Why I Love The JESUS Film (And You Should Too!) {Review and Giveaway}

This post and giveaway are sponsored by Jesus Film and the FrontGate Christian Blogger Network. The opinions about how it will serve our home well are my own.


The life of Jesus is one of the most fascinating stories that has been told and re-told many, many times, both in print and in movies.  I know have lost track of the number of different movies that I have seen (or heard about) detailing Jesus' life.

With Christmas fast approaching, one of my favorite things I love to do is to cook and bake, which often means that I would have my laptop shoved into the corner of my countertop so I can watch a DVD while making a mess of my kitchen.  This often leads to my computer getting some type of food on it and results in me panicking and turning off the movie.

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Top 5 Ways to Survive the Holidays



I received this product for free from Bulletproof Coffee.  As a blogger, I agree to use this product and post my opinion on my blog. My opinion do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Bulletproof Coffee or the manufacturer of the product.



Listen, do you hear that?  That, my friend, is the sound of peace and quiet.  It is something that I do not have the luxury of enjoying too often because in about an hour, it will be mass chaos - the kids will be running around (and most likely whining about having to get up so early), my oldest daughter will be waking up 15 minutes before she has to leave for college so we will be rushing out the door after she becomes frantic and anxious about being late for class.  All of this will be going on while the dog will be circling round your feet trying to catch any crumb that falls to the floor while making breakfast.

This is my daily morning routine, even after reading countless "how to be more organized in the morning" books, things are still unorganized, but I have come to accept the chaos.  After all, one day, when the kids are grown up, the house will be quiet once again.

However, during this time of  year, with back to back holidays, life can get downright stressful.

There are baking marathons for last-minute holiday parties, frantically running for that last minute gift that you forgot to buy for your nephew, and the never-ending to do list that seems to get longer by the minute.

Yes, the holidays are stressful, but I'm going to let you in on a secret...they don't have to be.  It is only stressful if you allow it to become overwhelming and stressful.  Yes, I am guilty of this both in the past and presently.  Allowing the stress of the holiday not only robs you of your sanity, but your energy and health.

But there are five things you can do to help keep your sanity during the holiday madness.

1.  Get Plenty of Sleep




Moms (and Dads), can I get a show of hands from those that have kids under the age of 2 that do not get at least 8 hours of solid sleep.  You know, that kind of sleep where you are not woken up in the middle of the night for something to drink, a nightmare, or even the baby crying because her diaper leaked (because changing bed sheets in the middle of the night is always fun).

I would guess that most, if not all, of you raised your hand (or at least thought about doing so).  And it isn't just kids that can cause you not to get enough sleep.  Everyday stresses, that nagging thought in the back of your mind that you forgot to do something that day but you can't remember what it was you had to do, or even staying up too late to watch the late night shows.  There are many, many things daily that rob you of getting good, quality sleep every day.

But did you know that not getting enough sleep can wreak havoc on your body?  Sleep is a necessity for your body to rejuvenate itself, to help rebuild muscle tissue to rebuild itself from lifting weights earlier that day, and to just rest to prepare itself for the next day.

When you do not get enough sleep, there are so many health consequences that can affect your body.  You are more susceptible to catching colds due to a lowered immune system, higher chance of heart disease, lowered ability to focus on daily tasks, lack of energy, gaining weight - the list is ongoing.

If you are not getting enough sleep, take control of what is going on not only during the day, but also at night, especially before bed.  Eating a balanced diet with plenty of good fats throughout the day, drinking plenty of water, but even more important is to put the phone/computer/etc. down and detach yourself from the internet (yes, it is hard to do, but so necessary) and turn the television off. All of these things are vital to getting quality sleep and feeling rested when you wake up in the morning.   For more ways to improve your sleep, check out this article here.

2.  Get Your Sunshine On


Yes, it may sound a little crazy, but not outside and soaking up some sun every day can make you feel tired, which often results in a lowered response to dealing with stress.  



The sun plays a vital role in how our body produces Vitamin D, also known as the "sunshine vitamin."  Vitamin D, more specifically Vitamin D3, plays a huge role in how our body absorbs calcium, helps with depression, may decrease heart disease and even help with weight loss.  Not to mention it may also help with fatigue.

Now I'm not saying to go outside every day for 30 minutes or more without sunscreen to get the full benefits of getting enough Vitamin D.  This may be hard to do during the winter months, especially for those that live in the north.   But by eating foods rich in Vitamin D, such as eggs, salmon and yogurt, is important on a daily basis.  Also, taking a quality vitamin supplement that contains Vitamin D (and Vitamin D3) is important to add to your daily regimen.


