Start your day with Great Grains® Cereal


A new year means a new opportunity to live a life full of healthy choices. It may seem like the obvious path for a New Year’s resolution, but it should definitely be on everyone’s top to do list. I know personally I have been unfocused and unwilling to maintain a healthy lifestyle. It sometimes seems so much easier to grab junk then to fill my body with nutritional food. But this is my year. This is my year to make necessary changes not only for myself but for my family. Eating healthy does not equal eating boring!

What better way to kickoff a healthy lifestyle then starting every day with a healthy and nutritional breakfast. We have all heard the importance of eating breakfast and I can truly say it is imperative for a healthy lifestyle. One of my favorite choices for breakfast is cereal. It is quick and easy. Plus there are so many ways you can utilize cereal into fun and creative recipes. I am happy to say I have found a great cereal that will please anyone! Great Grains® Cranberry Almond Crunch is amazing! It is the perfect blend of healthy with a side of sweetness due to the cranberries.

Now this Great Grains® cereal is absolutely delicious on its own but I knew this cereal would be a perfect addition to a basic muffin mix. It allows for a refreshing change at breakfast and the girls absolutely love muffins! This cereal is a definite must to have in your kitchen cabinet! Be sure to pick up your coupon here for these wonderfully delicious and nutritious cereals!

Apple Cranberry Almond Muffins

prep time: 10 min        cook time: 15 min        total time: 25 min

Ingredients
2 cups flour
½ cup sugar
1 cup Great Grains® cereal
1 tbsp baking powder
1 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla
¼ cup butter
2 eggs
1 large diced apple

Directions
Mix flour, sugar, cereal, baking powder, and salt.
Mix milk, vanilla, butter, eggs, and apple.
Mix dry ingredients with the wet.
Pour in muffin tin. Bake at 425° for 15 to 20 minutes.

Voila! Perfectly baked and delicious apple cranberry almond muffins. These will please even the pickiest eater!

Here are the girls enjoying their muffins! It is nice to know that they are getting something healthy to eat without the hassle! Don’t forget you can make a large batch and freeze them! So easy to do and takes no time to heat them up!!!

These muffins will sure start your morning off right and help in making better and healthier choices for the year ahead!

Coupon available here for Great Grains® cereal!

Three tips to stay committed to your goals

When the new year approaches each one of us spends time reflecting on the past year and goals that we have accomplished and maybe not have accomplished. This prepares us in creating new goals for the upcoming year. But how many of us make the best attempts at keeping these goals only to see them quickly be put on the back burner as the new year gets underway? I know I have made goals at the beginning of the year to only see them become distant memories of high hopes. I have tried and tried to maintain goals in the past and have faltered a number of times. This year I am not only making goals but utilizing tips in which will equip me with the best opportunity in keeping those goals.

So how can you make goals and keep them? I think with these three tips each one of us can be on the road of success when it comes to accomplishing goals.

1.Make realistic goals that are not so broad. How many times have you made a goal of getting healthy or getting organized? How do these goals really describe what you hope to achieve in the new year? What specific parts of your life do you want to get healthy? Better eating? Exercise three times a week? Focus on a specific part so that the goal seems more attainable and once achieved you are able to feel successful and move on to another part of the much broader goal. Same with getting organized. I know personally when I say I am getting organized I become overwhelmed by the amount of organization I need to get done. Take small steps when it comes to organizing. One room at a time or set out 20 minutes a day of organizing. That way you are slowly achieving your goal and not becoming overwhelmed with the the concept of organizing.

2.Review and track your goals. It is so important to not lose your focus on what you want to achieve for the year. I know personally it is so easy to get distracted with the ins and outs of every day life. The kids, the husband, work, school, friends, these are things that can easily pull me away from remembering what my goals are. That is why it is so important to review and keep track of your progress. This year I have my goals written on a piece of paper and placed somewhere that I can see them every day. Daily I review my goals to remind myself of what I want to accomplish. Then on certain goals I track my progress. Am I sticking to my exercise schedule? Did I stay on track with my blog to dos to keep my goal on track? Whatever your goal is, it only takes a few minutes each day to review and track your progress to ensure your success!

