Monday, November 28, 2016

the best reusable shopping bags. ever.

i have tried to make the effort to use reusable shopping bags when on my weekly target or grocery store runs......but i wasn't always successful. i usually ended up forgetting them in the car or leaving them at home.....even if i remembered them i never had bags that worked well (too flimsy, etc.) 

recently in california bringing your own bags has become mandatory, which i love. i now need to remember my bags and since i recently found the most amazing bags *ever* i actually look forward to bringing them. no joke, i get comments every time i use these bags from people asking me where to get them for themselves. these bags fold up easily, are a cinch to fill up at checkout and load into the car. obsessed is an understatement. 

i am head-over-heals in love with these bags. give them a try.....pretty sure you will end up in a committed reusable bag relationship, too. 

Thursday, November 24, 2016

always thankful

this post is sponsored by the lovely people at nutrish. the thoughts and opinions are our own.

today is a day we sit back and actually take stock of our lives. we gather together and, even if just for a few moments, we list all those things we are thankful for. this year has been a difficult one for heather and i but as we focus on having an attitude of gratitude, it becomes more and more easy to remember just how good our lives are. 

so, today, before the turkey and stuffing, before the football and parades, we wanted to take a moment to share the things we are thankful for.

we are thankful for family

this one is at the top of both of our lists. how can we even imagine life without all of our wild and crazy kids surrounding us? we cannot. i'm blessed with an amazing husband, five pretty hilarious kids and a life that is never boring. it's pretty fantastic.

we are thankful for friends

one summer school class long ago, heather and i met and laughed over a lecture on teaching art to children. our lives have never been the same. here we are 20+ years later and the laughs continue. i can't imagine my life without her and there are countless other friendship stories that each of us have. our friends have often become family to us and we are so very grateful. 

we are thankful for pets

i once swore that i would never have pets while i had small children. i couldn't imagine having another creature to take care of. i'm so glad i gave in and got our sweet kitties. i know heather feels the same with her adorable lola. just when days are getting difficult, one of the cats will do something to make me laugh or will come up to cuddle. they are sometimes just what i need to brighten my day and i can't imagine the hole that would be in my life and the life of my kids without them. they are little furry balls of joy.

we are thankful for health

both us of have had some weird health things come up this year. still, as we look back on our lives and the lives of our families, we are so very blessed. so many people walk through incredible illnesses and our hearts go out to them. we don't take our health for granted and we are so very thankful for each and every day we spend without the worries of illnesses in our families.

we are thankful for provision

heather and i have both traveled the world and have seen great poverty around the world. make no mistake, we are privileged people. each month we have money to pay for our homes and our food. our children have great education. we have clothes on our back and transportation to get us where we need to go. we are not wanting for our basic needs and we are aware that so many in the world don't have these luxuries. today and everyday we strive to be more grateful for the fact that our needs are met.

we are thankful for work

this blog has been a blessing for the last five years. we have laughed through it, learned through it and maintained a friendship and called it a business. through the ups and downs, it has brought us closer together and has brought us joy. we also get to work with amazing friends and companies. not only do companies partner with us, but we are able to build relationships with the people we meet along the way as well. we are so grateful for what blogging has brought us and the friendships we have made and maintained along the way. the lovely people at nutrish have been in a partnership with us for the last three years. we have laughed with them, traveled with them and they represent so much more than a company to us. they are friends we get to work with. what a joy that is. 

we are thankful for you

when we started blogging five years ago, we thought we would write some things down and our mothers would occasionally read what we wrote. boy were we surprised to find out that there were people who found us interesting. we have giggled as we've watched people reading our blog from various parts of the world (we are pretty sure they just googled "boob") and we have been amazed to see that people have appreciated our hearts and our stories. thanks for sticking with us and for laughing with us. thanks for crying with us when we walk through heartbreak and for cheering for us when we need encouragement. we are thankful for you.

we are thankful for another day to enjoy it all

today we get to wake up and spend the day with those we love. we get to enjoy good food and laughter. we get to live another day knowing how blessed we are. that alone is good news. we aren't going to take today for granted. today and everyday we are beyond fortunate, beyond blessed and exponentially grateful. our job now is to take that gratitude and remember to cultivate it the next day, and the day after that, and the day after that. when we do that, we will get to remember each and every day just how much there is to be thankful for. 

we love working with rachael ray's pet food company, nutrish. if you haven't tried her pet food, give it a try. we cannot say enough good things about it. rachael ray's pet food is made from simple, natural ingredients that your pet needs for a complete and balanced diet. all nutrish pet food is available where you purchase your family's groceries which makes shopping easier. we love the health benefits it gives our pets, the convenience of the shopping and the way that rachael ray gives back. 

one of our favorite things about nutrish is that a portion of nutrish proceeds go to rachael's rescue, which was created to help animals in need. to date, over $14 million has been donated. this money has gone toward food, medical supplies and treatment for these unfortunate animals. we love that in some small way, when we care for our pets through nutrish pet food, other animals are being cared for as well. 

