Innocence, Honesty, and Sprout Organic Baby Food

Kids on Firetruck

My grandmother and great aunt are visiting me this week.  We’ve had so much fun together!  I was very close to them when I was growing up and I cherish any time my kids can spend with them.  Oh, how I wish they didn’t live so far away!  Today, we all went shopping.  My daughter’s favorite part of shopping with my family is the quarter rides.  I never buy the rides for them…because my grandmother taught me better than to waste money on such things…but apparently, she has forgotten this. 🙂  My daughter has enjoyed their generosity for a few years but this was my son’s first trip to this store.  Check out his face in this picture!  He’s overjoyed and they didn’t even add the quarters yet!

I hope my kid’s will always be so innocent and enjoy the simple, pure, and little things in life.

I love pure and simple things.  Books.  Sunshine.  Fruit.  Organic food.  We’re not a strictly organic family, but I do enjoy knowing that family is eating wholesomely. I heard about Sprout’s Organic Food years ago before I had kids and checked into it.  From what I read I was hooked.  Natural, pure, ingredients.  I wanted this for my kids.  Today we were running low on baby food so I headed to Harris Teeter to grab some more Sprout pouches.  Harris Teeter is one of Sprout’s retailers, so if you head out to Wal-Mart you sadly won’t find it there. It’s worth the special trip for me because 1) Harris Teeter has amazing sushi and 2) because caring for my family is essential.  Besides, their shopping cards are a-maz-ing!  Build in cup holders – you know they added those for moms who are juggling multiple kids while simultaneously sipping something caffeinated, shopping, and preparing a week’s worth of menus in her head!

Harris Teeter

I went to the baby food section and found my favorite baby food there…the holy grail of baby food, some might say.  It was easy to locate.

Sprout Organic Baby Food

Sprout touts (did you like that intentional rhyme?) USDA certified organic ingredients and non GMO. The flavor names are honest because they actually match the ingredients lists. Shocker. And it’s the only baby and toddler food brand that doesn’t use acid preservatives that can upset baby’s system.  Which is huge for me since my sweet son is allergic to so much and I don’t want food to adversely affect him in any way. Also, A biggie for me – the packaging is free from BPA. I hate the stuff.Sprout Baby Food

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Sprout® Organic Baby Foods. The opinions and text are all mine.

Make Mornings Easier w/ Nature’s Valley K-Cups + Giveaway

This post is sponsored by General Mills but all opinions are my own.Publix

Being frugal is really important to being a mother and, well, just a financially healthy person. However, I don’t really like to give up all of my treats. Those little things at the grocery store of certain restaurant that are go-tos.

Recently, I’ve found a little hack in Nature Valley Bistro Cups. The idea is you take an oatmeal packet and dump it into a large mug. Then you use the K-cup brewing machine to cook the oatmeal by making a K-cup to pour over the oatmeal; the hot water cooks the oats. The Bistro cups have seasoning and flavors in them, and they packet comes with add ins like fruits and nuts, which is what makes this a treat for me. Eggs, turkey bacon, and toast are my morning staples, but I really like these K-cups for their convenience and dash of decadence they add to a dull day.

Nature Valley Oatmeal

They have two flavors, Apple Cinnamon Almond and Brown Sugar Pecan. I’m a cinnamon girl, so it’s my favorite. If you’re interested in trying these out, Publix has a $3.00 coupon! Love some coupons, don’t we?! It’s a great way to make this low committal.

I really like this idea because it is so convenient. I make my oatmeal, and while it’s sitting and cooking, I make my coffee. Seriously the whole process doesn’t take more than five minutes. And even if 5 is all we have to give to ourselves in the morning, that’s a must. Breakfast seriously makes or breaks your day. I used to only eat cereal and carby milk for breakfast, would starve until my healthy lunch, and binge for dinner. Totally not healthy. Making sure the foundation of breakfast is solid takes care of a gambit of problems that can arise nutritionally the rest of the day.

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Sandwich Ideas for Kids

Thanks to Nature’s Harvest® for sponsoring this post.

I was a picky eater because my mom was a picky eater, because her mom was a picky eater.  I’m going to stop this here.  To the best of my ability, I’m going to try to keep from daughter from being a picky eater.  I may not have the time to fix a fancy gourmet dish every meal but I will make the time to give her a variety of foods.  For instance, we’ll often eat sandwiches for lunch but we try not to do the same sandwich but once every few weeks.

