, pub-8087192757053655, DIRECT, f08c47fec0942fa0 Director Jewels: January 2015

Saturday, January 31, 2015


  "A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2015."

Lincoln - need to see our haircut lady!
Someday I might let it waaay grow out, though. I like this look.

Addie - her sad and concerned face kills me every time.

Linking up at Practising Simplicity.

Friday, January 30, 2015

It Will Be Okay by Lysa TerKeurst {Children's Book Review}

Disclosure: I received a sample copy of this book to review. All opinions expressed are my own.

Lincoln, at the age of not-quite-four, is not a fan of change. He dislikes it when day turns to night, when we have to go downstairs to get in the van, or getting in and out of the bathtub. He has a tough time trying new foods, driving home a different way than normal, and a few other things along those lines. In other words...he's three years old, and just figuring out life. I don't have the heart to tell him that these may not be the biggest obstacles he will ever face!

It Will Be Okay is a children's picture book by Lysa TerKeurst. This story allows my little ones to experience the fears and changes that Little Seed and Little Fox encounter, and help them understand that even when things seem scary, God is still in control - and He has a plan for their lives!

The story starts when Little Fox and Little Seed find themselves unlikely friends. Little Seed fears the future when the farmer comes to plant him, but Little Fox stays by his side and watches as he grows up into a magnificent tree.

The book has a lot of narration - it is sometimes a bit too much on each page to keep my toddlers' attention. It is easy enough to tell them the main points of the story, however, even if we skip a few small sections of text. I love the simplicity of the message that points to a simple faith. The illustrations by Natalia Moore are just lovely. There is a section of ten related scriptures to memorize with kids near the front of the book, which is a wonderful resource, as well.

My kids love this book and request to read it over and over! I'm very happy to have it as part of our home library.

Thanks to BookLook Bloggers for my review sample of this book. I received no compensation for posting a review and all views expressed are my own.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

$500 Soothe & Play Prize Package Giveaway

I could not resist signing up to share this giveaway with you - it's filled with some things that we love (especially Sophie the Giraffe and the Step2 Easy Turn, who wouldn't want a $150 Visa Gift Card?!)! Take a minute to enter below - and good luck!

Welcome to the Soothe and Play Giveaway, generously sponsored by Medi-Pals!
Having a sick infant or child can be emotional for both the child and caregiver, and that's why Medi-Pals created their kid-friendly medication dispensers. Available in 3 fun characters, Medi-Pals dispensers are familiar and fun for the infant, easy for the caregiver to use, and they always ensure that the child is getting the accurate dosage of medicine. Also, Medi-Pals are made in the USA! Thrifty Nifty Mommy recently had the chance to review the Medi-Pals medication dispensers, and she said they worked like a charm! Be sure to check out her full review to get the details on how these dispensers work.
Key benefits of Medi-Pals pacifier medicine dispensers:
  • They're softer than a straight syringe, and the syringe sits snugly in the nipple, so no medicine gets lost or stuck to the sides.
  • They're accurate - the caregiver is in complete control of dosage.
  • The diverter on the pacifier nipple fans the medicine to the sides, not straight to the back of the child's throat, so that the child won't gag and spit the medicine out.
  • They're reusable, dishwasher-safe, and easy to clean.
  • The pacifier and faceplate are easy to put together and take apart. You can even change faceplates!
  • They work with more than just oral vitamins, pain relievers, and oral antibiotics—it can also be used with baby food or even honey. If you can get it into the syringe, it will work.
Medi-Pals wants to help you SOOTHE your baby so they'll be ready to PLAY -
that's why they've put together an AMAZING prize package for one lucky person!
This prize package is valued at over $500 and includes:

  • 2 Medi-Pals dispensers: Your children will get to take their vitamins and medicine stress-free with Freddie the Frog and Lilly the Ladybug.
  • 1 Blooming Bath in Yellow
  • 1 Mamaroo (Original version, classic gray color)
  • 1 Vulli Sophie the Giraffe Teether
  • 1 new and improved Step2 Easy Turn Coupe
  • 1 $150 VISA Gift Card
Open to the continental US only, ages 18 and up. Ends 2/11/15 at 11:59 PM EST.
Enter using the Giveaway Tools form below. Good Luck!

Disclosure: I did not receive any compensation for hosting this giveaway. One winner will be randomly selected using the Giveaway Tools random selector and notified via email by the hosts of this giveaway, Thrifty Nifty Mommy and Viva Veltoro. Once notified, the winner will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest or Google. Void where prohibited. Please note, design of Step2 Easy Turn Coupe may vary depending on in-stock availability as it's being redesigned.

Things She Says {January 2015}

Disclosure: I received an outfit for Addie to review. All opinions expressed are my own.

