Tuesday, September 29, 2015

heather: september monthly must-haves

i feel like september came and is ready to leave already in the blink of an eye. does anyone else feel the same? even though september was all about the kiddos and back to school, i decided to make this monthly must-haves all about me and a few of my favorite things......because, as mamas, we just don't think of ourselves enough, right?! so, get ready to indulge in a few of my favorites. enjoy & happy shopping!  xo- h

tieks troupe
combine my love of tieks with this amazing color and i am swooning. it's love at first sight. 

i am new to a "phone wallet" and am getting used to it. so far, i love having my drivers license and necessities at my fingertips. erin condren does everything custom---- i am loving the kelly green color i picked. what color would you choose?

etsy 1974 shirt
rock your age in this awesome tee! 40 and proud, baby! what a unique gift this would be for the person in your life that has a milestone birthday coming up.

little houses sign
my very favorite piece of artwork in our home. love my little family and our little home where love grows best.....

bow flex m5
this workout machine is compact and packs a punch! the 14 minute programed max interval workout is intense and burns up to 2.5x's more calories than other workout equipment and who can fit in a 14 minute workout?! we all have an extra 14 minutes to spare at some point in the day.....for me, it's just about making it my priority. 

long leather tassel necklace turquoise yellow and hot pink
the vibrant color of the necklace is fun and it's the perfect accessory to dress up a simple t-shirt and jeans. love. 

positive message apparel
i don't know about you, but sometimes i just need the reminder. love the positive affirmation of this pullover. 

as a mom of two boys and a lover of the color green this tee reeled me in on all levels. the boymom website has so many styles and colors to choose from and there may even be something for you girlmoms, too. :-) 

justin's almond and peanut butter
healthy and the perfect go-to snack to pair with a rice cake, crackers or pretzels. easy to throw in your purse for travel and a must have for my "hangry" moments. 

disclaimer: although we received some products for free, many are purchased on our own dime. *all* are products that we love and the opinions are all our own.

Monday, September 21, 2015

surviving fall allergy season

this is a sponsored post by minute clinic. all thoughts, opinions and stories are my own.

my sweet fourth born started kindergarten this year. as this little piece of my heart left for school, i looked forward each day to him bounding off the bus with fantastic tales of his kindergarten adventures. 

the first days of school, i wasn't disappointed. i love kids this age who will come off the bus wearing literally anything their teacher provides for them to wear. they are completely confident in who they are and know that no matter what they have on their heads, they look awesome. 

the blissful beginning of my sweet's school year didn't last very long. within the first couple of days of school, my little guy came home in worse and worse condition. on day three of school he came off the bus wheezing so badly that i almost took him straight to the e.r.  i was able to get his breathing under control and tell his teacher what to look for in the future but that episode became the sign of a very rough few weeks to come. 

my little man has missed several days of school so far. one day at the doctor his oxygen levels were down in the 80's and they had to spend a great deal of time getting his sweet breathing under control. he has been a mess and all of his asthma issues have been linked back to very bad fall seasonal allergies. 

i don't know about you, but i always associated allergies with the springtime. as i have done my homework over the last few weeks, i've learned a few things that have helped me to better understand this season and all the allergies it brings. here are some things that have helped me to better prepare my sweet boy for success in these fall months. 

things to know about fall allergies

  • many people confuse a common cold with allergies. one key difference between the two is that itchy eyes are nearly always a symptom of allergies and aches and pains are associated with the common cold. knowing what you are fighting is the first key to success. if you have a fever, it's not allergies.
  • ragweed pollen is one of the main fall allergy triggers. it's out in full force right now! it's nearly impossible to avoid as it's estimated a single ragweed plant can release 1 billion pollen grains during fall season.
  • dust and dust mites are common allergies that get stirred into the air when you turn on heat for the first time (or when kids go back into classrooms that have been empty for the summer.)
  • allergy symptoms often get progressively worse over a few days. symptoms include itchy eyes, sneezing, runny nose, headache, and sinus pressure.
  • there are actually more allergy triggers in the fall (who knew?). typically weed pollens, mold and dust allergies flare up in the fall. 
  • old blankets and clothing that has been put away for the summer is likely a breeding ground for dust mites, one of the common fall allergens.

tips to treat fall allergies

  • change your air filters. i changed mine the other day and they were a disaster. i know that in the coming weeks we may actually need the heater at some point. those filters need to be clean to sift through all that dust the heater will circulate.
  • wash blankets, cloths and bedding that have been sitting stagnant for months. no one wants to think about their household items hosting dust mites. washing those items before your family uses them can stop problems before they start. 
  • in the early fall, keep your windows close from 10 am to 4 pm. this is torture for me as the weather is perfect for some fresh air in the house. still, this will reduce your exposure to allergens like ragweed. 
  • if you have someone with a dust allergy in your house, purchase hypo-allergenic pillow and mattress covers. these covers zip over mattresses and pillows and provide a barrier from dust and dust mites as you sleep. they have been life changing for my little man. 