Bubble Cheese

One of her favorites, which we serve with veggie sticks and nuts, is what we call a bubble cheese sandwich.  It’s a slice of cheese broiled on a piece of bread.  Quick, easy, FUN, and yummy!  {Check out our 30+ wholesome snack ideas for kids}

Sliced Grape Sandwich

We just recently tried out a sandwich which her great grandmother greatly loved.  A sliced grape and peanut butter sandwich!  We put a slice of bread on top but I wanted to give you a picture of what it looks like inside.  It’s a fresh take on peanut butter and jelly!

Ham and cheese sandwich

We take a plain old ham and cheese sandwich up a notch buy adding mayonnaise on one side, butter on the other, and a sprinkle of oregano.  Toasted bread if I want to really take it over the top. 🙂

Nature's Harvest

Fixing meals for kids is fun because they’ll love anything…most of the time.  To make delicious sandwiches, start with Nature’s Harvest® bread.  It has at least 8 grams of whole wheat in every serving.  You can find Nature’s Harvest at your local Walmart.

What’s one of your family’s favorite unusual sandwiches?

My Love of Walnuts Revealed!

This post is brought to you by Emerald® Nuts. All opinions are my own. 

Ever since I was a little girl I have loved walnuts.  My mom always stored the ones she used for baking in the freezer {Is that normal?  I do it now too because she did but I never stopped to think about it before now.}…and I would always sneak a few for a snack.  I couldn’t help myself, they are so good!!  Until recently, I never knew anyone else liked walnuts for a snack.  Cashews, sure, everyone and their mom likes those.  Almonds, yes, especially people looking to curb their appetite.  Walnuts?  Who knew it was a common snack?  I’m so glad to have discovered Emerald®’s Almonds and Walnuts travel container.

Emerald Nuts

It’s my two favorite nuts in one easy to carry container.  By the way, my daughter is now hooked on both walnuts and almonds.  Hey, at least it’s a healthy thing to be addicted too!  Check her out toting her can of nuts on the back of her bike.  She’s just now learning to ride a bike and she thinks she can’t get on unless there’s something riding behind her.  🙂  I love this stage!

Emerald Almonds and Walnuts

My son also likes our new healthy snack, not because he can partake himself but because he likes to use it as his personal maraca anytime we leave it within his reach.  He’s at a fun stage too!

Here are the other Emerald Nuts varieties available:

  • – Whole Cashews
  • – Deluxe Mixed Nuts
  • – Peanut, Almonds, and Cashews

They make a great snack to keep in your diaper bag or car for snacking on the go!  If you’re a nut for walnuts, like me, look for Emerald nuts at your local Walmart.  Here’s a printable coupon for $0.55 off a can!

Talk Like a Pirate Day Ideas

Arrgh, Matey!  ’Tis be a sponsored message in collaboration wit’ Sverve ‘n Pirate’s Booty.  All opinions be me own.  #talklikeapirateday #piratesbooty

My Pirate

Talk Like a Pirate Day is tomorrow September 19th.  Woo!  To celebrate I’ve teamed up with Pirate’s Booty and Billy Bones at “Pirate School” to bring ye and ye wee buccaneers a tasty treat.

Pirates Booty

Pirate’s Booty be baked, not fried.  It doesn’t contain any artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives.  It’s a delicious baked rice ‘n corn puff snack, certified gluten-free with 0 grams of trans-fat.  This yummy snack will help you bring adventure to your raggamuffin’s day.

Pirates Booty Aged White Cheddar

Talking like a pirate isn’t necessarily sounding like a pirate, it’s all about using your imagination.  Which is good because I’m not very good at talking like a pirate.  Talk Like a Pirate Day is a great opportunity to get your kid’s away from electronics and outdoors pretending to be a pirate.  Just think of all the fun obstacle courses you could make, pirate toss games, a pretend decks to swab…well, maybe that’s a good activity to give a go indoors.  Whatever fun activities, your kids will love a tasty snack of Pirate’s Booty.

Did you know there is a real Pirate School?  It’s ran by buccaneer Billy Bones (David Engel).  Pirate School exists to remind kid’s that there is a wondrous world beyond their horizons if they’ll only use their imaginations.  Billy Bones says that curiosity is the real treasure, much more than gold and plunder.  To find all of Billy Bones’ fun pirate games visit MyPirateSchool.com.

Nature’s Harvest Sandwich Art Contest

This is a sponsored post brought to you by Nature’s Harvest®.

