Create a More Calm and Peaceful Entryway in Your Home

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

In the last few months, I’ve been focusing on being in a more intentional place. FOCUS is my Word of the Year and I really am trying to press into that. I want to be a more focused mother for my children. A wife who has a great focus on marriage as a whole. And I’ve just started going to night school, so I definitely want to be more focused on my studies. All this focus can leave other things, like housework, in the dust (literally!) There’s only so much of me to go around, you know? Staying focused on a few things means that other things can get neglected. And to be honest, that truly affects my mood. I want to be good at everything, even when I know that’s impossible! But if I neglect ME, then nothing else is going to go right.

My DIY entry way tutorial helps to put me in the right mood the moment I walk inside the front door. Find out what to use, including fragrance, to add joy into your every day. #GladeFineFragranceMist #ad

Saying Yes to More Peace

My moms group has been delving into the topic of getting more peace in our lives. Bottom line: It’s not your circumstances that bring you down. It’s the attitude and thinking you have about things that ultimately makes you upset. My happiness should not be based upon what is happening around me. It’s not the circumstances, it’s the attitude and thinking I have about them.

I have it on my heart to be more conscious about my mood when I come home after a long day. It’s too easy to fall into the chaos once inside the door and I aim to be more centered and at peace at home. A relaxed and calm Mom is better at all things!

One thing that I do as a reminder to stay serene is take a moment in my entryway to pause. It’s only a moment that I need before the whirlwind hits me. I have my entryway table set up with everything I need for a proper welcome home. I can choose to think about positives I’m grateful for and not the potential craziness that awaits me beyond the entryway. With just a few key items in this place, I’ve made my home a more calm place.

Creating a Calm and Peaceful Entryway

Creating a peaceful and beautiful entryway helps set up the reminders for me about being purposeful. I have carefully chosen only what makes me happy and gives meaning. Clutter is the enemy! Only what absolutely needs to be there should be allowed in this place. I take time each day to make sure this area is tidy. Even if my office desk has a huge stack of papers or there are dirty dishes in the kitchen sink, at least I know that this one sacred place of peace and meditation is clutter-free.

My DIY entry way tutorial helps to put me in the right mood the moment I walk inside the front door. Find out what to use, including fragrance, to add joy into your every day. #GladeFineFragranceMist #ad

These are the things I have in my lovely entryway that bring me joy –

Favorite art and calming quotes. Surrounding yourself with lovely things really does go a long way towards calm.

A table runner is a great base to start from. I went with a neutral so that I could choose to add more color with my accessories.

A place to put car keys because hunting for lost car keys when you’re already running late is going to make you crazy. I love this pretty bowl to use as a catch-all from keys to earrings.

I try to deal with mail immediately while it’s in my hand. I sort out the junk into the recycling and put bills on my office desk. Don’t let paper clutter up your special space.

Add a touch of nature, whether it be a vase with flowers, a tiny cactus or something like this bonsai I have. An earthy reminder can help you to stay grounded.

Include something meaningful to you. I have a pretty vintage cake plate and a soapstone container that my husband bought me on our first vacation together.

My DIY entry way tutorial helps to put me in the right mood the moment I walk inside the front door. Find out what to use, including fragrance, to add joy into your every day. #GladeFineFragranceMist #ad

Using Fragrance to Move My Mood

The Glade® Atmosphere Collection™ Fine Fragrance Mist helps welcome me home. The scent of fragrance upon coming in my front door is the gentle nudge I need to remind me to breath deeply, stay calm and let the stress of the day slip away. I found these at Walmart. I chose each of these two fragrance mist products for different reasons.

My DIY entry way tutorial helps to put me in the right mood the moment I walk inside the front door. Find out what to use, including fragrance, to add joy into your every day. #GladeFineFragranceMist #ad

The notes of jasmine and rose with cedarwood and clove in the No.1 Enraptured™ fragrance helps to put me in a loving mood. The No.2 Bright™ scent has a light and bright note of raspberries and orchard fruits with pear and sweet pea.

My DIY entry way tutorial helps to put me in the right mood the moment I walk inside the front door. Find out what to use, including fragrance, to add joy into your every day. #GladeFineFragranceMist #ad

The Glade® Atmosphere Collection™ Fine Home Fragrances are infused with essential oils and masterfully crafted fragrances. Just spray up and sweep side to side. It is a continuous spray so the mist lingers in the air. A quick spray and deep breath from me and I’m in my calm space. Just the welcome home that I need!

How can you use fragrance to transport you into a peaceful place?

Follow this entryway tutorial to put you in the right mood the moment you walk inside the front door. Find out what to use, including fragrance, to add joy into your every day. #GladeFineFragranceMist #ad

Tips for Feeding Picky Eaters (I Used to Be One!)

I place the plate of food in front of my toddler daughter and she recoils in horror. The arms pulled back, the face twisted in disgust. It’s a look I know well. I admit that I was not a healthy or adventurous eater as a child. In fact, I was extremely picky! I dreaded eating at a friend’s house because of my food aversions. I had my picky food list in mind and hoped that the meal being served didn’t have something that I’d have to pick out, avoid or gag on! Only in my twenties did I start trying new foods. And it’s because I used to be so particular with eating that I’ve been able to come up with ideas for feeding picky eaters.

Dealing with a picky eater at home? These are the tips from a former picky eater with your practical tips for feeding picky eaters.

Tips for Feeding Picky Eaters

When my eldest son was born, I knew that I wanted him to develop good eating habits from the start. Today he’s an adventurous eater who loves to try new foods. When I married my husband, I gained a stepdaughter through marriage. She was a very particular eater who (with Autism) has some serious texture sensitivity. She now easily eats everything placed in front of her without any complaints! Keep reading for my tested tips for feeding picky eaters.

Picky eater at home? These are the tips from a former picky eater on how to encourage your kids to try new foods. With these practical tips for feeding picky eaters you can take the focus off them and encourage healthy habits.

Please note that I use affiliate links in my posts. Clicking through and making a purchase helps me in a small financial way, thank you!

1. Start Young

When your babies first start eating solids, offer a wide variety of flavors and textures. It’s tempting to want to keep with the smooth and sweet foods but it’s important that babies learn (once the doctor gives the go-ahead) about savory flavors and to get accustomed to textures. I started by adding herbs and spices to baby food puree to add a dash of flavor. I discovered that a tiny bit of cinnamon with the baby cereal, thyme in the chicken puree and curry in the butternut squash.

2. “You Don’t Have to Like it, but You Still Have to Eat it”

Enlist a family motto like this one, which knocks off the “I don’t like this” excuses. When I first married my husband, his daughter was 5 and had a very small meal repertoire. We knew that needed to change but he’d gotten accustomed to serving her the same foods. It was easier to give in than deal with a possible dinnertime meltdown. Upon giving her a plate of food and hearing, “I don’t like meatloaf”, I replied, “You don’t have to like it, but you still have to eat it”. Saying it flatly and without emotion, drama or any kind of pressure from me seemed to do the trick. She tried it and now meatloaf is one of her favorite meals!

Dealing with a picky eater at home? These are the tips from a former picky eater with your practical tips for feeding picky eaters.

3. Make the Meal Less About the Eating

Growing up, I was sooo stubborn about trying new foods. And that’s because during every dinner, the spotlight was on me to verify that I was eating what was served. My parents would make a big embarrassing fuss if I tried something new. So I stopped trying new things, just to be more in control.

We decided with our kids to take the focus off the eating and make mealtimes more enjoyable. We don’t obsess over every bite that our kids take. There is no big fanfare. It’s just food and meal time is not the place to pressure your kids. Push them and they’re sure to push back!

4. Keep Offering

So, they didn’t like it the first time you served it. That’s okay, keep offering. It may take quite a few times of seeing a food on their plate before children will try it, let alone like it.

Dealing with a picky eater at home? These are the tips from a former picky eater with your practical tips for feeding picky eaters.

My son requested sushi for his birthday dinner.

