Monday, February 2, 2015


I wasn't going to make any resolutions this year. Things seem to get so busy during the year that I often forget my intentions. Stonyfield asked its YoGetters to share their healthy family 2015 resolutions, so it got me thinking. Instead of drawing up some elaborate plan for our family, I'm just going to choose a word for us to focus on. This year it will be happiness.

When everyone in your family is happy, good things happen. You have more energy for projects. You are more playful. You have the drive to cook and eat healthy. You focus on the happy thoughts instead of what has you down or what is going wrong. Staying in a happy train of thought sounds a lot easier than it really is. You have to focus and not lose sight of the feeling. Because once you slip, it's easy to go down the spiral.

So to help keep us on track and thinking happy thoughts, I put together some of our favorite things that make our family happy:

*I am part of the Stonyfield YoGetters group of bloggers and receive compensation and products as part of the program. My opinion is not influenced in any way.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Things That Move Eco Birthday Party

So I'm a little bit behind on posting, but better late than never! For little man's 2nd birthday we threw a eco-friendly Things That Move party! Because we all know 2 year olds are nothing but on the move. Instead of getting sponsors this year like I have in the past, I decided to do it all myself. But the people I worked with are so awesome, I want to give them recognition because they have some amazing eco-party supplies!

I found an awesome custom printable company on Etsy called StorybookLaneCrafts. She had several awesome packages that you buy, download and print yourself- which I love because you can choose what to print instead of having items you don't need plus you can use recycled paper. 

She was able to make us a custom kit with several of her designs since she had several cars, trucks, planes, trains, and road signs. She also made our invites and thank you cards. Excellent customer service, great quality, and love that we can still use the printables in Keenan's room. 

The kit also included tent cards which you can have her customize or edit yourself.

In October, I won a giveaway from Susty Party. It happened to be black plates and cups, which were perfect for our party! I had a custom stamp made and with white ink, it looked awesome on the cups. 
Susty Party creates disposable tableware from renewable or sustainably harvested materials, and made in North America. 
The kit came with bowls, large and small plates, utensils, napkins, tablecloth and cups. I added some road tape to the tablecloth and to tape it to the table so the toddlers didn't pull it down. 

We also used the road tape to put on a white tablecloth and taped to the floor using road washi tape from 2Berry Creative for the kids to sit and eat their cake. 

I also used the washi tape on a wooden K that has been used at my babyshower and his first birthday. This year I decided to take it easy and I let Whole Foods make the cake. 

I have to say I am more than impressed with their customer service. They called me the morning of the party to let me know the cake wasn't ready and no one was there who knew how to make vegan icing. Of course I was freaking out. 15 minutes later the bakery manager called me to let me know she would handle it, deliver the cake to my door by the time of the party- for free, and asked if there was anything else she could bring. The cake was delicious! 

Instead of using disposable plates for the food, we used Green Toys trucks, trains, and some other trucks we had around the house. Here are some of the other organic and dairy-free themed food we had: 

The kids played indoors on small riding toys, played on our Ikea road carpet, and played pin the propeller. It was a blast! 

For recipes, you can check out my Pinterest board

Save Yourself

During winter break I decided I was going to finally finish a novel that I started over the summer. Being back in school has left little time to read and write for pleasure. This semester was the hardest so far. On top of taking biology and clinical research, I was still working from home while taking care of little man- on top of moving and getting married :) As much as I would have loved to be writing, reading, and researching- it just wasn't in the cards.

On my first day of break, I started reading, Save Yourself by Kelly Braffet, and I got totally enthralled by the book. It is an intense dark thriller- perfect easy read. And I was so excited that little man was actually letting me read while occupying himself as I raced through the pages. Then I got to the end. And it was like the author just gave up on her story. It was rushed. It was messy. It just ended and I felt let down. I felt like I wasted my time.

Which made me think about my blog. I guess I kind of just gave up, rushed it, and its been pretty messy for the past year. I feel like I've let you down and myself. I spent a ton of time and energy building a readership, building the blog and finding sponsors, not to mention the research behind lots of my earlier articles. I had so much fun building relationships with you and vendors. Now its all fallen through the cracks, and it makes me sad. So my 2015 goal is to slowly pick back up and hopefully I will have the blog hopping again by this time next year!

