Iceland: My Dream Vacation

You know how sometimes you'll sit and daydream about the things you'd love to do one day?  I find myself often thinking about traveling - packing my little guys up and seeing the world.  We take little road trips, and I teach them how to be a respectful tourist, but to leave the country and really travel? That would be amazing.  One of these days, I would love to bring them to Iceland.

Why Iceland?  It is a beautiful country that boasts breathtaking landscapes, amazing adventures, and so much more.  I would seriously take the trip just to see the Northern Lights in person.  An Iceland holiday would be one to write about in the Christmas card, that's for sure.

My Iceland Bucket List

Iceland has one main road, Route 1 (or the Ring Road), that goes all around the island and can bring you to some of the most famous attractions.  Take for instance, Seljalandsfoss - a gorgeous waterfall that is one of the highest in the world at 63 meters.  You can actually walk behind this waterfall!  Can you imagine the beautiful pictures?

Another thing I would love to see would be the Mývatn Nature Baths: a natural lagoon where guests can bathe.  The water supplies for the lagoon run straight from the National Power Company´s bore hole in Bjarnarflag. The water has a temperature of about 130°C (255 F) when it arrives to the huge basin beside the lagoon itself forming an impressive, man-made hot spring. Altogether, the lagoon and the basin contain around 3.5 million liters of water with a temperature of 36 – 40°C (97-104 F).

And Puffins!  Iceland is rich with bird and marine wildlife, and popular with ornithologists who visit during the nesting seasons to catch a glimpse of dozens of bird species, including the Atlantic Puffin. There's special tour packages that allow tourists to travel by boat to smaller islands where they can get a close up look at one of the cutest seabirds out there (ok, so I'm biased, I love puffins!)

If nature isn't really selling you on how awesome it would be to visit Iceland, they also have a rich city life as well.  Reykjavík is the capital city of Iceland, and is known for being a family friendly place with high chairs in every restaurant and strollers lining the sidewalks.  A safe and clean city, Reykjavík has a compact center that makes it easy to navigate by foot - perfect for sightseeing and showing your family all the sights.  At night, a vivid nightlife takes over with nightclubs and "jammith" as the locals call it - it's definitely one of the hottest party scenes to check out.

To end the day, staying in one of the beautiful Iceland hotels would top it off perfect.  While some may prefer the authentic camping or hostel stay while visiting Iceland, I dream about staying in one of the luxury hotels like the Frost and Fire (Frost og Funi in Icelandic) nestled in the hot springs area. Hótel Rangá would also be one of my top choices, a volcano base hotel where you can see the Northern Lights.

(photo credit for all photos goes to
Where would you go if you could travel anywhere in the world?

Pearls: a Luminous Choice for Your Personal Style

Pearl jewelry is enjoying a heyday and for good reason. The classic choice comes in a range of colors, shapes, and price points, making pearls accessible to just about everyone. Celebrities are often seen wearing them at red-carpet events, and pearls can lend an elegant touch to many occasions. Let’s get acquainted with the ins and outs of pearls and learn the best ways to wear them.

Types of Pearls

Natural pearls, which are extremely rare, are made when a speck of sand or soil gets stuck inside an oyster or other mollusk. The mollusk reacts to the irritant by coating the speck over and over with layers of proteins and minerals called nacre, eventually creating a luminous pearl. Nearly all of the pearls on the market today are cultured, meaning a starter bead is intentionally placed inside the mollusk to start the process, then the pearl is harvested after a period of time ranging from one to eight years.

The most common types of pearls are Akoya, Tahitian, South Sea, and freshwater. Akoya pearls can be pink or gold, while Tahitian pearls are a luminous black. South Sea pearls are usually white, and freshwater peals come in a wider variety of shapes and pastel colors.

Pearl Jewelry

Pearls are used in all sorts of settings and types of jewelry. Rings, necklaces, and earrings are popular choices, but bracelets and watches can also include pearls. Some people enjoy the look of irregularly shaped freshwater pearls for their jewelry collection, but others prefer the more uniform roundness found in akoya, South Sea or Tahitian pearls. Settings that hold the pearl firmly in place are best when it comes to preventing damage.

How to Wear Pearls

Once delegated to the Sunday-best wardrobe or wedding attire, women are now wearing pearls on a daily basis. Even when paired with jeans, they add a touch of elegance. One of the most popular ways to wear pearls is on a necklace, like this pendant from Milano. A necklace can be worn in a variety of lengths, from very short to long enough to double up.

Many women like to wear pearl necklaces in layers so that the different lengths and pearl diameters offer a textured look. In fact, with all sorts of pearl jewelry, “more is more” seems to be the common theme. Earrings are often large, dangly and chandelier-like. Rings will commonly feature multiple pearls sometimes paired with diamonds. The romance of pearls lends itself well to the current chunky bracelet trend, too. Multiple rows of pearls paired with gold chains or bangles create a weighty yet elegant look to wintertime ensembles.

Caring for Your Pearls

If you would like to stock up on pearl jewelry, you have a couple different directions you could go. However, if you choose to invest in cultured pearls or if you are lucky enough to inherit a set of natural pearls, you’ll want to treat them very carefully.

Pearls can be damaged or scratched easily, so take them off as soon as you get home. If they need to be cleaned, use a gentle cleanser and light touch to scrub them before letting them air dry. If you notice they are starting to lose their luster, this might be because they’ve come into contact with perfume or chemicals. Be sure to steer clear of both, even hairspray, when you are wearing pearls.

Store your jewelry in a dark, cool place when it’s not being worn. Also, consider getting your necklaces restrung every few years to protect the longevity of your valuable pearls.

Pearl jewelry will never go out of style. You can make sure your jewelry sets last well into the future by choosing quality pieces and taking good care of them.

