Monitoring driving habits #StraightTalkTesters #giveaway

The Safe Drive Car connection by Straight Talk is a really great device, which greatly decreases the worries of having a driving aged child. As part of Straight Talk’s new product category “connected life” the Safe Drive Car Connection helps you keep up with your teenager when they’re on the road, and allows them to sharpen up their driving skills in the process. Monitoring driving habits (of your kids and yourself) with smart devices is something many of us should consider. I know it’s made me more cognizant of things! car_connection_straight-talk

We all know texting and driving is one of the most dangerous habits in young people and adults alike. We also know that it can be hard to fight the urge at times, especially for younger, easily-distracted drivers. With the free, third-party ZoomSafer app, available on both the iTunes App Store and  Google Play, Safe Driver Car Connection can restrict text messages and phone usage while driving to eliminate this risk. It also allows you to track your vehicle through the use of GPS at any time, right from your home computer OR from your cell phone or tablet. You can see if your car is being towed, moved, or if your teen has driven outside of a predetermined area you gave them permission to drive! That feature alone is enough to convince me of its worth!
car-connection-score

 

 

 

 

 

 

But there’s more! Ever wondered how your child (or spouse) drives when you aren’t present? Safe Driver Car Connection actually allows you to receive a driver score report to monitor anyone’s vehicle use and driving habits! I’m not going to tell you who was driving the van recently.  (Photo above) You’ll notice the driving score is a 70 – one of us has been a little heavy on the gas pedal.  That number may not seem significant, but as you scroll through the data on the Car Connection app, you can see how those types of habits literally cost you more money, based on the average price of gas for where YOU live. It IS significant.

straight-talk-remote-alert

Another device in the Connected Life line of products is the Remote Alert System. This system allows you to stay connected with your household while you are away. Its built-in wireless module can send an SMS Text message or place a phone call to up to eight pre-assigned numbers when a sensor is triggered in your own home. You can enhance this kit further by adding accessories like an additional motion sensor, magnetic door/window sensors, and a remote control key fob.

One reader will win a Safe Drive Car Connection Device from Straight Talk!

 

 

This post is brought to you as part of my ongoing participation in the Straight Talk Testers program.  While I am compensated via service, product and payment for my participation, I’m also well into my third year of being a Straight Talk customer and have been very happy with the services offered.

On colic and babies #ReducedCrying

4:00am and I’d been up for more than 24 hours. Sleep wasn’t anywhere in the near future either. My body had begun to operate in autopilot, and I’m sure that even my reserve tanks of energy were exhausted. How did this used to be so easy to do when I was in my college years? The days when pulling an all-nighter usually stemmed from reluctantly to let the party die down. This wasn’t any party though. And the only beverages being served were water, and some tea concoctions that I read online would help to keep my milk supply up. Nope, this was a whole new ball game.

I was a mom.

A mom of a baby who seemed to cry all the time.

If you’re a mother yourself, I know you can relate to this. The worry. The sleep deprivation. And mostly, the constant onslaught of advice. Everyone has their different ways of parenting, and they all seem to live in the notion that their way is the best (and sometimes ONLY ) way to raise a healthy and happy child. The opinions seemed to be everywhere I turned! From the magazines in the waiting room at the doctor, to the lady in the checkout line at the grocery store advising me on what I should do to calm my howling infant, as I tried to juggle the baby, the cart, and somehow dig my debit card out of my purse to pay for the transactions.

So who did I listen to?

All of them!

I didn’t take every bit of advice literally, of course. What I did do, however, was take bits and pieces of advice from each and every source, and begin to fashion my own “style” of child raising. Just like every parent is different, every baby is different as well. What works for calming one child, may not work for another. There were a few products along the way that I found to be helpful with all three of my children. One of these was Colief Infant Drops!

Colief Infant Drops helped to relieve fussiness and colic from each and every one of my babies. Do you deal with colic, or fussiness in your baby? Do you even KNOW what colic is? The video below is a must watch!

