Kraft Printable Coupons!

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #PackedwithSavings #CollectiveBias

I am always looking for new and fun activities to enjoy during the summer, but costs can start to add up quickly! Saving money whenever and wherever I can is important, especially during the summer months. Kraft Foods wants to help you save money without sacrificing on great taste and quality by offering multiple HIGH value coupons worth $16.25. If you can cut back your grocery bill, that opens up the possibility for fun activities with your family and friends all summer long! Be sure to download these online coupons now to begin saving! You can find all of these great deals on http://cbi.as/copy

You can use this coupon to save on all of your favorite Kraft products at Walmart. Make sure and print them quickly, they are limited and when they’re gone, they’re gone!

Making Education Fun With Disney Junior!

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #Ready4Preschool #CollectiveBias

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Ada is my little late bird. She is a December baby, which means she is turning 5 this year but still has one more year until she can start Kindergarten. So this fall, she will start her first preschool in a classroom setting. She is extremely excited and definitely ready!! We decided to get some school supplies and activities that we could practice with until she starts Preschool, so off to WalMart we went. Our store has a special back-to-school section set up by the garden area. We checked it out and found all of Ada’s favorite Disney Junior characters: Doc McStuffins, Sofia the First, and of course Mickey Mouse & the gang from the Clubhouse!

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Ada picked out the Learning Schoolhouse Activity and was so adorable setting it up. We had a little pretend classroom time while Lola took a nap.

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It came with a little pointer finger that, “feels like a marshmallow” according to miss Ada. She pointed at the states while I said the name of the state. I was telling her little anecdotes about each place and was informed that I should just be saying the name of the state, not who lives there or who was born there. Oops! :)

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I was also informed that there was no gum popping allowed in class. Oops again :)

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The Learning Schoolhouse Activity comes with dry erase markers, activity cards (Ada has been loving the letters with arrows to show her which way to write them), magnets, a report card, and other engaging materials.

I love these little hands! I wrote out the problems and she answered them all on her own.

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Sweet girl focused on writing her numbers.

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These Disney Jr. activities are the perfect thing to get your preschool-aged children excited about learning. We have been playing preschool every day since we brought this home!

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Turning 30 With The Monterey Bay Aquarium!

For my birthday weekend, Matt & I drove up the California coast and spent the weekend in the Carmel Valley and Monterey. We got a late start, as usual :) I was really proud of myself for not forgetting a thing for the girls or us, though! My wonderful mom watched the girls and they were in heaven having a sleepover at Nonnie’s house.

After the 3 hour drive, we could not have asked for a more welcome sight! We pulled into the Quail Lodge and it was so peaceful. They just underwent a huge renovation and it shows.

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Loved the giant tub and tiled shower!

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This is the breathtaking view the greeted us when we woke up:

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I wished we could have stayed there forever!

From Carmel, we made our way to Monterey (about a 20 minute drive). We went to The Monterey Bay Aquarium, which turned 30 this year — just like me! They have a one-of-its kind exhibit called Tentacles that opened in celebration of the landmark birthday. It is all about cephalopods and has the most incredible installations.

They put up these tentacles outside that blew in the breeze and reminded me of Ursula :) Evidently they made people talk and speculate about what was going on at the aquarium while they tried to keep it under wraps.

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This special series of exhibits is the first of its kind because cephalopods are known for their mastery of camouflage and hiding. I can’t believe what a great job they did making every species visible!

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You are led through exhibits and I especially loved the history of sea monsters and creatures.

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They have an interactive cephalopod selfie station where every time you make a different face, it changes your coloring into different shades one might use to disguise itself. So much fun!

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Lorna Jane’s Nourish – The Fit Woman’s Cookbook

As a SweatPink Ambassador, I received a digital copy of this cookbook to review in addition to a promotional item. I made two recipes and photographed them. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.  

I was so excited to have the opportunity to review Lorna Jane Clarkson’s new cookbook! Lorna Jane is a fitness apparel brand based in Australia. I’ve seen their stores at Westfield Mall in San Jose and Paseo Nuevo in Santa Barbara. The day I shopped at the store in Santa Barbara, their air conditioning was broken and it was a really hot day! The sweet retail girl put a fan in the dressing room for me and brought me a bottle of cold water. Thank you for that!!

Looking through Lorna Jane’s cookbook, you have pictures of her in various workout attire and quotes on her food philosophy. It makes you want to hang out with her! I decided to go for one recipe that scared me and one that sounded like something I’d normally make.