3.  Relax and Destress


Relaxing, a peaceful hot bath, reading a book without interruption - all of these things may seem impossible when you have kids.  But it is so important that you have the chance for "me time" daily.  Even if it is just 30 minutes a day to unwind, you need and DESERVE it.  Taking this time for YOU is necessary to refocus and help to unwind after a long day at work (or even staying home with your kids all day).



For me, I have a nice cup of coffee (Bulletproof coffee is my favorite), essential oil diffusing, and a good book to help me focus and prepare for the day ahead.  This is my "me time."  Yes, there are days that I may not get my "me time" in the mornings due my little one getting up too early or a change in our routine for the day, but I still make the time later in the day for me.  You deserve it.


4.  Eating Healthy




During the holidays this may be the hardest thing to do.  Between office parties, family gatherings and homemade candy from my family, there seems to be a never ending supply of chocolate and cookies in some form or another in my kitchen, and they all seem to be calling my name, especially when I've had a particularly rough day.

Now, more than ever, is it important to eat healthy on a daily basis and limiting the amount of sugar and processed foods.  Eating a diet high in green leafy vegetables, good for you fats like avocados and quality proteins like fish and grass-fed meats are vital to keeping your body running at an optimal level to help ward off colds and, if you are like me, eating too many unhealthy foods.

If you know me, then you know my love of coffee, which I include as one of the major food groups. Some may say that coffee isn't healthy, while others will say that it is.  I am one of those that say that it IS healthy for you, as long as you have a good, quality coffee.

Now, I understand that some of you may be asking, "How can coffee be good for me?"  Well, with my favorite coffee, Bulletproof Coffee, it is not only good, but good for you.  Bulletproof Coffee is made with ground coffee that is low in toxins (which may cause health issues) because their beans are grown, processed and tested to make sure of its purity.  But one of the main things that I LOVE about Bulletproof Coffee is adding in two ingredients that I would have never even considered or even thought in a million years adding into my coffee - grass-fed ghee and Brain Octane Oil (a medium-chain triglyceride oil made from coconut oil).  Trust me, I once thought the same thing - how in the world could you add butter and oil to coffee?  Well, I asked the same thing until I tasted it and it totally opened up my eyes (and taste buds).  Yes, it was that good.

But not only does it taste good, it is good for you.  The ghee and Brain Octane Oil are full of good fats that you may be skimping in your diet.  Fats are necessary for so many body functions, transportation of vitamins and minerals and is needed for mental cognition that they are a vital part of your diet.  So why put them in your coffee?

I can honestly say that after drinking Bulletproof Coffee for only a few days, I can tell that I am more awake and focused after drinking it and have even noticed that I feel fuller too (bonus!).  If you would like more information on Bulletproof Coffee and its health benefits, you can check out their website here.  If you would like to purchase a starter kits, which is the best way to see if you like it before you buy it, you can get yours at http://ca.bulletproof.com.

5.  Getting Your Sweat On




Yep, you guessed it, exercise can help keep you sane and help fight off those unwanted holiday pounds.  I know that exercise is probably the last thing you want to do until the New Year, but just taking 30 minutes at least 5 times per week is all you need to help you to either prepare you for the day (if you exercise in the morning) or refresh and help your sleep (if you exercise at night).

Even better is if you can get outside, not only for the fresh air, but for the Vitamin D.  It doesn't have to be anything extreme like cross fit, but even just a walk around the block is all you need to obtain the benefits of exercising.  


Taking care of yourself is the first step to surviving the holidays.  When you take care of yourself, you are able to have plenty of energy to make it through those long lines at the mall, the to do list that hasn't been completed from two days ago, and all the other things that life throws your way.

What are some of the things you do to survive the holidays?



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Teaching Scripture Through Song {Review and Giveaway}



This post and giveaway are sponsored by Oodles World and the FrontGate Christian Blogger Network. The opinions about how it will serve our home well are my own. 


The holidays can be crazy sometimes, especially when you have children who are very active and are always busy doing something.  Now I know that some parents may shun putting a DVD on so that you can get a chance to do dishes or get supper done, but there are those days when a movie is just what I need to get a moment of sanity and get things done.

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Everything You Need to Know About Faithbox {A Review}


I received this product for free from the Family Christian Blogger Program (www.familychristian.com).  As a Family Christian Blogger Program blogger, I agree to use this product and post my opinion on my blog.  My opinion do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Family Christian, Faithbox or the manufacturer of the product.



I've noticed lately that there seems to be a new trend in the way companies are selling monthly subscriptions.  One trend that I am hooked on are monthly kits/boxes for things that I use, such as planner kits and bible journaling kits.  But there are more than just those.  I've even seen a monthly "box" subscription for your pet.

However, one monthly "box" subscription that I have seen and heard of quite a bit is one called Faithbox.  I was considering purchasing a one-month subscription to try it out when I was contacted by Family Christian to review the August 2016 Faithbox.




