Tricks For Training Your New Puppy

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #NutrishRealMeatTreats #NutrishPets #CollectiveBias

The title of this blog post should be “That One Time We Went To Rent a Movie….and Ended Up with a Puppy”

 

A few weekends ago Hubby and I participated in our 2nd color run 5k, it was so much fun! My sweet mom-in-love stole the kids Friday night and told us to come back Sunday morning to get them.

Thanks to this, after the race we still had the rest of the day to enjoy. We decided to go pick up the newest comic book hero movie at one of the local kiosks. As we pulled in to the parking lot, however, a bunch of puppies and a sign showing an adoption event caught our eye. We went over to look “just for fun” and……

About 30 minutes later we headed home with this precious bundle who we named Athena (Addy for short).

I melted into a puddle when I saw her. It wasn’t me only, though! Bob was the one who asked if we could get her. He’s actually wanted a “big dog” puppy for himself ever since we adopted Thomas last summer. When he picked up this little girl she snuggled into his arms, gave the most contented sigh, and fell right back to sleep. The lady there said, “Oh you HAVE to take her now, she loves you!!”

We surprised the kids when we went down to get them on Sunday. I walked in holding the puppy. Their reactions were priceless. Tyler started yelling and Amber was so happy/excited/surprised she started crying. So sweet!

Thomas wasn’t sure of what to think of this new little friend. But she didn’t give him much of an option. By the second day, they became best friends forever. I melted again when I looked over from our BBQ to see this!

All together now “AWWWWWWW”

While new puppies are AMAZING they’re, well, babies. And during the first few days, you get that reminder really fast. When we adopted Thomas I was purposefully looking for a rescue doggy that was older and already trained. It really did make life so much easier, and he’s still the best dog ever!

There’s just something about getting a little puppy, though! So this time we accepted the adorableness with the full knowledge that lots of work was coming our way!

Having a new puppy means training and lots of it! Since this wasn’t our first time, we knew just what we needed to make training a success! Mainly:

#1 Treats, Treats, and More Treats

Treats are the absolute key to making training easier on everyone! Our timing was perfect because I found out that Rachael Ray™ Nutrish® just came out with new treats! Every dog is unique and they all deserve a real meat treat!

 

You can buy these several different places — Go Here To See! I decided to take the easy option and order mine online. I love online shopping, it makes life so much easier! If you’re shopping in-store be sure to grab a coupon here!

I picked up Rachael Ray™ Nutrish® Hickory Smoked Turkey Bacon Treats and Rachael Ray™ Nutrish® Beef, Chicken & Bacon Meatball Morsels. They’re both made with real U.S. farm-raised beef/turkey as the #1 ingredient and are inspired by Rachael’s kitchen. In addition to having all the good stuff in them, they also don’t have bad stuff. They contain no grains, artificial flavors, meat by-products, and never any ingredients from China. Dogs everywhere crave the meaty deliciousness in these Nutrish treats. These real-meat treats look and taste just like the real thing!

It’s important to note that they are meant to be treats, not your dog’s main food source. Rachael Ray™ Nutrish® Treats are intended for intermittent or supplemental feeding only. Please watch your dog to ensure Nutrish treats are thoroughly chewed before swallowing. Break into small pieces for smaller dogs and puppies!

Since our kitty and both dogs are rescues, I love it when I can buy brands that support amazing causes. A portion of proceeds from each sale of Nutrish is donated to The Rachael Ray Foundation™, which helps animals in need. Through December 2017, more than $23.5 million dollars have been donated to animal charities and other organizations that do good for animals. The funds are used for food, medical supplies, treatments, and more. Many more animals around the country need help, and through The Rachael Ray Foundation, together we can make a real difference in the lives of many four-legged friends!

Once you have your treats it’s time to start training! Since our dogs are inside pets, my first focus was potty training. This included  Athena being happy to go outside when I told her to. The next training would be the famous “sit” command.

#2 Consistency & Creativity

If you have a room like a kitchen or a mud room next to your back door that’s enclosed, use it! Buy a baby gate and training pads, and establish a routine. We have an open layout home, and I love it! There’s just one problem. There is no room that has a hard floor that I can keep the dogs confined in for training. This meant I have to be creative! If you’re like me, here’s some tricks.