Thanks for sticking around!

*I received a copy of Save Yourself from Blogging For Books
Save Yourself by Kelly Braffett 

"Patrick Cusimano is in a bad way. His father is in jail, he works the midnight shift at a grubby convenience store, and his brother's girlfriend, Caro, has taken their friendship to an uncomfortable new level. On top of all that, he can't quite shake the attentions of Layla Elshere, a goth teenager who befriends Patrick for reasons he doesn't understand and doesn't fully trust. The temptations these two women offer are pushing him to his breaking point. 

Meanwhile, Layla's little sister, Verna, is suffering through her first year of high school. She's become a prime target for her cruel classmates, not just because of her strange name and her fundamentalist parents: Layla's bad-girl rep proves to be too huge a shadow for Verna, so she falls in with her sister's circle of outcasts and misfits whose world is far darker than she ever imagined."

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

Reading has been one of my passions since I was a little girl. I had hoped to pass this down to my kids, so I began reading to E when she was still in my womb. The day she was born, I began reading Goodnight Moon to her every night before bed. She started reading at 4, but never really got into it. Getting her to read is kind of like making her clean her room... she'll do it, but never without someone telling her to first.

So when I heard our book club book was Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, I knew I had to get her in on it. She's seen both versions of the movie, so I thought it would be interesting to get her perspective of the book. After the first night, she was hooked. She stayed up past 10 p.m. and fell asleep reading every night for a week.
From the mouth of the babe:
I really liked it!!! It was exciting and really funny. My favorite part was when all the people went through the horrible things, like Augustus who went into the chocolate river and the person who really liked gum but it wasn’t really gum and turned her into a blueberry and when she went to the juicing room she came out blue! And Veruca who always demanded things, the squirrels came and put her down the garbage shoot! (She starts laughing) The book wasn’t like the movie at all. The details were different in the book. I liked the book better cause it was funnier and I could use my imagination.
I think I may have just gotten her hooked.

This post was inspired by the classic Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl, which celebrates its 50th anniversary this year. To celebrate, Penguin Young Readers Group, in partnership with Dylan’s Candy Bar, the world-famous candy emporium, and First Book, a nonprofit social enterprise that provides books for children from low-income families, is launching a year-long international celebration. 

Head over to From Left to Write to learn how you and your child can have a chance to win the Golden Ticket Sweepstakes where the grand prize is a magical trip to New York City plus much more! For every entry submitted, Penguin Young Readers Group will make a donation to First Book. Then, join From Left to Write on July 24 as we discuss Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Budsies- Artwork to Life {review}

E has become quite the artist, so when I heard about Budsies, I knew it would be something she would be ecstatic about. Budsies brings original artwork to life through stuffed animals! They take simple drawings and turn them into adorable dolls in all shapes and sizes. 
Owl for Budsies
Once you pick the art work you'd like to have recreated, you submit to Budsies via their website, email, or through a text message. They then approve the art, create, and ship within 5-8 weeks. Super simple! They keep you updated throughout the process and then you receive your doll through USPS. 
We placed our order June 4 and received her July 2. E was so excited when she opened the box. It looks just like her drawing! The eyebrows are a little bit different since her artwork was a bit detailed, but other than that, it was spot on. 
The great thing about Budsies is that you don't have to be a true artist to enjoy. As I was going through their website, I noticed some of my favorites were drawn by preschoolers. This is something I will definitely do again when little man is older! 

The dolls are about 16" and are made with polyester. Budsies is registered with the CPSC and have their products tested by a CPSC accredited independent testing laboratory. The stuffed animals can be spot cleaned and left out to dry. The dolls go through a stress tests before shipping to ensure they will last a very long time, but you shouldn't put in the washing machine. 

Be sure to follow Budsies:

Sample Disclosure: The opinions expressed above are honest, accurate, and not encouraged anyway by monetary donations. A sample free of charge was received from said company, as stated within the editorial.