Each Faithbox subscription will contain a 30 day devotional, plus various other products from companies that have a positive effect in the world today.  You will also receive an Impact Guide which will give a brief overview of the products, how to use them, and why those particular products were chosen for that month's Faithbox.



In the August 2016 Faithbox, you would have received Uninvited by Lysa TerKeurst (one of my favorite authors!), Everyday Faith 30 day devotional, Steamm Espresso shot, The Stitch by Speak Your Silence and Thoughtful Cards designed by the Faithbox team.




I can honestly say that all the contents in the August 2016 Faithbox, at first were a bit confusing as to why there were included, but after reading how the Steamm Espresso shot helps to provide polio immunizations to children overseas and how The Stitch funds one on one counseling to people affected by child abuse in the United States, it made me realize that there are these awesome products that not many people may not know about and using a service, such as Faithbox, is a blessing in not only spreading God's word, but also helping others in need all over the world.

Not only do the products contained in each month's Faithbox help to provide services such as immunizations and counseling, but every Faithbox shipped also provides three meals to a non-profit organization called Rice Bowls, which helps to feed hungry children.

I was so impressed with Faithbox, both in the choice of contents in the box and how fun the products chosen were, I have a feeling that a lucky person (or two or three) in my family will definitely be getting a monthly subscription to Faithbox as Christmas gifts this year.

If you would like to learn more about Faithbox or even order your own Faithbox, check out Family Christian.




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Getting your Kids to Take Their Vitamins Just Got a Little Easier {Review}

Getting your kids to take their vitamins without the need for pills.
I received this product for free from Moms Meet (momsmeet.com), May Media Group LLC, who received it directly from the manufacturer. As a Moms Meet blogger, I agree to use this product and post my honest opinion on my blog. The opinions posted are my own.

Let's face it, getting our kids to eat healthy or even just one bite of any kind of veggie sometimes results in you getting frustrated and your child throwing a temper tantrum or crying.  So while we can only offer veggies and healthy foods for them to eat, it is up to us as parents to make sure that they are still getting their daily vitamins and minerals.

Now, I personally know that my daughter will eat certain veggies and only for a certain length of days before she tires of them and moves on to another one of her few chosen "go-to" vegetables that she will eat.  I also know that by her being such a picky eater, it puts a limit on what vitamins and minerals her body will be getting and possibly increasing those that her body will be lacking.

So in order for her to get the daily nutrients she needs,I can either fight with her on a daily basis to try new foods (which is often the case) or make sure she takes her vitamins.  Because she is only 6, she hasn't quite grasped the concept of swallowing a pill so any type of vitamin that she takes has to be in powder or liquid form.

So I was on the hunt to find a powder type of vitamin that didn't contain fillers, sugars, coloring or preservatives.  But to make it even more difficult, I needed a kids' vitamin that was gluten, dairy, and soy free due to food intolerances.

It was then that I had finally found a vitamin that met all of those criteria and more.


MegaFood Multivitamin made with organic vegetables and fruits.
MegaFood Kids Daily Multi

MegaFood, a well-known supplement company, partnered with brands that my family has used for quite some time, and are well known such as Kauai Organic Farms, Lundberg Family Farms, and Uncle Matt’s Organic to create a powdered vitamin for kids five and older.

MegaFood Daily Immune made with elderberry and echinacea for added immune support.
MegaFood Kids Daily Immune

MegaFood also offers three types of powdered supplements:  Kids Daily Multi, which is made up of organic vegetables and fruits; Kids Daily Immune, which features immune boosting ingredients such as elderberry and echinacea; and Kids Daily B-Centered, which is formulated from brown rice to support mental focus, calmness and healthy energy levels.  These can be given separately or altogether.

But the one thing that really drew me to using MegaFood was the ability to add their powdered supplements to foods such as smoothies, yogurt, pancakes, applesauce, and more.  The ability to "hide" vitamins that do not leave a "powdery" taste is HUGE.  No kid will willingly eat any food that has been prepared that has a weird taste in it without immediately asking you what you did to that food and refuse to eat it.  Not to mention the frustrating feeling that you tried to hide a powdered vitamin in a food that your child loves and will eat, only to be busted that you tried to hide something "healthy" in it.

Adding It To Foods


A fast and easy smoothie to add MegaFoods' Daily Multi and Immune to.
Banana Chocolate Smoothie with MegaFood Kids Daily Multi and Immune

One of the recipes that I added MegaFoods' Kids Daily Multi and Daily Immune to was a smoothie recipe that my daughter actually loves - a banana-chocolate smoothie.  She typically has a smoothie at least every other day, if not daily.  Banana-chocolate is her favorite, so it was a perfect recipe to test out if she even noticed that a powdered vitamin was added.

