An Honest Review of Boudreaux’s Butt Paste

I received this product for free from Moms Meet (momsmeet.com) to use and post my honest opinions. Compensation for this post was provided and this page may contain affiliate links. 

An Honest Review Of Boudreaux’s Butt Paste

A Tried and True Diaper Rash Ointment

As a first time mom with the twins I never knew what to use when they would get diaper rash. I tried all of the at-home remedies like having them soak in a tub of Dawn soap and using corn starch. It was messy and the twins were fussy and in pain. Nothing seemed to work on their cute little tushies. Naturally, I sought the advice of my other mom friends which wasn’t very many at the time because I was one of the youngest moms in my group of friends. I found myself studying every diaper rash ointment in the baby aisle at Target. This bright red tube with a cute cartooney baby caught my eye and I looked it over carefully. I just wanted something that got the job done and provided relief to my babies. I enjoyed the pleasant smell and was impressed with the texture. It didn’t slide off of the twin’s skin and stuck to the diaper. Boudreaux’s Butt Paste was my go-to diaper rash ointment from that day forward!

Fast forward eight years and my youngest was born. She was a solid breast milk baby and was fortunate enough to not have diaper rash issues. I had registered for Boudreaux’s Butt Paste and had a tube on hand in the event that I may need it but  only used it a handful of times. It was still the great diaper rash ointment I had always relied on and could still count on it to heal my baby’s owie bottom. I had been very particular about this pregnancy and made sure I read the labels on everything before buying or giving it to my youngest. I was relieved to find that Boudreaux’s is still free from dyes, preservatives, talc, phthalates and parabens.

Why I Use Boudreaux’s On My Toddler…

Then, last February, we took a family outing to a new indoor trampoline park that had just opened up in our area. I had actually won family passes so we had a budget-friendly family outing. Even though we followed the rules and regulations strictly we were not prepared for what happened that day. Our little Lil received a buckle fracture of her tibia that afternoon because children six and under shouldn’t be playing on trampolines of any kind. Period. Their bones are just too soft still. You can read more about our experience here.

We were in the middle of potty training Lily and she was making great progress. Unfortunately the fracture resulted in Lily wearing a full leg cast for almost six weeks. She wasn’t able to walk for about a week and when she finally did she struggled and hobbled along. She couldn’t sit down on her little potty chair do go potty any longer because her leg was straight and couldn’t bend.

This unforeseen accident resulted in severe potty issues for Lily. She was a 22-month old toddler who was almost fully potty trained and now couldn’t sit down to relieve herself. The lack of running around and playing as her usual self resulted in severe constipation. She’d go days without a bowel movement and when she finally did go they were so hard and long that they cause Lily to tear a little bit. Her poor little bottom was so sore. It absolutely broke our hearts. But we knew we could rely on Boudreaux’s Butt Paste to provide Lily with the relief that she needed and to quickly heal her bottom.

Trusted and Loved!

Lily still has issues from time to time and I always whip out good ol’ Boudreaux’s Butt Paste! I am extremely thankful to Moms Meet and Boudreaux’s for sending us a generous supply of Boudreaux’s Maximum Strength Butt Paste in a tube and a tub as well as a tub of the Original Bourdreaux’s Butt Paste. Unfortunately, we were supposed to be sent the new Boudreaux’s Butt Paste Rash Kicking Kit and didn’t receive that so we were not able to sample and share our review of that specific kit. It was supposed to include the innovative Butt Brush, a mess-free silicone applicator that helps parent’s apply a thick and smooth amount of Butt Paste. Since I didn’t receive the new Rash Kicking Kit I looked it up on Amazon. It looks pretty nifty because it comes with two 2 oz. tubes of Boudreaux’s Butt Paste in Original and Maximum Strength along with the new Butt Brush. The Butt Brush looks pretty nifty so parents can keep their hands and fingers clean from mess. It appears to help apply the rash ointment nice and smoothly as well. The really cool thing about the Butt Brush is that is has a suction cup on the back of the applicator so you can stick it to nearly any surface and not worry about it falling or getting dirty. How innovative! I’m pretty bummed I wasn’t able to personally review it for you but you can find a video to the product on Amazon here. It retails for $14.99.

Halloween Holly: A New Family Tradition

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read more about my disclosure policy here.

Halloween Holly: A New Family Tradition

Okie dokie, Parents! Halloween is just around the corner and that means that the decorations are out, the costumes have been decided upon, and you’re gearing up to stock up on your  Halloween candy favorites. I was just telling my husband this week how we used to have our candy bowl set out on the kitchen table always filled to the brim with our favorite candy minis and we’d snack upon them all month long. That tradition quickly fizzled out after the first year we were married after discovering the yucky ingredients that’s found in conventional Halloween candy.

But we needed to limit the amount of sugar we were consuming period. I’ve always enjoyed letting my kiddos dress up and trick-or-treat for gobs and gobs of candy. Let’s be honest; the best part of letting our kids trick-or-treat is so that we can paw through their stash, lol! I will never forget when the twins were four years old and they’d run down the neighbor’s sidewalks yelling, “Mommy! I got an Almond Joy for you!” Yep… my kiddos knew how much a absolutely loved Almond Joys. I still do. But I no longer consume them.

On our journey to healthier living it quickly dawned on me that the amount of candy my kids received at Halloween time would last until Easter. I noticed my kids reaching for candy instead of fruit or healthier snacks. I would let my kids pick out a few pieces of their favs and bag up the rest to take with me to school to hand out as rewards for my students at school or send my husband with the leftovers to drop off in the break room at work.

Then one day last fall I came across Halloween Holly.  Cara Via is a mom of two boys and a Halloween enthusiast. She is the creator and author behind Halloween Holly. Cara was also faced with the candy dilemma that parents face each year: too much candy, meltdowns, upset tummies, and dreaded struggles. Her goal was to keep Halloween fun while avoiding all of the downsides and aftermath that often comes after the Halloween festivities.