5. Limit Portion Sizes

How can you get picky eaters to try new foods? Don’t pile their plates! When serving a new food, all we ask is that our children try one or two bites and that’s all. Start with a very small portion on your child’s plate. When they finish it, offer seconds. There are certain foods that my daughter doesn’t enjoy, like black beans. We will literally give her three beans and ask that she finish them. Once she is done, she can request more or she can be finished, there is no pressure.

Consider a Compartment Divided Plate so that foods aren’t “touching” and portion control is easier.

6. Respect Their Lack of Appetite

How do I get my picky toddler to eat?! And why is my kid always telling me he’s not hungry? Kids truly do have small stomachs. Also their appetites peak and wane depending upon growth spurts. Repeat after yourself, “It’s just one meal”. They’ll eat when they get hungry. Kids should continue to sit at the table with you during meals. I let my kids know that THIS is meal time and that if they tell me they’re hungry in 30 minutes that what we’re eating at the moment is what they will be served!

Dealing with a picky eater at home? These are the tips from a former picky eater with your practical tips for feeding picky eaters.

7. Keep An Open Mind

You’ve just prepared a new dish and you’re already thinking, “There is no way my kid is going to eat this.” Get that thought out of your head right now, because your picky eater might just surprise you. Go into each new experience with an open mind. Simply serve what you’ve made without a big production and ignore the “I don’t like this, even though I’ve never had it” commentary.

Last year I offered my kids white canellini beans. We’ve eaten a lot of beans (pinto, black, refried, kidney) over the years but I’d never served white beans. My preschooler asked me what they were and then tried one (up to that point, he wouldn’t even TRY the beans we’d offered). He shrugged after eating the white bean and said, “I guess I like beans”. And he’s eaten every bean since!

Dealing with a picky eater at home? These are the tips from a former picky eater with your practical tips for feeding picky eaters.

8. Water is the Beverage Option

Though I do offer a small glass of milk with breakfast and dinner, for the rest of the day water is the only beverage option. Juice or caffeine-free soda is limited to special occasions, like at a party. I prefer that my kids get their calories from healthy, nutritious foods and not get filled up on beverages.

9.  Serve Well-Balanced Snacks

Nothing like that just-before-dinner snack to “ruin” their appetite for the main course! Limit snack time to twice a day and under 100 calories. Snacks should be well-balanced and include a little fat (like nuts), protein (like a lean piece of meat) and a carbohydrate (like a half of a piece of fruit). Make it easy for your kids by keeping fruit on the counter and prepped veggies in the fridge, where they are easy to grab on the go. We like edamame that kids can pop out of the pods (they are healthy and they take a bit of time to consume).

Dealing with a picky eater at home? These are the tips from a former picky eater with your practical tips for feeding picky eaters.

10. Keep the Choices Fresh

It’s easy to get stuck on serving the same fruits and vegetables. But it’s important to keep things fresh and continue to offer new flavors. My kids have just developed a love of yellow and green squash, which we lightly steam. It’s also essential that you keep mostly fresh foods in the kitchen and to eliminate most bagged or processed items that are heavy on sodium and saturated fat.

We recently tried Dinnerly, which gave us some new ideas for veggies and recipes.

11. Offer Sauces and Dips (or Not!)

My toddler won’t eat meat unless it’s smothered in ketchup. Totally fine by me, at least she’s eating it! What are the foods that your kids might enjoy more if they had a sauce or dip as an accompaniment? And then there are some kids, like my kindergartner who does’t like sauces at all! If it’s easy enough to leave off the sauce on a dish, try letting family members add it themselves so the picky eater can have it “plain”.

Dealing with a picky eater at home? These are the tips from a former picky eater with your practical tips for feeding picky eaters.

12. Remove White Foods

White foods are often the diet staples of a picky eater! Sub in colorful and more flavorful foods and skip the bland white foods. Avoid white bread and switch to a smooth tasting wheat. Once your child’s taste buds have gotten used to that, you can move to a nutty whole grain instead. Instead of white potatoes, try steamed sweet potato chunks. Use whole wheat pasta instead of pasta made with white flour. Switch out white rice for brown rice. Don’t think that eating healthier foods is more costly – see my ideas on how to save money on groceries.

13. Be a Good Role Model

Kids will totally notice if you are serving them lima beans and you don’t have any on your plate! Make sure you practice what you preach and that they see you eating healthfully as well. Are you ready to start your own healthy eating plan? Check out my review of Personal Trainer Food.

14. Make Meals Distraction Free

While you don’t want the focus on your picky eater during meal times, it shouldn’t be focused on the TV or device either. Make meal times enjoyable with light conversation by turning off the television, phone and devices. Click through to read about healthy breakfast ideas for kids.

Dealing with a picky eater at home? These are the tips from a former picky eater with your practical tips for feeding picky eaters.

15. Dessert Isn’t the Reward

I know we’ve all been guilty of encouraging dinner eating by the promise of a sweet treat at the completion of the meal. But that definitely gives kids the message that dessert is more important by making it a reward. In our home, dessert isn’t an every day occurrence. And it’s definitely not always a sugary treat. Consider fruits like strawberries with whipped cream or frozen grapes (cut in half before serving).

16. Don’t Let Them Frazzle You

When my husband and I were first encouraging our daughter to try new things, it was imperative that we not lose our cool with her. A large part of being a picky eater is the control that it brings (speaking as a former picky eater herself!) When parents act like food is no big deal, it frees the child to relax and open up to trying new things just a little bit more.

Offer foods without pressure or bribery. If there is a complete meltdown at the mere suggestion of taking one bite, remove the plate and calmly tell the child to leave the table. Do not offer to prepare a different meal. Kids will either choose be stubborn and go without or they’ll begrudgingly eat what is offered. Just keep your cool and pretend it doesn’t bother you one way or another to get the control issue out of the way.

Dealing with a picky eater at home? These are the tips from a former picky eater with your practical tips for feeding picky eaters.


Personal Trainer Food Review – How Important is Convenience to Weight Loss?

People want easy. Simple as that. If it’s too hard, most people aren’t even going to try. That is the honest truth about most things in life. And never more true when it comes to weight loss. Bottom line: People want simple and easy weight loss.

Nobody really wants to make drastic lifestyle changes. Nobody really wants to give up what they enjoy and start doing something that sounds un-fun. And if the scale isn’t moving in the right direction right away, forget about sticking with it…where’s the chocolate cake?! *ahem* Sound familiar?

I think that all of these “don’t wanna do that” things are what kept me overweight for so long. Did I want to lose the weight? YES. But did I want to make the appropriate changes in order to make that happen? No, not really! The thought of having to research what I should and shouldn’t be eating, calorie counting and early morning workouts stopped me in my tracks each time. I was frustrated by the time and careful thought it takes to prepare a wholesome and healthy meal. Add in that weight loss on my own was soooo slow! I wanted to lose the weight but I felt like I just didn’t have the time or energy to commit to it.

So how important is convenience when it comes to weight loss?

I’d venture to say that convenience is VERY high on the list when people finally decide to commit to weight loss. Convenience may be the most important thing. Most people want foods that are easy to prepare. They want meals that they don’t have to think about -grab, heat and eat – without having to worry about calories. And they want quick results. They want to see loose pants and lower numbers on their scale fast.

For me, what finally worked was Personal Trainer Food. It’s easy. It’s convenient. It’s real, healthy food. And it totally works FAST. Comparing the convenience, cost and time-restrictions of making your own food versus using the Personal Trainer Food program, it’s no contest. I’ve lost a total of 13 lbs in 5 weeks on PTF – this program is extremely convenient!

Looking for a weight loss program that is truly convenient and quick but also healthy and nutritious? Read my review series on Personal Trainer Food program from cost, food choices, flavors and convenience factor. AD

If you’re following along with my Personal Trainer Food Review posts, here are the previous posts in the series.

I received a complimentary box from Personal Trainer Food that included 28-days worth of meals and three butter sauces. All thoughts and opinions about this product are my own. Your results on the program may vary. Please note that I use affiliate links in my post. Clicking through and making a purchase helps me in a small financial way, thank you!