Being a parent isn’t easy, and it’s nice when you come across a trusted brand that can ease the stress a little for both you AND baby. Colief does just that. It’s also very convenient to pick up when you’re out and about. You can buy Colief Infant Drops at; Walgreens, Duane Reade, HEB, and http://www.us.colief.com.

You can also checkout Colief on Facebook!

Check out the fabulous Colief Pack ‘n Go Giveaway

Entry periods for the Colief Pack ‘n Go Giveaway accepted till 12pm EST August 28th
One winner (five winners total) will be chosen and announced on Facebook at around 12:30 P.M. EST each week on Thursday, July 31st, August 7th, 14th , 21st and 28th to win a Petunia Pickle Bottom Diaper Bag to hold all your mommy necessities, a $25 retailer gift card to stock up on supplies for baby and $4.00 worth of Colief savings.
Winners are announced on the Colief Infant Drops Facebook page
Learn more at www.facebook.com/coliefinfantdrops

There isn’t a single parent that doesn’t have a story to share about the struggles of those infancy days. I want to hear yours! Drop it in the comments below.

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Colief®. The opinions and text are all mine.

Solutions for distracted driving #giveaway

I consider myself a fairly cautious driver. About as much as possible with a little one in the back that constantly wants my attention. The older two usually don’t really want to do anything but hear “awesome” stuff on the radio. By the time we reach our destination, I’ve usually explained at least 11 times that mommy can’t “look at this”, because I have to focus my attention on the road. That’s if we’re traveling somewhere close by… Regardless, it’s usually the high pitch squeals that catch me off guard every time. The reason is usually that we’ve passed a favorite ice cream shop, or that there’s something “really cool” on the side of the road. It’s never the life changing tragedy it sounds like when she does it. It’s often just a favorite bird sighting. I’m always looking for solutions for distracted driving so I can keep my bird watcher and my two radio lovers safe!

Let’s face it, driving while mom isn’t easy. (Also, sometimes, wife, as seen above) That’s why I’m so excited to share the new systems by Safe Drive, which focus on Keeping Kids Safe. Safe Drive offers a variety of features each uniquely created to keep your family safe while you drive. The newest feature to this line up is the RD 140 RDR . Depending on the system, this features allows you to avoid head on collisions by constantly monitoring your distance to vehicles ahead of you. This is important since it only takes a moment for an accident to happen!

The real-time analysis feature warns of any potential dangers ahead of you, helping you to prevent accidents and fatal injuries to yourself and others. Both of the systems have a neat radar system that track moving items of any size. This can be anything from another vehicle, to a child riding their bicycle. Upon tracking the object, the systems provide you with 20 seconds advanced notice, allowing you time to safely react.

Seeing these systems allowed me to realize how much more I could be doing to keep my family safe. It’s those few seconds that can be used to safe a life. It’s even scarier to know that moms are 3x more likely to wreck with babies in the car. We invest in safe vehicles and car seats. Now it’s time to take keep our children a step farther with Safe Drive.

How do you avoid distractions when driving with children? Or should I say, how do you deal with distractions that come with driving with children?

For more information on Safe Drive Systems, please call (800) 735-6055 or fill out the form here.

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of SafeDrive Systems. The opinions and text are all mine.


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5 Things to Know About School Nutrition Programs

Last week I was invited to attend the School Nutrition Association‘s National Conference for a day. Having three kids in school full time this year for the first time means I’ll have three kids who may buy lunch at school. I like to be informed about what my family is eating.

Attending the conference was a great experience for me. Not only did I get to meet two long time blog pals in person for the first time but I also learned oh so very much about school nutrition programs in general. I really kind of had no idea just how uninformed I truly was before I went to this conference!

Five Things About School Nutrition Programs

things to know about school nutrition programs

1. This is not your mama’s school lunch.

Or even my school lunch. Times have changed. Menus have changed.