Holly is an elfairy (part elf, part fairy) that lives at the North Pole with Santa. While visiting Santa’s workshop, Holly learns that the secret to the Christmas elves’ energy is CANDY! When a candy shortage threatens the Christmas deadline, Holly springs into action and comes up with a marvelous idea! Holly tells Santa that everyone needed to know about the candy secret and emergency at the North Pole. She’s sure that once the secret is out that everyone will be willing to share their Halloween candy to help the elves out.

Holly quickly spreads the news to children far and wide and encourages them to collect as much candy as they possibly can while their out trick-or-treating. With a parent’s help, each child would get to pick out 10 pieces of their favorite candy to snack on and then they’ll place the rest in a special bowl. After Halloween, Halloween Holly comes to collect the candy and bring it back to the elves. So now, Santa needs each kids help in order to save Christmas. And Mom and Dad’s sanity is saved knowing that their kiddos still get to participate in the Halloween festivities without experiencing the negative cons afterwards.

My twins were really excited about adding this new tradition to our home because they agree that there is an overload of candy after all of the Halloween events and this is a healthy balance of fun and having treats in moderation all while saving those pearly whites!

Cara has created such a fun and ingenious family tradition to add to your family traditions and transform your festivities! A huge thank you to Cara and Halloween Holly for gifting this to our family! You can get your very own Halloween Holly here.

What are some of your favorite family traditions? I’d love to hear about them! 🎃🍬👻

Friday Fall Favorites

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First Friday Fall Favorites

This year I decide to share some of my Fall favorites with you. I’ve always been a bit hesitant because my decor is outdated and looks nothing like what you’d find on Pinterest or from some of the top home decor bloggers. Since starting our debt-free journey I’ve had a different perspective on my priorities. I used to chomp at the bit for the holidays to roll around so I could run to the stores and add the latest trend to my collection. It started out as adding a few items each year to deck out each nook and cranny just right before it became a fun obsession.

If you’re here because you’ve been following our journey, thank you. I hope to share some frugal tips and how you can have simple decor on a budget. A lot of what I share in this post is about items that I have had for years. Some items even have sentimental value which makes living a minimalist lifestyle next to impossible for me. Everything is about Baby Steps and I’m on the saving money focus for right now. This has taught me to humble myself and be content with what I already have. It’s not always easy when we live in a world that is constantly pushing to buy and spend more. To stay up on the latest trends or the hottest buys. I hope you find some fun along the way as well. Stay tuned for more holiday updates for my Friday Fall Favorites Series. I’m thrilled to announce that my friend Adrienne over at the blog All Adrienne will be joining me as well. We’ll be linking to one another’s posts in this series. If you’d like to join us, please leave us a comment letting us know you’d like to jump in on the fun. We’d love to have you! 😊

Quick Home Decor Tour

This week I’ll be sharing a quick home decor tour. It’s not much but just enough to be festive and add a touch of Halloween to our home.

Piano/Living Room

My twins take piano lessons from my Mom via FaceTime. I used a few items from my teaching days to add a little touch. The candy corn “Got Candy”, purple BOO! sign, and jack o’lantern bucket were from the Target dollar spot. The candy jar was from the Dollar Tree.

The jack o’lantern placemat is from Kohl’s several seasons back. If my memory serves me correctly, I’m pretty sure I didn’t spend more than $5 after watching sales and applying Kohl’s Cash and coupons.

These adorable plush bats were actually given to me from my mom! I grew up with them in our home so I was thrilled when she gave them to me 10 1/2 years ago. They’re adorable and I wished I had taken a close-up of the bat family so you could see their goofy toothy grins. The garland was from Michael’s several years ago, too. Again, if you watch sales and apply coupons you can snag them for about $2.

Lily calls the spider in the corner “Mr. Spider”. I picked him up on clearance at Hallmark several seasons ago. Gotta love clearance because I picked up that bad boy for a whopping $3! He’s sensored so that when you turn him on and walk near him he’ll drop down. He has several cute sayings and it’s plays a catchy little tune as he slowly creeps back up his web.

Kitchen

Our kitchen now doubles as Lily’s preschool room since we started preschool with her this year. My husband was kind enough to install a whiteboard on our only blank wall in the house. I pulled out my teaching tub and already had the Halloween bulletin boarder. I purchased these in seasonal two-packs from Target in their back-to-school clearance for 75 cents.

I had this garland is my teaching tub but hadn’t ever used it. It’s a glitter garland from the Target dollar spot. The calendar is new this year from Target’s back-to-school clearance. I did pay $1.39 and it’s a static-cling and dry erase calendar. I like that it came with seasonal bulletin board extras.

This well is adjacent to the preschool wall. It sits behind our table. This is another Target dollar spot garland that I already had on hand from a few seasons back. I hadn’t ever used it before so it was like-new to me.

This little guy was from Kohl’s. Another clearance find for $2.

My Grandparents gave us a table last November. This purchase was made this year, I like tablecloths as part decor and part protectant for real wood tables. They can scratch so easily. Tablecloths are nice for hiding little nicks and scratches. These will run $34.99 full price at Kohl’s. Luckily, they were running a 50% off sale bringing it down to $17.49. I had redeemed my Fetch Rewards points for a $5 e-gift cad to Kohl’s. I also had a 20% off coupon I had found through Retail Me Not. I paid less than $10 for my new tablecloth! 😃🙌🏻 I definitely call that a WIN! I should add that I don’t purchase vinyl tablecloths for decorative use. This is a cloth one and why it’s a bit spendier.

The stacked pumpkin boxes were toll painted and given to me by my Mom. This wasn’t a toll painting class but a home made decoration that she made and sold as a side hustle while I was growing up. She is a gal of many talents! Another Michaels $2 garland and a plush shelf witch that my mom gave me years ago.

Here’s the other side of our kitchen.

My Mom used to toll paint as a side hobby when I was a kid. The wooden ghost on the door is one of those projects. I can’t remember for the life of me where I got the hanging ghost BOO sign. This may be another Target find.