You Don't Have to be SuperMom

I'm sure some of you have noticed my hiatus from writing lately. At least I hope someone has.  I mean, there is someone reading what I write, right?!  Besides you, Mom.

I don't know.  It's kind of felt like I haven't had much to say lately.  I mean, many of you consider bloggers to be experts in their niche, right?  Isn't that our whole point of being here? I chose parenting as my niche, because when I first became a mom I knew it all!  Oh buddy, was I wrong.  I mean, when they were tiny, I knew when to feed them, how to get them to sleep, what was wrong when they cried.  Now that they're getting older though, the more I get that overwhelming urge to run away.

The two year old will be whining, the four year old wants to fight and argue with everyone, the house has become a disaster that would make my own mother disown me, and I don't even know where to start to fix any of it.  Or if it's just all normal.

It's 11am on a Sunday.  One kid is still in his pajamas, and the other... well I'm lucky if I can keep a diaper on her.  Right now she is hopping around in a pillowcase like she's gonna win the world championship sack race, while Bubba is chasing her on his bike.  There's pillows and blankets everywhere and what I'm pretty sure is crumbled up toast from their breakfast all over the rug.  And right now? I'm just happy that they aren't yelling for me.

That's what being a mom really looks like.  At least in my world.  Maybe your kids have their hair fixed at all times and their toys are all put away.  Maybe you made a full breakfast and sat down to eat with them, while I was thrilled that mine were taking bites of their eggs while running circles around the house because getting them to eat anything is like pulling teeth.

Sometimes you have to relax I guess.  Trying to fit into this SuperMom role doesn't always turn out how you want it to, and you can't let it get to you.  That's what I have to keep telling myself lately, because otherwise I would feel completely hopeless.

Then I think about how amazing my kids are.  When they're making that mess with the pretend food, it's because they were making lunch for Momma.  When she refuses to wear pants, it's because she wants to be a big girl and pee on the potty.  When they're crying about not being able to go into the kitchen with me, it's because they want to help and to be closer to me.

One day, I'm going to realize that I can't remember the last time we laughed at bubble beards, because I was in too much of a hurry to let them have a bubble bath and play in the tub.  My daughter wont want me to sing to her anymore at bed time, my son will stop coming to me to kiss his boo-boos, and they're both going to grow up one day and have families of their own.

Life is too short to waste.  It's time to remind myself that instead of getting overwhelmed and feeling like I'm doing something wrong, I need to focus on the things I'm doing right.

The Importance of Gratitude

In an increasingly individualistic society, it’s hard to understand why we need to be grateful and what the benefits of gratitude are. On the one hand, we are used to provide for our needs alone (most people feel that money can and should buy almost anything), and on the other hand, if someone helps you, your first thought is to do something in return and be even, instead of feeling and expressing authentic gratitude.

So why is gratitude such an important value if everyday life suggests we can live without it?

Gratitude means, first of all, understanding and valuing the kindness that stands behind a good action directed at you. Feeling of loneliness and alienation disappear when you realize that someone out there really cares about you - gratitude works like a social binder that brings people together.

People who make a habit out of expressing gratitude enjoy a wide range of benefits with a direct impact on their well-being:

Being happy

Researches have suggested that people who are grateful are also happier. Cultivating gratitude brings other positive emotions as well, such as feeling energetic, enthusiastic, empathetic and hopeful. The good thing about relying your happiness on gratitude is avoiding the negative phenomenon called hedonistic adaptation – for instance, if you are happy only because you have money, you’ll need to have more and more money in order to experience the same level of happiness in the future. With gratitude, the level of happiness increases as we make habits like holding a daily gratitude journal.

Improving health

Several studies performed in the last years have shown that people who keep a gratitude journal exercise more, sleep better, and experience fewer physical symptoms. Feeling gratitude instantly induces a relaxation response and tackles the symptoms of depression. Gratitude has extraordinary effects on sleep – people who count their blessings often enjoy improved sleep quality, have increased sleep duration, and need less time to fall asleep. Gratitude has also been linked to a lower risk of developing coronary diseases as it lowers stress levels.

Eliminating negative feelings

It’s hard to achieve results by simply saying “From now on, I will improve my self-esteem”. Negating bad feelings will not make them disappear instantly – you need to replace them with something good, and gratitude is the root of all these positive aspects: optimism, spirituality, altruism, confidence, and empathy. The result is developing a brighter personality.

Boosting your career

Do you know the main reason why most people quit their job? You have probably dealt with it too – not receiving recognition in the workplace. Gratitude makes wonders both for people who express it and for people who receive it. Gratitude strengthens the relationship between mentors and protégés, encourages networking, makes managers more effective, and improves decision making skills. A workplace where gratitude plays an important role is more enjoyable and allows people to advance their careers.

Making your days better

There’s a famous quote saying “How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.” (Annie Dillard). Gratitude has the power to change your day for the better. Let’s say you are having a bad day because you had an argument with a friend, someone yelled at you, or you were stressed at work. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed and think only about the bad things in your life. Your mind frame won’t change unless you decide to do so, and one of the most efficient ways of immeditaley feeling better is thinking of the things you need to be thankful for: being loved by family and friends, having a roof over your head, and simply being alive.

Improving your personal relationships

Every friend, family member or co-worker we come in contact with will make us angry at some point. Instead of reacting in anger and getting mad at them, stop for a moment and think of the reasons why you should be grateful for that person – such as the good things they have done for you. Switching your attitude will enable you to express your discontent without hurting them or being rude.

Learning how to feel and express gratitude is like getting lemons and making delicious lemonade instead of complaining about their sour taste, don’t you think so? In the end, everyone will be happier!