If there is one thing my daughter and I like to do together, it’s to be creative!  Whether it’s making paintings for Daddy to hang up at work, inventing crazy dance moves, storytelling or cooking together, she likes to be original!  This week my daughter and I had a fun time experimenting with different sandwiches and different shapes we could form them into.  Works of art, I tell you!  Does your family like to make creative sandwiches too….or do you think they would?  If so, you should stretch your creative muscle and enter Nature’s Harvest® Sandwich Art Facebook Contest!

FB-Sandwich-Art-Contest

Nature’s Harvest® Bread is baked fresh with at least 8 grams of whole grains per serving and it comes in several different family friendly varieties. In a recent survey of moms with children ages four to 13, Nature’s Harvest learned that nearly half of moms are concerned about their children’s nutrition and that 52% consider whole grains one of the most important nutritional considerations when they purchase food at the grocery store. When looking for a great tasting bread with whole grains, Nature’s Harvest is “The easy choice for whole grains.” Isn’t it great that there are no artificial flavors or colors?  It seems like everything these days has artificial ingredients inside.

I was telling my friend, Danielle from FamilyCentsability.com about our creative lunch endeavor and she loved the idea.  She has two young boys that are similar ages to my children and it was fun to talk about different lunches we could create using things we already have.  We both have noticed one thing – even though it takes a bit more effort to make a creatively displayed sandwich our kids end up eating them better and eating healthier foods than they would have otherwise.  Healthier foods, eating without complaining, children helping with the prep work?  Win, win, win!

 

Fun Flower Sandwich for Kids

This was my daughter’s favorite sandwich of the week!  I would have personally gone with the dinosaur but she’s a girly girl and of course she loves the flower the best.  This was very was fun and simple to make.

Here’s how we made our flower sandwich:

  1. First we cut circles our of two slices of bread using an upside down cup.
  2. We put peanut butter between them.
  3. Added Smucker’s jelly on top with a spoon.
  4. Cut American cheese into triangles with a knife and laid around the flower.
  5. I cut the carrots and cucumber slices.
  6. My daughter arranged the carrots to form the stem and the cucumber slices to represent the ground.
  7. Garnish the flower with frozen blueberries and you’re done!

Do you have some sandwich art skills?  If so, make sure you enter the contest!

Baby Days at Sam’s Club + HUGE Giveaway

This post is brought to you on behalf of Procter and Gamble and Acorn Influence. All opinions are my own.

I’ve loved Sam’s Club for years.  In high school I loved their big boxes of frozen pizza bread.  In college their packs of pink highlighters were on my must have list.  Now that I’m a mom I shop there for diapers, cereal, fruit, and yes, still the big boxes of frozen pizza bread.  They are so yummy!  For the most part my highlighting days are behind me and I predict that my one highlighter will suffice for the next few years.

Sams Club Shopping Trip

Recently, we went on a family excursion to Sam’s Club.  My daughter thinks it’s such a treat to have her brother ride beside her and he loves it too.

Pampers at Sams

We stocked up on Pampers Swaddlers (We love their Swaddlers – so soft!!), Pampers Sensitive baby wipes, Charmin toilet paper (or bath tissue as my grandma would say), Bounty, grapes, Jimmy Dean sausage biscuits, Dreft, Cheerios….okay, I’ll quit.  You really don’t care about eeeeverything I bought, do you?  Just know that it is THE place to stock up on baby items at great prices!  From teethers to baby clothes, fresh flowers to Christmas presents, and Cheerios to diapers.

Sams Club Shopping

Speaking of Christmas presents, my daughter has picked out a toy that she wants for Christmas.  It’s a Hello Kitty mini water dispenser to encourage kids to drink the recommended 8 glasses of water a day.  I love it so much that I’ll probably get it for her before Christmas.  Maybe as a gift for her once we move into our new house?

Sams Club Baby

On this trip we did treat the kids to two books each and my son wouldn’t let his go until we got home and opened it (they have a handheld scanner, we didn’t steal it). 🙂

To celebrate baby month at Sams Club they’re offering you guys the chance to win a $50 gift card! You can win one of the 36 $50 Sams Club gift cards by entering here! Good luck!!

$50 Sam's Club Gift Card Giveaway

Emerald Breakfast on the Go

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Emerald®. The opinions and text are all mine.

Breakfast isn’t always easy, is it?  Especially breakfast on the run!  I’m thankful to be able to stay at home and make my kid’s breakfast most mornings.  My husband usually has to scurry off to work before it’s ready so he is often one of the many, many Americans who eat breakfast on the go.  Sometimes I have to get out of the house early with the kids too so I find myself eating a bowl of cereal like a mad woman.  I hate that feeling but I need that fuel to keep me going so I can press on with my day.

