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Trash to Toys: Make 10 Recycled Educational Toys

Did you celebrate Earth Day on April 22nd? Across the country, Earth Day is a yearly reminder to think about our role in protecting the environment. Parents can totally have a positive impact on this by creating fun, educational toys from everyday items that may initially seem like trash, but can be repurposed into teaching tools. It’s a fun way to set an example for your kids while spending quality time. And honestly – why keep buying new toys when we all know that kids usually prefer the box it came in anyway? {We’ve all seen it.} When Abby was little, and I’d clean her room, I’d catch myself doing a regular room clean-up, and bagging up so many toys to give away. Why? What a waste of my money, and my time to clean ’em all up! So now, we have a few collections we love {Helloooooooo, I’m talking to you, Fisher-Price Little People Toys. Seriously, I think I might like them even more than her.} But in between – we do crafts, play games, or make our toys and entertainment. Which is why I looooove having the chance to share these great ideas with you – get your own environmentally-friendly kids toys idea inspiration too….

Trash to Toys [Read more…]

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7 Clever Ways to Use Apple Cider Vinegar in the Kitchen

I participated in a campaign on behalf of Mom Central Consulting for Heinz Vinegar, to share clever ways to use vinegar in the kitchen. I received a product sample to facilitate my review and as a thank you for participating.

“Housework is something you do that nobody notices until you don’t do it.” – Unknown… The kitchen is usually the center of the home, so it makes sense that it’s often the messiest part of the home too. 3 meals a day are created there, mail is sorted there, kids rummage through cupboards for snacks, the dog’s dish might be there, and in our house – it’s the main entrance we use when coming and going every day. So between dishes, the garbage, the pets, and the clutter – I feel like it’s a constant battle to keep things clean and germ-free! And, to add another bonus layer of challenge, I’m really trying to cut back on using store-bought cleaners that contain a lot of toxic chemicals and additives. I mean, if I wouldn’t want it to go into the kid’s mouths, why would I rub it all over the counters that their food touches, right? Let me share one amazing product that can help solve the majority of your kitchen-cleaning dilemmas – Apple Cider Vinegar.

7 clever ways to use apple cider vinegar

Kitchen Tips: How to Use Vinegar in the Kitchen [Read more…]

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How to Find Your Own Natural Beauty… #7dayjourney

“I believe that happy girls are the prettiest girls.” – Audrey Hepburn… You hear the term “natural beauty” a lot – but what does that really mean? Does it mean just skipping make-up? Is it about living organically? Do you connect the term with the beauty of nature that surrounds us? To me, it means living life in a way that is authentic, where your heart is happy, and you feel at peace. Being comfortable and confident in your own skin and being able to see the everyday joy in life is what makes someone beautiful – a relaxed smile on their face, good posture as they stand tall and walk with purpose, a glow that comes from being content with what you have and where you’re at. Since becoming a mother, I’ve gotten better at feeling as though I have “just enough” – who cares if I don’t have the latest handbag, when I have little toddler snuggles and smiles? And children grow so amazingly quickly, that it kind of forces you to slow down, to live “in the moment,” and to cherish the little things.

Kids have natural beauty [Read more…]

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What Matters Most When Diaper Shopping…

“No one likes change but babies in diapers.” – Barbara Johnson… Are you still in the diaper stage? Then you know how darn difficult it can be during those years. Not just the crazy mishaps of changing one of those messy masterpieces – but also, trying to figure out which brand, style, fit, size, version is the right one to keep your little one dry, and finding it at a great price. Oh yeah – and throw in some concern for the environment too, and you’ve got yourself a serious set of decision making that most overwhelmed and over-tired new moms can’t handle….

Storknest helps new moms get affordable ecofriendly diapers

How does Stork Nest help new moms save on diapers?

First of all – let me tell you how I first met the peeps from Stork Nest. I was introducted to them by another blogger in one of my networks. At the time, I didn’t know the name Stork Nest – I just knew them as a great group who was super interested in learning more about what moms value when shopping for diapers. They wanted to know what type of packaging was most appealing, what features and benefits actually mattered – and what silly marketing tricks felt like needless gimmicks, so that they could avoid them. I really felt like the questions were insightful and smart, and that they were building a smart company. So when I learned more about what they were doing, I was SUPER excited to help support their new site!

Who is Stork Nest?

Starting January 1st, Stork Nest will launch to the public – featuring unique diaper, training, and youth pant brands at the best prices you’ll find around. They’ll have the highest quality, some awesome eco-friendly options, and since they cut out the middle-man by producing their own diapers – you will seriously get the best value. Their EcoBundles Diapers will feature the same amazing softness and absorbency that you rely on in a diaper – while being more ecofriendly and budget-friendly for busy moms. Sounds awesome, right?

Let’s Party! Celebrate the launch of their new diaper site!