3.Stay accountable. Need a little help staying committed to your goals? Tell someone that you trust and know that they will give you the necessary kick in the pants if needed! I usually tell my husband and my sister what my goals are. That way I have someone that is really interested in seeing me succeed and want to help in any way they can. It is so important to have a team behind you in accomplishing goals, especially a goal that you may have struggled with in the past.

If you implement these three tips into your goal planning, I am sure that you will have great success in 2017!! Hoping each and every one you a very blessed and beautiful new year!!!

Our Holiday-New Traditions

With having little ones it is nice to build on the already existing traditions and add new ones to the mix. My last post was all about old traditions but today I am going to share two new traditions that we are pleased start in our family!

1.Cranberry and orange garland. I have seen this on pinterest a million times and it is something that I always wanted to do. Now with the girls being older and able to help out, we decided to make a few garlands for the tree. I love the natural beauty and simplicity that the garland gives. The girls had a great time pinning the cranberries and making a pattern in their garlands.

 

Cranberry and Orange Garland

3 oranges

bag of cranberries

needle

fishing line

Cut oranges into thin slices and place in oven at 200° for 3 hours

String cranberries and oranges in any pattern you would like

2. Holiday Photo Booth. The concept of a photo booth during Christmas is not one I ever thought of. We did one once for a birthday and for Thanksgiving but I never thought of doing one for this holiday. It was not until I got in touch with a company called Thoughtfully that I knew this would be a fun edition to our traditions. Thoughtfully has a wide range of beautiful and unique gift boxes that are sure to please anyone on your gift list. This beautifully curated box included holiday photo props, a chalkboard banner, and a mistletoe to make our holiday a little more fun. I let the girls play around with the props to get a few pictures but the real fun will be when everyone comes over to celebrate Christmas. I will have a little place set up for photos and fun! The girls are so excited to turn their uncle into Santa and their aunt into a reindeer!

It has been such a joy creating new traditions with my girls and finding activities that we can continue year after year. They have had a blast trying new things and finding fun ways to make the holiday even brighter. I am sure we will continue doing these two every year and making great memories to last a lifetime.

Be sure to check out Thoughtfully’s website to see a number of other gift boxes that are fun and unique!

Hope everyone has a beautiful holiday!

 

Our Holiday-Old Traditions

Tradition: the transmission of customs or

beliefs from generation to generation, or

the fact of being passed on in this way

During this time of year every family is taking moments out of their days to share in traditions that have been passed down. These moments are joyous and exciting. Expected but never boring. Traditions make for special times among those that we love and cherish. Traditions build long lasting memories that make us smile.

One of my fondest traditions that I had growing up was watching White Christmas with my dad on Christmas Eve. My family on my dad’s side would celebrate together on Christmas Eve and when we would come home from the festivities, no matter how late it was, we would pop in the good ole VHS and plop down and watch the entire movie. We would sing, we would laugh, we would all be cozy warm on the couch as a family. Though my dad is no longer with us, my siblings and I continue the tradition of watching it together on Christmas Eve. This year will be a little different due to my family’s work schedules, but on the 23rd, we will snuggle up on the couch and watch just like we always do. We will sing, we will laugh. It is something so important to me. I admit I will probably watch it again on Christmas Eve and think about my dad and wish he was sitting right next to me.

Now with having children it is fun to continue traditions that I had as a child and build ones as a family for them to continue one day as parents. First up I am sharing two old traditions that we have been doing for years.

1.Gingerbread houses. This is such a fun time with girls. Watching them create and decorate their home is quite the adventure. This year Josh found a whole gingerbread village. It consisted of five small houses so we each got our own.

