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1 Change That Now Lets Me Do 4 Things

I made a decision three months ago that completely changed my life. Seriously. I’d wanted to have LASIK eye surgery so I could ditch my glasses and I finally did it. And you know what? It truly has changed my life. That one thing has changed so many things in my life, I can’t even believe it.

I received a discounted rate from Clearview Eye and Laser Medical Center in San Diego to facilitate this post series about laser eye surgery. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Medical procedures vary between patients so please seek a personal consultation with Clearview to see if you are a candidate for LASIK.

When I went for my three month post op appointment, Dr. Sandy T. Feldman commented on my beaming smile. She knew! She knew how happy this one thing is. Being able to see clearly without glasses or contacts? It’s truly a life changing event. I’m seeing clearly. I’m feeling more adventurous. And I definitely have more time and less hassle.

My successful LASIK surgery results are allowing me to do things I’ve never been able to do before! Here are a few things that I’m able to do now that I’ve had my LASIK surgery.

I Can Swim and Play in the Water

This was one of the things I’d mentioned in my post-surgery article. I wanted to be able to enjoy the Disney World water parks with my family on our trip. And I totally did!

Blizzard Beach or Typhoon Lagoon are the Disney World water parks. Find out all the tips on visiting these water parks in Orlando with information on what to do, what to skip and how to have the best time with everyone in the family (including tips for toddlers)

In the past, you wouldn’t have found me anywhere at a water park except for in a lounge chair or maybe the lazy river. Wearing my contacts, I would have been too worried about getting spray in my eyes to ever brave a water slide. And if I’d been wearing my glasses, I would have hated having them splashed with water every three seconds!

Blizzard Beach or Typhoon Lagoon are the Disney World water parks. Find out all the tips on visiting these water parks in Orlando with information on what to do, what to skip and how to have the best time with everyone in the family (including tips for toddlers)

But as you can see from the photos, I did everything at the water parks and had a fantastic time. Since returning from my vacation I’ve been spending nearly every day in the pool, swimming alongside my kids. I’m finally enjoying my life and not wasting it, sitting on the sidelines.

I Can Pack Lighter

Another post-op wish was that I’d never again have to worry about packing all my eye care essentials when traveling. It was a blessing to pack my vacation luggage and not have to bring the giant jug of contact lens solution, the contact case, the cleaner, my glasses, my glasses case and my glass cleaning spray and cloth.

I Can Go Straight to Bed

It’s still the strangest feeling to put on my pajamas, brush my teeth, wash my face and get into bed without having to remove and clean contacts. My vision had been so bad, I always had to keep my glasses on the night stand “just in case” I needed to get up in the night.

I Can Skip the “Morning Contacts” Routine

And what do I see when I wake up  in the morning? An alarm clock that I can actually read! I jump out of bed and go about my day. No need to ever think about putting on my glasses or inserting my contacts again. It’s a very special feeling to know that these are MY EYES and my clear vision is ALL ME!

Want to follow my LASIK story? Here are the two posts prior:

How My Family Chose Healthy Road Trip Snacks at the Convenience Store

Road trips call for great musical playlists, memorable in car photo-ops and conversations and of course, plenty of snacks to keep everyone happy! As a family of 6, when we pile everyone inside the minivan for a road trip, we want to avoid bickering, whining and grumbling bellies. Having well-balanced, healthy snacks (that are still fun!) are important. Find out how my family chose healthy road trip snacks for everyone, aged toddler to adult on our recent drive to Palm Springs. I’ve included my healthy road trip food list that includes suggestions on substitutes for favorite road trip snacks.

This post is sponsored by the National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS). All thoughts & opinions expressed are my own. 

Family Road Trip Must-Haves

Recently my family headed out to Palm Springs for the weekend. It was supposed to be a 2 1/2 hour drive that stretched out to nearly 3 1/2 hours. We’d intended to hit the convenience store to fill up on snacks but were stuck in traffic, unable to get off the freeway. As you can see, at least one of the kids was not pleased!

Looking for the best healthy road trip snacks for toddlers, kids, teens and adults on your next family adventure? Find out what are the healthiest options to choose at your next road trip convenience store stop! #Snacks #FamilyTravel #TravelwithKids #RoadTripFood #RoadTrip @ConvenienceStore #JoyintheJourney #AD

Our hungry toddler was ready for a pit stop!

Why Are Road Trip Snacks Important?

Snacks are especially important for kids. Their stomachs are smaller and they burn off their food quicker. Healthy road trip snacks for kids can prevent dips in blood sugar as well as crankiness in the car! Keep in mind that snacks should not be replacing regular meals on the road. If you’re taking a very long drive, skip the fast food drive thru. Try to stop every 2-3 hours so that everyone can get out of the car, stretch and have a snack. Full meals should stay on your usual time schedule. Read my eating out tips for dining with kids.

There may be times on the road trip that everyone will want to eat a snack while driving. Consider snacks that are less likely to make a mess (ie: choose applesauce in a squeezable pouch instead of a cup that requires a spoon). You’ll also want to think about the foods that may be choking hazards for younger kids, avoiding raisins, popcorn and nuts. My friend Becca at This Crazy Adventure Called Life has more tips on the best road trip snacks.

Looking for the best healthy road trip snacks for toddlers, kids, teens and adults on your next family adventure? Find out what are the healthiest options to choose at your next road trip convenience store stop! #Snacks #FamilyTravel #TravelwithKids #RoadTripFood #RoadTrip @ConvenienceStore #JoyintheJourney #AD

You can’t go wrong with chilled cut fresh fruit

Choosing Healthy Convenience Store Snacks on the Road

My family and I recently took a road trip to Palm Springs, driving from San Diego. It took us over 3 hours driving there in traffic. We stopped at a convenience store to grab snacks for the trip. The NACS survey shows that convenience stores offer the top three reasons that most people stop on the road: 96% use the restroom, 95% get gasoline and 91% buy food and drinks! Convenience stores that are also a gas station make this the perfect rest stop location while on the road.

I took my kids inside to see what kind of healthy snacks they’d choose for the road. The teens didn’t want to be on camera (figures!) But my 6 year old was all smiles while he took me around the store to show me which road trip snacks he thought were the healthiest.

Looking for the best healthy road trip snacks for toddlers, kids, teens and adults on your next family adventure? Find out what are the healthiest options to choose at your next road trip convenience store stop! #Snacks #FamilyTravel #TravelwithKids #RoadTripFood #RoadTrip @ConvenienceStore #JoyintheJourney #AD

My 6-yr old headed straight for the cookies! Probably NOT the healthiest choices.

What Constitutes a Healthy Snack?

When choosing a road trip snack, aim for these general healthy guidelines: A snack should be around 150 to 250 calories, contain about 3 grams of fiber, 5 grams of protein, and not have more than 12 grams of fat. The best snacks are low in sugar, fat, and salt. Protein and fiber will help you feel full and satisfied between meals.

Looking for the best healthy road trip snacks for toddlers, kids, teens and adults on your next family adventure? Find out what are the healthiest options to choose at your next road trip convenience store stop! #Snacks #FamilyTravel #TravelwithKids #RoadTripFood #RoadTrip @ConvenienceStore #JoyintheJourney #AD

Read the labels. Some of these trail mixes are more than one serving or have a lot of sugar.

We aim for choosing healthy snacks that have no trans fats and are low in sugar and sodium. We consider beverages to be a snack as well, since so many of them are high in sugar and we try to avoid this.

Take a minute to look at the labels before choosing snacks. The front of the packaging can be misleading but if you read the label on the back you’ll see the low-down on calories, fiber, protein, fat and sugar. Also look at the “serving size”. Some snacks are really intended for two people. This small “healthy” protein bar had 21 grams of sugar. Too much for us, so it was a “pass”.