Emerald Breakfast On the Go

There is an easier way!  I’ve recently discovered Emerald® Breakfast on the Go!™ Nutty Bites.  We have only tried the Cinnamon Pecan flavor so far but I can tell you that it was such a hit with my family that we’ll be grabbing a few other varieties next time we’re at Walmart!

Breakfast takes a little pre-planning but a busy day is no reason to skip the most important meal of the day.  Emerald’s Breakfast on the Go bites are full of nutty protein to help keep us full so we aren’t tempted to snack the rest of the morning.

Speaking of snacking, I think these will now be a regular staple in my diaper bag for when someone (who didn’t eat a protein filled breakfast) gets the munchies before it’s lunchtime.

If that wasn’t good enough- you have a chance to get a free $5 gift card from Walmart to buy these for free!  The first 100 people that complete the survey at EmeraldNutsSurvey.com will gt a $5 Walmart gift card!  Like Emerald on Facebook to stay in the know!

The Surprising Thing That Simplified My Meal Planning

Simplified Meal Planning

As you know, we’ve been sorting and going through items to make our living and spaces more intentional {If you don’t, see here}. Though this topic, meal planning, isn’t a typical space organization system you can create in your closet or basement at home, it does affect your space for the positive, as well as other components of your life.

The idea…

Here’s the scoop.  This idea will revolutionize how you think about meal planning.  How many times do you rummage for the items in your pantry or your groceries for inspiration of your next meal?  How many times do you have the discussion that begins with…So what do you want for dinner tonight…? Having to make this decision each night is an ominous raincloud over the day’s events. Solving this quandary isn’t as complicated as we want to make it. We can live simply by living with less. As home chefs, we often feel pressure to create an original feast every meal or like we must have every restaurant option on our home menu.  If you browse Pinterest for meal planning ideas you’ll see pin after pin sharing hoards of collected recipes in one place.  “52 Weeks of No-Repeat Meal Plans” “75 of the Best Healthy Recipes” “101 Cheap and Healthy Meals”  It’s no wonder people (myself included!) get overwhelmed.  Having a set number of recipes that are favorites, healthy, and budget friendly is the key.  That’s it, did you catch it?  Simply rotate your favorite recipes!

The perks…

I have around 10 recipes that I use frequently. Most of my meals are low-carb, budget friendly, can stretch for 2 meals, and take less than 30 minutes to make. You can see how this saves me a lot of time, effort, and space.

  • – I don’t have to figure out if a new recipe to try will fit into my family’s healthy eating style (& tastes). I know that these recipes work for us because I’ve done them before.
  • – I don’t have to calculate how much money this recipe will cost me before I go to the grocery store because I’ve done it before. In fact, I can double, triple this recipe to fit the number of guests I’m cooking for and know immediately how much a dinner party will cost me.
  • – I don’t have to cook as often. Since I’m planning ahead, I have the meal ingredients on hand, can double the recipe, and save myself hot cooking time (and extra dishes) in the kitchen.
  • – I don’t have to cook as long. I know the recipe. I simply don’t have to follow a recipe because I can remember it in my noggin. However, if you are one of those people who has to follow recipes, you can tape, attach, magnetize, the recipes to your most convenient surface, like the inside of your pantry door.
  • – I don’t have a chaotic pantry and fridge. Because I don’t need all the ingredients in the world, I know where the ingredients go that I most frequently use. This has a domino effect on the space-time continuum, not really but it sounds cool for saying it saves space and time. I can find things quickly; I can create a shopping list faster; I can clean out my fridge easier because I use most of the stuff in there completely and don’t have to keep checking dates of expiration.

The boredom…

I know you are thinking, don’t you get bored with only 10 recipes? To be honest, yes and no. If we solely depended on cooking those 10ish recipes, yes. If I factor all the church events, friend’s homes, and work luncheons, we don’t get bored at all. Oh, and you can go to a restaurant too. One beautiful thing to realize is our 10 recipes is the norm, which there are always exceptions to. My favorite exception is cooking for a date night. I’ll break out a new recipe and spoil us. Don’t forget you are in control, and you can always change your recipes out. If you find that you just don’t want to make it anymore, don’t. You aren’t married to your recipes, you can sub one out for a fresh recipe off the bench. Just like mixing metaphors, mixing your recipes up is your choice.

Meal Planning Made Easy

30+ Wholesome Kid Snack Ideas

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Yoplait®. The opinions and text are all mine.