The first recipe I tried was the Glow Elixir. It has all kinds of good-for-you veggies in it and no sweeteners besides some apple.

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To be honest, it was gross at first. Each subsequent sip wasn’t as bad, but I thought about wheatgrass and how you take a shot of it and get it over with, so I would treat this the same way. It’s good for you and it tastes that way! Very minty too.

Glow Elixir
 
Prep time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 2
Ingredients
  • ½ c. spinach
  • ⅔ c. water
  • ½ c. chopped cucumber
  • ½ chopped small apple
  • ½ chopped small carrot
  • 6 mint leaves
  • ¼ small avocado
Instructions
  1. Place all ingredients in a high-speed blender until smooth. (I used the juice button on my Blendtec). Pour into glass and serve.

The next recipe I tried was Roasted Balsamic Tomato & Avocado on Toast. It was delicious!! I’m glad to have leftovers so I can make it again. The only thing I would add is salt on the avocados and drizzle some extra virgin olive oil on the bread. I love the combination of the tart roasted tomatoes with the creamy goat cheese & avocados. In the cookbook, she has a recipe for a bread that she uses for the toast. I decided to go with a whole grain sourdough bread instead of baking bread.

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Roasted Balsamic Tomato & Avocado on Toast
 
Prep time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: Appetizer
Serves: 2
Ingredients
  • 8 ounces cherry tomatoes
  • 1 Tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 4 slices whole grain sourdough
  • 2 ounces arugula
  • 1 medium avocado
  • 2 Tablespoons roasted walnuts (I forgot to add these...oops)
  • 1½ ounces soft goat cheese
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 220°C/425°F.
  2. Combine tomatoes and vinegar in a large baking-paper-lined baking dish; season to taste. Bake about 10 minutes or until tomatoes are browned lightly and beginning to soften.
  3. Meanwhile, toast bread. Serve toast topped with rocket (arugula), avocado and tomato; sprinkle with nuts and cheese, drizzle with any pan juices from tomatoes.

Lorna Jane says that she, in true Aussie fashion, spreads some Vegemite underneath all of the other goodness on this toast. My dad used to fly to Sydney and bring home Vegemite. He would ask us kids if we wanted some chocolate and trick us into eating it!! So terrible! I like how she refers to the arugula as rocket, too. I want to start calling it that :)

Right now Lorna Jane is running a #LiveLoveNOURISH initiative and you can win:

 - A hard copy of NOURISH – The Fit Woman’s Cookbook!

- A $200 gift card to Lorna Jane!
Tweet: Join the #LiveLoveNOURISH initiative w/ @LornaJaneActive @FitApproach! Giveaway of: 10 NOURISH Cookbooks + $200 Gift Card to #lornajane!

I have to say I love my running top from Lorna Jane. It’s cute and different than any other workout tops I have. It’s got a little interest in the back!

I hope you enjoy these recipes and get a chance to check out Lorna Jane’s new cookbook. There are numerous other recipes, everything from omelettes to healthy desserts!

Keep Momming

I participated in a campaign on behalf of Mom Central Consulting (#MC) for Shire. I received a promotional item as a thank you for participating.

As an actress, a public health advocate and former journalist, Holly Robinson Peete has seen it all. And as a mother of four, she’s encountered just about every parenting challenge you can imagine. One of her biggest challenges as mom is building and maintaining a close relationship with her teenage daughter, Ryan.

The mother-daughter relationship is a unique one, and that dynamic can be even trickier during the tween years. Yet sometimes, people dismiss certain behaviors as “typical tween girl behavior” when those behaviors can be symptoms of something more serious. Research suggests that girls are more likely than boys to report having mostly inattentive Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) symptoms. Since inattentive symptoms can be less noticeable than hyperactive and impulsive symptoms, it is important that moms know what to look for.

I’m proud to be joining forces with Shire, CHADD and Holly Robinson Peete to announce the launch of keep momming, a new public service initiative geared towards the moms of tween girls to raise awareness of ADHD.

The campaign is anchored within a new digital hub, KeepMomming.com, where you’ll find tips, tools and other go-to resources for moms, including a checklist to help recognize the symptoms of ADHD – inattention, impulsivity, and hyperactivity – and then encourages moms to talk to their daughter’s doctor. The keep momming initiative can help moms learn about ADHD and provide ideas on how to spark a conversation and stay connected with their tween.

Don’t miss Holly’s message about the keep momming initiative http://goo.gl/Uayao5, and be sure to check out the website at KeepMomming.com.