About the author:
By Spirit Room, a Winnipeg spiritual direction service, similar to a Winnipeg psychic or medium (

Private Schools Can Offer Educational Advantages for Parents and Students

The first Catholic school in the United States was established in 1606 in the town, which is currently known as St. Augustine, Florida. The school was founded by the Franciscan order. Georgetown was the first Catholic college that was formed in 1789. Georgetown continues to be one of the most prestigious universities in America. Since the 17th century until present-day, thousands of private schools have been established. According to the Council for American Private Education (CAPE), there were 30,861 private schools in the United States during the school year of 2011 and 2012 and more than five million enrolled students. 42.9 percent of students attended Catholic schools, 19.8 percent attended nonsectarian schools and 14 percent attended conservative Christian schools.

Private school education provides parents with the choice to determine which program matches their expectations. Many parents who select private schools over public education are satisfied with overall structure of the programs. Some of the factors that parents consider are the teacher to student ratio, disciplinary effectiveness, academic standards, graduation rates, standardized test scores and opportunities for student to partake in extracurricular activities. Some parents also incorporate the schools’ religious foundations in their school selection criteria.

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, parents are more satisfied with the opportunity to select the right schools as opposed to being required to enroll their children in a district neighborhood school. Some parents believe that public school districts may not provide students with a well-rounded education, and many fail to meet the needs of students. Many parents also believe that private schools offer a better learning environment and more one-on-one attention from teachers.

When determining which schools offer the best private education, parents must conduct research on the each school’s ability to provide the right environment and education that's needed for their children. If you’re considering private school, you should first discern the specific needs of your child and jot down your expectations. There are websites available online, such as Private School Review, to help you create a list of schools in your area. You can determine which schools offer the right schedules and curriculum for your child and whether the tuition fit within your budget. If you’re looking for single-gender schools, you can also find this information throughout your online research. There are many schools that are designated as girls’ schools and boys’ schools, like the Archer School for Girls listing. Before making the final decision, tour the school, get a feel for the environment and discuss your questions and concerns with the school administrative staff and teachers.

When a parent is actively involved in his or her child’s education, it can result in a positive outcome as a whole for the child. One of the beginning steps that a parent can make to show support to the child is to select the school that offers the best education all-around. Many private schools have strong foundations in providing quality education and guiding students to become successful and productive citizens in society.

Reducing Spit-Up: GERD vs GER and how Enfamil A.R.™ Can Help

Tracking PixelI received product and compensation from Mead Johnson Nutrition to create this post written by me. All experiences and opinions expressed in this post are my own and not those of Mead Johnson Nutrition. Consult your pediatrician before making changes to your baby's diet or if you have concerns related to your baby's digestive health. Please see the product label/website for acceptable use and benefits. You can contact Mead Johnson Nutrition with product related questions or comments toll free at 1-800-BABY 123 or through the Contact Us link on Enfamil A.R. or

When my four year old was a newborn, he was... how should I put this? A productive burper. After a feeding, I would lay him up on my chest, pat his back a few times, and then shudder as the spit-up rolled down my shoulder. I tried several things that the pediatrician recommended: like keeping him upright after a bottle and stopping after every ounce to burp him. He still spit up. That's when we found out about Gastroesophageal Reflux (GER for short), or uncomplicated reflux.

Not to be confused with GERD or Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (Acid Reflux), GER isn't usually a result of excessive acid production. Though parents often associate frequent spit-up and irritability with acid reflux, about two thirds of otherwise healthy infants may have uncomplicated reflux. It's common for babies to spit-up while their digestive system develops, and every baby has periods of fussiness and irritability.

American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends conservative management and lifestyle changes as first line options and advises against the overuse of medications that reduce the production of gastric (stomach) acid. One of these changes includes using thickened feedings such as Enfamil A.R.™. Enfamil A.R provides the benefits of thickened feedings with more balanced nutrition and less hassle compared to adding rice cereal to formula.

My little guy would've really benefited from using a formula like Enfamil A.R. We had the joy of adding extra rice cereal to every one of his bottles; and let me tell you­ the measuring, shaking the bottle until it all dissolved (that was a workout in itself), cleaning the dried cereal from the bottles... hassle wasn't even the word I'd use.

Enfamil A.R. is the #1selling brand of formula for spit-up and is clinically proven to reduce spit up by over 50% in infants with frequent spit up while still providing the complete nutrition your baby needs to reach key milestones.

Pharmaceutical Profession and You! Drugstore

For most people, pharmacies are completely different than any other type of shop. Most of them exuberate with cleanliness. It is only to be expected given the importance of hygiene in such places. Medicines need to be kept in certain temperature, humidity and light otherwise; they could turn bad in no time. Nevertheless, even though pharmaceutical shops are quite specific, same rules apply to them as any other type of shop.

Have in mind that profit is what drives any company. Pharmacies and pharmaceutical industry in general are regarded as one of the most profitable undertakings. However, there is always a price to success. The fact that companies are achieving high profit means that it will attract more competition. This is at the same time, the biggest problem within this industry. Companies are forced to constantly think of new medicines so that they can remain relevant. Anyway, this makes research and development the most important branch of any organization. Under this pressure to constantly provide new drugs (and more importantly to invent new drugs in order to compete with other companies), pharmaceutical giants often disregard some general rules sending volatile medicines on market. Due to this, there is a great mistrust towards them in last couple of decades.

Similarly goes for supplements. These products are some of the newest and most popular items which you can purchase in every pharmacy. Unlike regular drugs, they can be called ultimate product because they can be used by both sick and healthy alike. Fast growth of this market led to appearance of numerous vitamins and minerals that do not fulfill their function. There is public debate in USA as to how to regulate this market and allow only proper medicines. Specialists from You! Drugstore warn consumers not to rush when it comes to shopping. Instead, they should check each product individually and decide whether the thing which is being purchased is fulfilling its role.