Looking for a weight loss program that is truly convenient and quick but also healthy and nutritious? Read my review series on Personal Trainer Food program from cost, food choices, flavors and convenience factor. AD

Convenience Factor #1 – No Grocery Shopping

Not having to go to the store is a huge convenience! With Personal Trainer Food, you can skip the grocery shopping and easily order all the food and snacks you’ll need for an entire MONTH. A few quick clicks on their site to pick and choose all three meals for the day. And it comes straight to your door. Just make plenty of room in the freezer because 28 days of breakfast, lunch and dinner takes up a lot of space.

Will the Personal Trainer Food program work for me, a busy mom over 40? #sponsored

Convenience Factor #2 – No Meal Planning

When on a diet, it can be tricky to know what you should and shouldn’t include in your meals. I love that with Personal Trainer Food I don’t have to plan anything. I just reach into the freezer, pull out a protein and a veggie, heat it up and EAT. No planning necessary, which takes the focus off dieting. Truly convenient, right?

Looking for a weight loss program that is truly convenient and quick but also healthy and nutritious? Read my review series on Personal Trainer Food program from cost, food choices, flavors and convenience factor. AD

Convenience Factor #3 – No Portion Control or Calorie Counting

One of the things that everyone hates about “dieting” is that they constantly feel restricted. On traditional diets, there are food logs, apps for keeping track of foods, caloric calculations and constant measuring of portions. It is such a relief on PTF not to have worry about any of that. Each of the meals is pre-proportioned with the proper amount of protein and carbs.

Convenience Factor #4 – No Hunger

I’ve been on diets in the past and I know you know what I’m talking about here. You’ve already eaten your allotted calories for the day and yet your stomach is still growling. Hunger can leave you so frustrated and give you less willpower to succeed. The portions on PTF are really decently sized. Paired with snacks like cheese, nuts and a daily apple, I’ve never been hungry on this plan. You can purchase some snacks on the PTF site or follow their recommended snack list (it’s sent with your order).

Looking for a weight loss program that is truly convenient and quick but also healthy and nutritious? Read my review series on Personal Trainer Food program from cost, food choices, flavors and convenience factor. AD

Need more? Add cheese, salsa or veggies to your breakfast (no calorie counting!)

Convenience Factor #5 – No Crazy Exercise Routines

I don’t have time to spend hours in the gym, sweating it up everyday. But that’s what we’ve heard works for weight loss. But on PTF, the only exercise that they encourage during the weight loss phase is 20 minutes of walking. Nothing crazy and no huge time commitments. I find it very convenient to squeeze in a quick 20 minutes of walking in my day!

Are you ready to make the weight loss commitment? Check out the Personal Trainer Food program on their website. I highly recommend signing up for their emails (there are frequent coupon codes and specials!)

Taking my 20 minute walk with the baby in the stroller to fit in my daily exercise.


Getting Motivated When You Don’t Feel Like Exercising

Getting back into an exercise routine can be a challenge. I know, because I’m right there with you! While I’ve been doing well on the healthy eating side for a while, now I need to work on the exercise aspect. Firming, toning and strengthening are my new focus. However getting motivated to just do the workout has been a struggle for me. I’m home alone for hours with my toddler, so if I’m not playing with her, I’m trying to squeeze in work. Exercise with a toddler around isn’t impossible – but it’s definitely becoming my latest excuse to skip the exercise!

I Just Don’t Feel Like Exercising

I’ve come up with some motivations to move me forward when I have no desire to workout anymore. Sometimes I want to exercise but I’m lazy, I’ll admit it! And I can come up with a million reasons NOT to do it. Tackling these motivators FIRST can set you up for success. I recommend writing things down, posting them somewhere prominent and reminding others around you to encourage you on your fitness journey!

I’ve included photos of me in this post wearing my new workout wear from Fabletics. Keep reading for a review on Fabletics and why I think it’s important to have cute and comfortable workout clothes.

How do you stay motivated to workout when you just don't feel like exercising? I share 9 tips for staying on a routine when you feel lazy!

I received one complimentary outfit from Fabletics. No other compensation was made. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Please note that I use affiliate links in my posts. Clicking through and making a purchase helps me in a small financial way, thank you.

1. Have a Reason Why

What are you exercising for? You have to know your “reason why” because that’s your ultimate motivator. Write your reason down, whether it’s to lose weight, firm up or get heart healthy. When you feel your motivation waning, put your reason why someplace at the forefront to remind you daily.

My reason? To firm up, yes. But also to be a good example for my children! We frequently exercise together, even if it’s just a long walk outside.

How do you stay motivated to workout when you just don't feel like exercising? I share 9 tips for staying on a routine when you feel lazy!

2. Know Your Excuses

I didn’t sleep well last night and today I’m too exhausted to exercise. I just can’t seem to find the time. My legs/back/head hurts. I don’t like the gym. I’m bored with my usual workout. I don’t feel like working out anymore!

Do any of those excuses sound familiar? Yeah, we’ll come up with a bunch of reasons why we shouldn’t work out. But it goes back to your “reason why” and all excuses need to go out the window. When you find yourself making excuses, remember your “reason why”. Your “reason why” you should be exercising will knock off all excuses.

How do you stay motivated to workout when you just don't feel like exercising? I share 9 tips for staying on a routine when you feel lazy!

3. Have a Workout Buddy

I’ve always found that having someone to workout with makes the “chore” of exercise more fun. You don’t want to let your workout buddy down, so you’re more likely to show up and keep the schedule. Here are some ideas on things to do with a workout buddy:

  • Make a standing twice weekly date on the calendar.
  • Go for a long walk with your kids – even if you have to bring their strollers.
  • Meet in the park with workout bands and kettle bells.
  • Screen a workout video at home to do together.
How do you stay motivated to workout when you just don't feel like exercising? I share 9 tips for staying on a routine when you feel lazy!

My workout buddy keeps me motivated!

4. Get It Out of the Way First Thing

I’ve been in the habit of getting up, getting dressed and eating breakfast. Then once I’ve dropped off the kids at school, I just don’t want to change into my workout clothes and that’s just another excuse not to exercise.

Now when I get up, I immediately put on my workout clothes. I find that if I’m already wearing them when I get back after school drop off, I might as well workout! If you can, tackle your exercise first thing in the day so nothing else can get in front of getting it done.


5. Squeeze It In

Okay, so some days you just can’t get the workout done first thing in the morning. But don’t let that be a reason to let the whole day go down the drain. Take advantage of small bits of time when you can squeeze in the exercise.

Here are a few things that I do at home when I have snippets of time:

  • When cooking dinner, I will stay in the kitchen while waiting for the food to be ready. This is a great time to do as many leg squats as you can or do incline push-ups against the counter or chair dips.
  • Before and after school drop off I’ll do a fast walking lap around the block.
  • When playing with my toddler, I’ll stretch, do crunches and planks on the floor next to her.

How do you stay motivated to workout when you just don't feel like exercising? I share 9 tips for staying on a routine when you feel lazy!

6. Develop a Routine

Having a consistent routine can push you through sluggishness. Go through your exercise routine step by step and repeat it. Maybe you always get up in the morning, get yourself into your workout clothes, put your hair in a ponytail, lace up your running shoes and fill your water bottle before starting exercise. Write down your routine and stick with it each day so you can fall into a pattern of repetition.

7. Have a Checklist

I’m all for checklists because it makes it so much easier for me to keep track of my time and routine. You can do a search on Pinterest for workout checklists or just write one yourself. Here are some things to keep track of:

  • Cardio days and weight days
  • Length of time you worked out
  • Reps and weight in pounds
  • How much water you drank

How do you stay motivated to workout when you just don't feel like exercising? I share 9 tips for staying on a routine when you feel lazy!

