Capturing Memories with AdoramaPix

I'm a Snapfish member and a Shutterfly member. I've dabbled with other sites like Collage.com as well. I love a good deal and I love having different patterns and styles and options when it comes to organizing my digital photos and making something tangible to enjoy the memories over and over. 

Well, I recently heard about AdoramaPix to display our captured memories in rich color and vibrant detail. I love the lay-flat design (often this means additional fees on other sites) and they have gift ideas too. I'm happy to have become a new member -- it is always a good thing to have your photos uploaded to several sites just in case. 

Do you have a favorite site? Are you a member of many? I don't think it ever hurts to spread the love and the photos -- I also enjoy email newsletter perks from several sites--you can too!

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Our Holiday Favorites for Kids

Remember last year when we were dreaming of Christmas in July? Well, this year we held off a LITTLE longer before thinking everything holiday-related! My son felt the chill in the air during a recent low pressure system and he decided we needed to watch some good children's programming. 

First the request was Vegimals. And the Vegimals we have are part of an Octonauts (The Very Vegimal Christmas!) This was shortly followed up by Dino Dan. And again, we have Twas a Dinosaur. Last stop during our rainy day was Caillou's Holiday Movie!

If you haven't picked up copies of these movies yet, since I urged you to last year, I'd highly recommend them still today! My personal favorite (yes, they are all highly tolerable if not enjoyable for parents too) is the Very Vegimal Christmas. Sometime around June my son was humming a little tune and my husband and I recognized it, but couldn't place it. It was hummed for weeks. Finally, we asked him what it was, and he said "vegimals!" He hadn't seen the disc in months and the tune was spot-on! It was also catchy as all get out, so we were all humming it all summer!

These are children's favorites, popularized by television broadcasting and can be enjoyed whenever the rain (or snow) threatens to stomp on fun. I appreciate having wholesome programming in our home (since grandparents assume that Cartoon Network is still just Looney Tunes...wrong!) This is an easy way to ensure my son isn't watching Adult Swim at four years old!

I won't lie, I've even caught myself watching a few episodes while my son is away or napping. About ten minutes in I think: "Why am I watching kids shows when I can watch anything I would like?" I think the truth is, I like them!

Disclosure: I have partnered with NCircle to bring you my holiday favorites. All opinions are my own.

Just Another Way You Could Be Doing it from Home


As a mostly stay at home mom, I know that the temptation is always there to try to make some extra money for the family while still being able to be at home. Garage sales are frankly a lot of work for little results. Taking on another persons child comes with the burden of another families' schedule. Have you ever considered participation in market research? Companies value the opinions of their consumer base and pay to have this feedback. 



One of the top companies conducting opinion research is Focus Pointe Global, a national company with a location in Atlanta. You can register to become a panel member at http://bit.ly/fpgmom, The studies are diverse: including baby products, social issues, taste tests, appliances, beverages, cell phones..

I have found that many of these programs are easy to do at nap time or after bedtime and can amount to a few hundred dollars for just a few hours of my time. It might be worth it for you to consider!  

Disclosure: I wrote this article in partnership with US Family Guides. All opinions are my own. 

How to Create the PERFECT Lunch for Your Preschooler

When he was a baby, I was a breastfeeding Nazi -- absolutely unabashedly steadfast with organic everything when he was older. We used natural soap and cloth diapered. Now that my preschooler is a big boy, I often find myself making organic Mac 'N Cheese only to put hot dogs in it at his request. When the little ones can speak up and request foods that aren't what you would like them to have and certainly are not what the doctor ordered, how can you make a lunch that is perfect for them AND you?

Start Here

1) We had to find the perfect lunchbox. In fact, we had to have THREE. We have Skip Hop ZOO buddies -- hippo and monkey. We also got a Paw Patrol lunchbox. Pick whatever you feel they will appreciate and adore and keep track of!

2) Make a simple JELLY sandwich -- having peanut butter on it will utterly offend my son. Too much protein you say? Okay. Jelly it is. [Making a mental note to up the ante with the protein in another department!] Cut off the crust. Crust is also unacceptable. Make it fun with the Press 'N Seal you got from The Pampered Chef. Voila! Entree: done.

3) Pack Yo Kids Squeezers [my son likes Strawberry] -- Blueberry/Lemonade and Cherry/Berry are other options, but not at our local store. We find the Squeezers at Target. You also get 2g of Protein in these little squeezy tubes, so rest easy knowing there is a healthy snack in there!

4) Add in simple classic snacks like goldfish crackers, an apple, raisins, or a small baggie of GORP--which I make at home since I think it tasted better than pre-packaged trail mix! [I use Craisins, M&Ms, dry roasted peanuts, and dried Turkish apricots.] 