Looking for the best healthy road trip snacks for toddlers, kids, teens and adults on your next family adventure? Find out what are the healthiest options to choose at your next road trip convenience store stop! #Snacks #FamilyTravel #TravelwithKids #RoadTripFood #RoadTrip @ConvenienceStore #JoyintheJourney #AD

Healthy Road Trip Snacks for Toddlers and Preschoolers

Within 10 minutes of hitting the road, our toddler was down for her usual mid-day nap. We pressed on, driving as far as we could while she slept. However once she awoke (earlier than we’d anticipated), she was hungry and ready for a snack! These are a few healthy snack choices for toddlers and preschoolers.

Pack a spill proof sipper cup with you to fill with your toddler’s favorite beverage. If you have a cooler, grab a bag of ice from inside the convenience store and fill it so you can stock up on bottled milk and water. Then when you stop for a diaper change, refill your toddler’s cup along the way.

Looking for the best healthy road trip snacks for toddlers, kids, teens and adults on your next family adventure? Find out what are the healthiest options to choose at your next road trip convenience store stop! #Snacks #FamilyTravel #TravelwithKids #RoadTripFood #RoadTrip @ConvenienceStore #JoyintheJourney #AD

We grabbed milk to keep in the cooler for our toddler.

Use a “spill-proof” travel snack cup for toddler snacks on the road. I was able to fill my daughter’s snack cup with bite sized snacks, like dry cereal and the toddler favorite, Goldfish crackers! If they dropped onto the floor or in the car seat, these dry and mess-free snacks were easy to clean up. She happily snacked and then finished up her nap (thank goodness!)

Looking for the best healthy road trip snacks for toddlers, kids, teens and adults on your next family adventure? Find out what are the healthiest options to choose at your next road trip convenience store stop! #Snacks #FamilyTravel #TravelwithKids #RoadTripFood #RoadTrip @ConvenienceStore #JoyintheJourney #AD

Looking for the best healthy road trip snacks for toddlers, kids, teens and adults on your next family adventure? Find out what are the healthiest options to choose at your next road trip convenience store stop! #Snacks #FamilyTravel #TravelwithKids #RoadTripFood #RoadTrip @ConvenienceStore #JoyintheJourney #AD

Tortilla chip in hand – this is one full and sleepy toddler!

Elementary Aged Kids Healthy Road Trip Snacks

When it comes to beverages, my 6-year old goes straight for the flavored drinks like Gatorade. We don’t allow him to drink energy drinks or soda but I agree, sometimes water is boring! Purchase flavored water enhancement, like Mio. This will add flavor to plain water without adding any sugar.

Looking for the best healthy road trip snacks for toddlers, kids, teens and adults on your next family adventure? Find out what are the healthiest options to choose at your next road trip convenience store stop! #Snacks #FamilyTravel #TravelwithKids #RoadTripFood #RoadTrip @ConvenienceStore #JoyintheJourney #AD

My kiddo can be very particular about his food (aka: he’s a picky eater, like I was as a child). He loves to eat chips for the salty crunch. I’m not a fan of messy cheesy-coated fingers in the car or the crumbs inside the booster seat! Consider these chilled pickle chips instead.

Looking for the best healthy road trip snacks for toddlers, kids, teens and adults on your next family adventure? Find out what are the healthiest options to choose at your next road trip convenience store stop! #Snacks #FamilyTravel #TravelwithKids #RoadTripFood #RoadTrip @ConvenienceStore #JoyintheJourney #AD

Cheese, crackers and deli meat is an easy grab-n’-go snack while traveling. These smaller sized Lunchables trays are great for sharing and ideal for road trips. Low in calories and fat but high in protein. Deli meat is higher in sodium so be sure to drink plenty of water. My kids also enjoy individual meat-wrapped cheese sticks for a protein-packed snack.

Looking for the best healthy road trip snacks for toddlers, kids, teens and adults on your next family adventure? Find out what are the healthiest options to choose at your next road trip convenience store stop! #Snacks #FamilyTravel #TravelwithKids #RoadTripFood #RoadTrip @ConvenienceStore #JoyintheJourney #AD

Looking for the best healthy road trip snacks for toddlers, kids, teens and adults on your next family adventure? Find out what are the healthiest options to choose at your next road trip convenience store stop! #Snacks #FamilyTravel #TravelwithKids #RoadTripFood #RoadTrip @ConvenienceStore #JoyintheJourney #AD

Healthy Road Trip Snacks That Appeal to Teens & Adults

My teenagers are generally healthy eaters on a daily basis. Naturally they also like to treat themselves to something sweet when on vacation. It’s not too hard to find something fun to eat on the road that won’t make them crash and burn with too much sugar. These are some good snack choices for teens and adults.

The convenience store offered wrapped hard boiled eggs, a perfect choice for my husband. My big kids went right to the jerky. There was a great variety to satisfy varying taste buds including teriyaki, jalapeno and sweet & spicy.

Looking for the best healthy road trip snacks for toddlers, kids, teens and adults on your next family adventure? Find out what are the healthiest options to choose at your next road trip convenience store stop! #Snacks #FamilyTravel #TravelwithKids #RoadTripFood #RoadTrip @ConvenienceStore #JoyintheJourney #AD

Looking for the best healthy road trip snacks for toddlers, kids, teens and adults on your next family adventure? Find out what are the healthiest options to choose at your next road trip convenience store stop! #Snacks #FamilyTravel #TravelwithKids #RoadTripFood #RoadTrip @ConvenienceStore #JoyintheJourney #AD

Protein bars are always the first choice of my husband and me. However many of them are high in sugar as well. I found this high protein bar that is also low in sugar (only one gram). It’s a fun treat that is also going to satisfy more than a candy bar. So much better than any of the best road trip junk food and you’ll feel a lot better after indulging.

Looking for the best healthy road trip snacks for toddlers, kids, teens and adults on your next family adventure? Find out what are the healthiest options to choose at your next road trip convenience store stop! #Snacks #FamilyTravel #TravelwithKids #RoadTripFood #RoadTrip @ConvenienceStore #JoyintheJourney #AD

Only one gram of sugar but high in protein and fiber – this ONE bar is a healthy road trip snack winner!

Healthy Snack Swaps

While we avoided the candy aisle completely, you may want to choose something like this for the family to share. Licorice is a popular choice and while it does have sugar, it’s also fat-free.

Looking for the best healthy road trip snacks for toddlers, kids, teens and adults on your next family adventure? Find out what are the healthiest options to choose at your next road trip convenience store stop! #Snacks #FamilyTravel #TravelwithKids #RoadTripFood #RoadTrip @ConvenienceStore #JoyintheJourney #AD

Choose wisely in the candy aisle.

Snacks that have a salty & sweet combo are what I (and my sweet tooth!) gravitate towards. Certain trail mixes can contain a high percentage of candy or sugar, negating the healthy parts, like the protein-packed nuts. These trail mix blends had a nice mix of nuts and seeds with dark chocolate for sweetness. Nuts contain the healthy fats which are good for you, so feel free to indulge!

Looking for the best healthy road trip snacks for toddlers, kids, teens and adults on your next family adventure? Find out what are the healthiest options to choose at your next road trip convenience store stop! #Snacks #FamilyTravel #TravelwithKids #RoadTripFood #RoadTrip @ConvenienceStore #JoyintheJourney #AD

When driving the long-haul, grabbing a caffeinated energy drink may be tempting. Be sure to check the label to see how much sugar the can contains. You’ll probably be better off with black coffee or diet cola to avoid the sugar high and then the crash!

Looking for the best healthy road trip snacks for toddlers, kids, teens and adults on your next family adventure? Find out what are the healthiest options to choose at your next road trip convenience store stop! #Snacks #FamilyTravel #TravelwithKids #RoadTripFood #RoadTrip @ConvenienceStore #JoyintheJourney #AD

Chips are a popular choice, but many are high in sodium and covered in artificial flavorings. Consider multi-grain chips, low-sodium popcorn or crackers if you’re craving a crunch. If you like a chip and dip combo, nix the fatty bean dip or sour cream mix and choose this savory hummus and pretzel combo!