The rugs were $5 at Kohls several years ago along with the middle hand towel. The other two waffle knit were Target dollar spot finds.

The cookie jar and lid are more sentimental decorations that were passed down from my Mom. The cookie jar lid is another toll painting project and that is the same cookie jar I grew up with. Our weekly menu is an old idea that I’ve had. I used it for my in-home daycare and preschool to post the weekly breakfast and lunch menus. I picked up the scrap paper and stickers from Michaels. I picked up the frame from the dollar store. I use slim dry erase markers and it wipes right off for the next week.

These little pumpkins were the only other decor purchases I made this year. They were in the Target dollar spot for just $1. I did, however, snag the Mrs. Meyers pumpkin hand soap off of OfferUp for $2!

Family/TV Room

Moving along to our family/tv room. The TY Beanie Babies we’re passed down from my Mom. My Mom hand painted the wooden purple witch, the jack o’lantern placemats are from Kohl’s, and my former MIL made that clear pumpkin and candy corn jar. She picked up the jar, ribbon, and scrapbook paper from Michaels and made the vinyl face with her CriCut. It would be a really easy DIY craft.

This is our other end table. My Mom hand painted the ghost, the place,at is from Kohl’s, the Jack O’lantern is from Scentsy, the Autumn basket is from Michaels, and the Halloween book collection is from years of teaching. My Mom and Grandma passed down books that I read as a little kid and we all added to the collection as Noah and Haylee were little. This used to be such a big money pit for me… I did order one new book last year called, Lulu Goes To Witch School, because our nickname for Lily is Lulu. I don’t plan to buy any more this year.

This mirror hangs behind our couch. Another beautiful toll painting creation from my Mom! It’ll stay up through November.

Guest Bathroom

This Bathroom is off of our family room. Another Scentsy warmer and a tip toll from Target.

Speaking of Scentsy, two of my all-time favorite fall scents are Cider Mill and Pumpkin Roll! These two scents make our home smell so warm, yummy, and inviting! I wish there was a smell option so you could sample the seasonal scents! If you’re fortunate enough to know a Scentsy consultant make sure you get in touch with them. My Mom used to sell Scentsy and I stock up on seasonal or holiday scents in January when their Fall & Winter catalogue would be 10% off. Unfortunately, Scentsy has raised their prices. A bar (pictured) used to sell for $5 Regular price so I could get bars for a little over $4. That is no longer the case. I believe the bars retail for $6 Regular full price now. I have t bought bars in years. Any new bars I have have been gifted to me. Scentsy still carries Cider Mill and Pumpkin roll as they are two of their most popular fall scents.

Outdoors

My Mom gave me the orange lights years ago and they’re still working! I tell you, they just don’t make things the way they used to. My porch kids were from KMART. The pumpkin porch lights I bought for $3/box on clearance at Target. They were originally $12. I’ve seen Target carry them for several years but didn’t see them at my Target this year.

I do not have a green thumb! I swear I kill every plant I e ever owned. Gardening just isn’t my thing. So these are fake flowers from Michaels! 😂 The flag is also from Michaels. Porch kid was from KMART.

My Mom toll painted this entire welcome sign and each seasonal accessory. Another sentimental hand-me-down.

Last, but not least, these guys were from Michaels. They carry them every year although I’ve noticed they look slightly different year to year.

End of Home Tour

That concludes our Halloween home tour. I hope you found some ways to stay on a budget while shopping for decor. A lot of my decor is brightly colored and cutesy. That’s the former teacher in me. 😉 Again, I’ve learned it’s okay to be content with what I already have. I felt I needed a new tablecloth as I didn’t have a Halloween tablecloth since being gifted a new table. The mini pumpkins in my it the window also were not a necessity but didn’t break the bank or the budget being priced at $1. I also didn’t need the hand soap but couldn’t resist when I saw it listed for $2 when they retail for $4.

Thank you for taking our home decor tour guide on a budget and for joining Adrienne and me for our Fall Friday Favorites! If you’d like to join us next eek or have any frugal decorating tips, please comment below. 🍂👻🍁🍃🎃🍬

Nat Geo Kids: Kids Almanac Review & Explorer Academy Preview With A Giveaway

I received these items for free from Moms Meet (momsmeet.com) to use and post my opinions. Compensation for this post was provided and may contain affiliate links.

A Classic Favorite

As a kid I remember looking forward to Library days in school. It meant a new chapter book for the week and a chance to read the latest edition of National Geographic for Kids after checking out my books. I always enjoyed watching National Geographic on our local PBS station with my family on the weekends. It made it possible to travel the world through our television from the comfort (and safety) of our living room. National Geographic has been a household name for as long as I can recall and I’m thrilled to have been able to share this experience with my kiddos.

The National Geographic Kids Almanac 2019 is chalk full of amazing information for school aged kids. It’s a fun resource to inform and educate children on the world around them. This almanac came packed with more than 500 vivid pictures, fun games, jokes, and activities, quizzes, homework help, and updated maps and reference materials.

The Kids Almanac always includes their mind bending Weird-But-True facts, incredible animal stories, and new places to see. Did you know that a peanut isn’t actually a nut at all? Or that bees visit about five million flowers to make one average-size jar of honey? That’s a lot of flowers for just a little honey!

Haylee absolutely loves animals and really enjoys the Amazing Animal Facts and pictures. Noah is our little history, mathematics, and science buff. He enjoys reading up on anything historical and learning about how things work. He’s constantly computing numbers. Noah genuinely loves learning about everything. Haylee is more artistic and enjoys taking in all of the pictures and drawing. She was super excited to see the Lions Forever Almanac Challenge! You can read more about that here to learn how your kiddos can enter, too!

