Tuesday, August 26, 2014


I have got three serious LEGO lovers at my house. I loved playing with LEGOS as a kid too and I am happy to see my kids experience the same fun. I think LEGOS are great and offer fun construction play that inspires children to make things at an early age to help build self-confidence and creative thinking skills. Sometimes my older boys get upset at their younger brother for trying to mess with their LEGOS or break what they have built. It is hard because my 4 year old just wants to play, but sometimes in trying to build he actually ends up messing up the older boys' creations.

LEGO JUNIORS is a perfect solution for me! LEGO® JUNIORS is designed to give children age 4-7 a great first experience with LEGO bricks through iconic, fun and easy to build models. LEGO JUNIORS sets contain quick start elements and numbered pre-packed bags that can be built without help from Mom or Dad – which makes any small builder extra proud.

It is so great because my 4 year old had his own age appropriate set to play with and could build it by himself alongside his older brothers when they were building their set. He felt so accomplished and big just like them because he was doing what they were doing. They all had a great time together and I was so happy!

Making and playing are a critical part of a child’s development as it is how he/she discovers and learns about the world. Making is the simple act of doing. It is both a physical experience—being hands on—and awareness that the world is constantly being built and rebuilt. In order to develop as creative thinkers, children need opportunities, stimulating environments and engaging materials to Make. Offering young children age-appropriate supplies is an important part of the journey. Materials like LEGO® JUNIORS bricks set kids up for successful, non-frustrating, experiences for them to Make and re-Make.

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

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Friday, August 22, 2014

naturebox snacks for back to school {special offer!}

Are you all back to school yet? We have a couple more weeks before we begin but I am already stocking up on everything I need for school lunches and snacks. One of the biggest jobs of back to school is getting back into the routine of making lunches. It is always a challenge of finding healthy options that are also quick and convenient. Life is busy, so I got to make it easy on myself! I want my kids to be able to have variety and not get bored of snacks and lunches.

I recently tried NatureBox and was really happy with it. NatureBox delivers a world of carefully sourced and nutritionist-approved foods right to your door. Talk about convenience!

NatureBox is also healthy. Each snack contains wholesome ingredients - with no artificial sweeteners, flavors or colors. That is a huge draw for me because I want my kids to have good snacks that will fuel them with energy to get their work and activities done.

When you join NatureBox, you'll receive five different snacks every month. You can choose the snacks you want or be surprised with their carefully curated selections. Got a dietary goal or taste preference? NatureBox has 100+ snacks to excite and delight every palate. It is so great that you can make different selections and get a variety that your whole family will enjoy.

I tried 5 different snacks and they were all super tasty! Check out the NatureBox Snack Catalog to see all the delicious snack options you can choose from!

NatureBox snacks are perfect for getting back into the swing of back to school, whether it's in the lunchbox, carpooling, or for after school snacking!

Click here to get 50% off your first month’s NatureBox delivery! ($10 value) using promo code: SNACKTOSCHOOL

Promotion is good for 50% off your first month to month box or $10 off your first box in your first prepaid subscription. New and US subscribers only. Not valid on gift subscriptions and may not be combined with any other offers.

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

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Monday, August 18, 2014

swiffer big green box

Anyone else have a hard time keeping up with your house cleaning? I know I do! I love a clean house, so that's not the issue. The issue is finding the time to get everything cleaned up and keeping it clean with 3 boys in the house (4 if you count the husband)! It's just a reality of having kids, they are messy! I try to deep clean as often as I can, but often times there is just time for a quick clean up.

Enter my friends at Swiffer. Have you seen their big green box commercials? I love them. I love seeing people get those boxes and get so excited about some simple tools to clean their homes. I am a big fan of Swiffer products. And lucky for me...I recently got my own big green box!

It was filled with items that are perfect for my home full of boys. Swiffer sweeper and swiffer dusters are truly a staple in my home. I love the dusters because they really get in those hard places. It uses thousands of fluffy fibers that change shape to trap dust without spreading it around!

It is also so great that Swiffer products are easy for my kids to use so I can help them learn hard work and have them help with the chores. Especially since they helped make the mess! Swiffer actually makes it fun and easy for others to help out with cleaning. This leaves people with more time to enjoy what matters most to them, and less time worrying about or dealing with the mess at home.