Recipe: Banana-Chocolate Smoothie

1 1/2 frozen banana
1 tbsp cocoa powder
1 scoop MegaFood Kids Daily Multi
1 scoop MegaFood Kids Daily Immune
1 tsp vanilla
3-4 ice cubes

Directions

Mix all ingredients together until blended well.  Serve immediately and enjoy.


Verdict


Its a winner! The Banana-Chocolate Smoothie with MegaFoods' Multi and Immune was a hit.
It's a winner!

She loved it.  She didn't realize anything was added differently to the smoothie and there was no difference in taste.  

I am very pleased with MegaFoods' supplements and will continue to use them and try other recipes to incorporate them into.  

If you would like more information on what MegaFood offers and get exclusive access to discounts and special offers, go to www.megafood.com/kids-boosters.




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Wanna get paid for working out?  Would you like a little extra cash just for building healthy habits?  If so, Beachbody’s Health Bet has you covered!

What is Beachbody’s Health Bet?

Beachbody is literally betting cold hard cash that you will fall in love with getting healthy!
During the Challenge Period, from September 5th – October 2nd, 2016, anyone who meets the requirements below will win an equal share of a $1 million dollar pot funded by Beachbody! As a BONUS – for every Challenge Pack sold from July 27th – August 31st, 2016, Beachbody will add $5 to the pot for up to a $3 million dollar pot!

Beachbody’s Health Bet focuses on building healthy habits.

I totally love that in the Health Bet you aren’t focused on the scale.  It’s not about weight loss or getting visible abs.
You are rewarded for creating healthy habits.
Workout three times per week and drink five Shakeology shakes.  That’s it.  No pressure to workout for hours.  No embarrassing weigh ins.  You workout, drink a shake, and post them in your Beachbody Challenge Tracker app.  Super simple.  No stress.

How much will you win?

It depends on how large the final pot will be (minimum of  $1 million and maximum of $3 million) and how many people participate.  So it could be $5, $15, $50 or more.   Beachbody will announce the total pot amount in early September.
But the good news is this… whether you get a big check, or just enough to buy a Green Tea Frappuccino, you will be a winner in that you have created the healthy habits of moving your body and drinking a health shake!  You will be a stronger, more fit, more vibrant person at the end of the month than you were when you started.

Want to join me?

I will run a special Health Bet challenge group for the entire contest period.  We start September 5th and run through October 2nd.  So you will not only earn the Beachbody Health Bet payout, but you’ll also get the support of me and a group of other ladies on the same journey to become the healthiest version of ourselves as possible.  Oh, and some cash too 🙂

What do you need to join?

  1. I need to be your official Beachbody coach.  If you don’t have a coach, sign up here for a free Team Beachbody membership (If you are already working with a coach please reach out to him or or to see if they are offering challenge groups for the contest period.  Or, if you are not working closely with a coach, I would love to support you on my team.  Click here for how to switch to my team.)
  2. A Challenge Pack which is your workout program bundled with Shakeology.  Check out the Challenge Packs here…. Browse all Challenge Packs.  (Or just an order of Shakeology if you already own a program.)
  3. A smart phone to access the My Challenge Tracker app.  (Works on iPhones and Android – I’ll send you the link to download the app.)
Ready to get paid to get fit?  Let’s do this together!  Just fill out the form below and I’ll be in touch with the details!



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Confessions of a Planner Addict {Review and Giveaway}



I have a confession...

.... I'm a planner addict.  I LOVE to plan.  I currently have three planners, all for different things going on in my life - one for my personal stuff, one for my business and one for blogging.

I've been wanting (and looking) at getting a planner to use as my faith journal/planner.  Something that I could put personal things in, but also one that would have scriptures and a place for my daily prayers.  You know, something fancier than just a 3-ring notebook.

Finally Found "the Planner"


I had looked at a few planners at the local craft store and online, but nothing really "spoke" to me. Well, that was until I was asked to review the Daily Planner by Anchored Press.

Anchored Press was founded by Deana who found the inspiration for creating the Daily Planner by using her day planner as a way to keep her schedule, devotional, prayer journal, meal plan, goals and memory keeper in one spot.  After many prayers, Anchored Press Daily Planner was created to help others who were looking for a way stay organized, but firm in God's Word.

The day I received the Daily Planner was one of those days - you know, then things are going bad and just get worse the further the day went on.  But I can tell you, as soon as I opened the box and unwrapped the Daily Planner, it was pure joy.

Why Is This Planner So Special?


The Daily Planner is beautiful.  The pink, blue, gold and white colors on the front and back cover are beautiful and the pages themselves has plenty of room for writing appointments.  But there were a few things that stuck out that were in the Daily Planner that were not in my other three planners.



