Friday Finds, Favorites and Fotos!

I hope you all had a great week!  Ours went quick!  Last weekend was a 3-day weekend full of fun with the family, going to the zoo and farmer’s market, that launched us into a great, short week!  We are now officially on summer break (I was watching 2 little boys whose parents are teachers) and I’ve been loving every minute of getting to devote 100% of my attention to my little Pippylove!  We’ve spent time at the park, swimming in her baby pool and we even went and had lunch with Daddy and Grandma – all in all it’s been a fabulous start to summer!

Finds: 

Okay so I found the following a couple of weeks ago but I completely forgot to write about it last week so I had to include it this week instead!  Have you heard of The Sneaky Chef???  Her motto is “veggies tonight without the fight”.  Well a couple weeks ago I stumbled across The Sneaky Chef’s Veggie Pasta at the grocery store.  I think I forgot to mention that I’m a vegetarian, and because of this we tend to have pasta almost always in the pantry to be able to incorporate into dinner whenever necessary.  Typically I buy multigrain pasta (we try to avoid white flour as much as possible) but when I saw this veggie pasta I had to give it a try!  Not only is this pasta multigrain, but it also has 6 veggies in it: Spinach, Broccoli, Carrots, Tomato, Beet, and Shiitake Mushrooms.  The best part is that it cooks up white, has a normal pasta texture and tastes great…like regular noodles!!  So if you happen to come across it the next time you’re shopping for groceries, you should definitely give it a try!

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Favorites:

This week I thought I’d share with you my top 5 favorite things that M says/does right now:

  • She’s big into kissing her owies.  So when she runs into you, accidentally hits you, etc. she’s started saying sorry on her own without being prompted and then kisses it!!  SO CUTE!
  • Anytime anyone is dancing on TV, she makes us get up and dance with her.  We’ve spend many a moment twirling around the living room.  And she’s starting singing along with the theme songs of her favorite shows (Sofia the First, Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and Frozen).  I love hearing her little voice sing along!
  • She’s started calling us by name in the middle of the night and/or morning when she wakes up.  It makes it a little easier to wake up in the middle of the night when she’s so cutely saying “Dada” “Mama”
  • She chews gum!  Like we’re talking chews and chews and chews like a real girl!  She’s chewed it for over an hour before.  And when she’s done she’ll take it out and hand it to you and say “All Done” (in an East Coast accent..where did that come from?!  Daddy says it’s the little bit of New York blood in her ;))
  • She’s started laughing at herself!  When she does something silly or when she’s looking through pictures of herself she’ll randomly throw her head back and start laughing!  Apparently she’s her own personal comedian!!

Fotos:

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(Top left: 1st ever ice cream cone!! Top right: Cooling off in the wading pool.  Bottom left: First bonfire of the summer! Bottom right: She’s obsessed with the park!)

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Fun at the Zoo!!

 

Have a great weekend!!

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My Summer “On-the-Go” Kit aka “Ouch Pouch”

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School’s officially out and the days are getting longer and warmer, which means more trips to the park, pool, beach and more.  With a toddler around, more time spent playing outside also means more “boom booms” as M calls them!  I decided that with all of our outdoor adventures, it would be a good idea to put together a little on-the-go first aid kit of sorts.  I came across a super cute idea to make an “ouch pouch”, containing everything one needs in case of a “boom boom” and modified the idea a bit to include the things I deemed necessary for a summer on-the-go kit suitable to grab and throw in any bag on the way out the door to our summer activities, regardless of what they are.

Here’s what’s in my “ouch pouch”:

  • chapstick
  • antibacterial hand wipes
  • hand lotion
  • hand sanitizer
  • homemade, natural bug spray (find the recipe here)
  • bandaids (in a variety of sizes)
  • sunscreen
  • Neosporin
  • antiseptic wipes
  • gauze pads
  • Kleenex
  • Earth Mama, Angel Baby Bottom Balm (for rashes, eczema spots, burns, scrapes, bug bites, basically anything and everything!)
  • and last but certainly not least… a sucker (cause they make everything feel better, right?!)