An All-New & Interactive Explorer Experience

The twins are really into reading new chapter books right now. I’ve challenged them to read a new book each week. They’re only required to read a book a month and then do a book report on it at the end of each month. When our National Geographic Kids book set arrived, they were already in the middle of their book reports for the month of September. They couldn’t wait to dive in to a new adventure! Noah and Haylee both wanted to read Explorer Academy: The Nebula Secret. This new series is perfect for kids age 8-12. It’s fact-based fiction inspired by the real-life experiences of true National Geographic explorers adventures and their work.

I had to have them wait until their September book reports were completed and turned in and for them to be back from their dad’s house before I could let them dive in. The anticipation has been growing! During their much anticipated wait, Noah and Haylee checked out the all-new Explorer Academy website. The twins enjoyed watching the book trailer, preview the characters the were about to read about, and enjoyed the challenge of the code breaking game. To celebrate the launch of Explorer Academy you can enter to win a spectacular ship-based experience! The grand prize is a family trip for four to Alaska’s Inside Passage from National Geographic Expeditions. You can enter the sweepstakes at exploreracademytrip.com

Noah previewing the video for the new Explorer Academy Series.

Checking out the characters of The Nebula Secret before diving into the new book!

This fiction-based series is compiled after real-life National Geographic Explorers!

Trying his hand at Crack the Code.

Perfect For The Whole Family

Our family had a great experience with these new books. They provided hours of educational and informative information not only for our older kids but for our whole family! With Fall now here and some days surprising us with unpleasant weather, National Geographic Kids books offer a healthy dose of fun without screen time. Parents can feel good about their child spending an afternoon on an amazing, new adventure! These would also make great gifts for school-aged kids. Expand their minds and opportunity to learn and grow with the always amazing National Geographic Kids! Or try an extended gift-giving experience with the new Explorer Academy seven-part series.

A huge thank you to Moms Meet and National Geographic Kids for sending us these wonderful books that our whole family is still enjoying!

I’d love to hear what your children and family’s favorite series and books are. Please comment below and don’t forget to subscribe so you don’t miss new posts from us! 😊

Probiotics & Your Gut Health

I received this product for free from Moms Meet (momsmeet.com) to use and post my honest opinions. Compensation for this post was provided and this page may contain affiliate links. 

Probiotics & Your Gut Health

Probiotic?

Probiotics. That word keeps floating around and popping up everywhere. If you haven’t heard of probiotics then you must be fairly new to the term as I was a few weeks ago. I had no idea what they were let alone the basic purpose of a probiotic. Upon further research I discovered that not only is a probiotic important but  a prebiotic as well as a postbiotic are key to overall gut health.

Dr. Ohhira’s Probiotics

Dr. Ohhira’s Probiotics is actually a prebiotic, probiotic and postbiotic formulated into one capsule.  Dr. Ohhira’s Prebiotic is a blend made up of dozens of wholesome foods (e.g. fruits, vegetables, seaweeds, mushrooms, and herbs).  The prebiotic is added to 12 proven beneficial strains of probiotics and allowed them 3 years to ferment.  These 12 well researched strains of probiotics  deliver postbiotics which improve the environment to support your own unique microbiome.  Postbiotics are not added to the product, they are the natural result of fermentation.  Compounds created by bacteria such as postbiotic metabolites include vitamins, enzymes, short-chain fatty acids and other organic acids like fulvic acid.  Short-chain fatty acids are produced by friendly bacteria in the gut and may play an important role in health and disease. They may reduce the risk of inflammatory diseases such as, type-2 diabetes, obesity, and heart disease.  Fulvic acid is the key to the absorption and transport of trace minerals, electrolytes, and other essential nutrients.  Many people report an increase in energy when their fulvic acid levels increase.

Dr. Ohirra’s Probiotics help you nurture your own unique strains of microbes by creating a good environment for them to thrive.  Each capsule contains a naturally concentrated paste with fermented plant fibers (prebiotic), the beneficial bacteria (probiotic) and nutrients developed over the 3-year fermentation (postbiotics).  This combination helps to restore gut flora and promote overall good health.  Dr. Ohirra’s Probiotic blend contains Streptococcus Thermophilus which is a powerful probiotic strain that has well researched health benefits.  This probiotic is often found in the colon and has many digestive, immunity  and other health benefits.  This strain also produces lactase, which helps people digest milk more efficiently.  Another well researched strain that is present in this formula is Lactobacillus d. bulgaricus.  This beneficial bacteria is found in the digestive tract.  Intestinal bacteria is referred to as gut flora or microbes.  The proper balance of gut flora helps keep your intestinal walls strong and bad bacteria at bay, and can reduce the risk of chronic disease.

Most probiotic supplements use microbes cultured in a matter of hours on a base of dairy or soy.  The colonies are then broken apart and cleansed of their food supply, which removed any postbiotic bacteria that may have been made.  The bacteria are freeze-dried into a white powder, placed in capsules, bottled and shipped.  This process makes them fragile and usually require refrigeration.  Freeze-dried bacteria can only make postbiotics after being reawakened and beating other strains to a food supply to multiply.  On the other hand, Dr. Ohirra’s Probiotic’s are always live and active.

But I’m Already Taking a Prebiotic…

All prebiotics are not created equal.  Some products add an isolated fiber such as FOS (fructo-oligosaccharides) or Inulin and call that a prebiotic.  Those strains may not be appropriate for all strains and may even cause excessive gas.  Dr. Ohhira’s uses a wide variety of plant materials proven to support probiotic growth and to develop a wide variety of postbiotics. These strains are grown together for 3 years proving their ability to get along and build synergy.

Dr. Ohhira’s Probiotics contains other high quality ingredients as well.  Two of which are controversial and that is due to miss information put out about these ingredients.  Class 1 natural caramel color and carrageenan are both food grade.  Class 1 Caramel Colors are minimally processed and carry the designation of E150a.  No ammonium or sulfite compounds are allowed in the production.  However, because of the confusion with these ingredients and Dr. Ohhira’s commitment to implementing the highest quality foods in his products, he is actively researching alternatives to alleviate customer concerns.

