camping, and running…just to name a few. I love being a mom…there is no better job in this world in my opinion! I enjoy reading, writing and learning. Life is pretty good…and even though life is hard…I’ve learned over this last year that we can still find happiness in our trials.

Happy Through Trials: How This Woman Finds Happiness Despite Tragedy Striking

On August 23rd 2015 my life changed forever…my family and I were in a tragic car accident. I lost my husband and four year old daughter. My other six year old daughter and I were hospitalized for several days. It was the most horrible experience of my life and now almost a year later we continue our daily struggles without half of our family. The last year has been extremely difficult, yet it has also shown me the goodness of others and has built and strengthened my faith. I have a stronger faith in God, forever families, and a loving Savior.

Jun 15, 2016

Happy Through Trials: How This Woman Filled A "Hole" In Her Life In A Healthy Way

Traveling, healthy lifestyle, exercise, nieces, nephews


Happy Through Trials

The next amazing woman in the series is Kristen.  I have the privelege of knowing her too!  We worked together as accountants awhile back.  She is truly an inspiration to me.  I have seen her go through this crazy journey that she talks about below and she has handled it better than I think I ever could.


Eight years ago my parents flew me down to San Diego to spend time with them and visit my mom’s side of the family for a few days. While driving to my grandparents’ house from the airport my dad brought up my health. At the time I was a level three morbidly obese person although I wouldn’t know that for a couple months. He mentioned his concern about my weight and then brought up my desire to get married. At the time I was almost 26 and VERY single. I’ve always wanted to be a wife and a mother, but I just wasn’t somebody guys wanted to date. At my parents prompting I went to see my primary care doctor to see if maybe I had thyroid issues. I’d been heavy my whole life, but I was at an all-time high. My weight was causing unhappiness in all areas of my life. My doctor referred me to a dietitian and I started to take control of my life.

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