Back in the days, pharmacies were local undertakings that meant to provide patients with drugs. Nowadays, they are similar to any other store when it comes to marketing. Pharmacists are willing to force drugs with high profit margin upon user, whether they can perform well or not. In a sense, your average pharmacist is very similar to any other salesmen, which is not necessarily positive. Additionally, pharmacy owners invest good money into training of these individuals. Adequate skillset is needed in order to properly promote and sell products.

But, even with all its downsides, pharmacies have seen certain improvements. Online shopping was recently introduced into this business that allowed more comfort for patients. Even though most pharmacy owners will claim that internet had negative impact on their profit (because patients will buy only the drugs which they need) it allowed them to do business with less expenses. At the same time, today it is possible to cover much bigger area and to store all your medicines in one place. This makes logistics better, especially for pharmacy chains.  

Honest Toddler Food for My Honest Toddler with Sprout® Organics

My two year old... Oh man, is she funny!  She takes everything so literally, and doesn't miss a beat when it comes to sharing her opinion with the world.  Her most recent challenge has been potty training, and we're still working on making it a more regular thing.  Yesterday, we had this conversation:

Me:      Kaya, do you want to go poop on the potty?
Kaya:   No, Momma.  I will poop IN the potty.

I mean, seriously.  How cute is that?  She's one of those unabashedly honest, pure kids that doesn't realize how funny she is, but has me cracking up all day long.  

I'm so happy to be working with TapInfluence and Sprout® Organics to let you all in on my little secret when it comes to making sure she gets the nutrition that she needs, without all of the chemicals and preservatives.  She's my honest toddler, so I want to make sure she's eating honest foods.

Available at Publix, Sprout® Organic Baby Food offers nutritious and delicious baby and toddler foods.  USDA certified organic, it is the only baby/toddler food with no additives, fillers or flavors in any of its recipes.  Honest ingredients that match the flavors on the front of the package, Sprout® makes food that I'm happy to give my little one.

Our favorites are their Superfruit blends.  With combinations like Apple, Apricot & Strawberry; Pear, Cherry & Acai; and Plum, Apple & Blueberry, I know my Kaya is getting beneficial nutrients without any of the chemicals or preservatives.

Sprout® Organic Food  provide a balance of wholesome and organic vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and proteins to encourage a love of healthy foods right from the start. Their foods are also less acidic, since they don't use harsh acid preservatives, like citric or malic acid, in their purees. And they honestly name our recipes, so we know exactly what we're feeding their children.

real.honest.pure.  That's what my daughter is, and that's what I want to give her to eat.

Do you have an honest toddler?  Tell me one of your favorite stories in the comments below!

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Sprout® Organic Baby and Toddler Foods. The opinions and text are all mine.

#NannyNoseBest Boogie Wipes Giveaway

Enter to Win a Year's Supply of Boogie Wipes!

Complete the form below to share the Boogie Wipes video with your friends, and enter to win a year's supply of Boogie Wipes plus a $100 Target gift card. (If the form is not appearing, click here to enter.)
NOTE: To find the URL of your share for the giveaway form, go to your FB newsfeed and click on the date or time of the video you shared. It will open in a new window, and you can copy/paste the URL. Thanks for entering! Giveaway ends at 11:59pm ET on 10/31/2015. Open to US and Canada. If winner is located in Canada, a gift card of equal value will be awarded.

The Solution to Snotty

While we may not be able to help you when your kids act snotty, the Boogie Wipes Nanny definitely has solutions when it comes to snotty little noses. Watch the video to learn more.

#1 - Use Boogie Wipes

Experienced moms and nannies will be the first to tell you that nothing soothes noses better than a Boogie Wipe. Experienced moms and nannies will be the first to tell you that nothing soothes noses better than a Boogie Wipe. Tissue, paper towels, or even your sleeve are savage on a little one’s skin - especially when you’re wiping 20, 30, or even 40 times per day. Unlike other wipes, Boogie Wipes have no harsh or drying chemicals. The natural saline dissolves mucus without irritation - thanks to Vitamin E, aloe and chamomile. Click here to learn more and download a coupon. Tissue, paper towels, or even your sleeve are savage on a little one’s skin - especially when you’re wiping 20, 30, or even 40 times per day. Unlike other wipes, Boogie Wipes have no harsh or drying chemicals. The natural saline dissolves mucus without irritation - thanks to Vitamin E, Aloe and Chamomile.

#2 - Tell Your Friends

Experienced moms and nannies will be the first to tell you that nothing soothes noses better than a Boogie Wipe. Tissue, paper towels, or even your sleeve are savage on a little one’s skin - especially when you’re wiping 20, 30, or even 40 times per day. Unlike other wipes, Boogie wipes have no harsh or drying chemicals. The natural saline dissolves mucus without irritation - thanks to Vitamin E, aloe and chamomile. Click here to learn more and download a coupon. 
 Don’t keep this secret to yourself. Tell your friends so they can experience the comfort of Boogie Wipes this season. Click here to spread the word on Facebook by sharing the Boogie Wipes video.

#3 - Repeat 1 and 2

Experienced moms and nannies will be the first to tell you that nothing soothes noses better than a Boogie Wipe. Tissue, paper towels, or even your sleeve are savage on a little one’s skin - especially when you’re wiping 20, 30, or even 40 times per day. Unlike other wipes, Boogie wipes have no harsh or drying chemicals. The natural saline dissolves mucus without irritation - thanks to Vitamin E, aloe and chamomile. Click here to learn more and download a coupon. 
Look - kids are going to get sick. They’re kids after all. Prepare yourself for the worst, and provide them with the best - Boogie Wipes. Click here to download a coupon now.