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What else could you include??  Pain reliever, allergy medicine, Epi pen (for kiddos with severe allergies), inhaler, snacks/granola bars, basically anything you think you might need!!  Having it all put together in a portable little pouch makes it super easy for you to grab and go!

Happy Summer! 🙂

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Friday Finds, Favorites and Fotos!

Surely it can’t have already been a week since last Friday’s post, can it?!  I guess so… because here we are with another Friday F post!!  Thinking back over the week I can’t really remember any big “finds” that stand out to me, so we’ll just jump right into my “favorites!”

Favorites

  • As a former teacher, I’ve always been blessed to have a summer break from work.  For as long as I can remember I’ve had a list of “Summer Reads” aka books that I plan to read during my break from school.  The book that always tops this list is “Under the Tuscan Sun”.  I’m not really sure what it is about this particular book that makes me love it so much.  Perhaps it’s the fact that Frances Mayes (the writer) goes so in depth describing the Tuscan countryside that I feel a little like I can live vicariously through her (since I hate flying and it’s highly likely you’ll never find me on a plane going across the “pond” ahem to Europe…) or maybe it’s that she details her gardens, flowers and includes recipe after recipe that inspires this lover of nature and being outdoors, but whatever it is I feel like my summer can’t really start until I’ve read this book.  This year however, I’m reading her book “In Tuscany” as well.  This is basically a collection of thoughts and TONS of photographs documenting the various aspects of Tuscan life: La Piazza, La Festa (celebrations), Il Campo (the field), La Cucina (the kitchen) and La Bellazza (the beauty).  It’s a beautiful glimpse into the slow, food and family filled life of an Italian.  In my opinion it’s definitely worth checking out and has quickly become a favorite!

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  • My front porch is my favorite place in (and out of) my house right now.  As previously established, I’m an outdoorsy girl.  Not so much the hiking, fishing, adventurous type, more the relaxing on the front porch/patio/gardening and planting flowers type.  It’s safe to say I create things to do outside just so that I can be out soaking up the sunshine (I come by this naturally by the way…my dad is the exact same way!)  Anyway, my favorite place to relax, spend nap time and watch M play is my front porch.  The flowers are all in bloom and I feel a little like I’m in a peaceful, zen garden oasis while sitting out there!

Fotos

We’ve had some super duper beautiful weather this week which has meant lots of playing outside, walks to the park, a picnic and of course an ice cream date with Gamma and Papa (and Aunt Sissy and Uncle Guyger).  Here are some highlights with my favorite little girl:

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{From left to right: 1st time eating spaghetti!!, picnic at the park, swinging at the park, blowing bubbles}

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{On the way home from the park the other night the lighting made for some really beautiful pictures!  Notice her obsession with running instead of riding in the wagon…this has resulted in both knees being scraped up this week… and with dandelions – she LOVES to pick these “flowers” and especially when she can blow the seeds all around.  I’m sure people just love us walking by their yard what with my little pollinator! :)}

Happy Friday!!  Have a blessed long weekend with your loved ones!

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Bzzz into Summer!

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Summer is just around the corner and I only have 3 days left with the two little boys that I watch.  Today we made a fun, “summery” craft that will bee (hehe) perfect to decorate the fridge with to welcome in summer break!

Here’s what you’ll need:

materials

Paper, yellow craft paint, a marker, googly eyes & a paintbrush

Here’s what to do:

  • Paint the bottom of your child’s foot yellow and press the footprint onto a piece of paper – I cut the paper into 5×7″ pieces.
  • Turn the paper so that the toes are pointing down and draw on the antennae and wings – your child can help with this depending on their age!!

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  • Apply 2 googly eyes to each bumblebee and then draw on stripes.  With a black crayon or marker, have your child color in the stripes on the bee.