please follow nutrish at: 

Saturday, October 22, 2016

fall allergy survival guide

this post is sponsored by the lovely people of cvs minute clinic. as always, all thoughts and opinions are our own.

it's that time of the year. each fall, right as school is getting into full swing, it starts up again. my kids come home with itchy, watery eyes. they start to sneeze and cough. their asthma kicks in and they start wheezing and coughing some more. it seems like a never ending cycle and we face it every year at this time. 

my kids have seasonal allergies. five out of five kids come home in the fall with snotty noses and wheezy coughs. ragweed and dust does us in each and every fall and it seems to take an army of medication and precautions to get them back on the healthy road again. 

this year we are determined to be proactive and try to keep our kids in school and out of the doctor's office. in years past, their allergies have led to ear infections, sinus infections, bronchitis and other horrible sicknesses that can follow sinus congestion. we are trying to avoid all of those this year so are taking actions to prevent the congestion in the first place. 

first, it is important for us to know the difference between a cold or the flu and allergies. allergies are a body's hyper-sensitivity to substances in the environment. allergies are long lasting. while a cold usually will clear up after 7-10 days, allergies can last for months (as seen by my five kiddos). if you have a fever, it's not allergies, it's a cold or the flu. aches and pains...that's also a sign of the flu. if you have consistent itchy eyes, nasal congestion, sneezing and have symptoms that occur as soon as you come in contact with an allergen, it is probably allergies. the best way to treat allergies is to avoid them in the first place. 

here are five things that we do as a family to keep allergies and their symptoms at a minimum.

create a health plan with a nurse practitioner

every fall, we stop in to our cvs minute clinic to meet with a nurse practitioner to develop a family allergy action plan. we get all the medications we need filled for our kiddos and we get any and every new tip we can get for allergy prevention. we are fortunate enough to have two minute clinics in the same parking lot, literally two miles from my house. one is inside target and the other inside a cvs store. both are fantastic and i can even make online reservations for an appointment and can show up ten minutes before my appointment time completely checked in. it's fantastic and so convenient. i don't like to pull my kids out of school so i can even do all of their appointments on a saturday morning. we are in and out in no time and they don't have to miss any school assignments. on top of getting their prescription allergy medicine filled, we also get some great tips on allergy prevention. the nurse practitioners have given us all of the following tips to keep our kids healthy in the fall. 

clean, clean, clean

this is, arguably, my least favorite thing about fall allergy season. i have to be very diligent about keeping my house clean. as lovely fall breezes kick up, so do allergens. as kids run in and out of my house in the lovely, cooler weather, they bring in all sorts of allergens that can affect them for months. as my kids are allergic to dust, dusting and vacuuming is increasingly important over the fall months. these responsibilities are passed on to my children and they have to take part in the allergy prevention. we also are pretty diligent about vacuuming and mopping our hardwood floors as well. dirty or dusty floors can reek havoc on allergy symptoms so the best way to combat it is to keep things as clean as possible.

wash their clothes

i don't like doing more laundry than i have to and i am definitely not apposed to wearing jeans more than one day, especially for my kiddos. i do, however, have to make sure that in the fall, they don't wear sweatshirts and t-shirts repeatedly. those articles of clothing are right next to their little faces and, while they are enjoying the beautiful weather outdoors, they are also collecting allergens. the only way to get rid of those allergens is to wash their sweatshirts and t-shirts. i have to wash them more than i would like but it does make a huge difference in how my kids feel.

wash bedding frequently

this is another thing i would like to avoid but i have to force myself to do it often, especially in allergy season. bedding is a breeding ground for dust mites and dust just loves to fill up every nook and cranny. add to that the ragweed that comes into our house during the fall and it can be a disaster for my kids as they breath during the night time. i have to be extra diligent to wash bedding at least on a weekly basis.

keep windows closed

this one kills me. i feel like i wait all summer long for fresh air but i have to remember that open windows means all of the outside is free to come inside. this is really bad news for my allergic kiddos. i have to keep the windows closed and run the AC or the heater if i want the air circulating.

change air filters

this really needs to be done every season but it is especially true for us in the fall. we have to have our air filters clean so the air that is circulating is as clean as possible. some people also invest in hepa filters. we used to have one when our kids were toddlers and they worked wonders but as our kids have grown and their allergies and asthma have been better controlled, we have been able to cut back on the hepa filter use. with or without a hepa filter, keep air filters in the house clean during this season.

wash hands and face each time you come in from outdoors

this one is hard for my little boys to remember but they are getting used to it. each day after outdoor play, they have to come in and wash their hands and their faces. this simple activity removes a big portion of the ragweed from their bodies before they keep playing in the house. it has made a huge difference in how they feel throughout the day. they also have to shower and wash their hair every night. my kids play outside all afternoon. if they come in covered in ragweed pollen and do not shower, they will be breathing that pollen all night long. when that happens, the pollen also spreads to their bedding and they can keep coming in contact with it again and again. showering and washing out the pollen is very important each and every night. 