I have vivid memories of some of the stuff that was served on our plates in school Especially vegetables!  They didn’t, not once, look anything like these!

school nutrition-simplot

2. What you see on school menus is not what you find at the grocery store.

This was a big one for me. Seeing toaster pastries on the menu for breakfast or chicken nuggets, for example, for lunch often gave me pause. But ANYTHING served in schools has to meet standards- so maybe that brand of chicken nuggets you use at home is the same brand they serve at your kids’ school, but the breading used is whole grain… the toaster pastries have to be within a set number of calories, grains, salt content, etc…the pasta served isn’t the same as you have in your pantry.

school-nutrition-barilla

Even cereals served for breakfast are lower in calories, lower in sugar, lower in fat content, and made with whole grains. So while we adults may not love the idea that Fruit Loops are served for breakfast, it makes (most of) the kids happy, and we can know that the kids having that for breakfast are not having the same sugary cereals that we see on supermarket shelves.

 

3. There are federal guidelines for school nutrition programs.

This probably should be higher in the list, but this isn’t a list based on importance.  The USDA has requirements and guidelines for foods served in schools.  Period.  The items on the school menus that come home (or pop up in your email) ALL have to meet those guidelines.

The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 (HHFKA) required the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to update these nutrition standards for the first time in 15 years. The new regulations, effective July 1, 2012, require cafeterias to offer more fruit, vegetables and whole grains and limit sodium, calories and unhealthy fat in every school meal.

To ensure all foods and beverages sold in school during the school day are healthy choices, HHFKA also required USDA to create nutrition standards for foods and beverages sold in competition to reimbursable meals. These “competitive foods” are sold in vending machines, snack bars and a la carte lines. In June 2013, USDA issued the “Smart Snacks in School” interim final rule establishing these standards, which go into effect July 1, 2014.

 

4. When a brand you recognize (ie Pizza Hut, Dominos) is listed on your school lunch menu, the foods are made for school programs and are not the same as what you get in the restaurant and/or store.

I honestly thought when seeing Dominos Pizza or Pizza Hut on the kids’ lunch menus that perhaps the school had an agreement and it was a way to save costs!  But, as it turns out, both brands, as well as others, have their school nutrition versions of products.  Pizza is a popular food in my house (as it is in many) and is always a day that the kids, especially my son, want to buy lunch when it’s up on the menu.  It’s a lot easier to agree to him having pizza for lunch once a week knowing that the ingredients meet the USDA requirements and are made with whole grains, lower sodium and fat levels.

 

5. Most school nutrition programs aren’t funded by the board of education. Most offer a la carte items to offset costs.  Even the ice cream bars, for example, have to meet FDA guidelines for school nutrition.

Starting this year, my oldest had a la carte items available for purchase every day.  You can imagine my surprise to hear that she had ice cream available for purchase every day.  Actually, the first time I spoke with the PR team from the School Nutrition Association about attending this conference, this was one of the first things I said to them.  I realize I’m in a position most aren’t, and was able to attend a conference for the folks who work with school nutrition in so many aspects.

I was also brought around to some of the booths set up in the expo hall by a Nutrition professional from Connecticut (where I live, if you don’t know) who knew of my concerns and took the time to plan visits to brands and companies that she knows meet the standards we have here in CT…including Blue Bunny ice cream, which she knows to meet our state standards. While I’m still not enamored with the idea that kids have ice cream available for purchase daily, I do understand more now that this is to help with the costs of running school lunch programs and a la carte items are one way to help offest those costs.  I am MUCH more comfortable with the idea that those ice creams available to the kids for purchase  have to meet the same standards that anything else in a school cafeteria , which means they cannot be over a certain number of calories, fat content or sodium content.  I (wrongly) assumed, as many other parents have when I have spoken with them, that those ice cream products offered to the kids in the a la carte line were the same as what we could see in the grocery store freezer cases.  They aren’t. The folks at Blue Bunny and my guide, Cindy (thank you Cindy!), were really great about showing me just what met our standards and what the calorie counts must be for snacks, serving sizes, sodium content, etc.