8. Anything Is Better Than Nothing

Just becasue you couldn’t work out for 90 minutes at the gym doesn’t mean you should skip your exercise completely. Do what you can, whenever you can. Maybe that means you park far away and walk briskly through the parking lot when running errands. Or you take the stairs instead of the elevator. All those little things really do add up when you’re counting your exercise!


9. Wear Workout Clothes That You Love

I recently received this set of workout clothes from Fabletics. After losing some weight, I was desperate for new exercise clothing. And for me, having something that is cute, comfy and flattering makes me want to wear it. And if I’m already wearing my workout clothes, I might as well workout, right?!

The Fabletics Salar Statement Powerhold Legging have four-way stretch for maximum compression that’s still comfortable. They are also moisture-wicking and quick drying. I love the wide, drawstring waistband. I hate when the elastic at the waist is too skinny because it tends to roll over. These pants totally stayed put during my entire workout.

How do you stay motivated to workout when you just don't feel like exercising? I share 9 tips for staying on a routine when you feel lazy!

There’s an internal waistband pocket to hold something small like a key. There are also slim side pockets along each leg for holding your device. The full-length legging was a bit long for me (I’m only 5’2″) – next time I’ll choose a short inseam.

How do you stay motivated to workout when you just don't feel like exercising? I share 9 tips for staying on a routine when you feel lazy!

Two side pockets on the leg – large enough to hold my phone.

I really love the design on the Fabletics Nicole performance tank. The Aegean blue color coordinates with the leggings and has pretty detailing along the sides. The top has built-in cups, though I still needed to wear a workout bra underneath for additional support. But smooth and flattering, not too snug at the waist or hips.

What are your tested ways to stay motivated to workout?

How do you stay motivated to workout when you just don't feel like exercising? I share 9 tips for staying on a routine when you feel lazy!

 

How to Create a Get Well Gift Box for Sick Friends

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc., Campbell’s® , Lipton, Premium Crackers, Theraflu and TYLENOL®. All opinions are mine alone. #SickDaySolutions #CollectiveBias

Think back to the last time you were sick. Oh, that’s not a good memory, is it! Hopefully you had someone that was able to take care of you. You know, that comforting person who can bring you warm soup and tea. Someone to dose out your medicine and fluff your pillow. When I was sick my dad would always bring home a special treat from the store for me, like a new box of crayons and a coloring book. Or a book of paper dolls, remember those? It’s great having someone there to take care of you. It just makes you feel better when you know someone cares.

Now think about the last time your entire family was sick. That’s that worst!! When I think of those horrible cold and flu times when the entire household is sick, nobody wants to have to leave for the store to pick up essentials. And so you all lay around in your pajamas, feeling awful together. Everyone is cranky. And bored. And the sick parents still have to take care of sick kids, even though all they want to do is crawl under the covers and sleep!

Want to make a sick friend feel better immediately? Make them a get well gift box with all these sick day essentials! #SickDaySolutions #ad

The Get Well Gift Box

A friend of mine recently posted on Facebook that her entire family was stuck at home with a flu bug. Nobody in her house felt well enough to drive and they’d run out of medicine. So many friends jumped in that they’d drop by with essentials. The family was so grateful and felt so loved and cared for. I’m sure that just knowing they have generous friends helped them feel better that much sooner.

What if you could create a special “Get Well Gift Box” to take to your friends when they’re all sick at home? The box would include all the needs for a few days at home, while recuperating. The Get Well Box would include soup and crackers, tea and medicines. There would also be a family movie, some reading material and a little activity for the kids. This pay-it-forward gift is heartfelt and sure to put a sick family on the road to recovery that much faster!

Want to make a sick friend feel better immediately? Make them a get well gift box with all these sick day essentials! #SickDaySolutions #ad

Creating a Get Well Gift Box

Any cardboard box or large shoe box will do. If you’re using a plain box, wrap the bottom of the box in pretty paper and leave the top off so your goodies can be on display. A basket would work well too. I had a fabric covered box that I used for my get well gift. Don’t forget to include a card. You can choose to sign it or make it anonymous (that could be fun, right?)

I made this Heard You Were Sick free printable card to include with your box if you want!

Want to make a sick friend feel better immediately? Make them a get well gift box with all these sick day essentials! #SickDaySolutions #ad

Filling Your Get Well Gift Box

I headed to Ralphs to fill my get well box with sick day essentials. Ralphs had everything I wanted to add into the box, including boredom busters like a magazine and crossword puzzle book.

I filled my box with Campbell’s® soup and Premium Saltine crackers, to warm and satisfy hunger. There’s Lipton Soothe Your Tummy herbal supplement for a comforting, warm beverage. And TheraFlu ExpressMax syrup and TYLENOL® Cold + Flu for the grown ups. Because when mom and dad are feeling better, they’re better equipped to care for the kids.

Click through to find coupon savings on these products!


Want to make a sick friend feel better immediately? Make them a get well gift box with all these sick day essentials! #SickDaySolutions #ad

What’s Inside the Box?

  • Family size Campbell’s® Chicken Noodle Soup – nourishing and warm, this family sized can will satisfy them all. I have the kids sit at the table with their warm soup for lunch, which gives me a chance to change their bed sheets and pillowcases. I always feel a little bit better with fresh linens!

Want to make a sick friend feel better immediately? Make them a get well gift box with all these sick day essentials! #SickDaySolutions #ad

  • Original Premium Saltine Crackers – Everyone knows that these are the best crackers! Soup just isn’t the same without them. And sometimes sick tummies only want crackers so Premium Saltines are perfect for upset stomachs.

Want to make a sick friend feel better immediately? Make them a get well gift box with all these sick day essentials! #SickDaySolutions #ad

  • Lipton Soothe Your Tummy Herbal Supplement – These new blends offer a unique combo of botanicals, blended with essential oils known for their wellness benefits.* This Soothe Your Tummy version contains ginger, peppermint, and fennel in a caffeine free beverage. It’s really delicious too! It’s mild tasting enough that even kids would enjoy a warm cup.
  • Want to make a sick friend feel better immediately? Make them a get well gift box with all these sick day essentials! #SickDaySolutions #ad TheraFlu ExpressMax Severe Cold & Flu Syrup – When the ick hits you hard, TheraFlu is powerful relief without a prescription to treat symptoms of cold and flu.
  • TYLENOL® Cold + Flu Severe Day/Night – And if coughing keeps you up at night, these caplets help to relieve painful cold and flu symptoms like coughing, congestion, and sore throat.

Want to make a sick friend feel better immediately? Make them a get well gift box with all these sick day essentials! #SickDaySolutions #ad

  • Something for the kids – Lend a few family movies from your home collection, choosing titles the kids might not have seen before. Crayons and coloring books are great for small kids. For older kids a simple craft or some modeling clay would help break up the boredom.
  • Something for the grown ups – After a while, scrolling the web on your smart phone starts to lose its charm. Include a favorite classic book, a deck of cards, crossword puzzle book and a magazine for mom.
  • Other Essentials – Sick-season items like lip balm, tissues and juice would also be welcome additions to the get well gift box.

Want to make a sick friend feel better immediately? Make them a get well gift box with all these sick day essentials! #SickDaySolutions #ad

The Surprise Drop-Off

Once you’ve heard of a friend in need, gather up the supplies and get ready for the drop-off. Send them a quick message and let them know you’re headed over with a special box. Then just ring the bell and leave it at the door. Your friends don’t have to get out of their pajamas and you don’t risk catching whatever they’ve got!

And they’ll be so grateful you were thinking of them. I know my kids would be delighted to find a surprise box at the door for them, especially when they’ve been feeling sick. What a sweet way to help someone feel better!


Want to make a sick friend feel better immediately? Make them a get well gift box with all these sick day essentials! #SickDaySolutions #ad

Campbell’s® – © 2018 CSC LP Lipton – © 2018 Unilever Theraflu – Read and follow label directions. Theraflu is for use in adults 12 years and older. Use products only as directed. TYLENOL® – ®Johnson & Johnson Consumer Inc. 2017. Use products only as directed. The makers of TYLENOL® remind you to use only one medicine with acetaminophen at a time.

