Jul 16, 2014

Teaching My Daughter to Be Brave

What image comes to your mind when you hear the word brave? Do you picture a solider going into battle? Perhaps a fireman rushing into a burning building? Do you picture a person who looks ordinary in every way?

Probably not.

Typically we view bravery only as big acts of courage, but that is not the only way people are brave. The idea of being brave is something that my husband and I are trying to teach our kids. My oldest daughter Isabella is struggling with the idea that she can be brave. She sees bravery as someone who isn't afraid and she's pretty convinced that only grown ups can be brave. I need her to learn that she can be brave.

Here are some of the ways I'm teaching my daughter to be brave.

I tell my daughter that the bravest thing a person can do is be their authentic self. I'm urging her to be the person she was created to be instead of acting like someone else. I'm starting this conversation young hoping if she always hears it, she will believe it once peer pressure begins.

Honestly, being her authentic self is my main focus on our bravery talks. My husband describes her as endearingly quirky. I love that description! She is her own little person and I love it. I love that she dresses in a way that makes her happy instead of what is in style. I love that she has a vivid imagination and plays make believe games. I hope she never changes. 

 I tell my daughter that being brave isn't the absence of fear. It's trying new things even if you're afraid. For example my kids went to VBS where my twins knew some of the kids, but Isabella did not. She didn't want to go since she didn't know anyone. So we talked about being brave and how she can make friends before the week began. When we walked in, I could see that she was nervous but she went right in and sat down with her group. She made a friend that first day and she is having a great time.

I give my daughter examples of when I have been brave. I want her to know that I struggle with bravery and that it's OK. Being brave is a struggle at any age. I want her to know that it's hard for me too and learn how I handled the situation.

My hope for my children is that they will grow up with more confidence than I had. I want them to be brave enough to be their authentic self. I know that my husband and I have to lead by example on bravery and that this conversation will continue as they gets older.

What are some of the ways that you are teaching your children to be brave?

Jul 14, 2014

Surpahs Digital Bathroom Scale Review

Ignore the number on the scale is common advice given to anyone who is trying to lose weight or get fit. Why? Your weight is not the only indicator that your diet or fitness routine is successful. There are other factors that you should use to track your progress' like body fat percentage. Which is why you need a scale that gives you more information than just your weight. I was sent the Surpahs Sense-ON Multifunction Digital Bathroom Scale to review. All opinions are mine and no further compensation was provided. 

I keep my scale out on the bathroom floor. I want something that looks nice and does not take up too much room. I like the sleek design of the Surpahs scale, and that it's thin. Surpahs advertises that the scale not only measures weight but also body fat, percent water, percent muscle and muscle weight. I wasn't sure how a scale could measure these things. After the scale arrived, I learned that it uses bio-electrical impedance analysis to identify the various components of your body and calculates the percentage of each one.  

The scale is really easy to set up for each user and very easy to use. I planned on only setting it up for my husband and I, but my kids wanted their own profile. Thankfully the scale can hold up to 8 profiles. I don't know why but they love seeing their body water level. After a few times getting on the scale they knew how to get to their profile and see their levels.

Of course the most important aspect of a scale is if it's accurate. I knew right away that the weight was accurate since I recently weighed myself at the doctor's office. I had a personal trainer measure my body fat index and learned that the scale and what the trainer told me was almost identical. It's safe to say that this scale is accurate. 

You can learn more about the Surpahs Sense-ON Multifunction Digital Bathroom Scale on their website www.surpahs.com. To stay up to date on new products and promotions follow them on social media. 

Disclaimer - I received product in exchange for this review. No further compensation was provided and all opinions are mine. 

Jul 10, 2014

Grilled Zucchini Pasta Recipe

I love zucchini! I know you can buy it all year long, but there is something about zucchini that screams summer to me, especially grilled zucchini. Now one of my favorite recipes is my Spaghetti with Roasted Zucchini. It's simple, delicious, light, quick, and cheap to make.

You have to love that right?

But using the oven heats up my house which is miserable in the summer! My husband requested the zucchini pasta a few times this summer and I kept saying no since I didn't want to heat up the house. This week I got the brilliant idea that I should grill or use my Crock Pot for every meal. Trying to think up vegetarian options for the grill is hard for me. Finally it dawned on me that I should revamp my Spaghetti with Roasted Zucchini for the grill.