Swiffer gave me a big green box to deliver to a friend and I was so excited to share the Swiffer love! Can you tell me friend was pretty surprised and excited?

She has three little ones at home too so we chatted over all the supplies about how great they are and she was so happy to get to work using the Swiffer sweeper.

We couldn't believe how much junk the sweeper picked up despite her already vacuumed floor. Impressive!

I was so happy to share Swiffer with my friend and to have it in my own home! It really does make cleaning up quick and easy.

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

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Friday, August 15, 2014

Gummy VItamins in Disney and Marvel Shapes {NatureSmart}

This post was sponsored by NBTY through their partnership with Circle of Moms by POPSUGAR. While I was compensated by Circle of Moms by POPSUGAR to write a post about NatureSmart Vitamins, all opinions are my own.

With three boys in my house life can get pretty hectic, especially in summer. We are often out having fun at the beach or pool and playing for long hours each day! Sometimes I am too exhausted to cook dinner on those nights, or we are rushing off to another activity so we grab takeout or I whip up something really quick. I always try to include some fruits and veggies but let’s be honest, sometimes it is just hard to ensure my kids are getting all the vitamins they need. My doctor has recommended giving vitamins to my boys and then when they are picky about certain foods I can still feel good that they are getting what they need.

Vitamins can be kind of yucky tasting though and it can be hard to get your kids to eat them! My boys love Disney and Marvel so when I saw Gummy Vitamins in Disney and Marvel shapes, I was super excited to try them out!

Of course they love the Marvel ones the best because they think they are so cool, but they aren’t ashamed to eat the princess ones either! They have different flavors and my boys love them all! They actually beg me to eat their vitamins which is wonderful.  I am so happy they enjoy them and they think they are so fun.

I also love that the bottle has a viewing tool on the side so you can see how many vitamins are left in the bottle and know when to buy more.

If you have a kid who is picky about vitamins I urge you to try the Gummy Vitamins in Disney and Marvel shapes. Not only will they love the fun shapes and familiar characters, but they will love the taste!

Disney Elements ©Disney,
Disney/Pixar Elements ©Disney/Pixar
Manufactured by NatureSmart, LLC
©MARVEL Manufactured by Rexall Sundown, Inc.

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Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Q's race to the top game {emotional intelligence}

This shop is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Pollinate Media Group® and EQtainment, but all my opinions are my own. #pmedia  #Qsracetothetop http://my-disclosur.es/OBsstV

One of my family's favorite things to do is play games together! We love it and I love that it really bonds and we have so many great laughs and fun times when we play. I got to try out a really fun game recently called Q's Race to the Top and I am excited to introduce you to this great game company.

EQtainment helps kids practice emotional intelligence through fun and affordable games, storybooks, and video. We hear a lot about emotional intelligence and how important it is for kids to develop! Think of EQ as all the important skills outside of their IQ or academic education, such as self control, motivation, empathy, and social skills. Studies have shown that having a high emotional quotient boosts career success, relationship satisfaction, leadership skills, health, humor, and happiness. It is definitely something I want my kids to learn.

We tried Qs Race to the Top from EQtainment and had so much fun with it! My kids loved it and I felt like they were learning great skills while having a ton of fun. It also comes with a book for the kids to read which is an awesome bonus!

What I love about the game is that there are three categories/colors of cards that the kids get to choose based on what color square they land on. The three categories are based on behavior, social skills, and physical coordination. They get asked to do different tasks or answer questions. It really got my kids thinking about different social situations and what the appropriate response is. It was especially helpful for my almost 5 year old to hear what things he should be thinking of in different situations.

They really had fun with some of the physical challenges. Some of them were even tricky for mom which got the boys really giggling!

I think playing games as a family is such a great way to enjoy quality time together and build strong relationships. It is even better when a company like EQtainment makes games that really focus on great skills for kids and learning experiences that focus on emotional intelligence.

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Wednesday, July 30, 2014

muppets party hats {tutorial}

This post is written as part of a sponsored campaign with The Blueprint Social and Disney.

My boys love the Muppets and have anxiously been awaiting the release of the Muppets Most Wanted movie. I decided it would be fun to throw a little movie party and have the kids help make some crafts to celebrate!