* These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. This product is not intended to diagnose, cure or prevent disease.

Simply Earth Review of Essential Oil Recipe Box Subscription

I’ve always felt strongly about using homeopathy and aromatherapy. I feel better when I use them and I like the results. The trouble for me has been in the consistency of using them regularly. I use them sparingly (because darn it, if essential oils always seem so pricey!) and then I just don’t replenish them when I run out. Because well, they’re expensive, right?

I was so intrigued to find Simply Earth essential oils. Their essential oils are reasonably priced. And their special subscription box means a monthly delivery – the perfect way to replenish! With the Simply Earth “recipe box” subscription you’ll receive 4 pure essential oils plus extras. Check out my honest Simply Earth review and find out what I was able to make with my recipe box. And keep reading to find out how you can get a $40 gift card on purchases from Simply Earth!

My honest review of Simply Earth and their monthly subscription recipe box with essential oils at reasonable prices.

January recipe cards

I received two complimentary Simply Earth Recipe Boxes to facilitate this review. I have not received any additional compensation. Please note that I do have affiliate links in this post. If you click through and make a purchase, I will receive compensation, thank you. 

What’s Inside the Box?

I reveal in my video what is inside my January Simply Earth subscription box, check it out! Bonus shot of me wearing a mud mask 🙂

Simply Earth Review – Recipe Box Pros & Cons

Pros:

  • Full sized-bottles of essential oil (plenty to create the recipes and more!)
  • The price is great for the amount of things you receive in the box
  • Knowing that the essential oils are high grade quality for 100% purity
  • Subscription can be cancelled at any time
  • Free shipping

Cons:

  • Not all of the extras to create the recipes is included. Some ingredients you might have on hand, others you may need to purchase
  • You may not want a full sized bottle of an oil you don’t plan on using again

My honest review of Simply Earth and their monthly subscription recipe box with essential oils at reasonable prices.

January Simply Earth Recipe Box

I made and used four of the six recipes in the January box right away. I don’t own a diffuser and didn’t have one of the ingredients on hand, so I haven’t used the other two recipes yet. The roll-on oils are in my daily rotation and I’ve really enjoyed them. The scent is pleasant and I like the feel on my skin (too soon to know how effective they are at eye bags or wrinkles yet!)

The Curb Hunger recipe (called “Fit Roll-On” in the recipe cards) really does work immediately though! I’ve been keeping it in the pantry and I rub a little oil on when I feel a craving coming on!

The Mud Mask is another hit. I’m glad that the recipe box comes with ingredients to make these items several times over if you wish. My husband and I both enjoyed the after effects of this mask on our skin.

February Simply Earth Recipe Box

I was so excited to see some of my favorite oils inside the February box, including lemon and Defender. I’d never heard of Ravensara but it has quickly become another favorite! It’s quite versatile and has a wonderful aroma. I was already able to make a sore muscles roll on, germ cleaner, vapor chest roll on and warts be gone. Looking forward to making the shower disks – those are going to be such a wake-me-up!

My honest review of Simply Earth and their monthly subscription recipe box with essential oils at reasonable prices.

The Simply Pure Promise

Simply Earth is on a mission to make it easy and affordable for people to have a natural home while giving 13% of their profits to help end human trafficking. Simply Earth sources their oils from around the world in order to get the purest and highest quality possible. With thyme from France, sandalwood from Australia to balsam from Canada, there is even a map on their site to see where the oils come from.

Simple Earth has carefully and ethically chosen region where each particular plant will thrive. They work directly with the farmers to ensure plants are harvested safely and fairly. Natural essential oils are collected through either cold-pressing or steam-distillation. And every batch is tested to ensure 100% purity. And they back it with a 365 day satisfaction guarantee.

My honest review of Simply Earth and their monthly subscription recipe box with essential oils at reasonable prices.

Why Use Essential Oils?

In addition to the Simply Earth Recipe Box, the company also sells individual bottles of essential oil, roll-ons, and carrier oils. At a practical price of $9.99 for a 15ml bottle of lavender essential oil, there’s no reason not to have that on hand – lavender oil has so many wonderful uses! My favorite way to use lavender oil is by adding to a carrier oil and rubbing on the bottoms of my kids feet at night. It’s so relaxing with a gentle massage and truly seems to help them sleep better.

My family has found that tea tree, lemon and peppermint are great to have as well. You can use essential oils to flavor foods and water, to mix with a carrier oil and apply to skin, to add to natural cleaning products (like vinegar) and to diffuse in the air for aromatherapy. A touch of peppermint oil rubbed on my temples is a lifesaver when I start to feel a headache coming on!

My honest review of Simply Earth and their monthly subscription recipe box with essential oils at reasonable prices.

I pulled out the label maker to keep track of the “recipes” I made with my Simply Earth January subscription kit

My January box didn’t have labels for the items I made so I had to use my own label maker. The February box included sticker labels to cut and add onto the bottles, which was a bonus!

Simply Earth also offers a diffuser, wooden storage box for your oil collection and wool dryer balls. We already use dryer balls and I’ve never thought to keep essential oils in the laundry room! What a perfect way to scent the laundry instead of dryer sheets. Surrounding myself with natural scents is something that I find really calms and centers me.

Essential Oils Don’t Have to Be Expensive!

After making essential oil purchases in the past, I got the impression that truly good essential oils cost more. But I’ve learned after using Simply Earth that this isn’t true. Simply Earth offers excellent, high-quality oils at prices everyone can afford.

If you’re ready to try the Simply Earth recipe box for yourself, use my code JULIEBIGBOYFREE. After subscribing to your first box, you’ll get a $20 gift card emailed to you as well as a BIG BONUS BOX that comes with your subscription box (remember, the subscription can be cancelled at any time).

My honest review of Simply Earth and their monthly subscription recipe box with essential oils at reasonable prices.

 

 

 

2017 – A Look Back at the Year that Was on Mom Rewritten

Wow!! Another amazing year and I’m so happy to have been able to share my life with my readers! From a HUGE switch on the blog that included an entirely new site, I’ve been making “little changes that make a big difference” (my new blog motto). I’m hoping you’re enjoying the changes as much as I am. Here is what I’ve been up to this year and what I have planned for 2018!

I even got some new photos taken for the blog!

Please note that this post includes affiliate links. Clicking through and making a purchase helps me in a small financial way, thank you!

Mom Rewritten

Early last year I started contemplating a change on the blog. I was struggling to find topics that were fitting within my niche at the time. But with the blog name of “Saving Up for Disney”, I was a bit pigeonholed into budget and Disney topics. So I switched! Oh, if only it were that easy…

After much discussion with my web designer (who also happens to be my brother-in-law), we came up with the new look. I brainstormed on the name and felt that Mom Rewritten would allow me to branch out into more lifestyle topics. Lots of little behind-the-scenes adjustments with harmonizing all of social media, including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest. That was fun, ugh.

With the “rebranding” complete, I’ve been able to cover topics including little changes that make a big difference, health, family travel and positive parenting. I’m loving the changes and hope that you all are enjoying my posts.

Healthier Living

This mama of four turned 44 this year and while I’ve been gradually becoming a more healthful eater, I still needed to make some changes. That happened for me in a big way this year when I partnered with Personal Trainer Food. I wrote a series of five posts about the month-long journey I had while following this program. You’ll have to read the posts to find out how much weight I lost! But let’s just say, I’m delighted 🙂 And I’m happy to share that I’ve extended my partnership and will be sharing with readers in the new year how to successfully reach your healthy goals with Personal Trainer Food.

In addition, I had several other posts about healthy eating habits, including this one about saving money on groceries while still choosing healthy foods. This one about inexpensive & healthy breakfasts for kids was also well-received.

Personal Trainer Food Teriyaki chicken with green beans

Getting Personal

One of the things that I wanted to start sharing on my newly revamped blog were personal posts. Beginning after the name change in July, I shared several very personal topics including things “I Used To Do” and  Just a Little Bit Crazy.