stay diligent with medications

my kids take their allergy medicines every single day. even when their allergies seem under control, we still have them take their medicines. we use it as prevention and we can tell from one day to the next if they have forgotten a day of medicine. this goes for their over the counter allergy medicine, their nasal sprays, their inhalers and their prescription allergy medicines. they have it all and they are religious about using it every day. when we miss, we tend to get really bad, really fast. that's just something we are not willing to deal with this year so we are taking care of our kids daily to make sure we don't get to that point. 

that's it. it may seem daunting but each day i stay diligent is a day my kids can function allergy and sickness free. that is a huge win in my book. how about you? how do you combat allergy season for your kiddos? we can't wait to hear.

Friday, September 23, 2016

kitten must-haves

this post is sponsored by rachael ray's nutrish. the thoughts and opinions are my own.

bringing home a new kitten to the family is such an exciting thing. be sure to be prepared by having all that you need on hand to make for a smooth transition. we recently rescued our kitten, lola from a shelter and have created this list of absolute must-haves for the new fur baby in your life.

1. food

when it comes to food, i only want to give lola the best. i pick nutrish zero grain.

cats' natural diets are very low in grains, as cats are natural carnivores. also, some cats may have grain allergies, which can cause skin irritations or other problems. these cats can benefit from a grain free diet, which removes the grain allergens.

real chicken or fish is always the number one ingredient in every bag of rachael ray™ nutrish® for cats. there's no ground corn, wheat or soy. and there's never any poultry by-product meals, artificial flavors or artificial preservatives. just real meat or fish and wholesome veggies plus the vitamins, minerals and taurine your cat needs to be healthy and happy.

also? as soon as i bought a bag of zero grain she legit tried to break into it and start eating. she absolutely loves it,. truly. it makes me feel good to be giving her the best, too.

2. food/water bowls
these are a given on any list of kitten must-haves, but how cute are these two sets?! gotta have it.

vivipet cat dining table

cat bowls with slurp and meow set

3. litter box

litter boxes are a for sure must. who wouldn't like this self cleaning one? if you are like me and don't have a big house with extra room for a litter box to hide, try this super cute piece of furniture that disguises the litter box perfectly! it's truly wonderful.

scoopfree ultra self-cleaning litter box

merry products pet house and litter box

4. litter

who knew litter had so many options?!  genelle and i found out about this awesome litter while at catcon and fell in love. they even have a yummy scented lavender option that helps disguise any cat smells. my favorite part is that it isn't as heavy as other brands and does a far superior job. 

5. collar

a collar is the perfect personality accessory for your new fur baby. show off your style with these favorites. 

blueberry pet pack of 2, hunting expedition with fish bone and leopard print adjustable breakaway kitten cat collar with bell

blueberry pet floral collection dog collar with red cherry, pink rose, green cactus and palm tree patterns

6. bed

although a cat bed isn't a necessity, (lola sleeps on the couch) we really love this cute, cozy option. 

kittikubbi - cat bed cave hideou

7. scratch post

you need to give your new addition a place to scratch, unless you want your furniture to be destroyed. we love this chic scratcher/lounge.

about nutrish:

nutrish is the fantastic line of super premium pet food created by the brilliant pet advocate, rachael ray. nutrish is made with simple, wholesome ingredients like real meat or fish, and do not contain poultry by-product meal or fillers.

a portion of nutrish proceeds go to rachael’s rescue®, which was created to help animals in need. to date, over $14MM has been donated. this money has gone toward food, medical supplies and treatments for these unfortunate animals.

all of the rachael ray nutrish products are available where you shop for your family's groceries, making specialty recipes accessible and convenient for every pet parent. if you are considering adding a new member to your family, please consider adoption. 

please follow nutrish on social media:

Thursday, September 22, 2016

fun finds: decorating for fall

i love the fall. it is my favorite season of all and my heart does a little happy dance on this day each year. i am thrilled as i prepare for all the beauty that is this glorious time of the year. i love the crisp weather, the falling leaves, the beautiful colors; everything about this time of year brings me joy. i look forward to decorating for this season each year as well and every year i stockpile more and more things to get my home ready. this year i have searched through etsy to find more amazing finds that may need to be added to my fall decor collection. you may want to add them to yours as well...


Friday, September 9, 2016

monthly must haves: lego architect series

my littles are lego obsessed. it's pretty much lego building all of the time at our home. i love the way the can follow the directions and build away, but i love even more when they use their own creativity to build amazing creations from their minds imagination. recently i came across the lego architecture series, which has become a new obsession for all of us. the boys love building "like an architect" and we are having so much fun learning together about the buildings, the countries/cities they each represent and other fun facts. if you are looking for a great way to learn and connect with your littles, check out some of these sets that we love and start making memories together. enjoy!