Do you have an amazingly adorable baby? {Of course you do!} Then join the celebration with Stork Nest – enter your little cutie in their Facebook photo contest. When Stork Nest launches on January 1st, 2013, they’ll announce which two of America’s Cutest Babies will win a year’s worth of free diapers, a photo shoot, and get to be featured on the new EcoBundles Diaper packaging. As an added bonus, the parents get to keep the professional pictures of their baby! Priceless, right? And everyone who enters their baby into the EcoBundles Cutest Baby Photo Contest will receive a Buy One Get One Free coupon to use on StorkNest.com once they officially launch in early 2013! Sweet bonus.

Party with us too!

I mean, what type of celebration doesn’t have an awesome party to join? The Stork Nest Twitter Party is coming up on December 4th, from 2:00 to 3:00 p.m. ET. You can RSVP to be eligible for crazy-awesome prizes here: Stork Nest Twitter Party. There will be loads of cool stuff to win, other amazing moms to chat with, and great tips and advice to be shared. I hope to see you there!

Learn more: Check out Stork Nest on Facebook, on Twitter at @theStorkNest, and Pinterest.  

$4.95 All-U-Can Ship

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What iCarly Taught Me About Kid-Friendly Veggie Recipes…

Kid approved, family ready recipes that make healthy veggies bright and fun… I’m lucky. The kiddos in my house are pretty good fruit and veggie eaters. They help me and grandma grow a big garden out back, so they feel like those tomatoes, carrots, peppers, squash, and strawberries {along with the other abundance of goodies we have!} are their produce. That ownership really helps to encourage them to eat ’em up at meals and snacks. But even kiddos that love good foods benefit from a little fun at meal times, right? If you’re looking for some super fun ways to make veggies “new” again, you have GOT to check out the awesome ideas on the Birds Eye Kids Website.

how to make kid-friendly healthy smoothies

Kid-Friendly Veggie Recipe Inspiration from iCarly

The reason that the BirdsEye.com website caught my attention at first, is a super fun recipe called the Yakimaniac Veggie Martians. I mean, it’s a super cool creative idea, but that’s not what made it jump out at me. It’s because I’m from a city named Yakima, and the only time I’ve ever heard someone use the term “Yakimaniac” is in reference to people who live here! I knew it somehow how had to be connected… And sure enough, it is. These Martian-ized dinnertime plates let kids add personality to their meal with edible glitter, pretzel antennas, and veggie faces – and they were first featured on the super popular iCarly. And if you’ve watched much iCarly, you know that it’s set in Seattle, and one of the character’s grandpa is from a city called Yakima. Which is where this awesome recipe comes in! Very cool, right? {Every time I travel out of state, and people here where I’m from – if they’re a mom, they mention iCarly right away, lol. Most didn’t know it was a real city!}

 Our Kid-Friendly Veggie Smoothies

After showing the kids the awesome Yakimaniac martians named after our hometown, I browsed through some of the other creative ideas – like Veggie Cupcakes and Green Monster Pizza, I decided to try out the Veggie Smoothie recipe, since we are HUGE fans of smoothies here in my house. {It is the easiest way to get a ton of healthy stuff into your kids daily diet!} It’s made with Birds Eye Broccoli, Cauliflower & Carrots – all pre-sliced and frozen, meaning no prep. Mix ’em up in a cool gadget like the Magic Bullet, or whatever blender you have on hand, and you’ve got a super tasty smoothie packed with healthy vitamins. The bright-orange color totally got the kids excited – and the addition of the orange juice, honey, and fruit make is super sweet and yummy.

This was kid-tested in my house – two very picky little boys {6 and 9} and a toddler who has no other opinion than absolute love or complete hate. Verdict? 3 sets of thumbs up!

Try it here. It’s easy as can be to create – and might inspire some other cool veggie combo smoothies too. I’m thinking that carrots with apple sauce and juice, with a dash of cinnamon, might make a really interesting festive drink. And frozen blueberries, frozen broccoli cuts, and cranberry juice combine to make a pretty awesome smoothie – seriously. I’m not always a big veggie fan, so I rely on soups simmered in the crock pot, and cool fruit-veggie combo smoothies to ensure I get a big variety in my diet.

Kid-Friendly Veggie Smoothies

Ingredients

  • 1 bag (12 oz.) Steamfresh® Broccoli, Cauliflower & Carrots, cooked according to package directions, cooled
  • 1/2 cup low fat vanilla yogurt
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 1 large ripe banana
  • 3 Tablespoons honey or brown sugar
  • 1-1/2 cups ice cubes

Instructions

  1. This is as easy peasy as you can get!
  2. Toss all ingredients into your blender.
  3. Mix 'em up until smooth.
  4. Pour into glasses, and enjoy!
  5. Serves 4 people.
http://sunshineandsippycups.com/2012/11/how-icarly-led-me-to-new-kid-friendly-veggie-recipes/

For more awesome inspiration to help encourage healthy eating, and to simplify meal times in your house – be sure to follow Birds Eye Facebook and Birds Eye Twitter Page, for new promotions and product updates!

Let’s Chat: What are your favorite healthy kid-friendly recipes? Which one of the Birds Eye Kids site are you most excited to try?