These party hats were really easy to make and the kids love them! You just need to get some party hats, construction paper and embellishments.

I am going to show you how I made the Kermit the Frog hat. First, I started off by opening up the party hat to use as a template on my construction paper so I could cover the hat with the right size and shape. Just trace it and cut it out.

 Then you can tape or staple the paper onto the hat to cover it. 

Next I made Kermit's collar by cutting out some triangles in a lighter color of green construction paper and glued it onto the hat. 

Then I started adding the features, cutting out his eyes and using a sharpie to add the black shapes in the middle.

Then it was his tongue and mouth.

Voila...Kermit the Frog in party hat form!

Your kids can wear the party hats or use them as hand puppets! My kids loved putting them on their hands and acting out parts of the movie.

All the other hats were made in similar fashion by replicating the features of the characters onto the hat. There are so many fun characters in this movie you can make whichever characters your kids will enjoy! Have them help decide and design, it is a fun activity for the whole family.

Be sure to check out Muppets Most Wanted available on Blu-ray Combo Pack and Digital HD August 12th at Disney.com. It is packed with dozens of guest cameos, new songs and the most extended, most exclusive scenes not seen in theaters, Muppets: Most Wanted is the most hilarious, most wanted movie ever! 

Follow Muppets Most Wanted on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest for all the latest information.

Design adapted from http://www.maryhadalittleparty.com/

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Tuesday, July 22, 2014

starburst sorbet bars {and a giveaway!}

It is summer and what is one of the best parts about summer?! The BBQs! We always love having BBQs in the summer and spending our evenings with friends. It is fun to cook outside and enjoy the lovely weather. I am always on the lookout for refreshing treats to serve up to my guests that both kids and adults will enjoy and that are also easy! I heard about these new STARBURST™ Brand Sorbet Bars and I had to try them out!

STARBURST™ Brand Sorbet Bars have the taste of a STARBURST™ strawberry fruit chew in a cold and refreshing sorbet bar with only 70 delicious calories! Now what could be bad about that? Nothing! Summer is so hot and this is the perfect treat to cool you off. They are delicious! My whole family really enjoyed them.

I love that they look just like a Starburst candy! 

STARBURST™ Brand Sorbet Bars pack an exhilarating burst of strawberry flavor in a light and delicious sorbet bar that is perfect to enjoy any time. Available in 2.6-ounce 4-Packs and 2.6-ounce singles, STARBURST™ Brand Sorbet Bars are a crowd-pleasing favorite.

If you want to try these bars for yourself then you could be in luck. We are giving away a set of coupons to try them for free! To enter leave a comment with what treats you love most in summer. Giveaway will end on July 27, 2014 at 11:59pm PT. Be sure to follow Starburst on Facebook and Twitter for all the latest updates! 

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

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Friday, July 11, 2014

Montagne Jeunesse Renew You Sleep Spa Masks {giveaway}

Does anyone else feel like your skin takes a real beating in summer? I sure do. I try to take good care of my skin by washing every morning and night and staying well hydrated. That can get even harder in the summer months because it is really hot and I am on the go so much. I also feel like with all the sweat and sun and applying so much sunscreen all day can really take a toll on my poor skin.

I had the opportunity to try out Montagne Jeunesse Renew You Sleep Spa Mask which is a 100% natural bamboo mask. I was really excited to try the sleep mask because face masks offer a deep-down action that helps nourish, cleanse, remove impurities, keep skin healthy and vibrant as well as adds essential nutrients to your skin. I really need that!! I tried the fruit enzyme mask which let me tell you...smells amazing! Depending on the mask you choose to use, it can help to remove dead skin cells and unclog pores so toning, hydrating and protecting products work more effectively.

First, I washed my face and got my pjs on and climbed in bed to prep for my mask. Then you just apply the mask to your face and lightly smooth it over the contours of your face. Then you just keep it on for 10 minutes. It was a relaxing 10 minutes, and like I said, I loved the smell of the mask and in summer the coolness of it was really refreshing! After 10 minutes you remove the mask and massage the leftover product into your skin. Massaging skin when removing a face mask can also help stimulate blood circulation leaving skin smoother and softer.

OK, so now I am going to show you my before and after pics. This is taking a lot of guts for me since I have NO makeup on in these pics and am showing all my imperfections! But, I really wanted to show you the difference.