It was a stroke of genius!

Grilled zucchini has a great flavor that you cannot get from the oven! Plus there was less work for me since my husband is the one who does the grilling in my house. This is a recipe that almost isn't a recipe since it's so simple.

Grilled Zucchini Pasta
Prep time 25 minutes
Serves 5

5 zucchini
2 thick slices of a whole onion
13 oz box of whole wheat spaghetti - or any pasta of your choice
olive oil about 1/2 cup
1 T granulated garlic
salt, pepper to taste
Parmesan cheese - optional


1. Preheat grill to medium heat for 10 minutes.
2. Meanwhile boil water for the pasta and cook according to package directions. Drain the pasta and return to the pot. Add 1/4 cup of olive oil and 3/4 T of the granulated garlic. Depending on your pasta type you may need more olive oil.
3. While the grill is heating up, cut the tops off the zucchini and cut down the middle length wise.
4. Spray a coat of olive oil on the zucchini and season with salt, pepper, and garlic.

5. Once the grill is preheated, place the zucchini and onion slice on the grill and cook for 5-6 minutes on each side. Watch your zucchini closely since zucchini gets over down very quickly and cooking time depends on the heat of your grill.
6. Take your zucchini off the grill and slice into bite sized pieces. Top the pasta with the zucchini and serve with shredded Parmesan cheese.

Options - You can saute fresh garlic in the olive oil if you're not feeling too lazy. It's what I normally would do for this recipe but I didn't want another burner going in my kitchen.

Jul 3, 2014

Summer Hair Care with V05 Review and Giveaway

My hair has always taken a beating during the summer. I'm a natural blonde which means I spent many years of my childhood with green hair from the pool. I also have very oily, fine hair that gets tangled easily. Between the sun, pool, beach, and the wind my hair needs some serious repair work. I was sent a sample of V05 products to try this summer in exchange for this review. All opinions are mine and no further compensation was provided.

It's fun getting new products to try in the mail, especially in the summer when I'm trying to take better care of my hair. It was great seeing some products that I've used in the past as well as some new products. I use the standard V05 shampoo and conditioner on my kids' hair. I like that it's a little watery but gets a great lather going. My kids think they needs tons of shampoo to get the job done and the consistency of V05 makes them think I gave them more shampoo than they actually are using.

I always use hair care products that add volume. My baby fine hair needs all the help it can get. Normally full body products don't add any shine to your hair but the V05 Full Body + Shine contains coconut oil which added great shine to my hair. I didn't see a huge difference in volume from the other shampoo and conditioners that I have tried, but I did see a huge difference in shine and softness. The Full Body + Shine Shampoo formula has the same watery consistency as their other product lines. It also works up a great lather!

During the cooler months I don't use leave in conditioner often. In the summer I use leave in conditioner after every trip to the pool, beach, or lake. Have you ever tried brushing your hair after swimming all day only to find your hair a tangled mess? With just a few spritz of V05 Series Simply Stunning Leave-In Conditioner the brush goes right through your hair. While it's great for my hair, it's even better for my daughters' hair. Mostly because using the leave in conditioner means they are not crying while I brush their hair! Talk about a win!

I can't imagine how their hair gets so messy! 

I've actually used V05's Hot Oil Treatment since I was a teenager. I haven't used it in years though. It brought back memories doing my first hair treatment. I gave my daughters a treatment at the same time as part of a little spa day. We refer to my youngest daughter's hair as a lion mane. She has long, thick, hair that makes me just a little jealous. After her hot oil treatment her hair looked amazing! I was shocked at the difference just one treatment made on her hair. I'm going to add this to her hair routine.

Here is a little information about V05 Products. You can learn more on V05's website.

VO5’s Hot Oil Treatment - A hair care staple, it moisturizes and conditions hair from roots to ends, helping to restore shine, strength and silky softness. 

VO5 Salon Series Full Body + Shine Shampoo and Conditioner with coconut oil and conditioning agents weightlessly coats and plumps each hair strand, delivering a visible boost from roots to ends.

VO5 Salon Series Simply Stunning Leave-In Conditioner is a daily secret weapon, helping protect hair from heat and strengthen against split ends and breakage.

Alberto VO5’s NEW! Essentials Body Wash moisturizes your skin with the legendary VO5 5 Essential Vitamins formula.