Buy training pads and put them in strategic areas around the rooms. Remove any rugs from the room. I found for both my mom-in-love and me that when you are teaching your puppy to do its business on the grass, the last thing you want inside is access to a soft place that they can easily mistake!

Now it’s time to work on getting the puppy excited to go *outside* when you say it’s time to! Practice saying “Outside!” Then walking outside together, and giving the puppy a treat. Do this a few times a day, until when you say “Outside” both dogs immediately race to the door!

#3 Pace According to *Your* Puppy

Puppies are like babies. Some adapt and learn quickly and easily. Others take a longer amount of time. Start slowly with your puppy and gradually add things in. If they seem to be catching on quickly, feel free to train for different areas simultaneously. With Athena, I’ve been working on going outside, potty training, and “sitting” to receive her treat afterward.

#4 Patience, patience, patience

No matter how smart your puppy is, they are just a puppy. There will be accidents and mishaps and rebellious “teenage stage” puppy days. Just chalk it up as part of the experience. Also, it would probably be a good idea to stock up on cleaning supplies as well as treats.

In the end, it is all absolutely worth it. I couldn’t be more thrilled to have a home filled with loving, beautiful animals!

Pin this to save for later!

Do you have a sweet puppy that you love or are you in the market for a new little one? Leave me a comment and let me know! And don’t forget to stock up on Rachael Ray™ Nutrish® Treats!

 

How Much Does It Cost To Get A Dental Crown Fitted?

How Much Does It Cost To Get A Dental Crown Fitted?

There is no pain quite the same as that caused by your teeth. Whether you’ve cracked a tooth, developed an abscess or your tooth is simply eroding.

The fact is that you are likely to need a crown at some in your life. According to recent research there are 11 million newly decaying teeth every year!

A good dentist will fit a permanent dental crown; this may feel a little weird at first but it should last a lifetime. Of course you’ll need to care for it in the same way that you do your other teeth.

What It A Crown

In short a crown is a cap that is placed over your tooth. It is uniquely shaped to fit your mouth and match your current bite / tooth line.

It can be undertaken to restore the look of your tooth and its strength. You will usually have to visit the dentist twice to have the procedure completed.

The first step is to ensure your damaged tooth can support a crown. This means verifying the roots are strong enough. At this visit it is common for the dentist to file your tooth; ready for fitting the crown.

If you have a lot of damage to your tooth it is possible they will fill it before shaping it.

You then have a dental imprint undertaken to get the exact profile of your teeth.

The second appointment is after the lab has used your imprint to create the crown. The dentist will then use special adhesive to join the crown to your tooth. After a short period this should feel and behave like any other tooth in your mouth.

The Cost Of Your Crown

The average cost of a crown in Australia is between $1,000 and $2,000. This is not a cheap option!

Fortunately there are options that can make this affordable to you:

  • Finance

Most dental practices will offer a finance arrangement to allow you to have the dental work done but pay for it in a set number of installments. This can help to ease the burden when you really need a procedure completed.

It will not reduce the cost of your crown but it will make it affordable.

  • Insurance

The better alternative is to have dental insurance. There are a variety of companies which can offer you competitive dental insurance.

A good scheme would be one that offers you approximately 40% of the cost of your dental work while keeping your premiums for the year under $100.

You can pay more and get complete cover but this could be considered a waste of funds if you don’t need any treatment for several years on the trot.

40% of your $1,000 bill makes it a more attractive and affordable $600.

The real answer to how much does a dental crown cost is actually how much are you prepared to spend each month on dental insurance. The higher you premium the more complete your policy will be and the cheaper the crown; at the point of purchase.

There are also exemptions if you are a low earner; you’ll need to check with the health authority in your area.
By James

How To Do An Easy Purple Smokey Eye Video Tutorial

My love of makeup is surely no secret by now! I’m always happy and ready to try the next best thing. Which means that I love discovering a new beauty company. Recently I’ve been hearing a lot of buzz around the Younique brand of makeup products. I found out that my friend Kristen sells them, and so when she offered to send me some of their best products to try out, of course, I said yes!

Here’s the amazing collection I received! You can check out all of their collections here. It’s a great way to try out a bunch of amazing products for a little less! Plus, Younique has a Love It Guarantee, which I always appreciate anytime I’m trying new beauty products out.