My Honest Review Of Dr. Ohhira’s Probiotics

When I first received Dr. Ohhira’s probiotics I was a bit skeptic. I hadn’t taken any kind of supplements since my youngest turned one year old. I was only taking a prenatal because I was still nursing. It wasn’t long after I stopped taking a prenatal vitamin that I started to notice a decline in my overall health. I was constantly tired, suffered from debilitating migraines, stomach pains, bloating, joint pain, and teenage-like acne breakouts. My skin was dull. I stayed consistent with taking the probiotics every day at the same time and upping my water intake.

After two weeks I started to notice a difference in my energy levels. I no longer required an afternoon nap and an entire pot of coffee to get me through the day. My stomach pain and bloating went away. My face started to clear up. I do want to add that I switched up my skin care routine at this time and have been transition to a  non-toxic face wash in addition to taking Dr. Ohhira’s Probiotics. I can definitley say that I will be keeping a probiotic in my daily routine and that my husband, who is a Type 1 Diabetic, will also be incorporating these same probiotics as well!

Thank you to Moms Meet and Dr. Ohhira’s for sending these great probiotics for us to try out!

Organic & Responsibly Sourced Hair Care Products

I received this product for free from Moms Meet (momsmeet.com) to use and post my honest opinions. Compensation for this post was provided and this page may contain affiliate links. 

For the past six months I have been on a journey to transition all of my conventional beauty products over to nontoxic or green beauty products. My hair care products were still conventional as I was using up what I had around the house. That’s why I was thrilled when Moms Meet sent me Desert Essence Anti-Breakage Shampoo and Conditioner!

Mommy Hair, Don’t care

As a mom of three my locks have been through the ringer. Fluctuating hormones and years of coloring and heat damage have absolute killed my hair. Summertime definitely doesn’t help between time in the sun and pool. My poor hair looks frizzy and frazzled. I feel that I’m reduced to living on dry shampoo and that Mom-Bun life just to save my locks from more damage. Have no fear my mommy friends. At last there’s a clean solution for those tired tresses that you can feel good about!

Summer days out in the sun and in the pool have damaged those sweet little goldie locks.

The Anti-Breakage Shampoo and Conditioner did wonders on my oldest daughter’s hair as well! I’m not able to monitor her hair care routine on the weeks she goes to her dad’s house so I was astonished at the difference this shampoo made on her hair even with one wash. With a blend of  Biotin and Pro-Vitamin B5, this anti-breakage shampoo and conditioner is rich in Jojoba and coconut oils. This unique formula helps smooth hair and minimize breakage by up to 61%.  The natural scent is very pleasant and leaves our hair smelling wonderful rather than a typical chemical or synthetic smell.

Dessert Essence Anti-Breakage Shampoo & Conditioner have made this girl’s hair soft and healthy! 

Since having children, my hair has changed dramatically. I used to have straw-straight hair but pregnancy hormones has make my hair wavy, kinky, frizzy, and flat on top. It now has a personality of it’s own and never does the same thing every time I wash. I’m usually left with blow drying my hair then straightening the crap out of it and it still looks parched. The Smoothing Shampoo and Conditioner is an all-in-one product! My results are from letting my hair air dry. All I did was brush it every few minutes. That means less product, less time, less heat, and ultimately less damage for my hair! Woohoo, Mamas!

After one use of Desert Essence Smoothing Shampoo & Conditioner – hair was air dried and no other product was used! What a difference!

Sleek and straight – no blow drying or straightening required! 

In addition to being great for my hair and the environment, I really appreciate how affordable these products are. Being a stay-at-home-mom on a budget it’s important to me that I find green beauty products that won’t break the bank. Just another reason why I fell in love with Desert Essence products! You can take 20% off Anti-Breakage and Smoothing Hair Care Products on dessertessence.com with the promo code DELovesMomsMeet.

One Great Company

Desert Essence is a company that I am proud to support. Since they were in 1978 Desert Essence has been on a mission to make a difference. Their products do not contain any artificial colors or fragrances. They are a certified B-Corp Corporation which means that they are committed to meet the highest standards of environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability. Desert Essence bar soaps contain 100% sustainably harvested palm and palm kernel oil. All of their products have biodegradable formulas and the packaging is recyclable. They use natural and organic ingredients from around the world. Desert Essence has also been certified by Leaping Bunny which means they do not believe in animal testing or ingredients used in making them. They also are a company that believes in giving back. 1% purchased from their Oil Blends and Restorative and Balancing Facial Oils is donated to impoverished girls to help them get access to education.

huge THANK YOU to Moms Meet and Desert Essence for gifting me these wonderful products to try out and add to my list of go-to hair care products!

A Healthier Popcorn Option

I received this product for free from Moms Meet (momsmeet.com) to use and post my honest opinions. Compensation for this post was provided and this page may contain affiliate links. 

I absolutely love popcorn! It has always been an all-time favorite snack of mine. From air popped to microwave to the Jiffy Pop campfire in the tin pan. It’s always been fun watching and listening for those kernels to turn fluffy and make that POPPING sound.

A few years back I snagged a stove pop popper that you cranked the handle and I preferred this method for the organic popcorn kernels, sea salt, and butter combination. I thought that those were the only three ingredients needed for perfectly popped popcorn. Phhhh! Shows just how little I know!

When I tried Malaysian Palm Oil I was curious to see what the end results would be. I was surprised how fluffy the kernels turned out! There wasn’t even a need for butter and yet the popcorn wasn’t oily or greasy in any way. I did add just a touch of sea salt for a bit of taste and found that Malaysian Palm Oil is absolutely perfect for popcorn. It actually enhances the flavor instead of taking over that natural popped corn flavor like butter does.  My family and I were pleasantly surprised at how well we enjoyed this pairing.