2. Making cookies. The girls absolutely love to bake. Every chance we get we are baking something up in the kitchen. One cookie we make sure we bake year after year are sugar cookies! What better cookie to bake with little ones. They love deciding on what cookie cutters to use, mixing the batter, and making our own sugar icing.

It is so enjoyable to share these moments with my girls and continue to uphold traditions that mean something to me. This year it was not just about old traditions. We decided to add a couple new traditions to our holiday! Be sure to check back tomorrow for a post all about these new traditions!

Week 34-Bump Update

What the what??? I am 34 weeks and totally feeling it. It is so crazy to think in just a few weeks this baby boy will be here. Am I ready? Absolutely not. We are still getting things together and preparing the house for baby. I am still preparing my mind that we will have a boy in this house. But I know these last few weeks we will get everything in order…I think. So what has been happening the last six weeks?

I had the most lovely baby shower hosted by my mom and mother in law. It was such a beautiful day celebrating this life growing inside me. I am so thankful for all those that showed up and gifted so many beautiful things to us. He is so incredibly loved!

 

I failed the miserable three hour glucose test and cried about it. Gestational diabetes is not a fun thing to experience. I will admit majority of the time I eat really healthy but then once I am told I cannot eat something I feel like I have lost control. I guess the whole pizzas to myself or the five tacos in one sitting all need to be put on the back burner until after the baby is born. Oh and the sweets. This is definitely not the time to not be able to pig out on sweets. I am missing out on all the pies and the cookies. It is a sad, sad time. But whatever makes this pregnancy a smooth one, I will do!

I did however get the good news of not having placenta previa! I was so absolutely worried about this but the placenta has moved out of the way! I did a happy dance at my last appointment when I heard this news!

This baby boy is going to be much bigger then the girls were. This past week he was measuring in at a whopping 5 pounds and 15 ounces. I gasped when she told me how big he is. Then I freaked out that I have the worlds largest baby (I know, I know I am getting ahead of myself).

Here are some details about this amazing experience!

Weight gain: I have gained 23 pounds so far! Compared to the girls that is a whole lot less. I think with both girls I gained close to 50 pounds. So I will take that as a win.

Cravings: I am craving everything that I can now not eat. I would love to dive into a carton of ice cream or eat the biggest plate of spaghetti. But I will just dream that my stalk of celery is a cookie and move on with my life.

Sleep: Sleep will never exist ever, ever again. It is horrible and I cannot find a spot that I am comfortable in. I toss and turn all night long. This is no fun. Every time I move it feels as though I am ripping all of the muscles in my body. I have convinced Josh to move out of the bed on the weekends just so I have room to put pillows on both of my sides.

Overall feeling: I am definitely beginning to feel anxious for him to be here. I am ready to hold him, see his face, and love on him. I am also feeling anxious about the feedings. I am not ready to wake up every two hours to feed. I think I am most worried about being able to function during the day. This is when I wish the girls napped. Then to continue their homeschooling. Ahhh…. I know I will get a routine but it is still scary to think about.

Only six more weeks (which I probably only make it four more weeks based on my past pregnancies)! It is going to be an amazing 2017!

Gift Guide for Expectant Moms

As a pregnant mama, you better believe I asked for a number of things for Christmas that would not only make me happy but baby happy. I am due at the end of January so getting things prepared is my number 1 priority. Below is a list I believe should be considered must haves and would be great gifts for any expectant mom!

Dock A Tot

I have heard so many wonderful things about a dock a tot and I knew I had to have one. This will be a great item to use for co-sleeping or for interaction throughout the day. These are 100% breathable, machine washable, hypo allergenic, and multi functional. I am so eager to use this the moment I bring baby boy home.

Milestone Cards

I absolutely adore the idea of capturing the milestones that happen during the first yer of birth. From each month to sleeping through the night to the first time eating solid food, these cards allow for a great moment to be captured and remembered. I so can not wait to use these for the new baby.