I sifted through the website, poured over different shades, and eventually picked out these products to try.  Younique has great tools to help you find the right shade of foundation. Kristen was also so fun to work with as she helped me select the products she loves the most, and the shades she thought would work best for me! Here is the glorious stash that arrived at my doorstep:

Younique Products:

I’ve been using the products daily for over a month now, and so I was ready to put together a few looks for you using my favorites! I’m absolutely in LOVE with the Eye Shadow Palette. I got palette #3 which is a gorgeous mix of cool pinks and purples. Today I’m sharing with you this super pretty, super easy Purple Smokey Eye.

My favorite makeup tutorials are videos because I love being able to actually watch how to apply the products. Because of that, I want to start bringing you makeup tutorials on how to do easy, pretty looks that are quick enough for a busy mom to fit into her schedule! So this is my very first one! I’m excited to delve in and learn more about the whole new world of vlogging and video makeup tutorials!

One thing that’s especially amazing about this look? From start to finish it’s under 10 minutes to recreate!!!

How To Do An Easy Purple Smokey Eye Video Tutorial

Next time I’ll be focusing on the lips, so be on the lookout for another look with these products soon!

Want to recreate the look? Get all the products here!

Save

Save

Things To Be Aware Of As a Homeowner In the South

 

Legalese Disclosure Nonsense: This post on Things To Be Aware Of As a Home Owner In the South is brought to you today by Terminix a great company for commercial pest control services as well as homeowner services in a wide range of areas including san antonio exterminator services. As always, all tips, tricks, and soggy neighborhoods are my own!

As you might remember, we purchased our very first home a few years ago. The experience was an eye-opening one, especially after years of apartment and condo renting. Thankfully, we were able to be alongside my in-laws for their most recent home purchase and were able to learn some valuable things from their experience before we signed the dotted line on a home of our own. Coming from Wyoming, I never would have thought about their being southern specific items to consider when being a homeowner. Maybe you never have, either, so today I’m running down my list of top things you need to be aware of as a homeowner in the south.

#1 Make Sure To Stay on Top of Pest Control

We actually learned this in North Carolina where I saw my very first cockroach *shudder*. When it comes to living in the south there are more creepy-crawly critters than you can shake a bluebonnet at. While most of these are harmless (like the ones above that Tyler gleefully collected #suchaboy ) others are not so nice. Keeping your home clean, all food secured, and on top of a normal pest control maintenance system is crucial to a happy, healthy home down south. Often checking for pests will be a part of the home inspection before you purchase, but in the South, bugs are just going to happen. Keeping a list handy of treatment for cockroaches, fire ants, and wolf spiders is essential.

#2 Pay Attention to Drainage

This is really more one that you should really know about *before* you purchase a home, but there are ways to help it after. When you’re not somewhere like Wyoming, like the south, it happens to rain, and when it rains, it tends to DUMP rain. While the ground is good at soaking it in, it does mean that if your neighborhood isn’t designed with a well thought out draining system, or you’re somewhere like the bottom of a hill, come fall & spring your yard is a swampy, soupy, muddy mess. This is one of those things that you wouldn’t think about when you’re house hunting unless you’ve dealt with the problem of a soupy, muddy, flooded yard.

#3 Home Warranty Insurance is Worth It

When you’re shelling out for a mortgage and utilities, and everything else life throws at you it’s tempting to skimp where you can. Home warranty insurance covers things that typical Homeowners insurance doesn’t–usually your appliances, air conditioner, etc. In the south, having the ability to call up a repairman when your AC goes out in July and have them out within in a few hours and only paying $60 out of pocket is worth its weight in gold. It’s up to your budgeting style if it works better to put money into an emergency fund each month to cover these homeowner associated costs, or if it might be worth it to pay the money to have it taken care of when things come up.

These are just a few things to consider whether you’re a first time home buyer or have been in your home for awhile! Do you have any southern living tips and tricks? Leave them in the comments!

Why You Need to Think About Summer Camps Now

It’s spring break this week here in Texas and it just hit me that means that we only have a few months left of school! (Woo hoo!) With that revelation, it also hit me that it’s time to start planning for summer vacation & summer camps. After all, it was *just* Christmas, (right?!) so that means that it will be here before I get a chance to catch my breath.

This spring we’re doing the exactly the same thing as last year and opting out of sports for now (missed my mentality behind that? Go read Why It’s Better to Do Sports in The Summer (even in Texas).