5) Kiss 'em goodbye for the day as you drop them off and then run to the vehicle as the hot tears refuse to stay put in their ducts! Take solace mama, the kid has a great lunch and you have done a super job!

Disclosure: This perfect lunch was created in a partnership with Stonyfield Organics. I received complimentary Yo Kids Squeezers to facilitate this post. All opinions are my own.

FamilyLife's Passport2Purity Getaway Kit 3rd Edition

Sometimes in life you need a tour guide. It would be nice to have a chef, concierge, and maid too. The latter three I cannot help with -- maybe Angie's List can? The tour guide though...that is something I've found--at least for navigating uncharted territory with teens regarding dating, peer pressure, and all of those rough waters that come with having kids.

This kit includes a tour guide for the caregivers (mom, dad, grandma...whomever), a Travel journal for the tween (with devotions), and eight CDs with lessons, scripture songs, and all that is needed to make this journey as a family.

Is it any wonder we would need a tour guide these days? There is so much violence, sex, and disrespect that greets us with open arms, every single day. Sexting. Selfies. Online predators. Bullying. Peer Pressure. The list goes on and on. Sure, it was and always has been tough for kids growing up -- it's a right of passage to be able to become a responsible adult, BUT today's teens have it much worse in my opinion. This FamilyLife Passport2Purity kit can help!

Since this is all about a journey together, the kit is best put to use on a getaway. Take it to a resort or a cabin or a family gathering. Go where there are few distractions. Take the course together, intensely over a weekend.

Good luck and bon voyage! I really hope that this will help your parenting journey. When the time comes for us, I know that we'll be trying to board any lifeboat we can to keep from drowning in the Sea of the Unknown!

*Disclosure: I received a complimentary kit as part of a partnership with FlyBy Promotions.

Peachtree Publications - Birding Books for Young and Old(er)

Have a budding birder? These books by Peachtree Publications are sure to keep them curious about our ornithological friends! Great illustrations and easy concepts make these books great for about preK - Grade 2, I'd say!



My favorite was the ostriches. So dazzling but realistic!



There is no better time than NOW to foster a sense of stewardship in your children -- birding together is a great way to do so! How do you get them interested in birding? Well, I've found that almost all children LOVE stories! Finding books like these published by Peachtree is a fantastic way to introduce your love of the natural world to them in a fun way!

Taking time out together each evening also gives me and my oldest some quality time to bond. Peachtree has fantastic books that link learning and love for our family -- I get to "geek out" about living organisms and biological concepts with my son and he just thinks we're hanging out, reading about bugs and birds! Winning.

*Disclosure: I received a complimentary book of each title from Peachtree.*

Healthy Summer Treats with Stonyfield and Yaylabs [review + recipe]

It's been hot. And sticky. And we go through ice cream in this house like crazy. I'm talking a gallon a week. It's a vice. An addiction. We fully admit it. But sometimes you need to enjoy the sweeter things in life, right?



Recently, life got a little sweeter (and healthier) thanks to Stonyfield and the idea to use yogurt in our night time treats. Partnering with Yaylabs and their awesome ice cream ball, we were able to create frozen yogurt sweetened with our own local honey for a delectable delight.

Bonus? We got to spend around an hour of uninterrupted "together time" as we loaded our ball, rolled it, checked it, scraped and mixed ice cream, and of course, enjoyed the fruits of our labor. Speaking of fruits, we are going to be trying blueberries and mangoes in the mix tonight. Pineapple juice is also on the list for a little light and refreshing sorbet.

Next weekend we're camping and we plan to take the ball along there too! What a fantastic way to while away the summer nights outside the tent or camper and then be rewarded with a cool treat -- S'mores are great, S'mOreos are better, but a cool treat on a summer night in the bush is the best!

The retail price is around $30 depending on where you pick up a Yaylabs ball, and they are sold in a variety of colors and at several vendors.


Our Recipes [tried so far]:

Classic Vanilla
1 pint 1/2 and 1/2
1/3 C sugar + 2 Tbsp
1 1/2 tsp Vanilla extract

Frozen Yogurt
1 pint Stonyfield Whole French Vanilla Yogurt
1/4 C fresh, local honey



That's it! Both were delightful! Our only advice is to make sure you check inside the ball regularly so that you don't have to spend much time scraping to free very firm ice cream off the edges of the vessel. It's very easy to get carried away playing "roll the ball" while visiting on the floor!

Enjoy!

*Disclosure: This post and recipe set was brought to you by a partnership with Stonyfield Organics and YayLabs. It's awesome! Thank you! I did receive yogurt and an ice cream ball to try it out.*
 

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