Looking for the best healthy road trip snacks for toddlers, kids, teens and adults on your next family adventure? Find out what are the healthiest options to choose at your next road trip convenience store stop! #Snacks #FamilyTravel #TravelwithKids #RoadTripFood #RoadTrip @ConvenienceStore #JoyintheJourney #AD

Looking for the best healthy road trip snacks for toddlers, kids, teens and adults on your next family adventure? Find out what are the healthiest options to choose at your next road trip convenience store stop! #Snacks #FamilyTravel #TravelwithKids #RoadTripFood #RoadTrip @ConvenienceStore #JoyintheJourney #AD

When snack time is over, everyone in our car gets a bottle of water to drink and I hand out sugar-free gum to chew (not for the toddler!) Sugar-free gum is a great after-snack choice. For my kids, gum signals that snack time is over. It also cleanses food from the teeth and can help with ear pressure when traveling through higher elevations. It’s a road-trip must-have for us!

Looking for the best healthy road trip snacks for toddlers, kids, teens and adults on your next family adventure? Find out what are the healthiest options to choose at your next road trip convenience store stop! #Snacks #FamilyTravel #TravelwithKids #RoadTripFood #RoadTrip @ConvenienceStore #JoyintheJourney #AD

Choosing between bubble gum, peppermint or cinnamon sugar-free gum.

What are your favorite road trip snacks? Do you choose healthy or let-it-go on vacations? I’d love to hear your comments!Looking for the best healthy road trip snacks for toddlers, kids, teens and adults on your next family adventure? Find out what are the healthiest options to choose at your next road trip convenience store stop! #Snacks #FamilyTravel #TravelwithKids #RoadTripFood #RoadTrip @ConvenienceStore #JoyintheJourney #AD

6 Things to Do With a Toddler

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I received product and compensation from Mead Johnson Nutrition to create this post written by me. All experiences and opinions expressed in this post are my own and not those of Mead Johnson Nutrition. You can contact Mead Johnson Nutrition with product related questions or comments toll free at 1-800-BABY-123 (1-800-222-9123).

My third baby was my little “surprise”. Several years ago I was “lucky” enough to be laid off of my full time job. The same month, I found out I was pregnant with my third child. That’s the surprise! It all worked out for the best because now, for the first time, I’ve been able to be home with one of my children. I’m just delighted to spend time teaching her and learning everything about her. Toddlers have such fun personalities with their adorable voices, at times-indecipherable language and all that boundless energy! You know, even the little tantrums don’t bother me (too much!)

Things to Do With a Toddler

It’s been a great few years and I love how we’ve been able to connect, play and grow alongside my toddler. However there are some days when I just don’t know what to do with her! I want her to learn through communication and age-appropriate activities but it can be a challenge to know just what a toddler will enjoy. My daughter has only just turned two, so she still needs lots of supervision and parental guidance with everything. How can you keep your toddler healthy inside and out? I’ve come up with a few simple crafts, exercise activities, brain-building games and ideas for proper toddler nutrition.

Looking for fun things to do with your toddler? Check out these ideas for brain-boosting games, indoor exercise, toddler-friendly crafts and healthy nutrition. #AD

1. Creative Play & Crafts for Toddlers

Many toddlers will insist that you either play with them or at least remain with them while they’re playing. Encourage the use of toys that are “open-ended”. Classic toys like wooden blocks, vehicles, colored silk cloths and stacking cups let toddlers play creatively and in their own unique way. Here are a few suggestions for creative play and crafts to offer your toddler.

  • Finger Painting with Pudding – If your toddler keeps trying to lick off the paint, try using pudding to paint with instead. I set this up outside where I can rinse off the concrete when my daughter is done painting.
  • Indoor Tent – Set up an easy “tent” by draping a towel over two chairs or angling pillows to create a crawl space. Don’t be surprised if destroying the tent each time you set it up becomes the game!
  • Magic Mirror – Sit side by side facing a mirror and make faces. See if your toddler can mimic your expressions.
  • Sponge Stamping – Soak sponges of various sizes with water and show your toddler how to stamp them on the ground outside to leave a wet impression.
Looking for fun things to do with your toddler? Check out these ideas for brain-boosting games, indoor exercise, toddler-friendly crafts and healthy nutrition. #AD

Clay is a classic for toddler’s creative, open-ended play.

2. Fun Indoor Physical Exercise for Toddlers

Toddlers absolutely need physical exercise every day. If you can’t get outdoors or to the park, try these indoor exercise ideas with your toddler to help them strengthen their muscles and improve coordination.

  • Balloon Toss – Blow up a balloon and show your toddler how to tap the balloon gently with the palm of their hand to keep it in the air.
  • Stretching – The slow movements of stretching are easy for little ones to learn. Put on some peaceful music and use kid-friendly connotations like “melt to the floor like ice cream”.
  • Dance Party – Play some kid-friendly songs like the “Hokey Pokey” and “Ring Around the Rosy”. Instructional songs like these that teach the lyrics along with movements are ideal. Make up silly moves like, “wiggle like a dog after bath time” or “waddle like a penguin”.
  • Marching Band – Grab an old pot and a wooden spoon to beat out the rhythm. Teach your toddler how to march and clap and then how to synchronize both movements together.
  • Balance Beam – Tape a piece of blue painters tape on the floor and show your toddler how to walk on the line.

Looking for fun things to do with your toddler? Check out these ideas for brain-boosting games, indoor exercise, toddler-friendly crafts and healthy nutrition. #AD

3. Brain-Building Learning Games for Toddlers

Your little one probably isn’t quite ready for board games with lots of rules. Try these basic learning games that help your toddler make brain-building connections.

  • Basket Toss – Use a laundry basket and balled up socks to create a tossing game to improve coordination.
  • Bean Bag Balance – Show your toddler how to balance a bean bag on the back of their hand, their elbow, top of their foot or her head.
  • In and Out – One of my toddler’s favorite things to do is empty the kitchen drawer that holds her sipper cups and flatware. Give your toddler some kid-friendly general use items (like cleaned-out bottles in a variety of sizes with the caps removed) and a small box to let him load and unload.
  • Sing Along – Encourage toddlers to learn lyrics and sing along to a rhythm (you’re going to have to sing along yourself to facilitate this!)

Looking for fun things to do with your toddler? Check out these ideas for brain-boosting games, indoor exercise, toddler-friendly crafts and healthy nutrition. #AD

4. Toddler Story Time

Turn off the device and television in favor of story books and snuggles. Toddler story time is a great segue between playtime and nap time. Sometimes the books that toddlers love aren’t the ones that you’re usually drawn to! If you’re bored of reading the same books over and over, head for the library to borrow new stories.

5. Restful Time for Toddlers

As much as they might protest, a proper rest and nap time is so important. Not only for your toddler but for you as well! Toddlers that have a nap schedule just seem to have better nighttime sleeping habits too.

Looking for fun things to do with your toddler? Check out these ideas for brain-boosting games, indoor exercise, toddler-friendly crafts and healthy nutrition. #AD

Start by cleaning up toys, indicating to your toddler that playtime is over. I offer a sipper cup with Enfagrow® Toddler Next Step™ and my toddler will sit on my lap while I read, and she drinks. Once I feel her relaxing, I’ll segue into singing some of her favorite songs and she’s ready to sleep. If she’s resistant to lying down in her crib, we’ll often go for a walk in the stroller instead, which usually helps her to nod off.

I’ve been flexible on the nap time lately, noticing that my toddler hasn’t been tired or doesn’t sleep as long with an earlier nap time. I’ve adjusted my nap schedule, pushing it back 90 minutes and finding that she’s falling asleep easier and sleeping longer. It’s all about watching and knowing your own child and what works for them.

