Calling All Future Engineers! Save 60% Off ROBOTS-4-U Summer Camps!

Who is a fan of The Big Bang Theory?? I love the show and I can only hope that my boys are smarties like the characters portrayed on the show. If your kids have an interest in engineering (or if you just want to expose them to something they wouldn't have access to in most "regular" settings) THIS is for you!

ROBOTS-4-U Summer Camps Now Enrolling and my readers save 60% Off with Code: TEX1660M15 

Act quickly! This deal expires 3/31!!

Where Fun, Thinking & Learning comes to Life! 

There are camps all over the country, including Minneapolis and Orlando!

The camps are five days long. The ratio of campers to instructors is 16:1 -- lots of hands on interaction! Age ranges from 7 to 14 and it's a fantastic way to spend a week of summer vacation, keeping those synapses firing!  Camps are offered June, July, and August. Boys and girls are both encouraged to attend, beginners to expert, there is something for every level! Each camper uses a Robotics or Dynamic Art kit. For more information and specifics, visit the Robots 4 U website.

Disclosure: I was able to construct this post due to a partnership with USFamily Guide and Robots-4-U. All opinions are my own. 

How I Got Back to My Wedding Weight After Two Kids

Holy cow! TWO months? That time flew. I know we were facing down much more frigid temperatures and the thought of exercising outside was laughable. (Some folks run in subzero weather but not this kid.) Two months ago, I started my second journey with Nutrisystem. Two kids, two successful adventures with Nutrisystem.

Today I am within spitting distance of my WEDDING weight!!! I've lost exactly 20 pounds in two months. I have one month to go and not by pure coincidence, one month until DISNEY (and the beach!) What I've noticed now that I'm about eight pounds heavier than I was when I said "I Do" five years ago is this: the scale says the same thing, BUT five years, two kids, a sedentary job and a totally different life have led to a different body labeled with those same numbers.

But the numbers do not matter. Sure, my hips are wider: I have two adorable, wild boys in exchange for that. I have what my son so flatteringly calls a "big belly." No matter how much I run, it's never going to be flat. I'm okay with that. I have less muscle than I did when I was fresh off of an exercise program for firefighting that had me running several miles a day, at least five days a week. I've changed. Inside and out.

What matters to me? I'm healthier than I was two months ago. It's easier to move. My mood is lighter, as am I. I'm two clothing sizes down -- outward appearance is certainly a pleasant side-effect of losing weight, but what I really love about this new me is that I've gotten some of my life back! I can run and play with my kids without dreading it. I am not as tired. In about 60 days, taking each day one at a time, I've been able to carve out a better existence. Nutrisystem made the change easy (at least the food part.)

What works for me is a slow progression into exercise again. The first week on the program I was able to lose weight with little exercise changes. After that, I was motivated to keep the scale descending. Exercise became a fun experiment. Weighing myself kept me on track. Progress. Slow and steady REALLY DOES win the race!

Now, with spring around the corner, I've signed up for a few 5K races. This will keep me accountable when my third and last month of Nutrisystem has come and gone. I'm loving life again.

Are you ready for a change? This road is not an easy one to travel, friends, but it's not that hard either! I never thought I'd see the numbers I did today on my scale -- but I never thought I'd see 200 on that little digital reader either! Change is possible!

OXO -- We Love Our Grapes AND This Time and Life Saving Device!

We have baby gadgets and feeding items galore. Half of our baby shower from our first son several years ago was all about feeding the child. He was a tiny infant, I thought, why would people give me bowls and spoons and bottles and placemats for this little guy? Well, truth be told, even breastfeeding as long as we did and waiting for table foods the feeding time came quicker than I could comprehend. We quickly found out that the really cute luxury baby feeding spoons and plates and bibs were of no use to us. We were surprised by what worked.

Then our baby became a big boy. We put away all the "baby crap" as my husband so fondly calls all of the stuff a little human can acquire for their care. We forgot about feeding a baby. Then our second

son came. And again we found ourselves scrubbing carrot puree off the ceiling and cursing the makers of several baby feeding systems for tricking us into the awful, messy creations they boasted.

Handy Gadgets & Simple Designs

We were more experienced sure, but one quickly forgets how consumerism affects a parent. We may as well have been green parents again since there were so many years between our two boys. Miraculously, we found OXO. I had my eye on the grape cutter and as soon as I tried it, I fell in love. I tend to be the helicopter mother and I see choking as one of the worst possible things that could happen to my kiddo. (I mean it's never a GOOD thing, but I see it as mostly preventable!) I'm a mincer. I won't lie -- the first week using the grape cutter, my child was about nine months old and I not only used it, but also cut those pieces down further. (Amazingly the gadget was STILL handy because cutting grapes from the whole form tends to be a juicy mess. This was easy peasy.) I used if for grape tomatoes as well -- though I see now there is an actual Grape and Tomato Cutter that they market. It also works on firm strawberries for a beautiful, homemade sauce with fresh local honey to top angel food cake! 
As for the cup conundrum, they make a pretty great water bottle that was intended for my toddler but my preschooler took a liking to it, so we'll be buying another! It's called simply the "Twist Top" water bottle and the straw retracts back inside -- it not only prevents spills, it's something he can do himself. I know someday I'll miss the constant "Mom! Help me!" calls -- but that day is not today. This is a cup that provides independence!
Something about OXO items just simply exude awesomeness. You wouldn't think there would be an attachment to a fork and spoon for a kid. I really must commend OXO on the fork and spoon set (which comes standard in the toddler feeding set) is really perfect. It must be a fave of our 15 month old, though he's not saying much... But, it feels pretty darn good in an adult hand too! Almost ergonomic or something. It just feels good in the hand. Period. So we all like to get dealt that spoon when setting the table! 

All in all, whether eating yogurt with sliced grapes for a snack or on-the-go hydration solutions, we've found OXO to be exemplary in the family-feeding department! We've also found the brand we'll be gifting for baby showers! We LOVE giving families products that we actually found to be helpful in our parenting journey -- deviating from the ho-hum and unnecessary frivolity of registries and giving something worthwhile! OXO should be on EVERY ONE'S shower wish list! While you're at it, add some Stonyfield to the gift bag to really pack a power gifting punch in the right direction!

Disclosure: I wrote this article in a partnership with Stonyfield Organic. All opinions are my own. 

Put a Ring On It

I haven't worn my wedding ring in so long that I sometimes forget about the brilliantly gleaming diamonds waiting in my safe deposit box. You see, I had to take it off for each pregnancy, with the thought that I'd just slip it back on after delivery. Not so.

The Most Important To-Do List

It took two kids, over five years, one dog, and many tears to realize I hadn't made a to-do list that I could get done in one day. Each of my harried, hurried attempts between the early (or not-so-early) morning hours and when I tiptoed around the house, the last one awake and busily tidying up and prepping for the next day, I couldn't seem to cram all of what I needed to into my waking hours. 

Sound familiar? 

The Leaf, Weight Loss, and Progress

"Many leaves, one tree!" My little son used to wildly shout this out as he brandished his little toy sword. It's a line from what used to be his favorite movie, Epic. Well, it's got me thinking a lot during my Nutrisystem journey! And though it's a little silly, it's pretty true!

GrubMarket - Fresh, Convenient, Delivered! [review]

It's hard to get fresh produce in the northern climes in the dead of winter. Harder still? Getting fresh organic produce in the dead of winter in the Midwest. Delivered. Yeah. I've found it!


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