Another little thing that’s important to me is focus on positive parenting and family. I wrote these posts late in the year about Cultivating Family Traditions When You Feel Like You Don’t Have Any and tips for Teaching Kids Gratitude and Thankfulness During the Holidays.

A Local Focus

As a SoCal native, I love to share my San Diego travel tips. Fortunately there’s so much to see and do, I never run out of topics!

I was selected again to serve as an official LEGOLAND blogger for 2017. My kids love their LEGOLAND visits and I was excited to try out their water park for the first time this year. Seriously, I’m not a big water person, but I ADORE this water park! It’s clean, the water is warm and there is so much to do. Definitely worth adding on the water park ticket if you visit LEGOLAND during the summer. (Check out my partner Get Away Today for LEGOLAND vacation packages – they have a new Castle Hotel coming in 2018!)

SeaWorld is another favorite. We love how clean and well-kept the park always is. I’m delighted with the additions during various seasons, like SeaWorld Halloween Spooktacular. I’m a new SeaWorld affiliate partner so if you’re planning a visit, consider buying tickets through my SeaWorld link. A new holiday event also arrived in San Diego and I was able to offer my honest review of Global Winter Wonderland.

Celebrate the holidays at LEGOLAND in California with seasonal shows, treats and LEGO-sized Christmas touches around the park!

Living Simply

Last January, I enforced a No Spending Month on myself and shared the tips with my readers. Let’s just say, avoiding the post-holidays sales at Target is hard!!

Despite being frugal, my family still believes that taking vacations is an important way to spend money. If you think you can’t afford to take a trip, be sure to check out my post with ways to take a family vacation on a budget.

As much as I’d love to be that Pinterest mom, I don’t have it in me to spend a bunch of time and/or money on anything. Here is my quick and easy party post for Mickey & the Roadster Racers fans (free printables too!)

Mickey and the Roadster Racers birthday party ideas that are quick, easy and inexpensive!

The Blogorail

In 2017, I continued to write Disney topics for the Blogorail community. Some of these posts are among my most popular and in part, because they are shared in the Blogorail community.

Disney Vacations

One of my most popular posts this year was about which dates to avoid when planning a Disneyland vacation. I’ve just updated this post to reflect 2018 dates so be sure to check it out (and Pin it for later!)

I had the pleasure of taking 4 one-day Disneyland trips and one big Walt Disney World vacation in 2017!

I’d love if you looked at my most popular posts of 2017 about Disney vacations –

Keeping Chewie at arms length, because the kids were terrified!

I also started a partnership with the travel agency Get Away Today! If you have any vacation plans, be sure to check them out (and I’d love if you used my affiliate link). They even offer layaway!

https://www.getawaytoday.com/?referrerid=7529

TravelingMom

Last year my hope was to be able to travel more outside my own community and I’m happy to share that this did happen!

In March, my family of six took an epic road trip from our hometown in San Diego to Monterey Bay. Then we cut across to Reno and then back down through the Eastern Sierra. I wrote about the vehicle we used on She Buys Cars (we loved it so much, we ended up buying one for our family!)

You can read our road trip experiences in these TravelingMom.com posts:

In April, my 5 year old son and just-turned-one year old daughter and I traveled alone across the country to Walt Disney World. It was such an incredible experience, taking the parks at a slower pace and enjoying non-park days to explore the area. I was seriously ready to move to Orlando, we had such a blast!

There are dozens of things to do at Disney World with a preschooler. Here's what to do on a non-park day that doesn't require a ticket (and many are free!)

This play area at Caribbean Beach is made for preschoolers.

My Number One Viewed Post for 2017

This post that I wrote in 2015 and updated this year about the best sandals to wear to Disney, was my number one most-read post!

My most popular new post was Disneyland Splurges with Kids (most likely because it was also my most Pinned, as well!)

Disneyland Splurges for kids (and Money-Saving tips that still feel like a splurge!)

Disney Social Media Moms On-the-Road

I’ve had the honor of attending this invite-only event two years in a row, held at the Disneyland resort. This year at Disney Social Media Moms On-the-Road we had the chance to test out the brand new MaxPass feature, ride Guardians of the Galaxy: Mission Breakout! and see Fantasmic! (the first time ever for my kids!)

This year’s conference was absolutely jam-packed with information! I adore seeing my favorite bloggers and spending the day at Disneyland is a bonus. This time we even had the chance to watch the Main Street Electrical Parade for the very last time, sniff!

What happens at the invite-only Disney Social Media Moms On-the-Road? This year's event was held at Disneyland and offered attendees sneak peeks and more!

Sponsored Posts

My hope with product reviews is to let my natural voice shine through, all while sharing with you about a product that I use and love at home. These were some of my favorite sponsored post reviews:

#ad Cultivate peace at home with a DIY portable home sanctuary that contains everything you need for relaxing moments.

Partnerships and Affiliates

Affiliate linking is a small way for me to recoup some of the cost of running my business. I thank anyone who has clicked and purchased through my affiliate links! I enjoy writing posts that are natural, informative and share where you can purchase.

If painful feet stop kids from exploring check out these tips and products that will minimize blisters, swelling and foot pain!

My kids wearing their pedipeds at Walt Disney World.

Disneyland Family Media Days

I had the opportunity to participate in two family media days at Disneyland this year. The first was in July, celebrating the “Summer of Heroes” event. We were able to see what was new, returning, and find out what’s coming soon! I even put in a video of myself explaining MaxPass. Hoping to get the courage to do more video on the blog for 2018.

The second family media day was in celebration of the holiday season and I brought my cousin and her son with us. See this post about Busy Days at Disneyland During the Holidays.

These tips for Holidays at Disneyland will help you navigate crowds & enjoy the most magical winter vacation! #Disneyland

Sleeping Beauty Castle glistens with snow-topped turrets, holiday garland and shimmering icicles.

Personal Sharing

If you’d like to take a look back at my blog over the years, here are my other year-end reviews:

2016 Look Back

2015 Look Back

2014 Look Back 

Looking Forward To 2018

BIG THANKS to my readers and subscribers! Connecting and engaging with you on my blog and in social media outlets is fantastic. I truly appreciate the connections so keep commenting and chatting with me. I also love when something resonates with you and share my posts.

Please continue to comment and share my posts via social media if you can, it helps me (as a small business owner) to grow and succeed. Reach out to me or comment on the posts if things resonate with you!

Blessings to everyone in the new year and cheers for what’s to come in 2018.

Dinnerly Review – Honest Review of Dinnerly Meal Subscription

Have you ever used a meal subscription service? I hadn’t, up to last week. My family and I prepare 99% of our meals at home. The thought of paying to have our food prepped and delivered has never been something we considered. Would trying Dinnerly change our mind? I was intrigued by the interesting recipes, the Dinnerly website photos and the lower-than-expected cost. Find out my honest Dinnerly review and whether it works for families. And does it really save time and money to order Dinnerly versus handpicking everything yourself at the grocery?

Considering a meal subscription services? My honest Dinnerly review shares if cost and time savings is worth it. Review of Dinnerly includes list of pros and cons, including taste review.

Please note that this post contains affiliate links. Clicking through and making a purchase helps me in a small financial way. I received a complimentary family box from Dinnerly to facilitate this review. I received no other compensation and all thoughts and opinions are my own.

What is Dinnerly?

Dinnerly is a meal subscription service. Ingredients for three meals are sent weekly in either a Two-Person Box or Family Box. Dinnerly is targeted to those who like homemade cooking with fresh ingredients, but are busy and are looking to save time with shopping and cooking. Going on vacation or don’t need or want Dinnerly? When signing up, you aren’t locked in so you can choose when you want or don’t want a box.

I have never used a meal subscription service before so this was a new concept for my family. With six to feed, we are a frugal family. However we do opt to choose organic whenever we can. I agreed to review Dinnerly because the cost is in line with a “fancier” meal that we’d prepare at home (around $5 per person). And Dinnerly sends quality protein such as grass-fed ground beef and antibiotic-free chicken, items we already purchase ourselves. We were excited to try Dinnerly and this is my honest Dinnerly review!