Wittlebee Kids Clothing Club

{Disclaimer: Photo credit one: Khawkins04. I participated in a campaign on behalf of Mom Central Consulting for Birds Eye. I received product coupons to facilitate my review as well as a promotional item as a thank-you for participating.}

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Skip Fast Food for Kids – Get Real Food Fast! – #KFHealthyKids

“Kids’ meals these days… a lot of them are downright scary and often loaded with all sorts of artificial ingredients.” – Matt Cohen… I’ve told you guys many times over the past couple of years about my lifestyle change after I became pregnant – It suddenly became super important to me to finally make those changes I’d been thinking about making for years, those changes towards a cleaner and greener lifestyle. I wanted to give this little bean in my belly have the absolute best possible chance at growing into a healthy baby, and I knew that everything that went in, on, or around me would affect her. Then, as she grew into a toddler, and I started feeding her the snacks and kids meals that are marketed to little ones her age – I realized that we needed to find some better options to keep up those standards that I’d had when she was a baby….

comparing kids mealsI’d been hearing a ton of buzz about these new Kidsfresh frozen kids meals. But there’s always some new kids product that supposed to be healthier and better and more amazing than the others – so I don’t always pay much attention to most of these so-called “healthy kids meals.” But this new product did have some substance behind it:

  • These were meals that started with an idea from a real dad who wanted to give his own kids better options. The meals were developed in partnership with a pediatric nutritionist. And they’ve already been sold out of their NYC concept store to rave reviews.
  • Most kid meals are stuffed with stuff like this – “Isolated Soy Protein,” “High Fructose Corn Syrup,” “Meatballs with Caramel Color Added,” “Monosodium Glutamate.” But you won’t find that stuff in these Kidfresh meals. You know why? Because the American Academy of Pediatrics has linked yucky additives and artificial stuff with potentially serious health problems.
  • Even their packaging is good for you – No BPA, Phthalates, or other gross chemical stuff.

Love it all, right? And when you compare them to the other kids meals in the store – it’s clear just by glancing at them that these are a better option. {See more of my kids meal comparison in our shopping trip album on Google+.} I hate that most kids meals in stores, fast food, or even nice restaurants are almost always choices like greasy pizza, kinda-sorta-chicken nuggets, all stuffed with fat and sugar. Like these ones at Safeway – but look at them compared to the Kidsfresh meals, stuffed with hidden veggies, and NOT containing junk food or sweets. Thank you Kidfresh!!

Kidsfresh meals - healthy kids mealsBut admit it moms – it doesn’t really matter what WE want them to eat. It matters what they WILL eat without a fight. We can do our best to encourage them to eat healthy meals packed with whole grains, fruits, and healthy veggies – but if they refuse and throw a fit, it’s a losing battle. So I was SUPER excited when I handed a few of these to Abby, to see which one she wanted – and she hugged them all to her and said, “MINE! Mine deeeener momma!” So I said, “Heck, sure, we’ll get one of each!”

Kidfresh frozen healthy kids meals at SafewayWe got ’em home, and I was eager to have Abby try them, and see if they passed her picky toddler taste test. I mean, they sounded good – with names like Rainbow Rice + ChickenWagon Wheels Mac + CheeseSpaghetti Loops Bolognese, and Muy Cheesy Quesadillas. Since kiddos don’t eat enough veggies, each meal has sneaky pureed veggies included. And they’re flash frozen to preserve nutrients. Even better? They’re super crazy-easy to prepare – one to two minutes in the microwave, and they’re done. I’m starting to fall in love….

taste test - Toddler versus healthy mealsThis afternoon we were in a huge hurry to get out and run some errands – the craft store to stock up on more of the clearance I saw yesterday and decided I needed more of {they had Halloween at 80-90% off!!}, the bank, drop the dog off for a grooming, and another doctor appointment for miss Abby. Since I was running behind getting us out the door – I grabbed one of these new meals – ONE minute in the microwave for these Quesodillas, and we were out the door. It was time for that all-important taste test….

She looked at it.

She poked at it.

She licked her fingers for a taste of it…..

Toddler loves safeway kidsfresh frozen kids meals in the carAnd BAM!!! She loved ’em!! Score one for mom, and for healthy eating habits. She CHOWED DOWN on these. I wish I’d caught video of her after tasting it. She said, “Mmm, mmm, MMMM – Momma, this is SOOO good. No share.” In toddler speak, this is about as good as it gets. Our little dog Deuce {remember, I had to drop him at the groomers?} was in the back seat with her. And she usually shares everything with him. So this was a pretty big deal for her to not share with her best buddy. Seriously. So – we’ve got a new family favorite. I totally recommend checking out your local Safeway for them too.

Learn more today, and switch from fast food – to real food fast!!

  • Visit the Kidfresh Facebook Page to print a $1 off coupon.
  • Follow Kidfresh on Facebook and Twitter for product and promotion updates.

{Disclaimer: I am a member of the Collective Bias® Social Fabric® Community.  This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias® and Kidfresh #CBias #SocialFabric #KFHealthyKids.}


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