First off, there is a section called "My First Four" where you are to put the four things that are most important and have to get done that day.  Secondly, the scriptures and daily devotions are short, speak to your heart and make you think about the Word. Third, a place to put meals that are family favorites and what is planned for dinner that day.  Lastly, the "Pray-Ponder-Pencil" section for the day where you can write out your prayer to the Lord for the day or your thoughts for the day or even just to doodle.



There are so many other aspects of the Daily Planner that I am in awe of.  Yes, it can be used as a planner, but can also be used as a memory journal to write those special things that happen that day. The end of the month has a section to write any prayer requests.  On Wednesdays, there is a special prayer to pray for your child(ren) and on Saturday, there is a spot to write down what God has blessed you with during the week.



Special Discount


Now even though I reviewed the 2016 edition, and 2016 is almost half way over, there is still almost 7 months planning left to enjoy and is on sale for 40% off.  If you plan to wait until 2017, the 2016 Daily Planner edition will be available late August and will feature 2 formats, more color options and a separate prayer journal.  One of the planners has 52 devotionals, 1 for each week written by some amazing women of God such as Christine Caine and Jenni Catron!  

Getting Your Own Daily Planner


If you plan, or are wanting to start planning, or maybe even just looking for a prayer/devotional/journaling planner, I highly recommend the Daily Planner.  I know it will become a part of my time with God for years to come.

As a way to say thank you for allowing me to review the Daily Planner, you are able to enter in the giveaway to win one of ten Anchored Press Planners of your own.



Enter you email for a chance to win 1 of 10 Anchored Press Planners!

* indicates required




Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Anchored Press for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post. ​

Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway.  If you have won a prize from our sponsor Anchored Press in the last 30 days, you are not eligible to win.  Or if you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.




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A New Paleo Approved Snack Option {Review}



When you are trying to eat Paleo and/or healthy on the go, snacks are either fruit or veggies.  But what do you do when you are craving something on the sweet side but you don't want to ruin your healthy way of eating or cave into eating something that has artificial flavors or processed ingredients?

I had heard about a new product that was being discussed in one of the Paleo groups called Merry Bites.  They are Paleo approved, non-GMO, vegan and free of peanuts, dairy, soy, eggs, corn, wheat and gluten and made with coconut oil (which, as you know, is very healthy for you and helps to increase your metabolism).

Who is Hail Merry?

I was given and opportunity by Hail Merry, the company that produces Merry Bites and Miracle Tarts, to have a taste test of their products.  I wanted to find out more about Hail Merry and found that Hail Merry has a women-led kitchen, and dedicates a portion of their time and resources to help charities that help victims and survivors of human trafficking.

Merry Bites Taste Test



Hail Merry graciously sent a package of Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough, Salted Brownie, Pure Vanilla and Lemon Merry Bites.  I tried the Pure Vanilla and was hooked.  Merry Bites are about the size of a golf ball, yet are packed full of flavor.  I didn't think that something so small would cure my craving for something sweet, but it did.  Not to mention, a serving size are 2 bites, which you wouldn't think would be enough to cure any snack craving, but it did.

The Verdict


Now, honestly, I'm used to eating healthy, so anything made with pure, natural ingredients is nothing new to me.  I decided to have my mom and aunt try them to see what they thought.  Let's just say that they were hooked and had me go to our local health food store to purchase more.

But my biggest skeptic, my daughter, who shrugs her nose at every new food I buy to try, tried the Chocolate Chips Cookie Dough bites.  I didn't tell her it was healthy, but was a new snack product to try.  She, at first, new that it was healthy because it didn't taste like any of the not-good-for-you cookie dough products that she has eaten in the past.  However, after her second bite, she said that she actually liked them and would take something like this with her to work to have on her breaks.  

If you would like to try Merry Bites, you can find them in your area at hailmerry.com/where-to-buy.


 I received this product for free from Moms Meet (momsmeet.com), May Media Group LLC, who received it directly from the manufacturer. As a Moms Meet blogger, I agree to use this product and post my honest opinion on my blog. The opinions posted are my own.



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Stuff Nose Relief For Your Infant - Fast {Review and Giveaway}



Let's face it, having kids means at any given time one of them is bound to come down with a cold or, depending on their age, they may be teething, which is what my little one is going through.  When she is teething, she gets the same symptoms of a cold - stuffy, running nose, crabby and just not feeling well.

Of course, the day that my daughter had her ballet recital, my little one woke up from her nap running a low grade fever and stuffy nose.  (No one ever said getting sick or having a sick child was going to be at a convenient time.)  These are all typical symptoms for her when she is teething, which she was due to cut her eye teeth soon.