What’s on the Dinnerly Menu?

I received the Dinnerly Family Box which includes 4 portions per recipe (intended for two adults & two children). Each recipe involves six or less ingredients. Subscribers are sent 3 recipes per week. Each recipe appears on the menu once per month for 2 months, with ingredients changing seasonally.

Considering a meal subscription services? My honest Dinnerly review shares if cost and time savings is worth it. Review of Dinnerly includes list of pros and cons, including taste review.

Inside the Dinnerly family box.

Past recipes include Grass-Fed Beef Stew with Black Pepper Dumplings, Meatloaf & Carmelized Cabbage with Roasted Sweet Potatoes, Roasted Veggie Grain Bowl with Lemon-Goat Cheese Dressing, and Spicy Turkey Pizza with Crispy Kale.

A far cry from the usual “Taco Tuesdays”, right? It appears that at least according to the upcoming menus, one vegetarian meal is sent per box.

I received recipes and ingredients for the following dinner dishes:

  • Spicy Pork & Chinese Broccoli
  • Spiced Tomato Braised Chicken with Polenta
  • Fried Spaghetti Pie
Considering a meal subscription services? My honest Dinnerly review shares if cost and time savings is worth it. Review of Dinnerly includes list of pros and cons, including taste review.

You can opt to print your own recipe cards or just look at the recipes on your device (I chose to print them myself).

Preparing Dinnerly Meals

The fresh, seasonal ingredients arrived in an insulated box with a large chill pack inside. Recipe cards are not included so you can choose to pull up the instructions on your device or print them out (which is what I did). It was easy enough to sort out what ingredients went to which dishes. I bundled them together and placed them in the fridge for later in the week. You’ll need a few pantry basics, like oil, salt and pepper. Otherwise all the necessities for each dish are included in the Dinnerly box.

Considering a meal subscription services? My honest Dinnerly review shares if cost and time savings is worth it. Review of Dinnerly includes list of pros and cons, including taste review.

Everything I need for three big meals inside the Dinnerly box!

Spiced Tomato Braised Chicken with Polenta

Dinnerly recipes are touted as taking 30 minutes or less to prepare and cook. I found that some of the recipe times were a little off and required more time to cook than what was suggested. In the recipe for Spiced Tomato Braised Chicken with Polenta the recipe says to cook the chicken on the stove top for 6-7 minutes until browned but I found it actually took about 11 minutes. Not a big deal, a few minutes here and there aren’t going to put a kink in the dinner plans.

There are some instances where you’ll cook and then have to remove the food to a plate so you can cook again in the same pan. This is fine with me, as it means less pans to wash! I found the recipes easy to follow. It helps streamline things if you have someone else in the kitchen who can prep and chop the vegetables while you hop to the next step.

Considering a meal subscription services? My honest Dinnerly review shares if cost and time savings is worth it. Review of Dinnerly includes list of pros and cons, including taste review.

There’s a chicken drumstick underneath that generous pile of onion, carrots and sauce!

I made the spiced tomato braised chicken in my Dutch oven and the house smelled heavenly. Nobody in my family had ever tried polenta before but we all really liked it. And even though I’d never prepared it before, the recipe instructions were fool-proof.

How Do the Dinnerly Recipes Taste?

I was a little nervous that the amount of food included would not be enough for my family. While we do have six in the family, I didn’t expect that my two youngest (ages 6 and 20 months) would try any of these dishes. They are both picky and ended up eating leftovers or pb&j sandwiches instead.

Our two older children are teenagers and they each eat as much as an adult. The family box ingredients are intended for two adults and two children, but we found that there was plenty to go around, even with the teenager appetites!

Considering a meal subscription services? My honest Dinnerly review shares if cost and time savings is worth it. Review of Dinnerly includes list of pros and cons, including taste review.

Spicy Pork & Chinese Broccoli from Dinnerly had a kick but it was easy to adjust the spice to our personal family tastes.

Spicy Pork & Chinese Broccoli

When preparing the Spicy Pork & Chinese Broccoli, my husband was there to chop the veggies. He is extremely particular about his food but was very happy with the quality of the produce.

The Dinnerly box came with four packets of Sriracha so we could adjust the heat for taste. I only used three packets in the main dish and my husband put the last packet on his own individual serving. While very easy to prepare and with minimal ingredients, this recipe helped us to think outside the box with introducing us to new ingredients. Neither of us had ever made anything with Chinese broccoli or Sriracha sauce before. We both really loved this dish – There was even some plate licking on his part!

How Much Does Dinnerly Cost?

Dinnerly is priced at $5 per each serving. Shipping per box is $8.99, so be sure to work that into the cost breakdown. Dinnerly is the lowest cost of all the dinner subscription boxes on the market. While the Dinnerly Family Box is noted to feed two adults and two children, we found that there was an abundance of food!

For instance when we ate Spiced Tomato Braised Chicken with Polenta my husband, myself and my two teenagers each had one large portion (served with our own side salad). My husband had a second large helping. Then there was still enough for me to pack away leftovers for my husband to take to work the following day. This meal actually equaled out to about 6 servings for us, making this an even better price breakdown.

Considering a meal subscription services? My honest Dinnerly review shares if cost and time savings is worth it. Review of Dinnerly includes list of pros and cons, including taste review.

Fried Spaghetti Pie

The vegetarian meal for the week I received Dinnerly was the intriguing sounding Fried Spaghetti Pie. I can honestly say I’ve never prepared or eaten anything quite like this dish! A creamy sauce and grated Parmesan coats the cooked spaghetti, which is then lightly fried and baked to crisp. It’s topped with a tossed arugala salad. This was a fun twist on traditional pasta dishes and we enjoyed it a lot! The recipe even gave us some ideas on how to add protein, if we wished to.

Dinnerly Review Pros & Cons

Pros:

  • Creative meals that got us out of a dinner rut
  • Healthful dishes with fresh ingredients
  • Truly quick and easy meals that seem more “fancy” than usual
  • Convenient to know that all the ingredients for dinner are on hand
  • Time-conscious meal preparation
  • Delicious! The four of us that ate the Dinnerly meals really enjoyed the flavors

Cons:

  • Only delivering to select areas of the United States at this time (check the site to see if Dinnerly delivers in your area)
  • May be a bit pricier than purchasing ingredients on your own (but definitely cheaper than eating out!)
  • Fancier meals may not appeal to picky eaters

Want to Try Dinnerly?

Click through to see what’s cooking on Dinnerly this week! You can see the menu for the month and sign up for a subscription.

My family had a great time cooking with Dinnerly! We thought the recipes were creative and delicious. We were actually excited to cook each night and try something new. In the past, I’ve liked trying new dishes, but I don’t like having to purchase special ingredients just for one dish (like an entire bottle of sauce or a large block of cheese). Dinnerly is perfect because they supply you with exactly what you need. And there’s no waste because you use just what they send.

I highly recommend trying Dinnerly and appreciate that you can sign up for the service without major commitment. There is a flexible subscription option so you can decide ahead of time which weeks you want to receive. And you can always skip a week if necessary. But why would you want to because the food is all really good!

 

Mom’s Holiday Party Prep Tips for the Busy Season

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

Though I really do try to stick to our family motto and keep things simple during the holidays, it can be easy to get wrapped up in the excitement of the season. That means events, activities and parties just about every weekend in December. The holidays are a time of parties – I have two each weekend this season! I love it all, I really do. But wow, does it get busy! Seems I hardly have time to use the bathroom (we’ll get to that issue later!)

These practical tips will help Mom holiday party prep for an evening out! Ideas for time management & evening bag packing. #MerrySpritzmas #AD

Ready for a night on the town!