First of all, let's take a moment to compare the photos in this post to this one from October, which is the last time I wrote a "Things She Says" post. It's only been three months. Why does Addie look like she has grown up by about a year? Where's my baby?! Wail.

Her communication continues to expand, every single day. Quite honestly, I don't think there are many words she doesn't know - but if she finds something she doesn't recognize, she says "What is THIS?!" I love having these posts to look back on... here's what she was saying about a year ago.

"I guess!" This has been added to a lot of statements lately. It's time to nurse, I guess. I want a cracker, I guess. I like broccoli, I guess.

"Can I...havealittlebite?" She is constantly begging for food. Especially if someone else is eating.

"I not want to." She is two. She declares it. Mostly with this phrase.

"You keep me safe!" Said when she wants to be held and protected from Lincoln, the dark, or an imaginary scary monster.

"There's always a-morrow for dreams to come twue." Ever since the Christmas season, which started off for us with seeing Rudolph at the Coterie Theatre, both kids have been singing the songs constantly.

ANYTHING that Lincoln says. They parrot each other all day. And fuss at each other. And attack each other with hugs.

"Oh, okay!" This is her typical response when asked to do something she's willing to do, or in response to most things Lincoln suggests.

"It's too scawwy!" Her pronunciation of scary is killing me.

"I found she!" She's getting her pronouns mixed up lately and it's kind of adorable.

"'s so CUTE!" Things that gain this reaction: babies, animals of any kind, dresses (like the one she is wearing in these photos from FabKids), hairbows, broccoli, Octonauts, snow, book characters, and the list goes on and on.

 "I wuv you." The best one of all. Usually said with her hands on either side of my face or her cheek pressed against mine. Precious.

You can find FabKids monthly outfit subscriptions with a VIP membership starting at $29.95/month, or purchase individual pieces with a regular membership.

Thanks to FabKids for providing the outfit featured in today's post. All opinions expressed are my own. For more information, you can read my Disclosure Policy.  

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

$75 YumEarth Organics Candy & Snacks Giveaway for Valentine's Day

Kids and candy...they just go together, don't they? My kids quite honestly do not get to indulge in sugar-filled yumminess very often, but when they do... I prefer to give them organic options that at least contain natural colors and ingredients. Lincoln and Addie would freak out over the awesomeness of this giveaway!

YumEarth Valentine's Day Giveaway
Welcome to the Yum Earth Valentine's Day Giveaway Event,
hosted by Easy Green Mom and sponsored by YumEarth!

Give the gift of  YumEarth organic candy and snacks this Valentine's Day!  YumEarth offers mouth-watering snacks and sweets made with organic and natural ingredients, no artificial colors, no artificial flavors, and none of the major allergens, such as gluten, nuts and dairy. YumEarth snacks will be a perfect treat for your sweetheart or to give as class Valentines!
Check out how Easy Green Mom is using YumEarth Organic candy this Valentine's Day HERE.

YumEarth Valentine's Day

You can purchase YumEarth online or in stores nationwide. Find where to buy YumEarth products this Valentine's Day here.
You can connect with YumEarth on Facebook and follow them on Twitter and Pinterest.

Enter to win!

YumEarth will be giving one lucky reader a YumEarth Valentine's Day Prize Pack Valued at $75.
This giveaway is open to US residents, 18+ only. The giveaway will end at 11:59 pm CST on 02/07. 

Disclosure: This giveaway is sponsored by the YumEarth. Easy Green Mom and the participating blogs are not responsible for prize fulfillment. This giveaway is not affiliated with Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google, or Instagram. Please contact amber{at} with any questions about this giveaway.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Pillow Forts & Family Fun - Our Weekend Recap

Disclosure: thanks to Pop Secret for sponsoring today's family fun discussion!

I remember spending hours in forts as a kid - we used my dad's music stands and microphone stands to raise the droopy parts of the blankets so we had a high-vaulted blanket fort in which to have many adventures. It was awesome.

So, when I became a parent - I was super ready for fort-building. And happily, my kids love building forts. At least, they love it in theory. What tends to happen is that I build them an epic place to play, they run in and out of it, and then they have no idea what to do with themselves. We need to do some more work on imaginative play, perhaps?

All that aside, this weekend we decided to turn our kitchen table into a fortress of amazing awesomeness with the help of our toddlers, our vast blanket collection, a plush Bowser (because, mascot), and our couch cushions.

Lincoln and Addie were thrilled with the idea of this fort and were willing and eager assistants who gladly dragged every blanket, pillow, and plush toy they could find into our new play space. They giggled and crawled in and out the door, shrieking in laughter then fighting over who got to sit by the green pillow. Oh, toddler life.

We build forts every now and then, but this one was special because Daddy was home from work and we all got to enjoy the experience as a family! A lot of times our weekends are jam packed with activities and errands, so just having an excuse to crawl under a blanket onto a pile of pillows was fantastic.