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  • Lastly, draw on the facial features – eyebrows and mouth – to complete your little bumblebee!!  I love how they turned out – SO CUTE!!  And, they were really easy to make and the kids loved it, too!! 🙂

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Happy crafting and WELCOME SUMMER BREAK…3 days and counting! 😉

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Try Day Thursday

Remember a week or so ago when I told you about how I’m a BzzAgent??  (If you missed it, see the post here…)  Well, here’s what I’ve been up to in terms of campaigns: BIC Soleil Glow razors, Coppertone ClearlySheer Sunscreen, Special K Moments Indulgent Snack Bites and most recently Dr. Scholl’s DreamWalk insoles.  In keeping with my obligation to BzzAgent to share my thoughts on said items with others, I’ve decided to write up quick reviews on each.  So, here goes!!

BIC Soleil Glow Razors: 

Let’s raise our razors to scoring a flawlessly smooth shave for less. Each BIC® Soleil® Glow™ disposable shaver is more than just the sum of its parts. But hey — those parts are pretty impressive, too:

  • The COMFORT SHIELD™ head evenly distributes pressure, effortlessly glides and helps protect your skin from irritation
  • Three flexible blades individually adjust to all your curves for a flawlessly smooth shave
  • A lubricating strip infused with Vitamin E and Aloe pampers and soothes your skin
  • The pivoting head easily follows the contours of your body
  • Each pack includes three beautiful, translucent handles: pastel pink, purple and green
  • The rubber grip delivers added comfort and control

-BzzAgent Website

My thoughts??  I’m a disposable razor kind of girl, so these razors are right up my alley!  $6.99 for a 3 pack at Target sounds good to me!  These babies are sharp, work great and result in super smooth legs pretty effortlessly.  They’re easy to handle with a comfortable grip and glide along your leg for what seems like a pretty close shave.  Not sure yet how long lasting they are, but I’ve used the same one 4 times so far and haven’t noticed much of a difference yet!  I’d give these BIC Soleil Glow Razors a 5 out of 5!

Coppertone ClearlySheer Sunscreen:

  • IDEAL FOR EVERYDAY SUN PROTECTION – When you’re looking to spend some time in the sun, any reason will do. New COPPERTONE® CLEARLYSheer™ sunscreens make sure there’s never a reason not to apply sunscreen, whether you’re outside all day or running errands around town. The face-friendly formulas offer lightweight, sheer coverage that absorbs in seconds and leaves barely a trace on skin. Moisturizing formulas help leave your skin soft and smooth and the sunscreens won’t clog pores or cause breakouts (clinically tested on acne-prone skin). Remember to always use as directed.
  • FRAGRANCES INSPIRED BY YOU – Everyone loves the smell of the beach, but it might be a little out of place while you’re gardening in the backyard or at a kid’s soccer game. That’s why the makers of COPPERTONE® tested a variety of fragrances with women to select the new unique scents designed to complement the overall aesthetics of the lightweight formulas.
  • CLEARLYSHEER™ FOR SUNNY DAYS:
    Clean and light formulas are ideal for everyday use under makeup with a fresh citrus scent that’s appropriate for routine daily activities.
  • CLEARLYSHEER™ FOR BEACH & POOL
    Delightfully light, refreshing formulas feel clean on skin, are water resistant for up to 80 minutes and have a subtle tropical fruit and flower fragrance.

-BzzAgent Website

My thoughts??  I’m going to be honest, I’m not really one to wear sunscreen very often.  However, the promise of one that’s light, won’t clog pores and smells great intrigued me enough to give it a try and I have to admit it wasn’t bad!  The lotion (Sunny Days) smells great and the spray (Beach & Pool) smells even better!!  Literally like summer in a bottle, which is A-okay with me!  Both were easy to apply, soaked in right away and didn’t leave me skin feeling greasy or oily like a lot of sunscreen does.  Here in the Midwest the weather hasn’t really warranted much use of sunscreen lately, but I’m trying to do better about incorporating facial sunscreen into my daily routine and Coppertone ClearlySheer seems as good as any to use, especially since it soaks in well and leaves a matte finish perfect for underneath makeup!  I would give the sunscreen a 4 out of 5, love the smell (which like I said smells pretty beachy to me even though that’s apparently not what they were going for) but I can’t use it on M because she has Eczema/really sensitive skin and I don’t see where this particular lotion identifies itself with being acceptable for sensitive skin.