Binxy Baby

Shopping was always a hassle for me with the girls as newborns. Carrying the car seat in only to realize that it would not fit on the cart. Plus later learning that it is not even a safe option for the baby. It was so frustrating. Well the binxy baby is the perfect solution. It clips right on the sides of the cart providing a safe place for your baby to sit while giving you plenty of room underneath to put your groceries!

The Mama Tribe Designs

When I had my girls I am not even sure these kind of necklaces existed. Or maybe they did and I was living under a rock. But I find this to be such a great idea! I would not even wear jewelry until the girls were older. They were always grabbing and trying to put my necklaces in their mouths. Just not worth it. Well these necklaces are a must have! I will now be able to wear cute necklaces while giving the baby something to pull on and chew on. Mama Tribe Designs have many options that are so gorgeous you will definitely pick up more than just one!

Nyme Organics

This time around, I will only use skin products that are all natural. Nyme Organics are all natural, sustainable products that use ingredients that everyone knows and can pronounce! Each product is carefully hand made and are certified organic and gluten free. I received these to use on the baby but I have to admit I opened them up early to use the castile soap with the girls.

HiKidsCo

Want super adorable prints for the nursery? Then head over to Hi Kids Co. I received the cutest bear and deer prints that will go perfectly in the woodland theme nursery we are putting together. There is a wide selection to choose from including food, animals, and quotes.

Finn and Emma

Organic cotton, contemporary designs, fresh prints make finn and emma clothing worth gifting. The softness of the material will make both mom and baby happy. Another winner is the beautifully made wood teethers. There are so many fun designs to choose from and coordinate with the clothing allowing for mixing and matching!

The Blank Slate Designs

Getting something personalized is the perfect gift for mom and baby. It makes the gift extra special and meaningful. I absolutely love this onesie from The Blank Slate Designs and it will be in my hospital bag for baby boy to wear at the hospital!

There you have it! These products would make excellent gifts and would please any mom currently pregnant!

Happy Holidays!!!

These products were provided to me in exchange for a blog post. All opinions are my own. I would never recommend a product that I absolutely do not enjoy!

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Shop Small (Gentry California)

Since it is the holidays, families are on the hunt for the perfect Christmas pajamas.There is nothing better than cute and festive jammies that make the holiday extra special.

I have always been a firm believer in matching pjs, well actually matching anything on my girls and I am loving it. So when I got the opportunity to work with Gentry California, I was so so excited. I have always wanted the girls to have special traditions for the holidays and I definitely believe that having matching pajamas should be one of them!

Let me tell you Gentry California clothing is the absolute best. I could not believe how incredibly soft the pajamas were. The instant we received them the girls put them on. Needless to say they wore them for the next two days. It was a struggle to get them to take them off so that I could wash them.

Here is a little about the wonderful shop that is Gentry California:

  • Vibeka is the owner and designer.
  • It all started in 2011 when she started Gentry’s closet making hair bows and headbands.
  • Through the years the shop has grown and grown and in 2016 changed its name to Gentry California.
  • Now the focus of the shop is to make beautiful personalized and monogrammed designs for babies, kids, and their mamas.
  • These pieces are one of a kind and special for those that we love.
  • The quality is amazing.

I thought not only will my girls have something great to wear on Christmas morning but they will also have something great to wear for our holiday pictures. I am so happy that these turned out so well and know that my family will love these pictures in their Christmas cards!

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So if you are looking for some great pajamas or even a great present for the holidays, head on over to Gentry California!

Be sure to give them a follow on Instagram too!!

IMG_3202These amazing pajamas were provided to me in exchange for a blog post. All opinions are my own. I would never recommend a product that I absolutely do not enjoy!

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Gift Guide for Her

Some of the items below were gifted to me to be included into my gift guide. Also this post contains affiliate links.