And what fort is a great fort without a snack? We popped a bag of sea salt popcorn and camped out in our little fortress to make the most of our adventure!

Every time I do something like this with my kids, I'm reminded that it is so worth it to just put down the phone or computer or hot glue gun and be present with them. Just to enjoy them in their own little world with no expectations is really one of my greatest blessings as a mama.

I know that someday, I'll have forgotten about all the work that went undone and the sleepless nights...and I'll just remember chubby little hands shoving popcorn in my mouth while I get a crick in my neck from being under the kitchen table.

And that's kind of awesome.

Pop Secret knows that fun (like popcorn!) is better when it’s shared. Send Pop Secret your pillow fort stories and pictures on Facebook. You can upload them right to the Pop Secret timeline and tag them #PopSecretForts. Who knows...they might just share a little something back!

Right now, you can also grab a $1 coupon to make your family fun night even more affordable! Tip from a truly frugal (aka broke) mom: building forts is one of the cheapest activities you will ever find!

Many thanks to Pop Secret for sponsoring today’s story! For more information, you can read my Disclosure Policy.

Sunday, January 25, 2015



 "A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2015."

Lincoln - always having adventures with his beloved cars.
Addie - when did this baby turn into a teenager? I mean, really.

Linking up at Practising Simplicity.

Friday, January 23, 2015

20 Random Facts About Me {30 Things My Kids Should Know}

I'm failing a little bit at my "thirty by 30" list. I have not read any books, caught up (or touched) Project Life, paid off any significant debt, or traveled to a state I've never seen. I only have a year and a half left, so I'm thinking I need to double my efforts and see if at least a few things can be knocked off the list.

One of the things on my list is to blog the 30 Things My Kids Should Know About Me series. And that, I think, is definitely still achievable. So, without further's the first post! Since these posts will be "technically" for my kids, you are welcome to read or ignore as you see fit.  

20 Random Facts About Myself

1. I've eaten fewer than 10 hamburgers in my entire life. I've also only ever chewed one piece of gum.
2. I prefer to sleep with the covers up to my chin, but a foot sticking out from the blanket.
3. My left wrist was severely sprained in a dramatic onstage moment (And Then There Were None, 2007) and still sometimes causes me pain so significant that I have to wear a brace for days at a time.
4. A little part of me wants to live on a farm, but I think I would balk at the amount of work it would require, so I'm not willing to give it a chance.
5. When I was about 8 years old, I refused to wear pants for an entire year. Dresses are cuter.
6. My dream home would have a library the size current home.
7. I want a cat. Kind of. Until I think about how there would be fur covering all of my furniture and clothing.
8. I never had any intention to be a "crunchy" mom. Cloth diapers? Psshhh, no. Eating healthy, whole foods? Why bother? Once I started having to make decisions for other people's lives (aka, kids), my whole perspective changed quite a bit.
9. Stashed in my parents' basement are dozens and dozens of journals from my childhood and teenage years.
10. Everything I know about blogging, I learned from Xanga. Okay - that's not totally true, but I did learn basic HTML coding and that it's important to post regular, interesting content to keep up a readership. My old Xanga had far more comment action than this blog! But that's maybe because at the age of 16, we all had nothing to do but write on each other's blogs....before Facebook, you know.
11. I'm a photo junkie / scrapbooking enthusiast with not enough time to keep up. It bothers me a lot that all of our memories are just sitting on a hard drive and not on display in our home.
12. When I was expecting Lincoln, there was one week I ate nothing but ice cream sandwiches. True story. Thank you, constant pregnancy sickness.
13. My cars have all had names, except for my (current) van.
14. I passed out on the sidewalk across the street from the Alamo when I was 15. Heat exhaustion.
15. I'm a serious packrat. I know this is not a big surprise to anyone. But perhaps admitting it will help me to overcome the irrational need to keep everything?
16. I think it would be fun to live in NYC. Maybe not forever...but just for a season.
17. I can't deal with scary movies.
18. I will always harbor a slight bitterness that Pinterest did not exist when I was planning my wedding.
19. I don't drink. The only exceptions in my lifetime are when I had a few sips of champagne (accidentally) at a wedding, vodka (on purpose) at another wedding, and one time when I had to order alcohol as part of a mystery shop.
20. I'm too tall to be a Disney princess at Walt Disney World by about an inch and that totally stinks. Even if it's not a career path that I intended to pursue, it is a mournful, lifelong sorrow that I shall always bear.

What's something random about YOU that you want all the internet to know??

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Easy DIY Tissue Paper Flower Poof Decorations

It's now been over two months since my daughter's second birthday party and I'm just now starting to share some details from her special day. Typical mommy blogger - am I right?