Looking for fun things to do with a toddler? Check out these ideas for brain-boosting games, indoor exercise, toddler-friendly crafts and healthy nutrition. #AD

6. Ensuring Proper Toddler Nutrition

Toddlers are fickle little people, especially when it comes to what they eat. One day they love peas and can’t get enough of them. The next day they’d rather toss peas on the floor than eat them! It can be frustrating and worrisome; when you’re concerned your toddler isn’t getting proper nutrients. My just-turned-two-year old is already a picky eater and I worry she’s not getting enough nutrition from the little amount of food she eats.

Looking for fun things to do with your toddler? Check out these ideas for brain-boosting games, indoor exercise, toddler-friendly crafts and healthy nutrition. #AD

85% of brain growth happens in the first three years of life, so help ensure your toddler is getting important DHA to help nourish this brain growth. Experts recommend that toddlers have 70-100 mg/day of DHA to support early brain and eye development, but most toddlers only get 25% of the recommended amount of DHA, leaving a gap in their nutrition. The main source for DHA is fish and unfortunately many toddlers refuse to eat fish. Most of the foods that appeal to toddlers (like cereal, cheese, bananas, regular milk, chicken nuggets, mac & cheese) have 0 mg of DHA.

Looking for fun things to do with your toddler? Check out these ideas for brain-boosting games, indoor exercise, toddler-friendly crafts and healthy nutrition. #AD

Looking for fun things to do with your toddler? Check out these ideas for brain-boosting games, indoor exercise, toddler-friendly crafts and healthy nutrition. #AD

I was excited to find out about Enfagrow® Toddler Next Step™. Enfagrow Toddler is a milk-based drink ideal for kids aged 1-3 years. It has DHA and complements a toddler’s diet to help ensure good nutrition for their changing needs and tastes. I had no idea that there was a product available that has DHA for toddlers! And my little girl absolutely loves the Enfagrow Toddler, she sips it right up!

Looking for fun things to do with your toddler? Check out these ideas for brain-boosting games, indoor exercise, toddler-friendly crafts and healthy nutrition. #AD

Enfagrow Toddler is available in a convenient 32 fl oz. liquid bottle and 32 oz. powder can. Visit Enfagrow.com to learn more about Enfagrow Toddler, to receive coupons and to request free samples.

Looking for fun things to do with your toddler? Check out these ideas for brain-boosting games, indoor exercise, toddler-friendly crafts and healthy nutrition. #AD

This is sponsored by Enfagrow® Toddler Next Step™.

“I’m Too Busy to Eat Healthy” and Other Excuses Moms Make

I’m a busy mom. But we’re all busy, right? So how is it that some moms seem to have more hours in the day to get things done than others? No extra hours are involved, these moms just have different ways of prioritizing. No matter how accomplished we are, all moms tend to bust out one of these excuses time to time. I’ve personally used *ahem* ALL of them! Overcoming these excuses is truly the little change that makes a big difference. So how can we kick those excuses aside and be a more improved version of ourselves?

This post is sponsored by DairyPure Mix-ins. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

"I'm too busy to eat healthy" is just one of the many excuses that moms make. What is YOUR go-to Mom excuse? #DairyPureMixIns #ad

“I Don’t Have Time for Exercise”

We all have the time to exercise. It just might require a little shuffling of priorities. Get up an hour early for a workout. Skip another episode on TV in favor of aerobics. Choose to take the entire family out for a walk on the weekends instead of to the movie theater.

For me, I tend to multitask when I’m exercising. I’ll take the baby for a long walk in her stroller. I might make a phone call on the walk while simultaneously exercising and getting my daughter to take a nap!

You can also squeeze in fitness here and there throughout the day if finding a larger chunk of time is a challenge. Elastic resistance bands are my favorite because they are lightweight and portable. I can take them in the car to do while waiting for my son to get out of school or in the kitchen while dinner’s in the oven. Sometimes this “I don’t have time” excuse is actually because I’m less than motivated to exercise. Getting someone to keep me accountable (a “Workout Buddy”) can really make the difference between exercise and sleeping in.

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’m Running Late Again”

As a kid, I’d oversleep, struggle to wake up and dawdle over breakfast. Mornings were a big stressful mess. I’m very proud to say that now even with four kids, nobody has ever been late to school. That’s because we prep the night before, kids get enough rest and we wake up early. If I know I need to be somewhere, I work in plenty of extra time to allow. Sure, there are still exceptions, like freeway traffic. But that’s the exception and not the rule.

“I’ll Never Get Organized”

I’m a slob at heart. And I married an OCD neat-nik. Yep, it’s a daily struggle. But I’m going to tell you my number one secret for staying organized.

Deal with it immediately.

That means when the mail comes in, don’t toss it aside; while it’s in your hand, sort it and recycle out what you don’t need. Getting organized means tackling cluttered areas every single day. It might mean getting rid of a lot of things that are inhibiting you from staying organized. If I can get organized, you totally can.

“It’s Too Hard for Me To…”

You know what’s hard? Cancer. Losing a loved one. Having a sick child. You know what’s not hard. Losing weight. Dealing with bratty kids. Going to work. It’s all in perspective, planning and priorities. And I’m a proponent of research and learning as much as you can. If you want to lose weight, do your research on what might work best for your body type (for me it was eliminating certain carbs and sugar). If you’re struggling with your kids, talk to others, read books/articles and get deeply involved if you really want things to improve. It’s not too hard.

“I’m Too Busy to Eat Healthy”

So many times I’ve gotten busy during the day that I actually forget to eat. Then when the stomach grumbles finally get the best of me, I’m so ravenous that I just grab whatever’s in reach, whether it’s good for me or not. And of course it’s way too easy to drive through the fast food line when you’re hungry while running errands.

Having convenient ready-to-go foods is ideal to making healthy choices. It’s also important to plan my meals & snacks when I know I’m going to be out and about. I recently discovered new DairyPure Mix-ins. These individually packaged cottage cheese have delicious and fun mix-ins like fruit and nuts. I bought them all – Blueberry, Peaches & Pecans, Pineapple, Strawberries & Almonds in 5.3 oz. cups.

DairyPure Mix-ins are protein-packed (over 15 grams of protein) in a convenient on-the-go cup. Just like all of DairyPure’s premium products, Mix-ins have no artificial flavors, sweeteners, or growth hormones. So easy to pack in a chill bag with a spoon to eat while you’re running errands.

No excuses for not eating healthy when you have DairyPure Mix-ins in your fridge to grab when you need a snack. Plus, if you’re a mom you know there’s always going to be someone to share with (so pack two!)

In the San Diego area, I found these new DairyPure Mix-ins at Gelson’s Markets and Bristol Farms. Be sure to check the DairyPure website to see where these are available in your area!

DairyPure Mix-ins & Grocery Giveaway

The Motherhood would like you to try DairyPure Mix-ins for yourself and are sponsoring this awesome giveaway. One winner will receive a variety of DairyPure Mix-ins flavors plus a $50 gift card to Gelson’s Markets or Bristol Farms.

Giveaway is for U.S. residents only, ages 18 and up. Prize will be forwarded to the winner from The Motherhood.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Laser Eye Surgery Checklist for Ideal LASIK Recovery

Four weeks ago I had my LASIK eye surgery. It was something I wanted to do for a very long time but had put off. I want to share all the details on what you need to know pre and post op about this eye corrective surgery for ideal LASIK recovery. I have included my own personal story experience so you’ll have an insider’s idea on what you might expect. Read the before and after checklist of LASIK tips that will help make your LASIK recovery smoother.

Read the first post in this series, Considering LASIK Eye Surgery? 6 Things You Need to Know.

I received a discounted rate from Clearview Eye and Laser Medical Center in San Diego to facilitate this post series about laser eye surgery. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Medical procedures vary between patients so please seek a personal consultation with Clearview to see if you are a candidate for LASIK.