Fuel Your Better with Vega Sport!

I am a Sweat Pink Ambassador and was sent this product to try and review. As always, all opinions are honest & 100% mine.

When it comes to supplements and refueling, I have pretty much no idea what to use. I usually have a glass of chocolate milk after a good, long run. Big vitamin stores scare me and I leave all of that up to my husband. He likes talking with the employees and is all into the latest and greatest protein or glucosamine drink. So this is me:

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Vega Sport’s Fuel Your Better movement is helping people like us to see how you can better fuel and optimize your workouts!

I was extremely excited when Vega Sport offered to send me some recovery accelerator! I love the idea of not being as sore after a workout and recovering quicker.

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The powder is completely plant-based and tropical flavored. You mix it into 1 1/2 cups cold water and drink immediately after your workout.

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I was really surprised by the flavor! Reading plant-based made me think it would taste like, well, plants. That was not the case! It’s like a watered down mango pineapple juice. I liked it all except for the last sip. No matter how much I shook and mixed it, there were always some bits at the bottom that I couldn’t drink.

I’m still trying to master the mirror selfie…I may have been distracted by a cute little two-year-old coming in the door :)

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I have a really sensitive stomach, so I was worried about how the drink would affect me. I found that if I drank it and made sure I got some food in my stomach afterward I was fine. If I only drank the recovery drink and didn’t eat anything for a couple of hours, I’d start to feel woozy.

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The best part about Vega Sport’s Recovery Accelerator was that it actually made me less sore after a workout! Especially one where I sprint to smoke my husband at the end ;)

Celebrating Every Goal This Summertime!

I am a member of the Collective Bias®  Social Fabric® Community. This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper amplification for Collective Bias and its advertiser. #collectivebias 

CelebrateGoal

We’ve been doing a preschool co-cop with my friends and their children. During one of my weeks to teach, the lesson was on setting goals and how we can accomplish them. One child said he was going to learn to put his socks and shoes on all by himself. Another said she wanted to help her mom set the table for dinner. Ada said she wanted to learn how to ride her bike without training wheels! We’ve decided to practice this summertime to help her achieve it and #CelebrateEveryGoal this summer!

Lola had to get in on the action with her scooter too :) I love how Ada has her Violet puppy in the basket with her for moral support!

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Of course there will be some bumps and bruises along the way, so we stocked up at Walgreens with the essentials to keep us all healthy and happy. Right now, when Balance Reward Members (it’s free to join) buy $15 worth of Johnson & Johnson products, they get 3,000 points! Princess BAND-AIDS® are a must :) Can you see them on both girls’ knees already? We go through them so fast in our house! I’ve never tried NEUTROGENA® sunscreen before and am loving how it smells. We will definitely be using this can up quickly with park days, beach days, and bike riding in the sunshine!

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Walgreens has everything you need to celebrate every goal this summer. The big game is coming up…who are you rooting for? I asked my Sunday School children and the loudest response was BRAZIL!!!

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Whatever you hope to accomplish this summer, good luck with all of your goals. Have fun celebrating each and every one of them, no matter how big or small!!

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Disney FROZEN Fun With Sisters!

I am a member of the Collective Bias®  Social Fabric® Community. This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias and their client. #FROZENfun #collectivebias

If you have young children, I’m pretty sure that your home is in FROZEN Mania right now! My girls could not wait for the FROZEN DVD to come out after seeing it with Nonnie over Christmas break and have been singing the songs non-stop ever since. Who am I kidding, our whole family has been singing them!

The second we walked into WalMart, Ada found the FROZEN display! Look at that excitement…she’s not even touching the ground!

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Two very happy little girls. We only bought one DVD, of course. How many of you hand things to the cashier and say, “We’re not going to buy this…” as you check out? It’s a regular occurrence with us.

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We got the girls Elsa & Anna’s dresses and invited my family over for dinner and a FROZEN Talent Show! Ada/Elsa eating with Bobba & Nonnie:

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And a very full-mouthed Lola/Anna eating next to Papa and Nana:

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I made Apricot Chicken but subbed in Tangerine jam (so technically it would be Tangerine Chicken) with brown rice. It was delicious if I do say so myself!

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It’s The Little Things in Life

This post is sponsored by P&G. Save on NEW Gain Flings and Tide Pods at Target. Text CLEAN to Target (827438) for mobile coupons*.