Can you see how much brighter my skin looks? After a long day out with my boys I had some redness and unevenness on my skin at night, but the sleep mask really improved it! By morning it was a lot smoother and brighter. It was so easy to add to my bedtime beauty routine, I loved it!

Do you want to try the Montagne Jeunesse Renew You Sleep Spa Mask for yourself? Enter to win our giveaway for one Renew You Sleep Spa Mask treatment. To enter just leave a comment on this post telling us what is the biggest part of your beauty routine! The giveaway will end on July 20th at 11:59pm PT. 

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

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Saturday, June 21, 2014

Extraordinary Kid {make your own video!}

In a few weeks I am going to have a 10 year old! I cannot believe my oldest will be in the double digits. That makes me feel pretty old, but at the same time I am so happy with how much he has learned and grown over the years. It is something extraordinary to watch your kids develop and mature and see who they become.

Of course I think my kid is extraordinary. He is such a great big brother to my two other boys and he is so caring towards others as well. He is also smart, funny, and very responsible. He loves music as much as I do and we always have fun listening to songs and rocking out in the car together. He is the only one of my kids who will shamelessly give me a smooch whenever I ask, and I hope that never changes as he continues to get older! I am so proud of the young man he is becoming and all that he has accomplished so far.

I wanted to celebrate his 10 years with a special video for him on the Stanford Children's health site.  Stanford Children’s Health and Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford has been the top-ranked children’s hospital in Northern California for over a decade.
It is so fun to look back over the years and remember the great memories we have made so far! You can take a peak at my video here.

What makes your kid extraordinary isn’t just the epic stuff. It’s the little things. The small moments that maybe only you see — and quietly celebrate every day.

Your kid is extraordinary. Show them how much you enjoy every moment together by creating a special video of your own! I know they would love to see and hear the love you have for them and what you think makes them extraordinary. It is a great way to celebrate your kids!

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

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Tuesday, June 3, 2014

easy & delicious sugar cookie bars {recipe}

I've been waiting for an event to make these amazing sugar cookie bars for so I could post the recipe since I cannot be trusted with a whole pan of these in my house! My darling niece was baptized this weekend, so I offered to bring a dessert. This dessert. The easiest, most delicious sugar cookie dessert ever. Without all the rolling, cutting, frosting that make regular sugar cookies an ordeal. My mom's to-die-for sugar cookie bars.

After mixing a few ingredients together, you simply spread the dough out in a jelly roll pan and bake them. Then frost the entire pan and cut into squares. How much easier does it get? I added little sour cherry balls to this batch, but they are just as pretty alone with soft pink frosting.

Sugar Cookie Bars Recipe

1 cup butter, room temperature
8 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. almond extract
1 1/2 cup sugar
1 egg
2 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp. baking powder

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Cream the butter, cream cheese, vanilla, almond extract, sugar, and egg until well mixed. Add the flour and baking powder and mix well. Spread in a greased jelly roll pan (or deep cookie sheet). Bake for 16-20 minutes. Do not brown. I usually take mine out at 18 minutes, but oven temps will vary, so begin checking at about 16 minutes. Cool completely, then frost.

Sugar Cookie Frosting Recipe

2 lbs. powdered sugar
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1 tsp. almond extract
5 oz. can evaporated milk

Mix powdered sugar, butter, almond extract, and about half the can of evaporated milk. Add more milk until frosting is desired consistency. Add food coloring and mix until frosting is desired shade.

To make them a little prettier and easier to serve, I put each bar in a cupcake liner. I found these darling liners at Michael's. To make the most of their pretty design, I employed this little trick.

Turn the cupcake cup upside down. Press in the middle to turn it inside out. Then set your cookie bar on top.

Pin this recipe now--you will be so glad you did the next time you're asked to bring a dessert to an event! These sugar cookie bars are my go-to dessert for not only a big crowd (they go a long way!), but also when I need to travel. Leave them in the pan and they will still look beautiful when you arrive at your party. Be prepared to share the recipe when you serve them!

Don't miss these other delicious dessert recipes that are perfect for picnics and parties!


ooey gooey carmelitas recipe

Key Lime Pielets



Strawberry Lemonade Shortcake


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