If you're considering laser vision correction surgery but not sure what to expect, read this before and after checklist for LASIK so you'll know how to best prepare and see clearly without discomfort

Last day with my glasses…so ready for LASIK!

Pre-Surgery Checklist for LASIK Vision Correction

In the days leading up to the surgery you’ll have several things you’ll need to arrange:

  • Scheduling Your Appointment – Take the latest appointment time at the end of the day. After the surgery you’ll go home, take your medication, maybe eat something and go straight to bed. Your eyes will heal best with long periods of keeping them closed. Plus you aren’t able to use your phone or watch TV anyway so sleep is the best thing for you!
  • Have a Driver – You must bring a driver with you as you’ll be unable to drive yourself home. You could have Uber or Lyft pick up but you’ll need to have someone else schedule the pick up because you won’t be able to see your phone! Your driver doesn’t have to wait with you the entire time. We live about 30 minutes from the Clearview office so my husband sat in the waiting room. When my surgery time was up, the staff brought him back to watch the procedure. There were other patients having the surgery whose rides didn’t come until after. The Clearview staff personally called the drivers to let them know the patient was ready for pick up.
  • Arrange Babysitting – The Clearview office is not a place for kids. Schedule a babysitter and do not bring the kids with you for the procedure. In fact, I recommend getting someone to watch the kids overnight (more on that later).
  • Pick Up Prescriptions & Medications – When you schedule your surgery, you’ll receive a list of post-surgery must-haves. This includes two eye drop medications (Prednisolone and Ciprofloxacin), preservative-free eye drops (I bought Stystane) and a bag of frozen peas to minimize swelling. Be sure to have them ready at home because you’ll need them first thing the following morning. Place your eye drops in the fridge; chilled drops feel good on dry eyes!
If you're considering ditching your glasses and/or contacts and thinking about LASIK eye surgery, read these 6 things to consider before planning surgery. #Lasik #Clearview AD

A list of post-surgery medications needs.

Every Surgery Is Different

Keep in mind that medical procedures and actual results vary between patients. This is my personal story about the LASIK surgery process and your actual experience will vary. I highly recommend talking to the doctors at Clearview Eye and Laser Center with any questions about the consultation and vetting process for prospective patients. 

If you're considering laser vision correction surgery but not sure what to expect, read this before and after checklist for LASIK so you'll know how to best prepare and see clearly without discomfort AD #ClearviewEyes #LASIK #vision #eyesurgery

It’s my surgery day at Clearview!

LASIK Surgery – My Personal Experience

I arrived for my appointment at 5 pm and was told the process would take at least 2 hours. There were quite a few people in queue so it actually took about 2 1/2 hours. After check-in, I was brought back and given one Xanax to start the relaxation process. About an hour before the surgery, the staff put my hair in a cap, put booties on my shoes and my eyes and surrounding skin were cleaned. They place the cotton pads over your ears to soak up any liquid from the drops the surgeon applies during surgery (the pads keep the fluid from running into your ears).

The waiting room and especially the surgical room are kept very cold. This is for the protection of the equipment. Dress in warm, comfortable layers as you’ll likely go straight home and flop into bed. Consider a shirt with a wide neckline that will be easy to remove without rubbing across your eyes. I wore leggings, a tee and a loose sweatshirt. I still needed a blanket over me during the actual surgery because I was shivering. Each patient was given a Clearview teddy bear to hug during the surgery.

If you're considering laser vision correction surgery but not sure what to expect, read this before and after checklist for LASIK so you'll know how to best prepare and see clearly without discomfort

Who care that you’re wearing this? Everyone has their glasses off and can’t see you anyway!

I had remained blissfully ignorant on the actual LASIK procedure. I’m sure if you REALLY want to know all the details of every step, you could find it online somewhere but the less I knew about the surgery, the better! I’ll give you the basics: The surgeon places a lid retractor on the eye to retract the lids and hold your eye still when the laser cuts the flap. After the cuts are made the surgeon tapes your eyelashes open and another laser reshapes. The corneal flap is replaced and that’s it, you’re done. The entire process takes most patients about 10-15 minutes.

Does LASIK eye surgery hurt? Not at all in my case. I was given eye numbing drops and could feel a bit of pressure, but that’s all. I have very small eyes and there was a bit of issue getting the lid retractor on my eye. That was the most uncomfortable part of the entire process and likely something that a majority of people would not have an issue with.

My Personal LASIK Surgery Post-Op Story

Immediately after the surgery I was led out to the sitting area where my husband was waiting. He’d watched the entire procedure on a live television screen. It showed him the magnified view that the surgeon Sandy T. Feldman had during the procedure. Can you see after LASIK surgery? My immediate vision was watery and cloudy. I still needed help getting around because vision was not yet clear.

We were given instructions for what to do that night and process for the following day. They placed a pair of plastic goggles on my face and over that, plastic blackout glasses (like the elderly wear after cataract surgery). This was funny to me, wearing sunglasses since it was now dark outside! Once we stepped into the night, I truly couldn’t see anything. Streetlights were dim but had enormous halos and everything else was black. My husband helped me into the car and I kept my eyes closed for the ride home. My eyes felt very tired and heavy, I could hardly open them even when I wanted to.

Once home, my husband helped me to bed and gave me the first dose of Halcion. This was a pain-relief medication given to me by the doctors at Clearview.  I was instructed to wear the plastic goggles every night for one week, to make sure that I didn’t rub or bump my eyes in my sleep.

I woke once in the night and my eyes seemed to be glued shut, they were so heavy. After opening them, a flood of tears poured down my face. My husband brought me the second Halcion and I went back to sleep.

I was very glad that I didn’t have to worry about my kids. We’d arranged for them to stay with Grandma overnight. I highly recommend having your kids taken care of elsewhere because the combination of sleep-inducing medication and the limited vision would have made it very hard for me to care for a child.

Following Day after My LASIK Vision Correction

I woke up the day after the surgery with my eyes sealed shut. Dried tears had glued my eye lashes together. I was carefully able to open them but the light made them very sensitive. I put on sunglasses and let my eyes slowly adjust. It felt best to just keep my eyes closed.

My vision on the first day was still very watery and cloudy. I had my first follow-up appointment scheduled and discussed this with the doctor after the exam. She explained that I had some fluid under the flap and that this would dissipate in time over the course of the next few days. Each day I would see more clearly.

If you're considering laser vision correction surgery but not sure what to expect, read this before and after checklist for LASIK so you'll know how to best prepare and see clearly without discomfort

LASIK Recovery Must-Know Tips

The first few weeks after the surgery you may want to use these tips for ultimate healing and comfort:

  • Hands-Off- The plastic goggles should be worn each night for the first week to prevent you from rubbing or bumping your eyes. During the day, there should be absolutely no eye rubbing. You’ll also be instructed not to wear eye make-up for the first week.
  • Get a Very Dark Pair of Sunglasses-Your eyes will be extremely sensitive to light. For the first week, I wore my sunglasses everywhere, even indoors because any light was too bright. Though I always wear sunglasses outdoors, even at four week post-op I still find that my eyes are watering when in bright sun.
  • Minimize Screen Time – You may find that watching television, being on a computer or looking at your phone screen may irritate your eyes. It’s recommended to limit screen usage and to remember to continue using eye drops at least four times a day.
  • Be Diligent About the Eye Drop Medications – You’ll be instructed to apply your medicated eye drops four times a day, at breakfast, lunch, dinner and bedtime. This does make it easier to remember to take them. The eye drop medications must be taken five minutes apart (or else you’ll rinse one medication out with the application of the other). To remember to take both, I would take the drops out of the fridge and apply one (doesn’t matter which one you put in first), then put it back in the fridge. I’d return five minutes later to apply the second medication and put it back into the fridge.
  • Avoid Dry Eye with Drops In-Between- In between the medications, you’ll need to apply preservative-free moisturizing eye drops. This will greatly minimize any irritation, as dry eye is a major complaint after LASIK. I would apply these drops twice in between the medicated drops, a total of six times a day. This means you’re putting in eye drops 14 times a day! However I never suffered any dry eye side effects so I recommend using the drops as much as possible.
  • Drink Up! – Have a bottle of water with you at all times. The drops will drain down the back of your throat, so having the water to drink frequently will keep the bitter taste at bay.
If you're considering laser vision correction surgery but not sure what to expect, read this before and after checklist for LASIK so you'll know how to best prepare and see clearly without discomfort

A bit of eye redness is normal and this will go away.