The holidays are officially here and one of the best things about this time of year is gift giving. Women love to give gifts (I know I do) but we also love to receive them! It is such a joy to receive something that a loved one has taken the time to find and buy. However, shopping for women can sometimes be a daunting task for the men in their lives. This is where gift guides can come in handy! Below I have rounded up some of my favorite gifts for women and I am so thrilled to be sharing them with you all!!!

  1. Gentry California Thankful Shirt

I absolutely love getting clothes for Christmas. This shirt from Gentry California is so soft and comfy. I love the saying on the shirt and wear this shirt all the time! They have a great selection of women’s tees that would please any woman!

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2.  Luxa Jewelry bracelets

I have to say that these bracelets are absolutely elegant and beautiful for any woman. I love the ability to wear alone or with a number of pieces on the wrist. These are a perfect gift and I think should be bought in multiples because every piece they have look gorgeous together!

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3.  Nautica Blanket

I have to say I am a sucker for blankets. Living in Michigan I spend a lot of time cuddled up on the couch wrapped up in a blanket. This blanket is in the classic gray and white color combo that I am sure would fit well in most living rooms.

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4.  Bare Minerals lip glosses

Not one but six mini lip glosses in this great set from Bare Minerals. I love their products and the colors that they have are beautiful. The shades range from nude to pink with a sheer to medium coverage that makes the lips look fuller!

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5. Target coffee mug

This coffee cup is just too cute! The camper style mugs are definitely in right now and I think no one can go wrong with the saying on the cup! This is definitely on my wish list.

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6.  ModCloth postcards

I still love to send out cards and letters by mail. It is such a great feeling to write a cute little message and know that the person will soon be getting some happy mail! This postcard set is amazing! It mixes the love for the classics for the love of classic communication.

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7.  Fossil Handbag

A purse is a great go to for a gift. I have a fossil purse and absolutely love it. It is sturdy and gives me plenty of room for all the things I need to carry.

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8.  Goldy Fox bracelets

If you are looking for bracelets that not only can be worn every day but can add a little something for a night out, shop at Goldy Fox. These bracelets are carefully hand crafted with glass, shell, or gemstone beads. I love the ability to wear one solo or get a few of the bracelets for a nice layered look!

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9.  Her Silver Lining necklace

Looking for a simple and classic piece of jewelry for the one you love? Look no further then Her Silver Lining. The shop has a large selection of hand stamped pieces to give the gift a more personalized touch. The necklace I have is my favorite because I have all three of my children’s initials stamped on there.

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10.  She is Blank Space shirt

Another great shirt for Christmas is this beautiful “Fearfully and Wonderfully Made” shirt. I have received numerous compliments on this soft and comfortable tee. The beauty of a tee is that it can be worn for every day errands or dressed up for a night on the town!

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There you have it!! These are my picks for holiday gift shopping for the woman in your life!! Now get to it and start shopping!!

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Four Must-Have Tees for Pregnancy

When it comes to being pregnant one thing that no woman wants to deal with is clothing that is uncomfortable. There is just too many other things to worry about! Believe it or not there are great choices for pregnant women to be stylish and comfortable all at the same time.

My go to this pregnancy has been tees and pants. This kind of outfit can be dressed up or down while still maintaining all day comfort. I absolutely love a good t-shirt. What is even better is finding t-shirts that have fun little sayings on them. With being pregnant a t-shirt can become a great conversation piece.

I rounded up four must-have tees for pregnancy that are cute and functional for the ever growing belly. Each one of these tees have gotten me a lot of compliments and laughs!