As most parents know, having a child with a stuffy, runny nose, often means little to no sleep for both you and your child.  They can't breath through their nose or they have drainage making them cough, which makes for an all around not so fun night and lots of coffee in the morning.

Enter Into The World of Nasal Aspirators




Now, a few weeks prior, I was approached by NeilMed to try a kind of nasal aspirator for infants and young children that didn't require something being stuck up the nose and is safe to use.  I remember when my two younger children were sick and had stuffy or runny noses, I would just use the blue nasal aspirator bulb that you get when your child is born or from the store.  It seemed to work, but was nerve-wracking for me because I was always afraid I was going to poke them in the eye trying to use it, which often resulted in making them mad and crying.

So when my youngest started to get her first second of teeth in and had a cold, I decided to try NeilMed's Naspira Nasal-Oral Aspirator. I trusted the NeilMed brand to work because I have used their NetiPot when my sinuses start to act up.



The Naspira Nasal-Oral Aspirator's design is unique in that most aspirators have the only option to squeeze some type of "bulb" to suction your baby's nose (similar to the traditional blue bulbs we grew up with).  But with Naspira, you have another option to use a hose attached to the bulb whereby you can create suction by sucking on the mouthpiece at the end of the tube, which, in turn, helps to get rid of a stuffy nose.

Honestly, at first, I was concerned that using the suction created by using the mouthpiece would cause the mucus to go into the mouth (gross, right).  But it doesn't.  Naspira is designed with a filter in the line that stops any mucus from entering your mouth.

The Results Are In



After testing it out a few times and getting a feel on how to use it, I tried it on my daughter, who, at this point, wasn't happy with something around her nose, but within a few uses, and clearly getting some mucus out, she was able to breathe a little better.  I was impressed by how well it worked and how you can clean it by putting it in boiling water or the microwave to sanitize it.  I will definitely use it again (but hopefully not any time soon).


Bonus Time


NeilMed has gracious awarded me two opportunities to share with my readers so that you can try out the Naspira Nasal-Oral Aspirator the next time your little one is ill.

You can save $3 off the purchase of Naspira Nasal-Oral Aspirator when you order through NeilMed's web store at neilmed.com

Or, instead of going to one of the big retail stores such as Babies R Us, Wal-Mart, Walgreens, Target and others to buy the aspirator, you can enter in the giveaway below to win one of THREE NeilMed Nasal-Oral Aspirators for free.





I received this product for free from the sponsor of the Moms Meet program (greenmomsmeet.com), May Media Group LLC, who received it directly from the manufacturer.  As a Moms Meet blogger, I agree to use this product and post my opinion on my blog.  My opinion do not necessarily reflect the opinions of May Media Group LLC or the manufacturer of the product.




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Learning About God With The Owlegories {Review and Giveaway}




Growing up, we typically went to church every Sunday for Sunday School and what we called "big Church."  I remember in Sunday School having little coloring sheets, some kind of crossword puzzle or even a craft that encompassed what we were going to be learning about that Sunday.  

It was those types activities that helped kids to learn more about God, but in a way that we could understand.  But let's face it, once those activities were done, they were typically shoved in our Bible and may not have been looked at for some time.

Fast forward to the present where there are resources online, in bookstores and even on television that teaches kids about God and His word.  Don't get me wrong, having all of this available information to help me teach my children about God makes it easier for me to do just that, but it can sometimes be overwhelming even thinking where to start.

For me, my daughter LOVES videos with any kind of cartoon with animals in them (and my 1 year old will actually stop for more than a few seconds to pay attention).  So when the opportunity to review the Owlegories Season 3 dvd, I did my research and felt that this would be perfect for her to watch.


Owls Teaching God's Word?

The Owlegories series was created by Thomas and Julie Boto as a way to make learning about God fun.  I mean, shouldn't learning about God and his love for us be fun and enjoyable?  Not to mention that the characters (yes, they are owls), Joey, Nora, Violet, Gus and Twitch and the Professor, are wonderfully drawn.

Each Owlegories dvd contains 3 short stories is around 10 to 15 minutes in which the owls are given a lesson, which focuses on a specific element of nature, given to them by the Professor in which they travel to different lands to learn about this element and along the way, they learn not only about nature, but about faith and God.  Each short story also centers around a key scripture and is recapped at the end, which is hosted by a well-known musician or actor.


The Fire, The Duck and The Seasons




My daughter's favorite was The Duck, which guest stars Uncle Si from Duck Dynasty as the duck, Uncle Fly, and the owl's adventure to the swamp to learn about the three gifts that God has given to everyone.