Palm oil sourced from Malaysia is non-GMO and ideal for high temperature cooking.  Other key factors to note about this unique oil is that it is a healthy replacement for partially hydrogenated oil because it’s trans fat free and rich with nutrients such as, provitamin A carotenoids.  These carotenoids are important for growth and development and maintenance of the immune system.   The Red palm fat is rich in the antioxidants Vitamin E tocopherols and tocotrienols. Tocotreinols are  superior to tocopherols, however tocopherols are the more commonly used natural preservative found in several perishable goods.  Both compounds have been found to be an anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer, neuroprotective, with cholesterol lowering properties.  Palm oil itself is cholesterol free, free of trans fats, high in linoleic acid, and helps raise HDL-cholesterol.  Either natural preservative is a much better source of preservation  than any synthetic preservative.  Here’s a fun fact: a one-acre palm oil plantation produces 11 times more oil than a one-acre soybean field. WOW!

We’ve switched to eating sweet potatoes over traditional baking potatoes and I’m anxious to make sweet potato fries with palm oil. Stay tuned for the results!

Protein Packed Snacks For On-the-Go

I want to thank Moms Meet for sending me these products for free in exchange for my honest opinion and review. Compensation for this post was provided and this page contain affiliate links.

The SAHM “Diet”

As a stay-at-home-mom I often neglect to take time out of my day to make sure that I’ve eaten a healthy and well-balanced meal. Even though my resume includes healthy grocery shopping on a budget for meals for the whole family, I somehow manage to forget to include myself in my day to day routine. Guilty, I know. Often times I find myself grabbing some kind of bar to eat on the go with a piece of fruit or veggie. But I forget to grab a key part of any healthy diet and that’s protein. I have crashes on a regular basis and let me tell you, it’s not fun.

My family and I really, really love smoothies. Let’s be real for a minute; unless you buy prepackaged organic fruits and veggies that have already been washed, sliced, and come conveniently packaged (as well as spendy) then who really has the time to do all of that prep work?

I know that it makes meal prep and eating much easier but there are definitely those times when the schedule doesn’t always go according to plan. A toddler didn’t take as long of a nap as expected, school-aged kids have projects or after-school activities. Life happens and things come up. So, that’s why I really like the idea of a healthy, protein packed snack that’s convenient and delicious!

Fuel For Fire Smoothies

Fuel For Fire‘s founder is six-time Ironman Triathelete Ron Gilfeather. His mission is to change the way people snack on the go by making wise and impacting changes to their daily routines to support healthy nutrition.

Key the trumpets as I announce Fuel For Fire‘s protein loaded smoothies made from real foods! Nothing artificial, no added sugars, and gluten free Fuel For Fire Smoothies are perfect for on the go. I replaced a smoothie with my typical bar and was pleasantly satisfied. They’re delicious and wholesome. I felt content and didn’t experience a crash that I usually do from not eating enough protein to sustain me on a crazy-busy day. They’re great for kids, too! My entire family couldn’t get enough of them. The twins were chomping at the bit for a new after school snack.

My husband and son really enjoyed the Coffee Blend. I personally didn’t care for it because it wasn’t what I expected. I’m a coffee lover and maybe it was the texture with the flavor? Not quite sure but I am absolutely raving over the Sweet Potato Apple smoothie! Oh, my goodness! I’m actually craving one as I sit here telling you about it! It is definitely my favorite! The Strawberry Banana, Banana Cocoa, and Tropical are all very yummy as well! They’re what you’d expect from a smoothie only more delicious. The best part is even though these smoothies contains whey protein you can’t taste it at all! There aren’t any funny textures or weird after tastes which I give two big thumbs up for! Way to nail the deliciousness and healthiness of a protein smoothie without the funkiness, Fuel For Fire!

The smoothies come packaged in convenient on-the-go squeeze pouches. You can pack them in lunchboxes, backpacks, gym bags, and even diaper bags. This is what I did when we took our youngest to the zoo for the first time and in my excitement I forgot to eat. I was able to enjoy my time with my family thanks to the Fuel For Fire smoothie I had tossed in the diaper bag!

I even managed to grab one on the way to church because Heaven knows I’m always running late for church and don’t even have time to make myself a couple of eggs. Peanut butter and apples are too messy and not ideal when I’m applying that last coat of mascara or my lipstick.

Find Your Fuel

With so many great smoothie blend options its easy to say yes to clean and fun snacking. Did you know that childhood obesity is on the rise (1 in 5 children are considered obese) and that 91% of children get less than half the recommended 60 minutes of physical activity a day? That’s why is so crucial, now more than ever, to spread the word about wholesome nutrition and the importance of staying active. Fuel For Fire supports fueling America with quality whole foods.

You can find Fuel For Fire products here or even on Amazon. Now through July 31, 2018 you can save 40% and receive free shipping on your purchase at fuelforfire.com with code SAVE40.

What are some ways that you like to keep your family fueled on the go? Please share your ideas below.

How To Kick Your Snack Time Up A Notch

A huge THANK YOU to Moms Meet for sending me these products for free in exchange for my honest opinion and review. Compensation for this post was provided and this page may contain affiliate links. 

Our Story

On our journey to a healthier and an ingredient conscious lifestyle I am constantly reading labels and on the hunt for better-for-you and green products. We’re slowly transitioning the products that we use and consume within our home. When we run out of a product, we replace it with one that is ethically sourced and contains honest ingredients. I can’t stress how important it is to me that I provide my family with only the best food and products.

With my husband having Type 1 Diabetes and other auto-immune diseases running in our families we avoid certain foods and definitely do not consume products with any additives, preservatives, and pesticides.

So when Moms Meet offered Once Again Nut Butter Amore Hazelnut Spread as a blogger review program I jumped at the opportunity and was thrilled when I was selected to participate!

Once Again Nut Butters

Once Again is a very special and unique company. Their founders shared a common belief in organic and sustainable farming. They’re an employee-owned company that “spreads integrity” and their logo comes from the adopted pet kits that were orphaned and living on the facility grounds. They fondly named one of those kits “Rocky”. The Once Again Family helped out the kits and later released them into the wild. To this day, Once Again is committed to donating their byproducts to local farmers and nature lovers who often feed Once Again Nut Butters to the wildlife.