 

 

Be sure to like Tray Talk for Parents!

 So now that you know what I’ve learned- my question to you is this.  Did you learn anything new about school nutrition programs from this post? Do you have more questions?

What do real dads do? #RealDadMoments

What do real dads do?

They do a lot.

There’s a discord in our society that shows men not doing much with kids far too often.  Most of the men I know (and none are imaginary) are pretty involved in the care and emotional well being of their families.

Real men do hug.

Real men do kiss.

Real men do hair.

Real men do get upset when someone hurts their kids’ feelings.

Real men do have feelings.

Real men do play dress up.

Real men do NOT babysit their own kids.

Real men do babywearing.

real-dads-do

Real men do chaperone field trips.

Real men do… and do…and do… and do.

real-men-do-playgrounds

I’m so tired of putting a whole bunch of emphasis on what a group does vs. what another doesn’t.  Maybe if we stopped spending research dollars into what men do and don’t do as fathers and use those dollars to help educate those who may not know or understand, we’d be in a better place.  It seems like we’ve gotten to this place where seeking out differences and negativity is the norm, and it makes me sad.

My husband isn’t perfect.  He’s not.  (I hate to tell you this, but no one is perfect. I just want to make that clear :) ).

real-men-carry-dolls-#realdadmoments

But he is a real man. And he’s a very real, very hands on dad.

He’s been an amazing provider for our family for many years as the sole income.  He’s taken care of this house and it’s upkeep, and he’s also taken care of a wife who lost her mom late in a pregnancy that spiraled into very high blood pressure, premature birth and a very depressed mom of a newborn.  He’s a real man.  He’s done what he needed to do because it needed to be done.

There’s no manual for being a dad. Yes, I know there are manuals. But for good and bad and everything in between, we’re all different, and there is no one size fits all answer or manual for parenting.

I feel SO BLESSED.  So very, very blessed, that so many of the dads I know are real men who do so much with and for their children.  It seems to me like the men in our day are a lot more emotionally involved in the dad thing than our society gives them credit for.  That’s why when I was asked to take part in this campaign I didn’t hesitate to say yes. The Dove Men+Care ‘Calls For Dad’ film spotlights the expanding and often unrecognized ways fathers care for their children.

My husband was the first to change all 3 of our kids’ poopy diapers. With our oldest, he’d actually never changed a diaper before.  Is it his favorite thing?  Absolutely not.  Did he do it?  All the time.  Even when I changed to cloth diapers, his only comments were to find out how the different systems worked so he could get the diapers on correctly.  He has gotten up when the kids are vomiting and grabbed cold water or popsicles from downstairs when they are sick.  It was my husband who figured out that our oldest had an ear infection for the first time at 4 months- having been up with her for a few hours he had a hunch and snuggled down with her in the recliner. He’s pulled splinters, had tea parties, done pony- and pig-tails and has packed overnight bags. He’s stayed home from work for 5 days and stepped in to fill MY shoes when I was too sick to get out of bed, even when that meant 3 trips to gymnastics, picking up girl scout things, and having to figure out a week of meals with nothing to go by. He did it and kept the kitchen clean.  (He also learned that it’s almost impossible to do it all AND keep the whole house clean….)

Dove Men+Care is committed to portraying how real men care

(The following are from the 2014 Dove Men+Care Dad Portrayal Research Study (Survey of 1,000 Fathers) and are, in my opinion, reflective of the times and really quite sad).