When I was growing up, Saturday was our day for chores. We would usually have a soccer game in the morning, then we’d have to come home and clean our bathroom, change our sheets, and take care of our responsibilities before we could go play with our friends. Now that I have my own household, Saturdays are a day that I want to spend with my family because Matt is off work. And I’d prefer to not spend it doing housework, although sometimes it has to happen that way.

I know that on most days, I feel like it is 4 against 1. I am the one trying to keep the house clean, and there’s a husband, a 4-year-old, a 2 1/2-year-old, and a puppy that are all trying to do the exact opposite! Through trial and error, I have found that a little bit of work every day goes a long way for my sanity and my home. I have put into my phone calendar recurring events that need to happen each day of the week in order for my house to stay clean. It looks like this, but you can adjust it to your needs:

Monday: Bathrooms (I figure Monday is blah anyway, so why not get the worst one done and over with)

Tuesday: Dust

Wednesday: Sweep

Thursday: Mop

Friday: Catch up day (because nobody is perfect and I usually end up skipping a day for whatever reason)

Saturday: Wash sheets & towels

These chores are in addition to everything else that comes with life. Just because Wednesday is sweep day doesn’t mean that I don’t have to sweep any other day of the week. I just know that if I stay on top of these things, my house looks better and that I don’t have to clean as much each week. I try (emphasis on try here) to do a load of laundry each day from start to finish. For me, washing and drying is easy. It’s the folding and putting away that kill me! Clean clothes sit in baskets way longer than I care to admit. P&G, when are you going to send me a cute little pod that folds my clothes? ;)

Gain Fling

Tide Pods have been around for a while, and I love them. Now, there are Gain Flings too! I guess Gain laundry detergent has a huge following called Gainiacs! Ha! I never understood it until I used a Gain Fling on my Ada & Lola’s blankets and they both snuggled up with them and said they smelled like grape lollipops. (They’re both looking at Maverick in this pic) :)

Gain Flings Tide Pods

Husbands love them too:

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They are so small and fun! I love that there’s no mess, and that they are so easy to toss in the washer. You can find them at Target.

IMG 1270For me, doing little things every day goes a long way. Not just with my laundry, but in all areas of my life!

What little things do you do to help life go smoothly?

*Message and data rates may apply. 1 message per request. http://m.target.com/spot/sms/coupon-alrts-terms for Terms, Conditions, and Privacy Policy. By texting the key word to us, you agree to receive an autodialed text message from Target at the mobile number from which you sent your request. Consent to receive messages is not a condition of purchase.

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Christmas 2013

Why hellooooo there! Happy New Year! Can I still say that on January 16th? I didn’t mean to take such a long break from blogging, but it was a much needed one. I worked hard in December and was a bit burnt out…the post-holiday migraine told me so. :)

We had a wonderful Christmas and I hope that you did too! Here’s a recap.

We went to see Santa in SLO and Ada was so cute with him. He asked what she wanted and she said, “A pink scooter!” He said, “And what else?” She answered, “That’s all!”

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Lola was absolutely terrified of Santa. I was the heartless mother who wanted to get a picture of her screaming and send it into Ellen but my mom couldn’t bear seeing Lola in such distress! It was pretty sad. So I have a picture of sweet Nonnie rescuing Lola from the grips of creepy Santa.

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We enjoyed Christmas magic…Ada was having trouble falling asleep one night so I said she could come lay on the couch by me. I left all the twinkle lights on and I said, “It’s so magical with just the Christmas tree lights on.” and she said, “Yeah, it’s like Disneyland.” Then immediately fell asleep.

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I love these ornaments that the girls made at church! These will have a permanent spot on my tree forever.

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We had family time with Uncle Sean and Auntie Becca in town!

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Excited little girls going to bed on Christmas Eve!

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The tree before Santa and his elves went to bed! :)

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And my phone died after I took this picture. It was kind of a good thing because then I was focused on the girls during Christmas morning and not on taking pictures and videos. I put Matt in charge of that and he made this beautiful video. It’s titled the way Lola says Christmas :)

As I was excitedly wrapping all of the gifts that I’d bought and made for my family, I kept having this thought and shared it on Facebook: You know the excitement you feel as you watch someone open a gift that you’ve been waiting for them to open? The perfect gift that you know they’ll love and have been wanting? It’s the best! I keep thinking that this is how our Heavenly Father must feel as we accept Jesus Christ as our Savior and allow his Atonement, the greatest gift of all, to wash us clean and make us whole. I hope you all had a wonderful time with your loved ones…Merry Christmas! :)