  • wash all bedding every two weeks to help ease allergy symptoms. 
  • have your allergy sufferer shower every night before bed. going to sleep covered in allergens is a really bad idea.
  • for severe allergy sufferers (like my guy), wash your hands and face each time you come in from outside. if possible, even change your shirt. this may seem extreme but it has truly made a difference in my boy's ability to keep his allergies under control.
  • find a good health care provider to help in your fight against allergies. we have used cvs minute clinic for our basic allergy needs. not only can they point us in the best direction for over the counter products but they have been able to prescribe my sweet guy with the prescription medications he needs to be healthy during this time of the year. we need all the help we can get and they are always professional, quick, and extremely helpful. i can't imagine allergy season without their help. http://bit.ly/1DwHBkm

most of all, don't let allergies get out of control. when my little guy couldn't breath because of his allergy induced asthma, i am not going to lie, i was pretty terrified. i've never seen his asthma so bad. he curled into a ball and literally fell to the floor. my heart nearly broke and stopped all at the same time. i have learned what my little guy needs and he now has a medication regiment that is keeping him well under control. that along with trying to maintain a healthy home environment for him has transformed his little life this last week. 

now instead of having him step off the bus in a panic of gasping breaths and uncontrolled sneezes, he steps off the bus looking like this...

and this...

and even this...

i'll happily take these smiling faces any day.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

aldi kid-made lunches day 4

ALDI school lunch challenge

if you haven't been with us this week, it's time to check out this week's posts on our $50.00 ALDI school lunches challenge. 

today the kids made one of their favorites. the school serves pizza dippers for lunches in the cafeteria but my kids are not huge fans. they decided they could make their own little pizza dippers and take them in for lunch. i asked them if they minded eating them cold and their answer was, "cold pizza is the best, mom." okay then. kid approved and easy to prepare...that's a win for me. 

aldi school lunch, day 4: pizza dippers

for today's lunch you will need:

one package bake house creations crescent rolls
4 oz. happy farms mozzarella cheese block, cut into slices
1/2 a package lunch mate salami
reggano pizza sauce for dipping
sliced fruit
nature's nectar 100% juice boxes
peanut butterscotch o's

have the kiddos careful slice the cheese on a cutting board.

they can place the 8 crescent rolls on a baking sheet and load them with slices of cheese and a slice of salami. have the kids roll up the rolls to prepare them for baking. our rolls looked nothing like actual rolls after this process but the kids didn't seem to mind one bit. 

bake the rolls at 375 degrees for 12 minutes. sit aside to cool.

place the rolls in a lunch box along with pizza sauce for dipping, fruit dipping sauce and some sliced fruit. the kids should be able to handle slicing some fruit. if they are not old enough for that, grapes are a great option. i would encourage you to have even your smallest kids do everything they possibly can to prepare their own lunch. they can bag or package everything themselves and pack up their lunch for the day.

serve with peanut-butterscotch o's for a snack and your kids are done with their lunches for another day. this recipe made enough pizza rolls for three kiddos for the week. that is awesome when you have more than one mouth to feed!

here is the best thing about my ALDI back to school lunches buy. i have prepared enough food to have snacks ready for an entire week for my kids after school. they will be thrilled to come home and already have things prepared and edible for them and i'll be happy to have one small task taken off my plate. here are a few of the snacks i have ready to go for this week...

southern grove banana chips

peter rabbit farms baby carrots

clancy's cinnamon apple straws (these will last five minutes. my kids can eat a bag at one sitting.)

impressive, right? i have nearly a week's worth of lunches for 2-3 kids and at least that much left over in after school snacks. with just a tiny bit of prep, i am ready for my week and the kids are happily satisfied. i'd say that's a win. 