Special K Moments:

  • 3 BITES BIG, 70 CALORIES SMALL
  • With all that you do throughout the day, sometimes you should take a step back and soak up a little me-time. Actually, you deserve it. And when it’s time to treat yourself, we can’t think of anything better than indulging in a tasty treat as you enjoy a few moments of staycation.
  • Treat yourself right while staying on track with NEW Special K Moments™ Indulgent Snack Bites. They’re the perfect size for those moments that call for a little treat. So the question isn’t should you indulge, but how will you do it?
  • Caramel Pretzel Bliss – carve out some time for yourself to crunch on deliciously salty pretzels drizzled in rich, creamy caramel
  • Dreamy Coconut – take a quick tropical trip with a delightful twist of coconut and deep, dark chocolate

-BzzAgent Website

My thoughts??  These little treats are suuuuper yummy!!!  This is a definite will be again, probably the next time I go to the grocery store.  They kind of remind me of a cross between a granola bar and a candy bar, the perfect combination of sweet treat, but only 70 calories so you don’t feel super guilty afterwards.  I tried two flavors: Caramel Pretzel Bliss & Dreamy Coconut.  Now, I think it’s only fair to admit that I really love coconut flavored anything, so naturally the Dreamy Coconut were my favorite.  However, I’ve got to give it to the Caramel Pretzel Bliss ones, they were really pretty good, too (and I’m not really a caramel fan).  But, they tasted a little bit like caramel corn to me and I liked them!  I would definitely give these a 5 out of 5 and if you’re going to try any of the above mentioned products, these should be at the top of your list!

Dr. Scholl’s DreamWalk Insoles:

Your feet were made to take you places, but your favorite fashionable shoes? Those can make the journey uncomfortable. Thankfully, there’s a way to wear what you are in the mood for, without sacrificing comfort or style.

  • The Dr. Scholl’s® DreamWalk™ line is designed specifically with women’s needs in mind. Whether you’re looking to get rid of pain caused by your favorite heels, flats, boots or strappy sandals or help prevent shoe rubbing and blisters, the entire collection lets you transform ANY pair of shoes into remarkably wearable ones.
  • In fact, in a recent survey where women were provided the High Heel Insole, 4 out of 5 women surveyed said that they would recommend Dr. Scholl’s® DreamWalk™ High Heel Insoles to a friend!* So take a step towards shoe transformation today, and start sharing this comforting discovery with all the ladies you know!

*[Radius Corporation, Multi-site independent survey of users of foot care products, 2013]

-BzzAgent Website

My thoughts??  These days as a stay-at-home mama to a toddler, I don’t find myself wearing heels too much anymore.  However, now that Summer is nearly upon us, I have a couple cute pairs of wedges that I just might break out of the closet and you can bet that I’ll be putting these insoles to use when I do!  So, I can’t really give you my opinion on them quite yet, but stay tuned! 🙂

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The website BzzAgent has compensated my time with free product and coupons to write reviews on these products and others.  For more information on becoming a BzzAgent yourself, visit www.bzzagent.com.

Natural Bug Repellent: Spray and Home Ideas

 

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Summer is just around the corner, which means warm, sunny days and mosquito filled nights! I don’t know about you but I love spending time outside in the evening: going on walks, having bonfires, just sitting on the porch…but I HATE mosquito bites! Not only are they just annoying but they can potentially be dangerous if the mosquito that chooses to bite you is carrying some sort of disease!

As much as I dislike being bit by mosquitos, I am not a fan of traditional bug spray.  It stinks, isn’t good for you and is downright unsafe to use on M, so I set out to make a natural spray of my own! I found several recipes that are easy to make and use essential oils and natural ingredients that you might even have laying around the house!!!  Here are just a few to choose from:

Spray

(mix the ingredients in a small glass or metal spray bottle for easy application)

2 cups of water
10 drops Organic Eucalyptus 100% Pure Essential Oil
20 drops of Citronella 100% Pure Essential Oil
5 drops of Lemon 100% Pure Essential Oil

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2 cups of water
10 drops Basil 100% Pure Essential Oil
20 drops of Citronella 100% Pure Essential Oil
5 drops of Lemon 100% Pure Essential Oil