LASIK Recovery – Better Each Day!

As the doctor had mentioned at my one-day follow up, the fluid under the flap dissipated and the watery vision started to clear. In the first week I was still experiencing vision that would get sharp and then cloudy again. I was told this was completely normal and to be expected. I had some red spots on my eye that went completely away after about a week.

Each day I was able to see more clearly and sharply. It was a gradual process and something that everyone should understand about LASIK surgery. Not every person is going to heal at the same pace. Some may have very clear vision within a few days and for others it may be longer. Every patient is different and you can’t compare.

My Three-Week Post LASIK Recovery Follow-Up

At my three-week follow-up at Clearview, Dr. Sandy T. Feldman was delighted with my vision progress. She tested my eyes and said that healing was going wonderfully. She then showed me what my vision looked like before the surgery and I was blown away. I’m thrilled with my new vision, you can’t even believe it!

If you're considering laser vision correction surgery but not sure what to expect, read this before and after checklist for LASIK so you'll know how to best prepare and see clearly without discomfort

Every night when I go to bed I still have the strange feeling that I’m forgetting to do something. 30 years of washing contact lenses before bed has been ingrained into my routine; it’s so weird that I don’t have to do it anymore! I wake in the morning seeing the alarm clock clearly. I’m able to jump right out of bed and not stumble around, looking for my glasses. After a four hour drive to Pasadena for the Mom 2.0 Summit, I experienced no vision fatigue (like I always did in the past) while driving for an extended period.

This summer my family and I are planning a week long trip to Disney World. For the first time, I’ll be able to enjoy swimming and water parks without concern that I’ll lose a contact lens. I’ll be able to pack without lugging a giant bottle of solution! I can’t wait to tell you how wonderful a vacation will be without having to worry about glasses or contacts.

If you're considering laser vision correction surgery but not sure what to expect, read this before and after checklist for LASIK so you'll know how to best prepare and see clearly without discomfort

I loved going on a trip & not having to mess with glasses and contacts!

Checklist for LASIK Recovery

To follow this post series, read the first post, Considering LASIK Eye Surgery? 6 Things You Need to Know.

I highly recommend Clearview Eye and Laser Center, they’ve really exceeded my expectations. Don’t take my word for it, schedule your own complimentary consultation and see how LASIK vision correction will change your life.

If you're considering laser vision correction surgery but not sure what to expect, read this before and after checklist for LASIK so you'll know how to best prepare and see clearly without discomfort during LASIK recovery AD #ClearviewEyes #LASIK #vision #eyesurgery

Image Credit: Pixabay

 

 

 

Considering LASIK Eye Surgery? 6 Things You Need to Know

Tired of wearing glasses and contact lenses and considering LASIK eye surgery? Before you book your surgical appointment there are a few things you must know about refractive eye surgery, from a mom’s perspective. You have to find out if LASIK is the right procedure for you. This vetting process will include an evaluation to determine if you’re a candidate, easing the fears of undergoing eye surgery and of course, figuring out the total cost of the procedure. Keep reading for the top six things you need to know when considering LASIK eye surgery.

Considering LASIK Eye Surgery – My Story

I’ve wanted to get LASIK surgery for a very long time. But I had preconceived notions that prevented me from proceeding even as far as a consultation. I was off-put by what I thought might be an expensive and potentially dangerous procedure. I wanted to know more about the pre-tests, the actual surgical process, and of course the cost factors involved.

I’m a 44 year old work-at-home mom –  was it even “worth” me having the surgery? Wasn’t I doing just fine with my glasses? Isn’t wearing contact lenses good enough? Why was I considering LASIK in the first place? How much would laser eye surgery really change my life?

If you're considering ditching your glasses and/or contacts and thinking about LASIK eye surgery, read these 6 things to consider before planning surgery. #Lasik #Clearview AD

I had questions about LASIK and I wanted straightforward answers from someone I could trust. Now that I’ve gone through the vetting process for LASIK, I want to be the person for YOU! Here are the things you’ve been curious to know about having laser eye surgery.

I received a discounted rate from Clearview Eye and Laser Medical Center in San Diego to facilitate this post series about laser eye surgery. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Medical procedures vary between patients so please seek a personal consultation with Clearview to see if you are a candidate for LASIK.

Are You Considering LASIK? – First, Find Your “Why”

Everyone has their own personal reasons for wanting laser eye surgery. Finding your own “why” is an important first step. For me, personally I’ve been wearing glasses since I was six and contact lenses since I was 12. Over the years I’ve grown increasingly tired of the constant care that glasses and lenses require. Getting my prescription “just right” has been a struggle with many wearisome visits to the optometrist. I’m over the cleaning of my contacts each night, the cloudy lenses, struggling to get the soft lenses in and out, and the big bottles of solution that I have to lug around when I travel. I’m sick of my glasses steaming up when I’m cooking, of them sliding off my face when I work out, the never-ending smears across the lenses and glasses getting knocked when I snuggle my kids. It’s been nearly 40 years of dealing with vision problems that I’m ready to ditch. What is your reasoning for considering LASIK eye surgery?

If you're considering ditching your glasses and/or contacts and thinking about LASIK eye surgery, read these 6 things to consider before planning surgery. #Lasik #Clearview AD

I can’t read anymore without removing my glasses & holding the page REALLY close to my face!

1. Do I Qualify As a Candidate for Laser Eye Surgery?

Once you’ve decided that you’d like to learn more about laser eye surgery, it’s very easy to find out if you’re a candidate for LASIK. I was able to call Clearview Eye and Laser Medical Center in San Diego and schedule an appointment for the following week. Clearview offers complimentary evaluations that will determine what type of refractive eye surgery is best for each patient. I was instructed only to wear my glasses for three days prior to my appointment (not my contact lenses).

My evaluation included a extensive battery of simple eye tests. They use state-of-the-art technology to determine if LASIK is the right surgery for you. If you’ve ever been to the optometrist, many of the tests will be familiar. These evaluation techniques take 3-D images of the thickness and shape of your eye, map the curvature patterns of your eye, and take a microscopic exam of your eye (to check for health related issues).

If you're considering ditching your glasses and/or contacts and thinking about LASIK eye surgery, read these 6 things to consider before planning surgery. #Lasik #Clearview AD

Getting vetted at my extensive consultation at Clearview

The tests are easy and quick. However there are a lot of tests so plan on being there for about two hours. While it’s a good idea to bring a driver with you (since your eyes will be dilated), you should definitely get a babysitter for the kids. The exam areas are small and not a place for little ones.

2. Committing to LASIK Surgery

After the test portion, my counselor Richard asked big-picture questions about my personal vision needs, like what I do in my spare time and for work. He went over some of the surgery details and worked up a surgery proposal with cost breakdown. At check-in I’d received a folder with details on refractive surgical processes done at Clearview and information about medical director Sandy T. Feldman M.D., M.S. Since I still needed to discuss the process with my husband and look at my calendar, I wasn’t able to commit to a surgery date at that time. Which was totally fine – the evaluation is free and I left with all the information tucked in my folder. I liked having the information to take home where I could read it at my own pace.