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Experienced moms and nannies will be the first to tell you that nothing soothes noses better than a Boogie Wipe. Tissue, paper towels, or even your sleeve are savage on a little one’s skin - especially when you’re wiping 20, 30, or even 40 times per day. Unlike other wipes, Boogie wipes have no harsh or drying chemicals. The natural saline dissolves mucus without irritation - thanks to Vitamin E, aloe and chamomile. Click here to learn more and download a coupon.

Smart Machines by Brain Crunch

You know how you'll sit for hours watching your little ones, daydreaming about their future occupation?  I've convinced myself that my little Sammy-man is bound to be an engineer.  He spends so much time building his towers and "robots" - that big brain of his in full imagination mode. S.T.E.M. toys are my favorites for my kids, to keep them learning as they play, so needless to say I jumped at the chance to work with Brain Crunch for a review of their Smart Machines.

We received the Smart Machines - Blue Edition, a build-it-yourself remote controlled machine kit that is a blast for the whole family.  Each kit comes with a color step-by-step (with pictures) guide on how to build the machines, making it easy for me to follow along too while the little guys build.  My favorite part is that there's plans and pieces to make four different machines - meaning that they can tear down their creation and make an entirely different one, keeping them busy and having fun.

Each machine's plans shows a difficulty meter, letting you know how challenging it will be to build. I would recommend starting with the easiest one, the duck machine, and gradually working up to the skier robot.  An included remote control means that after their machine is assembled, they'll be able to control it and show off their skills!

The best part?  There's no limitations to what they can make.  The four machines that the kit includes plans for are just the beginning - by the time they've mastered those machines, your kid will have the skills to create their own impressive machines to wow their friends and family.  There's no limit to the amount of learning fun that Smart Machines has to offer!

I'm including this in my holiday gift guide, because there's nothing better than a challenging toy to help your little ones expand their brains and work on their problem solving skills.  You can find Smart Machines on the Brain Crunch website for $59.99.

While I received the aforementioned product free of charge, all opinions are 100% honest and my own. 

Nature’s Bounty B Vitamins Help Me Supercharge the Weekend

This post is sponsored by Nature's Bounty®, however, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

I don't know about you, but by the time the weekend rolls around, I'm usually worn out from the hustle and bustle of the week.  All I really want to do is turn on the TV for the kids, curl up with a good book, and enjoy some quiet.  With three kids though, it never happens like that.  To be honest, I feel guilty for even thinking that, because I want to set a good example for them on how to be healthy and active.

Vitamin B is a great way to give me the energy support I need.* What I like most about it is how easy it is to add into my weekend routine and it doesn't let me down with any heartburn, bad after taste, or tummy upset like I have had in the past with other vitamins.

It's nice for the kids to see me take my vitamins along side them so I know they are not thinking "Mommy doesn't take hers so I don't want to take mine". I want to be the best mommy ever and let them follow by example.

I don't want to be the mommy at the park that watches the kiddos and holler from afar. I want to play on the swings, play tag, slide, and all that stuff. I want to get dirty.  Every day you strive to be your best. That’s why Nature’s Bounty® supplements are designed especially for you – they’re made with only the best possible ingredients and trusted quality for over 40 years.

I am so happy I have my Vitamin B by Nature's Bounty. It helps me get through my weekend with all of the activities that we have planned as a family.  B vitamins play a role in energy support by helping converting food into energy*. Vitamin B-12 is essential for the normal formation of blood cells and contributes to the health of the nervous system.*

*   These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

Always make sure that you consult a professional before you add any supplements to your daily diet plan. Nature's Bounty offers a great selection for anyone.

Want to try Nature's Bounty?  Nature’s Bounty is offering a $1.00 off digital coupon, exclusively for Walmart shoppers.  Click here to download the coupon.

Participate in a 10 minute online survey from Nature’s Bounty, and they will send a $5.00 Walmart Gift card to the first 100 people to fully complete the survey (U.S. citizens only, must be 18 years or older to participate) at

Nature’s Bounty has a broad line of formulations that meet their unique needs and lifestyles for just about anyone. Visit the Nature’s Bounty website:

You can also find Nature’s Bounty on their Facebook page

Help Wipe Out #DiaperNeed

Having a new baby is one of the biggest transitions your life can take.  Emotionally, physically... and especially financially.  A newborn goes through approximately ten diapers a day for their first month of life.  That's 300 diapers!  It adds up quick, and with all the other expenses you already have, plus the other expenses that come with having a new baby, it's easy to see why some parents struggle to afford to keep their little one's bottom covered.  That's why I'm working with AWHONN (Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric & Neonatal Nurses) and Mom It Forward for this sponsored post to drive awareness to diaper need and how you can help.

When my son was first born, my fiance was the only one working.  After rent, bills, formula... the essentials... we were completely broke.  I remember counting pennies a couple of times to make sure that my baby would have a dry bottom, but then sometimes that wasn't even enough.  It's heart-wrenching, embarrassing, and terrifying to be in that situation.  Luckily, one day I found a food bank that provided diapers to moms in need, and I can't even begin to tell you how grateful I was to not have to worry that week about diapers.  It was a complete blessing.

My story isn't an original one.  1 in 3 moms report experiencing diaper need - the lack of an adequate supply of diapers to keep a baby clean, dry and healthy.   5.3 million babies and toddlers living in low-income families are affected by diaper need.  Without clean diapers, babies are more prone to rashes, infections, extra visits to the pediatrician’s office, and in the most extreme cases, hospitalization.  Healthy Mom&Baby magazine, the nurses of the Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses, Kimberly-Clark, and the National Diaper Bank Network are partnering for Diaper Need Awareness Week and asking that you donate diapers to families in need in your community from now through October 4.