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4 oz each of Witch Hazel & Almond Oil
15 drops each of Geranium & Citronella 100% Pure Essential Oil
7 drops each of Eucalyptus, Lavender & Lemongrass 100% Pure Essential Oil
5 drops of Peppermint 100% Pure Essential Oil

Lotion

4 oz Cocoa Butter
2 oz Coconut oil
7 drops each of Eucalyptus, Cedarwood, Rosemary, Citronella & Lemongrass 100% Pure Essential Oil

Bug Repellent for Around the House

Okay, now that we’ve covered the bug spray/lotion, what about pest control around the house?!  You know ants, spiders!!!, flies, etc.?  There are some super easy, natural remedies for these annoying guys as well.

  • Ants – Peppermint Oil: sprinkle drops along your doorways, Cinnamon sticks/peeled Garlic cloves: place around doors and in window sills
  • Flies – Mix 4 oz of water, 1/4 teaspoon of dish soap & 5 drops each of Lavender, Lemongrass and Peppermint oil, Sachets of Mint, Eucalyptus, Cloves and Bay Leaves hung near doors/windows
  • Asian beetles (ladybugs) – Sachets of Cloves and Bay Leaves hung near doors/windows, Citronella oil mixed with water, spray areas affected
  • Spiders – Mix 4 oz of water, 1/4 teaspoon of dish soap & 10 drops of Peppermint oil, Hedge Apples – these can usually only be found in late Summer/Fall, Mix 8 oz of water, 10 drops if dish soap & 5 drops each of Citrus, Tea Tree, Citronella, Lavender, Cinnamon & Peppermint oils

Well, there you have it!  Safe, natural ways to enjoy your summer days WITHOUT having to deal with pesky bugs!  If you try one of these remedies – let me know what you think!!  Or, if you have tried and true ways to get rid of bugs naturally I’d love to hear about them, too! 🙂  Until then, Happy (almost) Summer!!!

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Friday Finds, Favorites and Fotos!

Happy Friday!  I hope you all had a fabulous week!!  I thought it would be fun to start a weekly blog series on Fridays where I share fun things I’ve found throughout the week, some of my favorite things and of course fotos (okay I know it’s PHotos, but the ‘f’ stays with the theme I’ve got going on! ;)) that highlight our week!  Week to week all three might not be represented but it’ll still be a fun way to share ideas!!!  So here we go!

Finds:

  • Big Brother/Big Sister Activity Bag for the Hospital: I saw this idea on Pinterest.  How cute is this: you can either buy or make a “Big Brother/Sister” bag and fill it with all kinds of goodies for your older kid(s) to take to the hospital while you’re in labor with the next baby!  Not only can you put in things like books, coloring books, small crafts, etc. to keep them occupied, but you can also pack little snacks and treats in case they get hungry…or just bored!  They can help you pack their bag or I think it would be especially fun if it’s a surprise for when you arrive at the hospital!  I’m thinking it could help with the feelings of jealousy that may accompany the new baby as all the attention is on you during labor/the new baby!

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  • Pallet Table & Flag: So I’ve noticed lately that wood pallets are very versatile and can be used to create all kinds of neat and unique projects!  We’re in the process of building a garage here at my house, and I was gifted my very own wood pallet underneath all the shingles for the roof!  Rather than toss it in with the trash, I took to Pinterest (notice a theme here?  I love that site!) and researched things I could make using my pallet.  I found so many that I ended up having my dad bring me 2 more from his work and that probably won’t even be enough!  Here are 2 of my favorite things that I found:
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A table for the front porch or patio…could hold pots, planters, drinks, etc.

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Seriously…don’t you LOVE this flag?! And how easy – just a little paint!

 

Our Week in Photos…

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(Top right: Selfie with Daddy while reading!  Top left: My baby isn’t such a baby anymore 😦 She looks so grown up!!!  Bottom: Eating her own little sandwich from the sub shop! 🙂

Check back next Friday to see what new fun things I come across throughout the coming week!!  Happy Friday!!

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