  • Three quarters of dads say they are responsible for their child’s emotional well-being, while only 20% of dads see this role reflected in media
  • Only 13% of dads believe the media portrays fathers as responsible for childcare
  • 3 out of 5 dads say the media portrays them negatively (61%)
  • Nearly all dads (97%) say they are involved in their child(ren)’s life and 7 in 10 see themselves as highly involved
  • An overwhelming majority of dads (94%) prioritize their families over their careers
  • Dove Men+Care understands that dads’ role as caregiver is often unrecognized and is sharing real, authentic moments of care just in time for Father’s Day
  • Features real dads and their kids

 

Dove Men+Care has a full line of grooming products specifically designed to care for men’s skin, face, hair and underarms. My husband uses several of their products and has been quite happy with the performance.

 

Watch the “Calls for Dad” film and then share your family’s #RealDadMoments with @DoveMenCare

  • Follow Dove Men+Care on Twitter and Instagram (@DoveMenCare)
  • Like Dove Men+Care on Facebook (Facebook.com/DoveMenCare)

 

Trista Sutter on family, gratitude and the great outdoors

Earlier this week I had the chance to sit down (via Skype) and chat with Trista Sutter.  Yes, “that” Trista Sutter.  Which is kind of ironic, because I’m fairly certain I’ve never watched The Bachelor nor The Bachelorette. (I have no reason why, although if they are all like Trista, I would love to watch….) So for me, this was a way to connect with another mom, albeit a mom who has a lot more fame in her life than I ever will.  It was a lovely conversation (though brief) but there were a few things that she said that were so meaningful to me, that really have just given me a refreshed view this week. I needed it.  It was nice to hear so much “normal” from a celebrity- talking about her kids playing sports, planning camps, playing Minecraft, stuff that the “rest of us” chat about all the time.

 trista-sutter-headshot-#theoutdoorsmissesyou

I had the chance to ask Trista a few questions- I was curious to hear what activities the family likes to enjoy most outdoors together.  Biking, hiking, walks, playing… the Sutters just really seem to enjoy being outside all of the time. They even go camping- and yes, I asked. They do tent camping.  (Clearly she’s braver than I am, I’m an RV camping girl I think…but I can hang in a tent. I’d just prefer not to….) It was really clear that Trista really values family time, together time.  Being outdoors with the family is important and part of their family on a regular basis. :)

 

Given that Trista’s partnered with OFF! brand to help get everyone OUTDOORS and enjoying all that mother nature offers, together, with our families, we had to find out some information about what her favorite OFF! products are. The Botanical Wipes came up several times, as did clip on repellents.  I haven’t tried the wipes but we plan to get some this week- my kids are really fair skinned and that pale skin is very sensitive to insect bites.  We’re looking forward to trying some wipes to keep the bugs OFF! the kids!

trista-sutter-happily-ever-after-bachelorette

I want to read Trista’s book: Happily Ever After: The Life-Changing Power of a Grateful Heart.  Why?

“The most important time to find gratitude is in those most difficult times because that’s how you get through them. Realize they are a blessing, even when it’s hard.” (Thank you for remembering that quote, Janel!)

Because showing gratitude every single day is immensely important.  It’s SO easy to get caught up in stuff- the big, the small, the daunting, the simple, and lose that gratitude.  But it matters. It’s important.  Trista shared with us that she committed to sharing gratitude on social media daily.  Every day. Part of being happy is choosing gratitude.  I’m pretty sure that I’ve heard that message many times in church sermons through the years.  I just have found times in my life where I almost forget to choose gratitude.  I’m recommitted to choosing happy…choosing gratitude…choosing positive.

mother-day-hammonasset

One of the best ways I have found that helps me to choose positive, choose gratitude, IS to get outdoors and BE with my family.  I actually wrote a whole post about the last minute decision on Mother’s Day to head to the beach knowing it’d not be warm enough to swim but feeling that strong urge to just get AWAY from the every day and connect with the family outside, exploring, appreciating, finding gratitude.  Choosing in those moments, planned or unplanned- those are the moments that turn into reasons for gratitude. We had one of the best days we’ve had all year and my cup was just overflowing.