Want to win a collection of V05 products? One lucky reader will win the same products I reviewed. Enter on the Rafflecopter form.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Jun 29, 2014

American Flag Layer Dip

Sometimes when I don't feel like cooking, I make dip for dinner. I love a good dip and I'm constantly looking for new recipes. One of my favorites is my 5 layer dip recipe. It's delicious and brings back memories of my childhood. Unfortunately the original recipe has too many processed ingredients for my taste these days. Clearly a do over was in order. With Fourth of July coming up I wanted to make something festive.

This American Flag dip is a little time consuming, but it is totally worth the effort. Even though I was trying to mimic the taste of my 5 layer dip, it taste completely different. Now some people would see that as a failure, but it was delicious so I'm scoring this as a win. The homemade bean dip is the game changer! It's a little zippy and adds so much flavor! I can honestly say I'll never buy the canned bean dip ever again.

There are 3 components of this recipe that you need to make, the bean dip, guacamole, and sour cream mixture. You can make the bean dip and sour cream mixture ahead of time and refrigerate until you're ready to assemble the rest of the dip.

Bean Dip Recipe
In a food processor, combine the following ingredients and pule until smooth.

2 15 ounce cans of cannellini beans
2/3 cup olive oil
2-3 cloves garlic
1/2 juice of lemon or lime (Personally I like a combo)
1 T chili powder
1 T cumin
1/2 t cayenne pepper
salt and pepper to taste

Guacamole Recipe
4 small avocados
1/4 small onion minced
juice from 1/2 lime
2 T fresh cilantro chopped
1/2 jalapeno minced - optional
1 Roma tomato chopped
salt, and garlic powder to taste

Mash the avocados and add onion, cilantro, lime juice, tomato, garlic powder, salt, jalapeno and mix. I like mine chunky but you can make it smooth if that is your preference.

Sour Cream Mixture
16 oz sour cream
1 T chili powder
1/2 t garlic powder
1/2 t onion powder
1/4 t onion powder
1/4 t cayenne powder
1/2 t paprika
1 1/2 t cumin
salt and pepper to taste

Stir all the ingredients together in a medium sized bowl. I used about a 1 t of salt and 1/2 t pepper. Reserve about 1/4 cup of the sour cream mixture in another bowl. With the reserved sour cream add several drop of blue food coloring. You want to get it dark blue to resemble the blue in the American flag.

Additional Ingredients Needed

4 Roma tomatoes - finely chopped
8 oz jack cheese - shredded
1 slice onion chopped

Assembling the dip. 

1. In a 9' X 13' pan spread the bean dip mixture in the bottom. Smooth and even out the layer as much as possible.

2. Top the bean dip with the guacamole. Smooth and even out the layer as much as possible.

3. Top the guacamole with the sour cream mixture leaving the top left hand corner square empty. Use the blue sour cream to form a square.

4. Top the white sour cream with the grated jack cheese.
5. Make 7 stripes with finely chopped tomatoes. The red stripes are at the top and the bottom of the flag.
6. Make the stars with chopped onions.
7. Refrigerate for at least an hour up to 4 hours before serving. If you're pressed for time, refrigerate the dip between the layers to speed things along.

This dip will be a hit at your 4th of July party this year! You can easily make this as a layered dip instead of a flag the rest of the year.

Do you like making festive food for holidays?

Jun 26, 2014

The Best Parenting Advice I Ever Got

Some people take parenting advice with a grain of salt, and depending on the source I do too. Usually I'm very open to listening to people's advice since I believe other moms have great advice and I want to learn from them. However when I'm wearing my sassy pants and my kids are having an epic meltdown in public, the advice doesn't even make a blimp on my radar. It's all in the timing friends!

I've received some great advice over the years in parenting from sleep training to potty training, but two pieces of advice stand out like diamonds in the rough. As my children get older and I'm focusing more on raising adults instead of children, I refer to these two parenting tips more and more.

Never do something for a child that he/she can do for themselves.

At my baby shower the other moms wrote down parenting advice for me in a book. My cousin gave me the advice to never do something for my child that she could do for herself. At the time it didn't really sink in, I was about to have a newborn baby who would need me for everything! Now I know how fast the baby phase passes and that advice makes perfect sense now.