 I personally thought that all three stories were great - the stories were perfect for little kids to enjoy and understand, and the recap at the end was a great way to go over the message of the story.  I know Owlegories will become a part of our learning of God's Word and can't wait to watch more episodes in the future.

Paying It Forward

As a thank you for reviewing Owlegories, I have the opportunity to offer two great ways you and your family can also enjoy Owlegories.

You can use this coupon code for 20% off anything in our online store using code FRONT20 and you can enter below for an awesome giveaway of your own Owlegories dvd.


Enter your email for a chance to win 1 of 10 DVD copies!

* indicates required





I hope you too will love Owlegories as much as we have.



Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to FrontGate Media and Owlegories for providing this prize for the giveaway.  Selection of winners are chosen by random.org and require no purchase to enter.  Opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.





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3 Ways to Educate and Celebrate Earth Day With Your Kids




The other day I was planning out my daughter's homeschool lesson for this week.  I tend to look at any upcoming "important" days, such as National Chocolate Day or something like that so we can do a fun activity for that particular day.  When I realized that Earth Day was this week, I knew we had to do something fun, yet educational.

Now conveying the importance of Earth Day to a five year old without giving them the gloom and doom of "if you don't clean up our act, the Earth will not be a nice place to live" speech isn't easy.  So, I did what most moms (and possibly dads) do - turn to Pinterest to find activities and information (well, at least that is what I do most of the time).

It was amazing (and at times overwhelming) the amount of ideas and information you can find on Earth Day activities to do and information to learn about.  Not to mention, learning that Earth Day isn't just about planting trees or learning about recycling, but also focusing on simple things such as planting your own food and using fewer chemicals.

So I chose five general topics that were both fun and educational (even for me too) to focus on that involved crafts and/or learning about : Recycling, Gardening, Food, Home and Personal Products.


1.  Recycling

When looking for ideas about recycling, I wanted to look at something that wasn't mainly about how to recycle (only because she knows why we recycle), but what you could do to products that are recyclable.  Basically turning something used into something new and different.



I found a great post by Mom's Messy Miracles, 5 Ways Preschoolers Can Go Green, post, which was perfect for ideas on turning common household food containers into something new and fun. The upcycled jar to vase and recycled milk jug planter are just two of the projects that will be added to our Earth Day fun.


2.  Gardening

My daughter loves to help me garden, but I wanted to do something different than just planting seeds (which we have already done in preparation for this year's gardening season).  So why not talk about how vital good bugs are to the garden, which is a perfect into to teaching about the use of pesticides.  

But then the thought of bugs, especially ones that fly, well, let's just say that it would become a disaster REAL quick.  But for some reason, she thinks worms are cool (as long as she doesn't have to touch one).  

Now, growing up, we had a worm composting bin.  I must say it was pretty cool to just dig around for worms in the bin and not get in trouble for digging a hole in the yard looking for worms.  But I also wanted to teach about the importance of good soil condition and the benefits of worms in your garden, not to mention how and why we compost.



So I turned to my friend and fellow blogger at Do-It-Yourself Danielle and her excellent tutorial on Worm Composting.  I must admit that this project will be fun and even one that my 11 month old can enjoy too.


Growing Safe Foods




Now the idea of growing safe foods isn't necessarily something that is probably considered an Earth Day project or learning experience, but since we will be working outside on our worm composting, it would be the perfect time to touch on the aspect of keeping our foods in a more "natural" state and learn about GMO crops and how they are not healthy for us.


3.  Healthy Living



On Earth Day we focus on keeping Mother Earth clean.  But I wanted to take it one step further and discuss how using chemicals to shampoo with or even wash our clothes can be harmful to us.  I plan on using the information in my guest post that I wrote a guest post for Whole Life Service, Are you Living Healthy?, which discusses how you can eat organic, non-GMO foods, but if you are still using chemical laden shampoos, laundry detergents or even room deodorizers, then you are still exposing your body (and others around you) to dangerous, toxic chemicals.  


Cleaning the Home 


In keeping with the Earth Day theme, my daughter will learn about using homemade cleaners and even essential oils in keeping the home clean.  Since one of her chores is to help clean the house, we can use this opportunity to learn about why we use chemical free products and instead use ones with essential oils for not only disinfecting, but also making the home smell good.  

When talking about essential oils, I contact my friend Angel at Whole Life Services.  She knows a ton about essential oils and what they can be used for.  


These are just a few of the things that we are going to learn about and do as part of our Earth Day celebration.  How are you going to celebrate Earth Day?

For all You Moms (and Dads) - Here is an Awesome BONUS




Whole Life Services has so graciously offered a discount on her Try It and Love It - Green Home collection at a 22% off savings for Earth Day.  Just use the promo - EARTHDAY.   I use a lot of her products and trust me, you won't be disappointed.  