As a mom, hearing Trista share how she says Magic Words to her children every night and has them repeat them really touched my heart. The biggest?

You are important” (yes, from The Help). What a gift to give your kids to remind them every single night they are important to you. I’ve decided we need to start using Magic Words in our family too.

national-get-outdoors-day

Oh, and one last thing? National Get Outdoors Day is June 14th. Cities all across the nation will be participating and you can join in on the fun or plan your own outdoor activities for that weekend. Check out NationalGetOutdoorsDay.org to see what’s planned for your area. Whatever you decide, do it outdoors!!

trista-sutter-book-giveaway-prizepack-#theoutsidemissesyou

One reader will  win a picnic basket, an outdoor blanket, a copy of Trista’s book and a bottle of OFF! FamilyCare Insect Repellent.

To enter, simple follow instructions on the Giveaway Tools form below.

 

This is a compensated post.  Opinions are my own.

PLEASE NOTE THAT SINCE THESE PRODUCTS ARE REGISTERED WITH THE U.S. ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY, IT IS A VIOLATION OF FEDERAL LAW TO USE THESE PRODUCTS IN ANY WAY OTHER THAN DIRECTED ON THE LABEL. PLEASE ENSURE YOU READ THE LABEL THOROUGHLY BEFORE TRYING THE PRODUCT

 

Little Life Lessons from Mom #KeepGoodGoing

This post brought to you by New York Life. All opinions are 100% mine.

Did your mom have little bits of wisdom that seemed so small when she said them, but later in life you realized were just profound truths?

 

My mom did. 

Be the friend you want to have.

A smile can make a BIG difference.

There's always a way to help someone. 

Don't move the mess. 

You have two choices in this situation. You can choose to be happy or you can choose to be unhappy.  (This was maybe not so "minor" but it's a biggie!)

Choose to see the bad or choose to see the good. Only you can make that choice for yourself. 

mom and me

I wish my mom was still alive. I wish I could hear her imparting her wisdom to her grandchildren. But she's not.  

I used to roll my eyes at my mom's little bits of wisdom she'd share. Life lessons, in teeny tiny doses.  I'm sure a lot of the stuff she said to us growing up was from what her parents said to her as she grew up….just like it's started to come out of my own mouth with my own children.

I've talked with my kids a lot about choices, and choosing happiness.  About being thankful for all that you have instead of what you don't have. I don't know if it's sinking in with my kids yet.  Probably not. But someday, hopefully, when they are older, maybe not even until they have little ones of their own, they'll realize just how much meaning was behind the small words I spoke to them all these years ago.  How I shared ways to Keep Good Going with them, and how my mom had shared those ways with me.  Celebrating Good sure is a lot more fun than wishing our lives away, don't you think? 

Little things I've shared with my kids? 

Hold the door for others.

Ask questions. Listen to the answers. 

Be the kind of friend you want someone to be to you.

Be thankful for what you have.  It's always a blessing.

Make the best of it all.  It makes a difference.

Help others. Hold that door, let them go ahead in line. Smile at them. Offer help. Bring them dinner. Pick up that prescription. 

Be kind. 

Be polite.

Be courteous. 

Really, when you get right down to it, most of the life lessons my mom shared with me and I share with my kids can almost boil down to one theme.  Keep good going.  

Being thankful= good

Choosing to help others= good

Being a good friend= Good

Ask questions, listen to answers= good

Keep good going.

The “The Happiest Daughter” video tells the story of how all families experience unexpected challenges, but what's important is making the most of it.  We can learn a lot from how little kids react and respond to challenges in life. They still find joy and things to laugh, smile and giggle at. 