Everyone I met at Clearview made me feel at ease during the entire consultation process at Clearview and I never felt pressured to commit to the surgery at any time. As someone who likes to take time and mull over a big decision, this was extremely important to me. If you’re a busy mom like me, you’ll probably need to make the arrangements for a good surgery date, along with child care and financial concerns (let alone talking to your husband about everything!) But there’s no need to rush – Your tests and cost proposal are good for 30 days so you have plenty of time to make plans and schedule a surgery date. However if you are absolutely ready to commit on the same day as your consult, you can do that too! They’ll have you scheduled for surgery within a few days.

3. Is LASIK Safe?

Hundreds of thousands of LASIK procedures are performed in the United States each year, making it one of the most common surgeries performed. Clearview uses a sophisticated iFS laser that is completely blade free. Dr. Feldman customizes the procedure individually for each patient, based on their eye evaluation tests. The precision technique takes less than ten seconds per eye. Clinical studies prove that patients have faster visual recovery and fewer dry eye symptoms after surgery with the iFS laser.

Seeing a qualified specialist is tops on my list for laser eye surgery safety. I specifically went to Clearview because of the reputation of medical director, Sandy T. Feldman. She has been performing refractive surgical procedures for over 21 years (over 20,000 procedures!) She’s been trusted by many athletes and even other doctors to perform their eye surgeries.

Refractive laser surgery is a medical procedure. There are no guarantees or promises when it comes to any medical procedure as everyone’s individual results may vary. If a surgical center guarantees “perfect” vision, be wary because that may not always be accurate. Everyone’s final results after surgery are going to be different.

Clearview recommends starting your process with an evaluation in their office and discussing the full details of surgery in person. The pre-surgical testing at Clearview is extensive. As noted earlier, it last around two hours and includes a wide range of vision tests to ensure that everything about the eye is recorded properly. Dr. Feldman personally reviews all records of the tests to personalize the surgery to each patient’s needs.

If you're considering ditching your glasses and/or contacts and thinking about LASIK eye surgery, read these 6 things to consider before planning surgery. #Lasik #Clearview AD

4. Overcoming Fears About Having Laser Eye Surgery

I have to confess that reading and hearing about the LASIK process sort-of gives me the heebie-jeebies! In all honesty, I didn’t want to hear about the actual surgery details at all. Just do the surgery and let me get rid of my glasses!

Naturally the fear of having surgery on your eyes is a major hurdle. You’ll want all the information on how safe the procedure is. You want to feel comfortable before/during/after the surgery. And of course you want to feel like you’re in capable hands. Fear of the actual eye surgery can be a major stumbling block and concerns about the end result often stop people from scheduling the surgery.

Choosing the right surgical center for your procedure goes a long way towards achieving that comfort level. At Clearview, the people you encounter in the office are the same people you’ll see in the surgery room. All of the refractive eye surgery equipment is owned and operated at the Clearview Eye and Laser Medical Center so your consultation and surgery will take place in the same office. To put you more at ease, each patient meets with the surgeon before the big day. Having the chance to meet Dr. Feldman and ask your important questions helps with overcoming fear and feeling safe when facing surgery.

5. Best Questions To Ask in Your Consultation

A lot of questions will come up during your consultation. Here are a few talking points you might want to mention:

  • How long does it take to recover after the surgery?
  • What are the possible side-effects?
  • Will I experience pain post-surgery and how long will it last?
  • What kind of vision can I expect a few days/weeks/months after the surgery?
  • When can I go back to work/drive a car/exercise?
  • How in the heck do you keep your eye still during surgery when there’s a laser involved?!
  • How often should I return to the office for check-ups?
  • What happens if my vision gets worse?
If you're considering ditching your glasses and/or contacts and thinking about LASIK eye surgery, read these 6 things to consider before planning surgery. #Lasik #Clearview AD

A list of post-surgery medications and needs.

6. How Much Will Laser Eye Surgery Cost?

LASIK is considered elective surgery, which means most insurance companies won’t cover the cost. However I was actually surprised that the cost wasn’t as high as I’d expected. You can expect to pay about $2700+ per eye. Talk to your counselor about payment plans offered in-office. LASIK is also a great way to use your “flex plan”. There are also discounts available at Clearview for military and teachers, so ask about that during your consult.

At Clearview, any post-operative visits are covered in the initial cost for 12 months. This includes any possible “touch up” that might be required. It doesn’t happen that often but great to know it’s covered if you need it. After the 12 month period you can schedule additional check ups and surgical touch ups and the cost is only $750 per eye for these procedures.

My LASIK Eye Surgery Experience

I’ll be having my own LASIK eye surgery at the Clearview Eye and Laser Medical Center in a few days and will share all the details with you in another blog post! Sign up for my email newsletter to be informed when my post-surgery update is listed.

If you're considering ditching your glasses and/or contacts and thinking about LASIK eye surgery, read these 6 things to consider before planning surgery. #Lasik #EyeSurgery #Vision #Clearview


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

6 Ways Mom Can Squeeze in Healthy Exercise and Nutrition on the Go

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

As a busy mom of four (from toddler to teens!) I spend a lot of my time shuttling kids to school, appointments and activities. As someone who just started taking night school classes, I’m also spending more time studying and doing homework. And as a writer, I spend the rest of my spare time typing at my desk. That’s a lot of sitting during the day!

In between I do try and squeeze in exercise. If I’m home, I’ll take my toddler for a long walk with the stroller through the neighborhood (nap time for her, exercise for me!) You’ll often find me doing squats or stretching in the kitchen while waiting for water to boil. I’ve been on a weight loss journey so I’m trying to choose healthier snacks and keep the treats to a minimum. Moms are busy so we have to squeeze in fitness and healthy nutrition whenever and where ever we can!

How can moms squeeze in exercise and nutrition on the go? These six ideas can help you get more rested, fit and better hydrated. #NewYearNewWater AD

So what can you do to fit in exercise even when you’re out and about? How can you make sure you’re making the best nutrition choices even on a busy schedule? I’m sharing my ideas on packing healthy essentials in the car for those days when we’re on the go. Think about those times in the school pick-up line when you’re just sitting. Think about all that time you spend with kids at the orthodontist! And how about after you’ve dropped off your child at their activity and you have an hour to burn? Here’s what I keep in my vehicle to take advantage of the healthy ME time!

Walking Shoes

There are times when I’d like to squeeze in some exercise but I didn’t wear the proper shoes. Now I keep a spare pair in my car just in case I have time for a quick walk. Lace ’em up and time yourself to see how quickly you can speed walk around the block.

Healthy Snacks

Resist the urge to stop at the convenience store! Not only are the prices high you’ll be faced with too much temptation in the way of sugary snacks. I keep healthy snacks in my car. Choose things that can handle the warmth inside of your vehicle and not melt, like nuts, seeds, popcorn and dried fruits.

Resistance Bands

The school pick-up line is a hurry and wait sort of thing, with a long line of cars waiting for the bell to ring. I line up and put the car in park. By the time my daughter has reached the car, I’ve completed a small arm workout using resistance bands. Resistance bands take up hardly any space and are lightweight, making them the perfect travel exercise choice.

How can moms squeeze in exercise and nutrition on the go? These six ideas can help you get more rested, fit and better hydrated. #NewYearNewWater AD

Journaling

Sometimes a thought will come to me that I want to explore more about. But I don’t want it to be just another “to do” in my calendar. I used to keep a diary as a teen and it was a fantastic way of keeping in touch daily with my thoughts and ideas. Dust off your diary, jot thoughts into a journal and just write, draw or doodle.

Nap Pillow

I asked some friends the other day when was the last time they’d taken a nap. Naturally the ladies without the kids were catching cat naps but the women with little ones hadn’t napped in years! Sometimes all you need is to just close your eyes for a few minutes and be alone with your thoughts. I dropped off my son at a birthday party this weekend and while his toddler sister napped in the car, I had the chance to catch a thirty minute nap myself!