For Addie's Tea for 2 with Winnie the Pooh party, I knew I wanted some girly decor to give a slightly fancy tea party atmosphere. I've been making these tissue paper flower poofs for years and they seemed like the perfect touch. The best part is that they are cheap and easy decorations!

Here's how to make them yourself!

Supplies Needed
-Tissue Paper in your chosen color scheme
-Ribbon, Fishing Line, or something else to hang them from
-Tape (optional)

Note: this is a photo-heavy post - sometimes crafts are more easily explained when they're SEEN, not just written out!

To start, decide how big you want your flower poofs to be. I like to do a variety of sizes. The white flower used in this example used half sheets of tissue paper and came out at about 6-7" wide.

1. Make a stack of tissue paper sheets. The more you have, the fuller your flower will be - though if you have too many, it will be impossible to separate the flower layers. I like to use 8-10 sheets. You can use full sheets for large flowers or cut all of your layers into a smaller square for a smaller flower.

2. Accordion Fold the Tissue Paper. Fold a strip of the sheet (about 3/4" - 1") and flatten the edge. Flip the paper over and fold in the other direction. Continue this pattern until you have folded the whole stack into one sheet. Photos below will help explain.

3. Once all layers are folded, you will have one long strip. Smooth out these layers and make it somewhat flat.

4. Fold in half, to find the center. You want to make sure your flower is even, so finding the center of the strip is best. Use your ribbon, string, or other tying supply to tie a knot around the center folded line. 

5. (optional) I like to secure a little part of the ribbon with tape here - just so that it doesn't slide around

6. Add a length of string around your centered ribbon. This will be how you hang the flower, so make sure it's long enough!

7. Using scissors, cut off the ends of the layers of your paper. You can experiment with this - I've seen pointy edges, wavy, and more. I like doing basic rounded edges as they give a nice soft look.

8. Fan out the layers on one side of your center.

9. Separate the tissue paper layers. This is perhaps the hardest step - you have to peel the layers back carefully and slowly or they may rip. 

Keep peeling back the layers until they are all unfolded, then carefully shape them so that there are no gaps or uneven spaces.

Next, do the same for the other side. Once your flower is all unfolded, you're basically done - just continue to shape it until it looks perfect.

10. Find the string or ribbon that you threaded through the center earlier, tie a knot and hang!

That's it! Super easy, right? And so adorable. These work great as a decoration for a tea party, birthday bash, or even a baby nursery. 

How will you decorate your life with these pretty flower puffs?

Saturday, January 17, 2015

What's Up With Inkling? {A Pondering Creature Report}

Creature report! Creature report! Creature report!

I've not made is a secret that my kids are obsessed with The Octonauts. These adventurous little explorers save the lives of hurt and sick sea creatures every single day! They happily abide in the Octopod, down in the deep blue sea, coexisting as only a cat, a penguin, a polar bear, a bunny rabbit, a dog, and a bunch of vegetable-animals (vegimals) can. They're an awfully prepared bunch - with Gups named after almost every letter of the alphabet, which used for exploring places like the Midnight Zone undetected by dangerous creatures that might eat them all. The vegimals, though mostly incapable of speaking, manage to be in charge of feeding the different animals meals that apparently fit within their food groups - you know, from raw fish to lettuce to seals (what?! That's what polar bears eat, according to Wikipedia).

But perhaps the most puzzling creature of all who resides in the Octopod is Professor Inkling, a pink octopus who is rarely seen.

I mean, he's there sometimes. Occasionally, he produces some knowledge (because, Professor - duh). But a lot of the time, he's entirely ignored. Which leads me to many deep and ponderous questions about this perhaps slighted character.

1. How precisely is he surviving? He's an octopus. The last time I checked, that's the sort of creature that needs to be actually living in water. In the photos here, we see Professor Inkling hanging out around all of the land mammals who have (of course) no problem breathing the air inside the Octopod.

2. Is he just too cool for school? Apparently, the hats worn by the rest of the Octo-crew are totally beneath him. His blue bow tie is sort of the same color, so perhaps that's his link to the rest of the crew. Also, shouldn't he be wearing Octo-boots on all eight of his legs?

3. What is his actual purpose? Captain Barnacles seems to be in charge of everything that goes on. Unless it's a medical situation. Or a meal. Or the repair of a Gup. Inkling's title of Professor indicates that he is knowledgeable about something...but, what, exactly? I would think it's pretty expensive to maintain this undersea ship that is fully powered and operational at all times. It seems that a professor might be better as a consultant from afar, instead of using up valuable resources like food and air (which he's not able to breathe anyway - see point 1). Am I right?

All in all, it doesn't matter, though. Because Professor Inkling has a monocle. And monocles are pretty darn cool.

Did you like this post? You may also enjoy Watch Out for the Shrinky Bush!
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