Now that we're financially better off than we were those almost 5 years ago, I pay it forward by donating diapers to help another mom who may be in that situation.  You can donate diapers too, by visiting

What are the health risks of diaper need?
  • Not having enough clean diapers means parents may change their baby’s diapers less frequently than needed or worse, dry out diapers for reuse.
  • Health experts recommend that parents use disposable diapers. They can better protect baby’s skin by wicking away moisture.
  • Children can’t attend childcare without a sufficient supply of disposable diapers. (Most childcare facilities and laundromats won’t accept cloth diapers.)
  • Without enough diapers to enter childcare, parents may be forced to leave work and forgo paycheck to care for their baby.
  • Diaper need affects not only a child’s health, but the overall well-being of the entire family.

Please make a difference and go to to donate TODAY.

This post was made possible through a partnership with Mom It Forward and AWHONN.

Aquaphor Gift Basket Giveaway #AquaphorIt

Aquaphor Gift Basket Giveaway
9/25 to 10/09
Open to US 

Sponsored by: Aquaphor
Hosted By: 
Amy & Aron's Real Life Reviews

One Lucky Winner will receive an Aquaphor Gift Basket including: 
1 Aquaphor Diaper Rash Cream, 
1 Aquaphor Baby Gentle Wash & Shampoo, 
1 Aquaphor Baby healing Ointment Jar,
 2 Aquaphor Baby Healing Ointment .35oz tubes

1 Aquaphor Baby Brag Book

This is a great package for any baby in your life, perfect to start your changing table/diaper bag necessities stash. You can see Amy & Aron's Real Life Reviews complete review, CLICK HERE

A very special thank you to my awesome co-host.

Thank you so much to all of the bloggers participating in this giveaway. Without you, it wouldn't be quite as much fun.

Now for the fun stuff. This giveaway is open to US. There are daily bonus entries for sharing this giveaway on your social media channels. I can't ask you to "Like" our pages but, if you see something you like, let us know so we can bring you more of it. We LOVE it when you LIKE our pages. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Thank you for taking the time out to enter into the giveaway. If you have any questions please feel free to email Amy & Aron's Real Life Reviews at [email protected] 

Winner will be mailed prize directly from the company. No Bloggers Participating in this giveaway are responsible for shipping the prize.

Fun for Everyone

When you are planning a vacation with your family or friends, you want to make sure that everyone has a good time. With innovative companies like TradeWinds Blue Green Resorts or the Disney Vacation Club to choose from, travelers can plan fun activities in addition to booking a hotel room.

If you are looking for a nice way to relax, find out what types of games are available for guests. You may be surprised to find out there are mini-golf courses, volleyball nets, and many other game choices for guests located right on a quality hotel's site. Instead of having to leave to find fun activities, many good hotels have plenty of thrilling options to offer all ages.

Creative Activities
If you are looking for ways to express your creativity, many hotels offer activities that can help you do just that. You can learn how to make seaglass jewelry or seashell night lights. There are sure to be unique options depending on where you stay.

Pet Playgrounds
Instead of choosing to stay at a hotel that does not allow you to bring along your favorite pet, choose a hotel that offers pet amenities that will make sure your dog has as much fun as you do. There are hotels that have pet playgrounds on their premises. You can appreciate a grassy area with fire hydrants and pet water fountains. You can enjoy sitting down in the shade cooling off, or you can play fetch with your furry friend for as long as you want. Some resorts also offer special services like a pet menu and room service for your dog too.

Water Parks
A lot of hotels offer swimming pools, but there are some resorts that take things to a whole new level. You can have fun on an inflatable water park, or go down a huge water slide right on the beach.

Some resorts offer unique ways for guests to relax. It can be fun to take a nap in a hammock overlooking the beach, or imagine listening to the waves while you get a beachfront massage. A Yoga class on the beach can be exhilarating too. There are many ways to rejuvenate yourself while you are on vacation, so be sure to find out what special activities your hotel offers to make sure that you feel calm and peaceful during your stay.

Imagine having a beach side picnic with some great foods that you can find right at your hotel, or you can plan on dancing the night away with your loved one thanks to live music right on the beach. There are many ways to enjoy a romantic vacation when you choose the right hotel to stay at.

Family Fun
If you are traveling with children, be sure to stay at a resort that will provide them with plenty of fun activities. Some resorts have mascots that will tuck your children to sleep on certain nights, or your children can enjoy watching a movie poolside.

As long as you are staying at a quality resort, you can be sure that you will be able to make lasting memories. There are many exciting activities that are sure to please you and anyone you are traveling with.

VW Camper Van Kid Play Tent Giveaway #VDUBbus65

Amy & Aron's Real Life Reviews
is so happy to be hosting the

VW Camper Van Kid Play Tent Giveaway
9/17 to 10/08
Open to US & Canada

One Lucky Winner will receive 1 VW Camper Van Kid Play Tent, 1 Lunch Bag, and 1 Pencil Case; valued at $95.98.

This is a great package for any kid in your life, perfect to start that stock pile for Christmas gift giving. You can see Amy & Aron's Real Life Reviews complete review, CLICK HERE

A very special thank you to all of my awesome co-hosts.

Thank you so much to all of the bloggers participating in this giveaway. Without you, it wouldn't be quite as much fun.

Now for the fun stuff. This giveaway is open to US & Canada. There are daily bonus entries for sharing this giveaway on your social media channels. I can't ask you to "Like" our pages but, if you see something you like, let us know so we can bring you more of it. We LOVE it when you LIKE our pages. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thank you for taking the time out to enter into the giveaway. If you have any questions please feel free to email Amy & Aron's Real Life Reviews [email protected] 

Winner will be mailed prize directly from The Monster Factory. No Bloggers Participating in this giveaway are responsible for shipping the prize.