Once Again holds a special place in my Mommy Book of Approval because they are certified organic, non-GMO, gluten free, and made with fair trade ingredients. These are some of the top things I look for before purchasing a new product.

hazelnut spread

I haven’t ever been a fan of Nutella. There’s just something about it that I simply couldn’t get myself to use it. You can imagine that I was probably a tad bit apprehensive to try a hazelnut spread but I have a rule to try everything at least once before claiming not to like it. Boy, was I more than pleasantly surprised!

We were gearing up to go camping for the first time for the season and figured it would be an ideal time to try out the spread. I always pack quick and healthy foods when we go camping (with the exception of smores) and knew that Once Again Amore Hazelnut Spread would pair perfectly with apples and even celery.

Talk about knock your socks off! The creamy spread was like a decadent dessert consuming my mouth. The best part was that I didn’t feel guilty eating such a delicious treat! This is one hazelnut spread that I can feel good about eating and giving to my three kiddos.

But the goodness didn’t stop there. Noooo… When we finished dinner later that evening and pulled out the things to make smores we realized that we forgot to pack the chocolate bars. To our dismay, we were quite disappointed. I mean, c’mon. What is camping without SMORES, am I right??

As I grudgingly cleaned up dinner and put things away in the trailer, I spotted the hazelnut spread I had used earlier in the day. Remembering its cocoa-y goodness I thought to myself, “It’s made with cocoa; why not spread it on the graham crackers and and use it in place of chocolate bars?”

Now lets stop and talk about the components of a traditional smore for just a minute. You have the crispy graham cracker, the warm gooey marshmallow, the the hard chocolate bar. We keep ours in the freezer or ice chest so they don’t melt in the heat. I find smores absolutely delectable but awfully difficult and very, very messy to eat.

But the spread! That’s just it! I spread it on top of that graham cracker so neatly that it stayed in place and made for an even yummier smore than I could have ever imagined! I was so engrossed in making smore after heavenly smore that I forgot to take pictures of our newfound treats.

However, when we returned from camping, my twins dove right into the hazelnut spread with apples for an after school treat. I even whipped up some gluten free and regular brownie bites using Once Again Amore Hazelnut Spread. Those did not last one day in our house!

You can find the recipe at the bottom of this blog post. 

If you’re looking for a delicious treat or healthier alternative to conventional hazelnut spreads, Once Again Amore Hazelnut Spread is your go-to product! I was disappointed to learn that there aren’t retailers near me who carry Once Again Hazelnut Spread but I found it online! You can find them here.

The Amore Hazelnut Spread is new this year but you can snag all kinds of delicious nut butters depending on what you’re in the mood for:

Hazelnut Brownie Bites

  • 1/2 cup Once Again Amore Hazelnut Spread
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup of gluten free flour
  • 2 tablespoons of almond milk
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a muffin pan with cupcake liners.
  2. Mix hazelnut spread and milk together.
  3. In a separate bowl, beat egg.
  4. Add egg to the hazelnut and milk mixture.
  5. Slowly add in the flour while mixing together by hand until ingredients are blended well.
  6. Fill liners 2/3 full.
  7. Bake for 20 minutes.
  8. Remove and allow to cool completely before serving.

Makes 6 brownie bites

What are your favorite ways to eat hazelnut spread? I’d love to hear your  ideas! Please share and comment below.

A Tale of the Purple Peg-Legged Pirate

This post contains affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy here.

Have you ever wished you could travel back in time to a specific date and have a redo? Would you like a second chance to do things differently or experience them over again?

There have been more “do-overs” I wished I could relive again as a mother than I can remember. As I’ve become older I try to remind myself that everything happens for a reason and that the reason behind an event is to help us learn and grow as individuals. That’s not always an easy motto to adopt but I like to think I try my best.

As I strain so hard to remember every last detail of the event that resulted in my 22-month old fracturing her tibia and being placed in a leg cast for 5 weeks my memory robs me of what should have been a fun filled family day out…

We had recently won passes to a new indoor trampoline/adventure park that had just opened up. It happened to be my husband’s Saturday off and we had the twins. We only have them every other week and my husband only gets a Saturday off every six weeks so this rare family day was extra special for us.

It had started off a bit rocky because our oldest had had a rough week and needed to sit out of the activities for a bit. I sat with him while stepdad and sister checked out all that the park had to offer. Our toddler is attached to mommy’s hip so naturally she stayed with me while daddy and Big Sis were playing for a bit.

After while, Lil Sis and I went to look for daddy and Big Sis and snap a few pictures of them playing around. http://nickle-pickle.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/img_9729.movMy, oh, my were they having a BLAST! 😃 This mommy couldn’t wait to join in on the action! While we were waiting Lil Sis and I went over to the free-zone where there were several square trampolines. They weren’t quite as big as a backyard trampoline but a bit bigger than a personal sized trampoline that you’d use for exercises. We proceeded to a vacant corner of the free-zone and I put Lil down to do her own thing. I kept an eye on her as I watched for older and much bigger participants jumping around so that I could foresee them jumping towards Lil’s direction and pick her up before she was double bounced or knocked over. The free-zone is a pretty large area and took up a quarter of the indoor park. Most of the other jumpers didn’t come close to Lily with the exception of another toddler who was about her age. They tossed a clear ball from the “bubble” pit back and forth and talked in their little toddler jargon. I didn’t encounter anything that would raise my mommy alertness to a concerned level. At one point all five of us were happily hanging out in the free-zone watching one another to flips and taking turns admiring Lily having fun and making new friends. Then Big Sis asked me to try out the rock climbing walls with her. Daddy is an extremely protective dad so I knew Lily was in good hands while I spent some one-on-one time with Big Sis. I’m not going to lie, I had the most wonderful time with Haylee! It was long over do and I really enjoyed myself. We raced up each obstacle wall and I over came my fear of jumping off the top of the wall and letting the harness slowly pull me back down to solid ground. Haylee even dared me to attempt to jump from pillar to pillar without hands and without falling and guess what… this Momma did it!!!! I didn’t nail the landing and fell right on my booty when I jumped off of the tallest pillar but was laughing so hard that tears were streaming down my cheeks. I didn’t care. I was making memories with my oldest daughter and loving every second of it! We had just completed the harnessed activities when we decided we were ready to try the skyline. It’s similar to a zip line and goes across the entire park.