How can moms squeeze in exercise and nutrition on the go? These six ideas can help you get more rested, fit and better hydrated. #NewYearNewWater AD

Hydration

I try my best to stay healthy and make sure I’m taking good care of myself. Getting exercise and drinking plenty of water throughout the day is top on my list. So while I’ve been doing okay on the exercise and my diet has been fairly clean, I’ve still be struggling to drink enough water. I’ve had issues with dehydration in the past because I just don’t take in enough fluid. Plain water isn’t my favorite choice.

How can moms squeeze in exercise and nutrition on the go? These six ideas can help you get more rested, fit and better hydrated. #NewYearNewWater AD

I’ve been choosing wanu water as my refreshing beverage throughout the day. wanu water is delicious and it still tastes like water – just better! In flavors like Peach Passion, Kiwi Cucumber and Watermelon Raspberry, you’re sure to find a favorite. I love these wanu water flavors because they’re more like a treat! I found these wanu water flavors at my local Vons.

How can moms squeeze in exercise and nutrition on the go? These six ideas can help you get more rested, fit and better hydrated. #NewYearNewWater AD

But wanu water is not only hydrating, it’s nutritious as well. Fiber aides in achieving a healthy weight by keeping you feeling fuller longer. wanu water has 6 grams of non-GMO fiber, equivalent of 24% of your recommended daily intake.

How can moms squeeze in exercise and nutrition on the go? These six ideas can help you get more rested, fit and better hydrated. #NewYearNewWater AD

wanu water is naturally sweetened by monk fruit. Monk fruit sweetens foods and drinks without the harmful effects of traditional sugar and sugar substitutions. No funny aftertaste either. And the palatable flavor makes it easier to get not only hydration but also vitamins, nutrients and even fiber.

Click HERE to save Save $1.00 on the purchase of any two (2) 16oz bottles of wanu (Expiration date: 12/31/18).

How are you taking care of yourself, even on a busy schedule?

How can moms squeeze in exercise and nutrition on the go? These six ideas can help you get more rested, fit and better hydrated. #NewYearNewWater AD

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

5 Tips for Looking Your Best in Holiday Family Photos

This shop has been compensated by Schwarzkopf®. #HolidayHairCare #sponsored

The holidays are fast approaching! That means fun with family and friends, as well as parties and pictures that come along with the season. Last year my family and I had a weekend vacation and took this photo together. I loved how cute we all looked…that is until I looked closer and realized how my roots were showing and how GRAY my hair was! Ugh, seeing that photo with my gray hairs made me so upset.

Dozens of ideas for taking special holiday photos at Disneyland Resort

Photo Credit: Disney PhotoPass

I’m all for women who aren’t bothered by the gray. But I still have a toddler and I’m just not ready to go gray yet. Coloring my hair makes me feel so much better about my overall look! I don’t have the time or money for a salon so I’m glad there are at-home kits like Schwarzkopf® Keratin Color that give me a professional style. With family photos coming along with the holidays, I’m sharing my tips for creating a head-to-toe beautiful look that’s perfect for lasting photo memories!

Coordinating family outfits while still putting together a beautiful look for yourself takes some preparation! You can’t just throw on your favorite outfit because you want a cohesive look for the entire family. And you don’t want to look back in ten or twenty years and say, “What in the world was I wearing?!” These are a few ideas for creating a flattering, timeless look for family photos.

1. Pick a Theme Around Your Location

Are you going to be taking photos at the beach? Then knee-high boots and chunky sweaters probably aren’t the best fashion choice. And vice versa if you’re planning a snowy mountain photo shoot wearing all white cotton sundresses! Once you know your photo location, you can decide on a direction for your outfits.

2. Start with One Thing

Who is the most particular person in your family when it comes to getting dressed? Start by choosing their outfit first. Once you have that picked, it’s going to be easier to design a look around the color scheme and style of that first outfit.

Is there an outfit that the rest of the clothes can be built around? A plaid or a pattern with multiple colors is a good place to start. From there you can choose clothing with the colors that coordinate (like this floral dress below).

3. Picking a Color Scheme

To create a cohesive look, choose a color scheme that unites the family and doesn’t clash. Things like blue jeans, khaki and white are neutral and can be mixed in with the colors you choose as you see fit.

For this family photo, I wanted to choose from clothes that we already had in the closet. I started with my husband’s plaid shirt. The rest of the family was easy to match, with navy blue, burgundy, khaki and white.

Photo Credit: Amber Barley Photography

4. Mixing Patterns

While it’s okay to choose similar styles, try to avoid anything too matchy-matchy. For instance, instead of having the kids all wear matching sweaters, choose a similar design in varying colors. As in the family photo above, my son had a plaid shirt in his closet that had similar colors to what his dad is wearing. The plaids aren’t matching but they don’t clash either.

Choose patterns that are classic in design instead of trendy so your photo looks timeless and not dated to a particular time period. Same with hair styles!

You could also choose patterns that are coordinating but not identical. I found this trio of outfits for my little ones a few years ago. They are coordinated because the colors unite them, but are not wearing the same outfit.

5. Making Sure Mom Looks Her Best

After the gray root debacle last year, I’m determined to stay on top of my coloring! Once I’ve decided on a location and color scheme for the family photo shoot, I make sure I have my nails done, make-up ready and hair colored. Naturally, I want my hair to look its best during family photos.

Having Schwarzkopf® Keratin Color on hand has been my secret weapon! I’ve already used Schwarzkopf® Keratin Color several times and love my results. It’s been so easy to use and my hair is shiny and soft, even weeks after coloring.

I found Schwarzkopf® Keratin Color at Walmart. The line offers a good variety of intense colors, including my favorite shade, Chestnut. Be sure to do your patch test before coloring! And of course don’t forget to put on the included gloves to protect your hands.

At-Home Hair Coloring Tips

  • Wear your oldest clothes and use your oldest towel that you don’t mind getting stained.
  • Wear a plastic cape to protect your neck and clothes.
  • Rub a small amount of petroleum jelly around your ears and neckline to prevent staining.
  • I prep my bathroom so I don’t drip hair coloring on the rub or splash it on the shower curtain! I put away everything from off the counter, move the shower curtain and put away the bathmat so no errant drips get on anything.

BEFORE (look at that gray!)

Schwarzkopf® Keratin Color has a pre-treatment included that helps give you an even color result. I love this extra step and experienced no dry ends after coloring. The color is thick and stays put, which makes application so much easier.

I colored my hair about 5 weeks ago with the same color, so I applied to the roots for 20 minutes first. Then I applied color to the rest of my head and waited another ten minutes.

20 minutes on the roots first…

Then 10 minutes on the entire head of hair.

  • Don’t just rely on the clock to keep time. Set a timer!
  • I rinsed off in the kitchen sink so I could use the handheld sprayer and really make sure I removed all the color.
  • Any color stains on the skin? Use a cotton pad and rubbing alcohol to gently remove.

I experienced less hair breakage and loss after using Schwarzkopf® Keratin Color and of course, it gave me 100% gray coverage – yippee! Plus my hair is really soft and silky. I’m going to look so great in my holiday family photos this year (no gray getting me down!)

AFTER! Total gray coverage and beautiful Chestnut color.

Want to try Schwarzkopf® Keratin Color for free? Be sure to click through for the rebate!

Dressing for Success

Just like coloring over my gray helps boost my self-esteem, so does wearing clothes that make me feel and look my best. With every purchase of Schwarzkopf® Keratin Color women are getting a fresh start through a partnership with Dress for Success®.

Dress for Success Worldwide provides women education and mentoring, along with revitalized hair and clothing options. This partnership helps women be as successful as they look! Over one million women have been served by this international organization and its programs. I love how Dress for Success encourages and supplies women with the tools they need for confidence and success!

Coloring your hair at home is a great way to save time and money but how can you assure the best results? Check out these tips (along with ideas for looking your best in holiday family photos!) #HolidayHairCare #ad