6 Simple Ideas For Random Acts Of Kindness

Everyone’s been there. A day where you’re down in the dumps and nothing seems to make it right. On those days, we could all use a little happy injection, and spreading some joy may be an easier task than you think. It’s easy to turn even a complete stranger’s day around with an unexpected act of kindness, and taking just an hour out of your normal routine could mean the difference between a frown and a smile for one lucky person.

The cycle of gratitude and generosity is unstoppable once it starts, and you may find your life improving just as you help improve the lives of those in your community. We owe it to our kids and to each other to make the world a better place, and by paying it forward every chance we can, happiness will spread in leaps and bounds.

1. Chef Of The Day
Spend an afternoon preparing a hearty meal for someone in need and drop it off. Is there a family you know going through a hard time? Or possibly an elderly couple who may find it hard to get all the cooking done? Make a simple and delicious casserole, and feed the soul along with some hungry mouths. This unexpected delivery can mean all the difference, and you can hone your kitchen skills while filling the stomachs of grateful folks. Plus, your family will love the added bonus of any chance of leftovers.

2. Make School That Much Sweeter
With school starting back up for children across the country, head into your local elementary school or your own child’s classroom with a cookie bouquet. The smiles you get will light up the room, and no doubt a busy teacher will be more than grateful for your effort. Who can deny the allure of a delicious treat? You may be inspired to bring one home for yourself—I won’t tell.

3. Coffee On Me
Who doesn’t benefit from a morning coffee run? Head to your local drive-thru coffee shop and pay it forward by footing the bill of the person behind you. This selfless act of kindness could give that driver some extra pep in their step for the rest of the day—beyond the necessary jolt of caffeine.  

4. The Power Of Wise Words
Don’t underestimate the power of a well-written book. If you have a friend going through a rough patch or needing some encouragement, send them a book that will inspire them or help change their perspective. This may provide words of comfort in the times that you can’t. This simple, inexpensive gift will let them know you’re thinking about them. As an added bonus, the words of wisdom they may find within its pages might just give them an entirely new outlook on a hard situation.

5. Teddy Bear Visitor
Purchase some stuffed animals at a toy store and head into your local children’s hospital. This simple gift will give the children and their parents a moment of reprieve from difficult times, and bring some sunshine into their lives. For an extra bit of fun, tie a balloon around the wrist of each bear, and see the difference a bit of colorful helium can have on a child’s smile!

6. Coins For Kindness
If you’ve got lots of loose change lying around, take it to a convenient Coinstar and donate the funds to a charity of your choice. To help get the kids involved in this one, tell them with every kind thing they do, you’ll donate a coin to a “happiness jar” set up in your living room. Your kids will love watching their acts turn into a pile of money for those in need. You can even send them on a scavenger hunt throughout the house to find coins that may have slipped into couch cushions or under the coffee table. Once you’ve got a hefty pile set up, head to a local grocery store with a Coinstar machine. Trust me when I say the jingle of coins sliding into the Coinstar kiosk is probably more entertaining than it should be, especially for little ones.

If you’re like me, you may find yourself feeling a bit down with constant negative news that comes from the media these days. Turn some of that negativity into positivity and spread it to others. A little bit of effort may change a person’s entire day, and make you feel even better about yours. Kindness is truly infectious, so get out there and spread some joy with these easy random acts of kindness. Take an hour out of your day to do something for someone who won’t ever forget it, and teach your kids generosity through your example. You never know when someone might pay it forward to you in the future!

Tips on Creating an Organized Crafting Area

Your personal crafting area is a welcomed respite where you may create to your heart’s desire. However, keeping this area organized can prove difficult without the proper methods in place. Fortunately, this infographic offers an abundance of common sense organizational tips that will ensure your most treasured items always remain accessible.

In many cases, everyday items can be used to help organize your craft supplies. Take wine corks, for instance. These are perfect as makeshift spools for things like yarn or twine, and will help keep fabric and other materials from unraveling during use.

When it comes to ribbons, clothing racks can offer an attractive storage option. Swinging arm skirt racks work beautifully in this respect because they can be hung virtually anywhere and can accommodate a multitude of ribbons. Similarly, keeping pretty wrapping paper organized and looking good only requires a few dowels and cup hooks. This is especially important during holidays when you may find yourself knee-deep in presents.

A well-organized craft space is essential to creating those items sure to bring smiles to the faces of loved ones. Not only can the above tips help you retain access to important supplies, they can also help you maintain a more aesthetically pleasing space overall. Accordingly, you are sure to find the act of creating that much more satisfying no matter what type of project you are working on.

5 Clever Crafting Storage Ideas

Squeezing Health into our Back-to-School Routine

This post is sponsored by Nature's Bounty®, however, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

Now that the new school year has started, it stays hectic around here.  Daddy gets up at 4am for work, the kids start getting up around 6am, and then we have to rush out the door by 7:30.  After school, it's rush rush rush to get homework finished, baths over with, tummies fed, and then bedtime by 8pm. Keeping my family healthy is very important, so these are the ways that we squeeze health into our weekday routine.

Eating Healthy

I try to make a balanced, nutritious meal for my family every night.  It's the only time all week that we're able to all sit down together, as a family.  By serving healthy foods, I know that they are getting the nutrients that they need - even if they haven't had the most healthy foods throughout the day.


It can be difficult to find the time to exercise when you have three kids.  It seems like the most exercise I get most days is chasing around the two year old.  It's important to make exercise fun for kids, so I'll turn on some music and we'll dance while I'm cleaning and cooking - just to make sure they get up and are active.


Lavender essential oil in their bath, cuddles, and reading are ways that we use to help the kids settle down and start to relax before bedtime.  It helps them get sleepy and makes sending them to bed much easier.  