 

Learn more about how New York Life can help you and your family Keep Good GoingThe Happiest DaughterCelebrating Good

 

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8 Reasons to Garden

 

Growing up, my dad had a garden. I can’t remember anything he grew in that garden except for rhubarb, I guess because we used to munch on the rhubarb while catching fireflies in our Underoos.  As I got older, I was away at summer camp for 8+ weeks each year, and wasn’t really around for gardening season…and then we got a house on Lake Winnipesauke and weekends and vacations were spent there so the garden kind of went by the wayside.  We even have some rhubarb plants here, that we’d gotten from a neighbor, so we could bring it to my mom and dad up in New Hampshire.

My husband’s family has always gardened.  For him, having a yard that could fit a garden was a part of house hunting. I didn’t really have a preference to garden or not, at least where food was concerned. I just wanted to have roses where I lived. Oh, and peonies.

When we bought our current home in 2005, I was really pregnant with our oldest daughter.  We chose this house for many reasons, but a big reason is the yard.  Our backyard is large, with lots of room for a garden, flower beds, flowering trees, shade trees, and it had 2 huge apple trees and 2 8 foot tall blueberry bushes that were well established when we moved in.

Here are 8 reasons to garden:

1. Food- There’s not much that tastes better than something you planted, tended and grew yourself.

2. Earth- The cycle of plant life is good for the earth.  It’s good for the air and its good for the soil.  We use pine needles that fall from our trees to mulch beds, or we use pine cones.

3. Family- Gardening is something we can do as a family. Every step can include all of us.

4. Learning- The process of prepping, planting, tending and harvesting a garden teaches a lot to our children.  It also helps them develop an understanding and appreciation for growing our own food.  My kids have all said at different times how much better even our salsa tastes when it’s stuff we brought up from the garden.

5. Money- I’m pretty sure we’ve all bought fresh produce at the grocery store.  It’s expensive…. and that’s not even talking about selecting organic fruits and vegetables.  By planting our own fruits, vegetables and herbs and using an organic Miracle-Gro product for seed starting and/or amending the soil with our compost, we know just what’s going into the soil with our seeds…and we are able to save a lot of money that we would have otherwise spent on organic produce.

6. Fun- It’s really kind of fun to just dig in and garden.  It’s not only a fun way to be together as a family, but it’s also a source of stress relief.

7. Fragrance and beauty- while we are not big flower gardeners, we do have a dozen peonies around our property (and I’m sure we will keep adding, as they are my favorites), as well as other perennial flowers… which we can cut as we wish and put around the house to brighten rooms and enjoy the fragrance of.  We can also cut flowers to brighten someone else’s day.

8. Learning- I’ve learned so much over the years of gardening.  The kids have too.  From carpentry skills in building raised beds or our compost bin, to figuring out when to plant seeds in winter so they’ll be ready for the ground after the last frost….row spacing…timing… there’s a lot that gardening can teach all of us.

 Everyone grows for a reason. Some people grow to spend time with their family, or to beautify their community. Some people grow because they love cooking with home-grown ingredients, or because it’s a skill and tradition passed down from generations. Other people grow for personal relaxation, or because they love decorating their homes with freshly cut flowers. Whatever the reason, Miracle-Gro wants to know why we all grow- why we strive to Gro Something Greater.

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Date Night at Home

When you don’t have family around to babysit for you, and don’t have a lot of disposable income, going out for date night isn’t always feasible. I mean, it sure is fun, but there is the cost incurred of paying a sitter and whatever you actually do for your date night. That can add up quickly.

One thing that my husband and I have been making an effort to do at least once a month is to have date night at home. It isn’t always (rarely) fancy, and it’s definitely not expensive, but it’s an evening where we feed the kids and get them to bed, and then have our own evening plans. This post is sponsored by Dr. Oetker.

Usually, we’ll make an adult-friendly meal, which may be take out, delivery, or something we make.  Someday, maybe we’ll make something together. We’ll often set the table, or at least get out placemats, my china, and light a candle.

date night at home
We enjoy a meal together, just the two of us.  No plastic cups (unless we decide to dine al fresco on the grass in the yard), no kids spilling, no cutting anyone’s food — just a husband and a wife, reconnecting over a nice simple meal. This past weekend, I wasn’t feeling well (again) so we did super simple.  We had Ristorante Pizza Spinaci and Pizza Mozzarella with some salad and ice water (normally, that would be wine in my glass!).