No sooner had we started towards the skyline and here comes Daddy carrying a fussy Lil. Her cry was different, unlike anything I had heard before. My mama instincts told me that something wasn’t right. I had my husband put her down to walk towards me and she wasn’t able to put any weight on her right leg.

<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<< nee while I nursed her. Lily kept trying to fall asleep but would let out the most heart breaking cry. I decided to let the twins play while Lil slept and Daddy iced her knee. After an hour we decided that it was time to head home. Lil is Little Miss Independent and wanted to get down and walk around but her knee gave out and she started crying inconsolably. It was time to take her in. Something just wasn't right. When we arrived at the DOC (Direct Orthopedic Care) we were seen right away. They took a look at Lily's knee and turned it and applied pressure. The doctor thought that she was fine but wanted to take X-rays just to be sure. As suspected, Lily had a buckle fracture of her tibia. Her little bones has smushed together like two little hills. 😔 It was determined that Lil would need a cast and that it would need to be worn for about 4-6 weeks. Lily was a champ and didn’t even cry when she was looked over, had X-rays, and then the cast applied. As you can see she was quite the little cheeser. 😂 She was so well behaved that the DOC gave her teddy bear that we appropriately named Tibby the Teddy.

New teddies and organic suckers make everything better! 😊

Big Brother and Sis made it even more special by being the first ones to sign her cast and help decorate it.

We were very fortunate with Lily’s experience. She was crawling around the next day as she did when she was a younger baby and was hobbling along within the week. And thus the Purple Peg-Legged Pirate made her debut!

We used Big Sister’s old knee-high socks to keep the cast clean and free of any little particles that may have been picked up while getting around. Bathtimes were on hold and we had to take showers with Lil which was quite the challenge. Daddy did a phenomenal job of keeping her leg wrapped well; water didn’t ever get inside of the cast.

After two weeks her toes started to smell a bit. I took Q-tips and baby wipes and washed between her toes and as far as I could get on top of her foot.

At three weeks the cast started to itch causing Lil a bit of discomfort and a lack of sleep at night. I whipped out my hair dryer and put it on the lowest cool setting to help relieve the itch. Week four was by far the worst and I used my finger to apply Honest Organic All-Purpose Balm. Golly, do I love this stuff! I swear by it and have found it helpful for a multitude of uses. I’d rub the balm as far down the cast as my fingers could get until Lil fell asleep.

It definitely helped and did wonders for her skin!

We kept up this routine and care for five weeks and two days before we were seen to get the cast removed. Boy, was this Momma ready!

Lil playing dress up and being silly while getting along just fine on her cast. Lily the morning of her cast removal – boy does she look excited! 😃 We had to have more X-Rays done before she could actually get the cast cut off. A tiny dark line was still slightly visible but there was a lot of new bone growth and we were told it looked great. Lily brought along one of her puppies. Boy, was she BRAVE! She didn’t freak out or cry… Chill as a cucumber! She looked quite comfy and relaxed on that bed. Big Sister was there every step of the way! Once the cast was off and Lil could move her foot and ankle around the stiffness made her a bit weepy. Haylee was SO great to hold her and talk her through the process! A picture with Mommy before we left. If you’ve ever had an experience with a cast, I’m sure you’re wondering about our after care experience. Well, it was an interesting one that’s for sure!

Her leg was, of course, a little dirty but quite horrendously smelly! Because I had tried to keep her toes and the top of her foot cleaned the best I could it was really her ankle that was the worst. The leg was scaly and had a bit of a bumply rash.

Surprisingly, the office didn’t off to wash it off and asked if I had baby wipes with me. I said that I did but quickly wished I hadn’t. The assistant told me that those would be better for Lil’s skin. But as in learning, another with “fragrance” on the ingredient list is not a good thing…

I tried my darnedest to take the awful smell away but I had released five weeks of dead and unwashed skin. This only worsened Lil’s leg, both smell, rash, and itch.

We had planned to meet my Grandparents for lunch at the new Chick-fil-A that had just opened up but what I didn’t realize is that one should not plan on making appointments or running errands the day of a cast removal.

Lily’s leg itched so badly and her poor skin just flaked off like falling snow.

I decided to bring her home and give her an oatmeal bath to help soothe her irritated skin. Thank goodness for great neighbors because mine offered some anti-itch cream. This stuff helped TREMENDOUSLY!

I allowed her skin to just be open to the air. I only gave her an oatmeal bath every other day and applied the anti-itch cream as needed.

The redness and rash hung around for a week but I was determined to heal her sweet skin. When the rash was healed, I continued to apply Honest Organic All Purpose Balm. This has healed her skin beautifully! Two days post-cast removal walking around at the Oregon Trail Interpretive Center. Notice how her right leg is up on the top-toes. Lil’s walking was a bit unsteady at first. She wasn’t able to put any weight on her leg for the first two days. We encouraged her to walk to us or things that she wanted. By day 3 she was walking on her tip-toes as if she still had the cast one. She’d tire easily and we noticed her ankle would give out after awhile.

But we didn’t give up! Within a week Lil was walking all over the place! It wasn’t until almost two weeks that she just got up and went! Her foot was flat and her heel was on the ground! Yay!

Favoring her right leg just a bit but getting around GREAT! We are two week post-cast removal today. Lil’s right foot is slightly turned out but we will continue to watch it and give you an update here.

How was your experience with your child(ren)’s cast? I’d love to hear about your journey! Please comment below.