From a young age, the kids were expected to help. They all put away their toys, in the beginning I would put away 20 toys for their one toy but eventually they learned how to do it by themselves. My kids know at the end of the day, they are responsible for putting away their toys. It doesn't stop them from making epic messes, but it does take away the battle at the end of the night. Well most of the time anyway. Recently I taught them to unload the dishwasher, which they love to do. I don't know how long that will last, but I'm going to enjoy it while it lasts!

I'm going to cherish this picture when she's a teenager!

By not stepping in constantly and doing something for my kids because it's faster or easier I'm teaching them to be responsible and independent. This method takes endless training and patience, but it is worth it in the long run. Don't worry when we're running late, I'm tying shoes and helping with jackets. There is a time and place for mom to step in and hurry things along; like when the bus is coming in 2 minutes.

What are you going to do about that?

We had a guest speaker at my MOPS meeting who was giving parenting advice a few months ago. She is a college professor who told us story after story of parents who would call her asking if their kid could have an extension or excuse them from a test.


That blows my mind! I can't imagine asking my mommy to call my college professor to help me. Our speaker explained that these kids were reaching college without having to solve any problems. Mom and dad always stepped in anytime life got hard. Also, that learning to solve your own problems needed to start in the preschool years. (Crap, another thing I wasn't doing) Don't worry it wasn't a lecture, she was there to give us some strategies to teach problem solving to our kids. She told us when our kids have a problem we need to ask them "what are you going to do about that?

In the beginning we would have to help our kids with the wording. Here's a great example of using this strategy with a young child.

Kid - I can't find my shoes.
Parent - What are you going to do about that?
Kid - I don't know. (Because they really don't)
Parent - You could ask me if I know where your shoes are.
Kid - Do you know where my shoes are? (Make them ask even when you give them the language)
Parent - Yes, they're by the front door.

The goal of this strategy isn't to stop helping your child, but to get them to start thinking how to solve problems. It's all about shifting their thinking from mommy solve my problem to mommy I have a problem can you help me with it? Just that little switch in thinking will help young children learn to problem solve.

You will literally have to give them the words in the beginning, especially if they are young. Eventually they will learn what to say and come to you asking for specific help instead of telling you their problem without a solution. For older children you give guidance instead of direct help.

Simply asking my kids "what are you going to do about that" has made a huge difference in my home. For months I've been giving them the language to solve sibling disputes and they are starting to use it on their own and with friends. Of course my kids still need my help occasionally; but they are solving most of the dreaded toy disputes on their own. Hooray!

There you have it, the two best pieces of parenting advice I've ever received. What is the best parenting advice you've ever received?

Jun 23, 2014

Crest Pro Health Review

I don't know about you but I hate going to the dentist. It's the sounds that make me hate the dentist. I haven't had too many problems at the dentist but I still hate the sounds of the drill from the next room and from my teeth getting scraped. Of course my dentist always tells me to floss more which I never do. On my last visit, the dentist said if I wasn't going to floss more, at the very least I needed to use a mouth rinse. One of the brands that she recommended was Crest Pro Health. I received samples of the Crest Pro Health line in exchange for this review as a member of Smiley.com.

My daughter loves the dentist unlike her mama!

I've used the Crest Pro Health toothpaste in the past and I've always liked it. But I've never used the Pro Health Tarter Protection Rinse. After looking at the bottle of Crest Pro Health Tarter Protection Rinse, I understand why my dentist recommends it. The Pro Health line of products prevents plaque buildup and gingivitis while whitening your teeth and freshening breath. You can read more about the health benefits of Crest Pro Health and their other products on their website. While the health benefits are great, I need toothpaste and mouth rinse that tastes good if I'm going to use them.

Thankfully, Crest Pro Health has a great taste. Unlike other tarter protection rinses, the Pro Health doesn't burn your gums when you use it. One thing I've noticed since I started using the Pro Health rinse and toothpaste is that my teeth still have the smooth clean just from the dentist feel. Have you ever noticed that your teeth feel great after you leave the dentist's office but it doesn't last long? My appointment was over a month ago and my teeth still have that clean feeling.

I'm still not very good about flossing, but using mouth rinse has become part of my oral care routine. It's easy to do and next time I go to the dentist there will be less scraping noises to try and drown out with my headphones. Stay up to date with future promotions and products from Crest's Facebook page.
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