Dr. Oetker’s Ristorante pizzas are one of my go-to meals for our stay home date nights.  They are quick and easy, with more sophisticated flavor varieties, and oh so delicious.

We had a movie night after dinner. And nope.  No romance here.  Unless you consider Catching Fire romantic… although the time snuggling on the couch with phones, tablets, laptops off and just the two of us sharing some popcorn was romance enough for this girl. I just like the dedicated time to be just the two of us, as a couple, husband and wife, and not just mom or dad.  It’s really important to work on that relationship while parenting too!

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Make your Perfect Date Night at Home with Ristorante pizzas! Visit the Dr. Oetker USA Facebook page for your chance to win the Perfect Night In sweepstakes and take home everything you’d need for your dream night in.

To see if Ristorante pizzas are available near you, check out the Store Locator. Don’t see Ristorante in your supermarket? You can put in a request with the store manager!

 

Do you have date night at home?  What do you do for your date nights?

 

 

This is a sponsored post about having date night at home on behalf of Dr. Oetker USA LLC. I received compensation for this post; however, all opinions stated are my own.

 

 

 

 

 

Affordable diapers that don’t leak DO exist #WellBeginnings #AD

This is a sponsored post about affordable diapers written by me on behalf of Well Beginnings.

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Having reliable diapers that don’t leak is kind of a MUST for parents.  Often times, that means spending top dollar with the hopes of a coupon to bring the cost down a little. With everything else in the world costing so much, that’s kind of a bummer.

Parents, what do we want?
Affordable diapers!

When do we want them?
NOW!

The bottom line is, diapers can’t leak. Period. Parents need to be able to rely on their diapers.  No ifs, ands or buts.  (See what I did there?  Bum-mer? Bottom line? But(t)s?)

affordable diapers

I still remember when my oldest nephew was born (sorry Joey) almost 29 years ago, and how my sister searched for diapers she could both afford AND that wouldn’t leak.  I also have a vague recollection that they were about 25 times thicker and bulkier than today’s diapers, but I digress.  Anyway, diapers have changed a LOT in 28+ years (thankfully) in terms of their bulk, performance, and also the brands that are making quality diapers themselves. Also, I’m pretty sure I can clearly remember one time when Joey rolled over in a new size diaper and his diaper seemed to stay where it was.  Stretch wasn’t really part of the diaper language back then.  Poor babies.

That’s where we are today, and why I’m writing this post.  Well Beginnings diapers.  Oh, yes.  I mean, aside from the super cute elephants (and who doesn’t love baby elephants? HMM??), Well Beginnings diapers offer what parents want most- diapers that don’t leak and stand up to wetness, at an affordable price.

well beginnings diaper open

Well Beginnings diapers are found at Walgreens.  (Is there no end to the wonder of Walgreens?). They were developed FOR active babies and toddlers.  Which means they were developed for those squirmy, wiggly, dancy little ones who make us laugh and smile so very much, and test the limits of all diapers put on their little bums. Like any disposable diaper needs to have these days, the waist and side panels are soft- and stretchy, so they really will move WITH your little one.

affordable diapers that don't leak

My favorite part of the Well Beginnings diapers (aside from performance, but I feel like that kind of goes without saying- if it keeps my kids leak free day and night, we have a winner) is that the inner liner is hypoallergenic, with natural botanicals, vitamin E and aloe.  Soothing and gentle on baby’s delicate skin.   All of this together means that Well Beginnings is a brand that offers affordable diapers that don’t leak.

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So what’s your #1 requirement for a diaper?  Is it cost, is it performance?

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Well Beginnings.