My husband’s work Christmas party was this past weekend. With four kids at home, I didn’t have a lot of time to get myself primped. But I still wanted to look good, right?! I’m sharing my tips for getting prepped for a night out, including what to pack in your holiday evening bag. Keep reading and I’ll give you all the details on why Poo~Pourri is a party MUST HAVE!

Hover over this photo and click on the images to visit Bed Bath and Beyond’s website, where you can order directly!

Time Management

When you’re getting ready to go out for the night, plan ahead and make a list of what needs to be done.

  • I chose my outfit the week before the Christmas party. I made sure to try on my outfit with the shoes that I was planning to wear. If you need to pick up stockings or tummy support briefs this will give you a few days time to grab those necessities.
  • I did my nails the day before so I wouldn’t feel rushed the morning of the party.
  • I needed a haircut before the party so I scheduled it for that afternoon. This way I was able to get the wash, cut and style and save time on not having to do my hair myself.
  • Have the babysitter arrive early so that will give you time to put your make-up on and get dressed so you aren’t running around, tending to the kids.

Packing Your Holiday Evening Bag

Just before before the party, I pack up my holiday evening bag. Once I’ve decided on my outfit, I match the bag with what I’m wearing. You won’t need a lot, so your evening bag can be really small – Unless you’re like me and your husband tends to hand you everything out of his pockets to carry in your purse. These are my handbag must-haves for a night on the town.

  • Wallet. Include at least a few dollars, just in case you need to tip or the parking lot only takes cash.
  • Drivers license or ID. You might get carded!
  • Make-up refreshers. This may include blotting papers to get rid of excess oil, finishing powder and lipstick or gloss.
  • A small mirror. Use it quickly to check your teeth and make sure there’s no holiday food left there after your meal.
  • Compact hair brush.
  • Fully charged cell phone. And just in case you get into a selfie mood and post a ton of pictures to social media, bring a back-up charger and cord.
  • Antacids. After eating a rich dinner & having a few drinks, my tummy needed some relief.
  • Car and house keys.
  • Poo~Pourri.

These practical tips will help Mom holiday party prep for an evening out! Ideas for time management & evening bag packing. #MerrySpritzmas #AD

Don’t be the Party Pooper

Time to get real. Think about the last party you went to. Seems like there is always someone waiting outside the bathroom door to use the facilities after you, right? With so many holiday parties at friends’ houses and the bathroom line down the hall, nobody wants to the be the “party pooper” – leaving a stink behind for the next guest!

Have you heard of Poo~Pourri? If you haven’t, this video is a must watch.

Simply spritz Poo~Pourri into the toilet bowl before you go. Poo~Pourri’s pure blend of natural essential oils creates a film on the surface of the water. The protective barrier traps odor under the surface – which means no stink! All you’ll leave behind is a light refreshing scent. When you leave the bathroom for the next person in line, nobody will be the wiser!

Give the Gift That Doesn’t Stink

I was recently at Bed Bath and Beyond and found a large collection of Poo~Pourri. It was located at a kiosk towards the front of the store. There were more Poo~Pourri products on an end cap (including a gift box that looks like a toilet!)

I have Original Citrus in the bathroom at home, which is a blend of lemon, bergamot and lemongrass natural essential oils. Merry Spritzmas® and Secret Santa scents are sold in this clever holiday pull-apart gift set (the text on the box makes me giggle!)

I kept Poo~Pourri Merry Spritzmas® in my evening hand bag. The blend of peppermint, vanilla and citrus is a spritz of holiday magic! And it was a relief to know I had the Poo~Pourri with me on the chance that I needed to use it at the party. Did I use it? I’ll never tell!

I already know whom I’ll be gifting Poo~Pourri Secret Santa to! Poo~Pourri is actually the perfect item for the holiday gift exchange –  It’s funny to give but it really works!

Don’t forget to look out for special coupons on one item at Bed Bath and Beyond’s website before heading out to shop or shopping online. And check out these other fun ideas on how to give the gift of Poo~Pourri this holiday season!

These practical tips will help Mom holiday party prep for an evening out! Ideas for time management & evening bag packing. #MerrySpritzmas #AD

Get Ready for the Holidays – Dress-Up Guide for Kids

There’s only a few times a year when I have veto power on what my kids wear. One of those times is Christmas and you can be sure, I’m making sure the kids look great! Bye-bye sweatpants with holes in the knees – hello, adorable sweater with a snowflake design! Of course the baby never complains so she always has her hair and outfit on point. But during the holidays I can doll her up even more!

I have two teens and two littles, ages 6 and 20 months. My big kids are picking their own outfits, of course. But I still like to choose something special for  them to wear during the holidays. My six year old is in kindergarten this year, which means his first school holiday concert! He’ll need something nice to wear for that event. And then there are several cookie decorating parties, a few family events, a live theater show and a big Christmas party.  The kids will need something to wear for each event, ranging from Christmas casual to dressed up. This is my dress-up guide for getting the kids holiday ready!

This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links. I was compensated for this post.

New Holiday Outfits

Every kid knows that the holidays are the best time of year! Delicious treats, fun activities at school and cozy new clothes. You want the kids to look cute but you don’t want them revolting because something is itchy or “feels weird”. That’s why Gymboree is my holiday clothing go-to. My kids dressed in coordinating Gymboree outfits last year and everyone from the baby to the big kids looked fantastic. And comfortable clothes for kids are important. If they aren’t comfortable, they aren’t going to want to wear it!

You’re going to find adorable and cozy outfits from Gymboree that are easy to wash and wear. Right now holiday styles are 50% off, while supplies last!

The girls in their coordinating Gymboree holiday outfits in 2016

I love these Fair Isle designs where little sister can coordinate with big sister. They are similar but not matchy-matchy.

And the brothers can’t be left out either. I’m a sucker for a holiday plaid shirt and my boys tend to wear one from Gymboree every year! Give them some cool accessories like boots or a beanie and the boys will be happy.

Don’t forget the pajamas! We give our kids a “Night Before Christmas” box with a new holiday book, cocoa and a pair of jammies. These adorable holiday-themed Gymmies are perfect for Christmas morning photos.

Beautiful Hair Care

If you want a head-to-toe look for the kids, start off with a good sudsing! We’re already a fan of Fairy Tales Bug Bandit. I was recently sent hydrating shampoo, conditioner and styling gel in the Fairy Tales Hair Care Curly-Q line. My baby daughter was blessed with amazing curls and I confess, that I’ve not really known how to properly care for them! She usually wakes up with a matted mess that I have to untangle. And then of course, she’s left with a frizzy halo instead of curls.

I have been washing, conditioning and using the styling gel spray on my daughter’s curls and wow, the difference is incredible. Not only are the curls more defined, her hair is also much softer, shinier and easily managed.

Curls by Fairy Tales Hair Care & outfit by Gymboree!

Ingredients like quinoa, rice amino acids, Mururmuru butter, aloe, and avocado butter combine to keep curls bouncy and frizz-free. Products are also sulfate, paraben, phthalate-free as well as gluten, soy, dairy and nut-free.

If you have a curly-headed kiddo, I can’t recommend these products enough. Or try the Tangle Tamers, Sun & Swim or Rosemary Repel hair care lines. Check out Fairy Tales Hair Care for all these products (and the must-have, Lice Good-Bye Survival Kit!)


Dressed Up Head to Toe

I’ve talked about how much we love Pediped shoes here before. My kids have been wearing them since before they could walk! Look at my cute squishy last year, wearing her elegant Pediped originals. They have big kid shoes too, from dress-up styles to cold weather boots.

Pediped shoes are high quality and a great value for how well they are made. Want to save money on Pediped shoes? If you enroll in Ebates, you can get 6% cash back when you shop through the link for Pediped Outlet and 5% cash back through Pediped.


Accessories Round Out the Look

If a full head-to-toe outfit overhaul isn’t in the budget, look to accessories that can dress up your kid’s holiday look. Things like a new hat, holiday themed socks, a neck tie or sparkling stockings can brighten up an older outfit. And kids love using accessories to personalize their style! Shop Gymboree for these on-sale accessories.