Plenty of Sleep

This one might sound like a joke to parents, but if your kids sleep good then you're bound to get better sleep.  Sleep is important to keep up your energy, stay focused, and for overall health in general.  Because Daddy has to leave so early in the morning, he's started going to bed earlier - while it's still light outside.  To help him sleep better, he takes Nature's Bounty® Melatonin.*

Some studies show that the use of melatonin is helpful in shortening the time it takes to fall asleep and reducing the number of awakenings.*  This is really helpful for night shift work and for people with weird sleeping schedules.  It's really seemed to help Daddy improve the quality of his sleep!*

Melatonin may be appropriate for people experiencing occasional sleeplessness, those with jet lag or anyone wanting to promote sound, quality sleep.* Super Strength Melatonin 5mg is perfect for those who may need a higher level of sleep support.*

*   These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

Want to try Nature's Bounty?  Nature’s Bounty is offering a $1.00 off digital coupon, exclusively for Walmart shoppers.  Click here to download the coupon.

Giveaway: Win one of five $100 Amazon Gift Cards

Dropprice Logo     Dropprice is an innovative startup that rewards moms for being social. Essentially, they empower moms to drop prices of kids & baby products with a click. The price continues dropping as more moms click “Drop the price”. Every week new promotions are launched and moms drop prices by sharing them on social media. See the chart below to understand the power moms have and how important it is to share with other moms.
  Price Chart    

In today’s promotion for the Fisher-Price Kick and Play Piano, it started out at $26.99 and for each mom that clicks, the price drops a bit. The price will continue to drop for each mom that participates until it reaches $12.00 (56% off).
  Featured Product      You can choose to share on social media to get more moms to click “Drop the price”, or you can “Buy Now” at the current price. Keep in mind that when the price gets low, they usually sell out and you will no longer have the chance to buy that item. As an added bonus every item on Dropprice ships for free!   Do you want to give it a try? This is such a fun and exciting way for moms to save lots of money by collaborating with each other. If you would like to have a chance to win a $100 Amazon gift card, you can experience dropping the price by following the instructions below.  

Giveaway: Win one of five $100 Amazon Gift Cards

All you have to do is help moms drop the price of this Play Piano and you will be entered to win one of five $100 Amazon gift cards. Just click “Drop the price” on the entry form below for a chance to win. For even more entries, share it on your social media networks via the entry form — every time one of your friends also clicks to drop the price, you’ll automatically receive additional giveaway entries! Please click on the red sentence on the form to follow and get more entries. This Giveaway is valid in the United States Only and Entrants must be 18+ years of age to enter. This giveaway event will end at 11:59 PM (EST) 9/23/15. The sponsors are each responsible for shipping of the above prizes and will contact the winners. No blog associated with this contests are responsible for prize fulfillment. This giveaway is in no way endorsed, affiliated, or associated with Facebook, Twitter or any other Social Media Networking Site.


Apple Cinnamon Buttercream Whoopie Pie Recipe

Apple Whoopie Pies with Cinnamon Buttercream Filling

Apple Whoopie Pies with Cinnamon Buttercream Filling

Since school has started my mind has shifted to fall. I love fall activities and baking. I decided that I wanted to make an apple cake and went to Pinterest as usual to look for inspiration. As I searched I didn't find anything that really spoke to me. For some reason I was in the mood for whoopie pies (the Mainer in me!) so I went in search for a recipe and didn't find anything that was "apple-y" enough. I pulled out my trusty Whoopie Pie cookbook (everyone has one of these right??) and referenced the basic vanilla recipe and the banana recipe. This lead to the creation of the of Apple Whoopie Pies with Cinnamon Buttercream Filling. The printable recipe is found at the end of the post.

Apple Cake Ingredients:

  • 2-1/4 cups flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup butter (room temperature)
  • 1/4 cup shortening
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 3/4 cup applesauce
  • 1 apple diced


  • Preheat oven to 350°
  • In stand mixer cream butter and shortening
  • Add sugars - mix on medium for 2 minutes until fluffy
  • Scrap sides of bowl
  • Add eggs and vanilla - mix on medium for 1 minute
  • Scrap sides of bowl
  • Mix flour, baking soda, baking powder , and salt in separate bowl
  • Alternately add flour mixture and apple sauce
  • Mix until fully integrated
  • Add diced apples and mix
Apple Whoopie Pies with Cinnamon Buttercream Filling
  • Using a cookie scoop place batter on cookie sheets
  • Bake 10-12 minutes or until the cake springs back when touched
  • While cakes are baking - make filling
Apple Whoopie Pies with Cinnamon Buttercream Filling

Cinnamon Buttercream Filling Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup butter (room temperature
  • 1/4 cup shortening
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tbs heavy whipping cream
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon


  • Cream butter, shortening and vanilla.
  • Slowly add the powdered sugar
  • Add the whipping cream and 1/2 tsp cinnamon on low speed - once the whipping cream is integrated increase the speed to medium and mix for two minutes until creamy

Assembly Directions:

  • When the cakes have finished baking allow to cool fully
  • Once cool flip half of the cakes upside down
  • Using a cookie scoop place one scoop of filling on the upside down cakes
  • Sandwich the filling with another cookie
  • Wrap the whoopie pies individually (otherwise they will stick together!)
Apple Whoopie Pies with Cinnamon Buttercream Filling My family enjoyed the apple whoopie pies - they turned out really yummy! I had never made cinnamon buttercream before but will definitely be making it again! Enjoy this small taste of fall!

Shannon is a stay at home mom to two children who loves to bake and enjoys planning activities for the kids.  You can find her at Crafty Mama in ME.  Be sure to follow her on Facebook for more awesome recipes!