  1. “Preggers” tee by The Blank Slate Designs. 
    What better way to announce to the world that yes indeed I am pregnant. I love this shirt and it is extremely soft. I got this shirt when I was in the beginning of the second trimester and I have to say that it is something that I continue to wear in my third trimester.Processed with VSCO with a6 preset

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  2. “Growing tiny humans is exhausting” by WeeStructed. 
    From one of my favorite shops, this shirt is absolutely perfect in telling the world exactly how I feel! It is an exhausting journey but so worth it in the end. This is another shirt that is made from soft fabric and allows for continuous wear throughout pregnancy. Better yet the shirt comes with ruched sidings which is a great must have for a pregnant lady!
  3. “Bump it up” by Vroom Clothing.
    How fun is this shirt? Gotta be proud of that bump you are growing!! I am in my last two months and I could not be more proud of this bump that is rapidly expanding! This shirt is so comfortable and I went for a size bigger so that I would have even more room to grow!Processed with VSCO with a6 preset
  4. “Ain’t no hood like motherhood” by Free to Be Threads.                                                                        There is truly no other hood I would love to be in than the hood of motherhood. It is such a beautiful experience and one that continues to surprise me. Whether a first time mama or a mama of three, this tee is perfect to show off proudly your love for being a mother! It is another shirt that is extremely comfortable

 

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There you have it! Four great shirts that will get any mama through all stages of pregnancy with the added bonus of being stylish and proud to wear that baby bump!

Be sure to check out these four wonderful shops and give them a follow on instagram!

WeeStructed

Vroom Clothing

Blank Slate Designs

Free to Be Threads

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Homeschooling with Cubby Case

As a homeschooling mama I am also looking for great tools to use to teach my girls. Sometimes I find it best to stray away a bit from the books and get some great hands on learning. This opens up the great possibility of using all senses and I believe making the information stick a little better.

A while back I came across Cubby Case on Instagram and knew that I needed to get my hands on one of these cases. The directors of curriculum design are both Harvard graduates that believe in finding the best products for teaching and learning. These cases are carefully put together and begins with the curriculum team examining various curriculum standards for children aged 5-9 years old. Then the team identifies learning outcomes essential for children’s educational development. Each product that is selected comes with a curriculum card that furthers the learning experience.

With every subscription box, the girls were overly excited about opening it to see what was inside. There were a lot of “oh look at this” and  “ah lets do this first”. After calming them down I got them to pick one item each day to try. The box came with five different products that covers a wide range of learning-

  • Chibitronics LED science project
  • InRoad PlayTape
  • K’nex Helicopter
  • Pieces of Another World Book
  • The Original Spirograph

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Today I am going to show just two of the products that came in the box.

First up was the play tape. The play tape came with the curriculum card titled urban planner. Let me explain quickly about the cards that come with each product. Each card has two sides. One side is labeled activity and the other side is labeled learning. The activity side of the card allows for the child to get actively involved with the product while still learning. I like to believe that there is unconscious learning happening here. The girls are so intrigued with playing that when we begin to start a discussion it seems that it comes easier to them in understanding the concept that is being discussed. The learning side of the card allows for discussion and examination of the overall theme that goes along with the product. So for example with the play tape, the card is discussing interesting facts about roads and gives questions so that the girls could further their learning about the subject.

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They had such a blast talking about roads and mapping out what their road design would look like. We also were able to go out that day it examine a number of different roads and explain what we were seeing. It was such a great learning tool to let them explore and look at their world for the answers.

 

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The next one we did was the K’nex helicopter. This being somewhat like legos, I knew my oldest would want to do it immediately. The card that came with this was mechanical engineer. So along with the K’nex, the girls were able to observe, create, reflect, and innovate. This got them not to just play with the toy but to examine what they were doing and to even think outside the box with creating something else with the K’nex. We talked about how in order to build there first needs to be plans and designs made. Then taking the designs and instructions, we are able to create and build to get the finished product.

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I cannot believe how fun this cubby case was! It had so many possibilities and the girls continue to play with each of the products inside the box. This was a great tool for us for our homeschooling adventure but the Cubby Case would be an excellent gift for any child looking to expand their imagination. Please be sure to check out their website and give them a follow on Instagram!

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This Cubby Case was provided to me in exchange for a blog post. All opinions are my own. I would never recommend a product that I absolutely do not enjoy!

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