what about you? what are your favorite back to school lunches for your broods? whatever you do, i would encourage you to get your kids involved as much as possible. besides teaching them responsibility and the importance of what we do as their parents, it also prepares them for the rest of their lives. that's our ultimate job as parents anyway, isn't it? happy back to school to you all! xo

disclaimer: this post was sponsored by aldi. all thoughts and opinions are our own.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

aldi kid-made lunches day 3

we have made it to day three in our ALDI back to school lunch challenge. the kids have been working hard on their lunches each day and they are so proud of what they have done. if you have missed their hard work the last two days, you can find their creations here:

for our mid-week lunch, the girls wanted to change it up a little bit. my daughter had this served at a birthday party and absolutely loved it. i have to admit, i tried it when they were finished preparing it and it is pretty darn good. i'm guessing your kids will love it too.

ALDI kid made lunches day 3: taco salad bags

here is what you will need today:

clancy's nacho tortilla chips, individual bags (there are three in a variety pack)
happy farms shredded cheddar cheese
southwest kirkwood grilled chicken strips (ALDI refrigerated section)
tuscan garden sliced black olives
iceberg lettuce, cut into pieces
fruit cut into bite-sized pieces
homemade granola bars for a snack
nature's nectar 100% juice box

the girls started by chopping up the southwest grilled chicken into small, bite-sized pieces. they then chopped the lettuce and opened the can of olives and drained out the liquid. they then placed the chopped chicken in one plastic container, the cheese in another and the lettuce and olives in another. 

to finish off this lunch, they added some chopped fruit, a bag of nacho flavored tortilla chips, a juice box and a granola bar and lunch was ready! this lunch takes no time at all and the kids rave over it. 

when it comes time for the kids to eat, have them crush the tortilla chips in the bag. they will need to open the bag carefully at the top.

into the bag, pour the other ingredients.

mix well and enjoy a taco salad in a bag! 

add the juice, fruit and a homemade granola bar for a snack and you are done for the day! so simple and so delicious!

this recipe made enough for three lunches. it's great for all my kiddos but would be equally as wonderful for the kids to eat on more than one occasion. the ingredients will keep for days so you can even skip a day and have this meal again.

enjoy! i may just have to sneak one of these little meals for myself!

disclaimer: this post was sponsored by ALDI. all opinions and thoughts are our own. 

Monday, September 7, 2015

back to school: 10 must haves for lice prevention and treatment

lice. just the words sends chills up my arms. we have never had to deal with lice in our homes (knock on some serious wood), but have had so many friends that have had it. word is, at some point, everyone gets it. i polled all my friends for what products they use to prevent and fight lice in their homes. i, for one, am stocking up and planning on having a "lice" bin in my home ready to go now that back-to-school time is upon us and the threat is real, folks. eek! what are your favorite lice treatment and prevention products? do tell! help a fearful mama out! 

this awesome little product enables you to quickly find those creepy little lice and eggs quickly using uv light.

cover up those pillows and keep those lice out so that when an outbreak happens you don't need to worry about ditching those pillows all together.

cool shield no allergy waterproof mattress protector - breathable terry cover protects against lice, etc.
a mattress is an even bigger investment than a pillow. why not protect them from lice and any other ickyness, like bed bugs or vomitting. gross.

this handy tool is a necessity, it seems for the war against lice. without one of these, removal of them is not going to happen. 

friends of mine swear by this handy spray on things that you can't get into the washer and dryer....like a couch or an uncovered mattress. (is anyone else itching just reading this?!).

loving this eco friendly version of the above spray. it kills all the little creatures and leaves a fresh scent, too.

there is something about really zapping and killing these buggers that i love, love, love!!! kills lice and eggs on contact?! yes, please.

vamousse head lice treatment
it is hard to find a non-toxic lice treatment. not only is this one non-toxic, but it is applied in a mousse, which makes application so much easier (or so i'm told).

as follow-up to treatment, this lice shampoo is used to ensure the lice stay gone for good. also non-toxic and easy to use in place of your normal kiddo shampoo. 

fairy tales repel conditioning spray
in my lice paranoia, i have found this amazing product. i'd like to think it is partly to credit our lice-free state thus far. i just spray it on the boys hair before school and comb it, like a detangler.....and it smells like rosemary. love!

we also use these products during the school week at our home. the little lice apparently hate rosemary so i clearly love it!