Do you struggle finding wholesome snacks for your kiddos?  I know that I do unless I plan a head.  Feeding my kids nutritious foods is important to me so I try to make it a priority.  I don’t always succeed at this but when I plan ahead and have wholesome foods on hand it makes it easy to feed them foods that I know are good for them.  I’m going to share the list of foods I try to rotate through to offer a variety of yummy and wholesome snacks.  Please comment with foods your family enjoys so I can add to my list!

  • 1 – Sliced apples with cubed cheddar cheese
  • 2 – Cubed watermelon, cantaloupe, and honeydew
  • 3 – Baby carrots (or a carrot cut into strips), bell pepper strips, celery, and zucchini sticks with hummus dip
  • 4 – Watermelon strips (or wedges) with vanilla yogurt to dip it in
  • 5 – Unsweetened applesauce

Kids Trail Mix

  • 6 – Homemade trail mix – one of our favorites includes Goldfish, peanuts, Craisins, and Cheerios
  • 7 – Whole grain, low-sugar cereal with milk
  • 8 – Graham cracker sandwiches made with peanut butter and occasionally I’ll add a little hazelnut spread to it too
  • 9 – Mini rice cakes (they come in a number of flavors)
  • 10 – Rice cakes with a light vegetable cream cheese on top
  • 11 – I want to buy a dehydrator to make these colorful dehydrated rainbow snacks

Yoplait Yogurt Snack

  • 12 – Vanilla Yoplait® yogurt with sliced bananas and a few dark chocolate chips for fun

Yoplait Original

Yoplait® low-fat yogurt is an excellent source of calcium and my kids love to dress it up.  It’s available at Walmart so if we run out there’s always some close by.  There is an endless assortment of yogurt and topping combinations you can make so have fun with it.  I’ll list a few of our favorite for you.

  • 13 – Low-fat strawberry yogurt with sliced almonds on top

Yogurt Parfait

  • 14 – A Yoplait® yogurt parfait with blueberries and angle food cake
  • 15 – Low-fat vanilla yogurt with blueberries and strawberries on top (cute patriot treat!)
  • 16 – Low-fat orange yogurt with granola
  • 17 – A frozen treat made with yogurt and fruit – Check out our list of 101 Homemade Ice Pops
  • 18 – Whole wheat pretzels with peanut butter to dip them in
  • 19 – Baked tortilla chips with guacamole to dip them in (We like dips in our house)
  • 20 – Cottage cheese (Is that weird to eat it alone?  My daughter likes!)
  • 21 – Fruit and veggie pouches (think baby food but the toddler/kid versions)  It’s a great way to sneak in veggies (like spinach and rutabaga!) without them ever knowing.
  • 22 – Dried fruit like raisins, cranberries, cherries, mangoes, pineapple, apricots, plums or blueberries (We usually only have a few on hand at a time but I think it would be fun to make a trail mix of sorts with a lot of dried fruit and store in snack size baggies.  I’ll have to try that!)
  • 23 – Cheese!  We love all kinds of cheese.  My daughter calls them by their shape : ) Stick cheese (Sargento string cheese), circle cheese (individually wrapped Blue Bell), rectangle cheese (Cabot Extra Sharp block cut in slices – as a side note, Cabot’s Extra Sharp is sharper than their Seriously Sharp which seems backwards to me and took me forever to remember), square cheese (any brand of a softer cheese that we have cubed).
  • 24 – Fruit of all kinds – raspberries, mandarin oranges, pineapple, kiwi, grapes, bananas, blueberries, strawberries, etc.
  • 25 – Smoothie with low-fat Yoplait® yogurt, frozen fruit, a little low-fat milk (I would add spinach and other goodies if I had a really good blender but unfortunately I don’t right now)
  • 26 – Cucumber slices, broccoli, cauliflower, baby tomatoes, carrot strips, and ranch to dip them in
  • 27 – A handful of nuts – almonds, cashews, peanuts, pistachios, pecans, or walnuts (I make sure they are seated for this snack without any running around)

Homemade Yogurt Melts

  • 28 – Homemade yogurt melts (made with a variety of our favorite Yoplait® flavors)
  • 29 – Cherries with yogurt to dip them in
  • 30 – Whole grain crackers with cottage cheese
  • 31 – Toast with honey drizzled on top (I’ve found that cutting the toast into a butterfly {like an X} cuts down on the mess)
  • 32 – Hard boiled eggs or eggs of any kind with toast
  • 33 – Popcorn (My husband has a fabulous recipe for popcorn that I’ll have to share with you all soon! It’s a delicious cheesy, slightly spicy powder to sprinkle on top of plain popcorn.)

Kid Snack Ideas

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This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Yoplait®. The opinions and text are all mine.