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Zucchini and Sweet Potato Hash {Paleo, AIP}






Coming up with new recipes while on an already limited allowed foods you can eat isn't easy.  Not to mention when you have a toddler and 5 year old constantly needing your attention, having too cook three meals a day is not ideal, which means that at times, you skip or miss a meal and which can lead to cheating and eating foods you are not supposed to eat.

One way to conquer the temptations is to always have something readily at hand, either by making all your meals one day of the week, or doubling (or even tripling) meals when you prepare them.  I typically will prepare a few meals one day a week, but will also triple meals so that there are plenty leftovers for at least a day or two.

Zucchini and Sweet Potato Hash is just one of those meals.  It is so easy to prepare, requires a little preparation and takes less than 30 minutes from start to finish.


Ingredients


2-3 sweet potatoes
2-3 zucchini
1 pound ground turkey 
Sea salt

Directions

  1. Brown ground turkey in a slightly oiled pan on medium.
  2. While turkey is cooking, peel and cut sweet potatoes and zucchini into cubes.
  3. Once turkey meat is cooked, add sweet potatoes and zucchini and add in a pinch of sea salt.
  4. Mix in the sweet potatoes and zucchini and cover pan.
  5. Occassionaly stir mixture every few minutes.  
  6. Cook for 20 minutes or until sweet potatoes are soft.
  7. Remove from heat and allow to cook before serving.
This mixture will feed 3-4 people.  You will want to double the recipe to use as leftovers.  

There are many variations in terms of ingredients that you can add to this basic recipe, such as cooked bacon, yellow squash and even spinach (added to the mix once it is removed from heat).  You can also substitute ground turkey for any type of ground meat, such as beef or chicken.  I've even used leftover cooked chicken breasts, shredded and used in place of ground meat.

I'd love to hear what your thoughts are as to what your favorite vegetables you are considering adding to this recipe?  


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Plantain Taco Shells {Paleo, AIP}




Tacos are a staple food item in our household.  But when you start eating Paleo (or more specifically AIP like I am currently doing), any grains, including corn, are out of the picture.  And yes, you can have "tacos" with a lettuce wrap instead of a shell, but seriously, sometimes you just need that crunch - you know the crunch of the shell and all the meat and lettuce falls out onto you lap kind of crunch.

So after looking at Pinterest for different types of foods to make while on the AIP way of eating, I stumbled across using plantains as tacos.  Now I had never heard of plantains and were not easy to find in the grocery store.  However, the Super Target (of all places) sells them, but you can also find them at most ethnic grocery stores too. They tend to last a few weeks in the refrigerator so by them in large quantities.


When using plantains, you want to buy them when they are green - the greener the better.  As plantains ripen to a yellow then black, the sugar content also increases.  So when you substitute plantains for things like corn shells, you do not want a sugar taste at all.  Green plantains are also hard to open unlike a banana.  You will need a sharp knife to slice it open.

Now I must mention that this is the first time I have made plantain taco shells, so this was more like an experiment than anything.  Honestly, they were not hard to make, just a little dangerous (as you will see why below).  In fact, they were quite tasty and very filling.

Ingredients


3 green plantains
1/2 cup of oil (olive, avocado, or coconut)
1 tsp sea salt

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  2. Peel and cut plantains into chunks. 
  3. Put cut plantains, oil and salt into blender or food processor.
  4. Blend ingredients until you get a smooth, creamy mixture. 
  5. Take 1/2 cup of mixture and place onto a parchment paper lined baking sheet.
  6. Smooth the mixture out until it is about the size of your hand.
  7. Continue to do the same with the remaining mixture.  
  8. Place in oven and bake for 25-35 minutes until the "shells" are cooked, but not burnt and remove from oven.

             

Now the tricky part.

You will need to be very, very, very careful on this step

    

  • Take one of the "shells" and form the shell by folding it over gently.  Place the "shell" upside down on your oven rack (see picture below).  DO NOT TOUCH THE RACK!  IT IS HOT!!!

Please disregard how dirty my oven is.

TIP:  Place baking sheets under the "shells" so that if there is any oil that drips off, it does not drip onto your oven and cause a potential fire.

TIP:  Do not worry if your "shells" do not form to be like tacos at this point.


  • Bake for another 20 to 25 minutes, being careful not to burn the "shells".


Remove from the oven very carefully and set aside to cool.  The "shells" will cool and harden.

Stuff with your favorite taco stuffing.

Now Its Your Turn

I would love to hear what you think about using plantains to make taco shells.  I personally liked the taste and texture of them - my husband even liked them (which is a shock). 

I plan on trying to make them next time using a taco rack to save myself from burning myself on the oven and getting a more uniform shape and even trying to make them as "nachos" and even taco salad shells.




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