You might remember that Amber did British Soccer Camp last summer and she absolutely loved it! It’s no surprise since British Soccer Camps are the most popular soccer camp in the US. This year I can’t wait to have her and Tyler enjoy it again thanks to the folks over at USFamilyGuide. Thanks to them, I also get to share a great offer with all of you, too! Here’s the scoop:

REGISTER FOR CAMP & GET A JERSEY, BALL, T-SHIRT & NEW SKILLS APP AND 20 FREE VIDEOS!
Enroll in the most popular soccer camp in North America! British Soccer Camps have programs for all ages and abilities and feature an innovative curriculum full of skills, drills, and thrills! Register now and you will not only get your free British Soccer game jersey (value $34.95) shipped to you for free immediately, but you will also get our brand new skill development App and 20 videos to help your child practice at home. Your soccer ball, T-shirt & poster will be given out at camp. USE CODE BSC18 at check out to get free shipping.
Click Here To Enroll

 

How To Knock Out Spring Cleaning In Less Time

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #DGSpringCleanEssentials #CollectiveBias

How To Knock Out Spring Cleaning In Less Time

The edge comes off the morning air, green buds peek out to say hello, and everything feels fresh and brand new.

Cliches are often cliches for good reason. Spring cleaning is one of those that just fits. This time of year urges you to roll up your sleeves and tackle some projects! Unfortunately, inspiration can turn into exhaustion if you don’t have a plan, though!

You’re busy and every moment matters! Today I’m sharing tips on how to knock out your spring cleaning in less time. This is all about working smarter and not harder by organizing and grouping time. Stick with me! At first, it might seem counterintuitive. Why waste time creating lists or spreading out cleaning over a few weeks?

Invest just a little time now for hours of benefit for years to come! You’ll be able to use these lists the entire time you stay in your current home. Plus, never again will you waste time spinning your wheels or wondering where to start. Also, it might feel like it saves time by doing all the work in just a few days, but it really doesn’t. When you work for hours on end you’re likely to get distracted and work more slowly. By spreading the work out over several days, or even several weeks, you’ll be saving tons of time in the long run. Plus, you’ll actually make it through all the tasks, not crash and burn somewhere in the middle.

First things first! Before you get started, you want to make sure you stock up with all the cleaning supplies you need.

How To Knock Out Spring Cleaning In Less Time

 

Spring Cleaning In Less Time

Check & Stock Up On Supplies

Set your timer for 10 minutes and take a peek at where you store all your cleaning supplies. Bring a pen and paper. Go through and tidy by type, noting which bottles are nearly empty or what you’re out of. Also, make note of what you already have duplicates of. My rule of thumb is to have 2 of each item so that I never have an “oh no” moment, which wastes time in an unplanned trip to the store. This is also a great time to take note of what other household essentials you are in need of–like paper products, trash bags, and plastic bags for storage.

Once the timer dings, you’re done! If it was really a mess in there, just remember that you’ll deal with it later!

Look! You just started your first spring cleaning task and didn’t even realize it.

Spring Cleaning In Less Time

Next, it’s time to head to Dollar General and stock up! Right now, they have an amazing deal where you can get Spend $15, Save $5 instantly on participating products. There’s a huge variety of cleaning supplies and household staples that are included in this deal! I always love to wait for sales like this and then stock up. Go here to check out all the details and see all the items that are included in the Spend $15, Save $5 deal! It’s running from February 18th-March 18th, so make sure you do this soon!

The key to buying cleaning supplies is to use trusted brands that do most of the work for you.

I purchased these for our house when I stocked up this time:

  • Clorox® Clean-up® Cleaner with Bleach  (So perfect for bathrooms!)
  • Clorox® Toilet Bowl Cleaner 2 ct. (For me, the throw it in and forget it until next time ones are the best! Put a reminder in your calendar for 6 weeks out.)
  • Clorox® Disinfecting Wipes (Tip: These little guys can be used for SO MUCH! Think beyond the kitchen counters with them. They’re also perfect for scrubbing grime off of baseboards and hard to reach floor corners. Don’t forget to hit up all the doorknobs, too!)
  • Pine-Sol® (This is hubby’s favorite cleaning supply ever. He just loves how it smells, and I love how it cleans our hard surface floors!)
  • Glad® Trash & Food Bags (The last thing you want is to get halfway through cleaning and realize you’re out of trash bags. Stock up now! Also, grab food storage bags while you’re at it as well! They’re located together and it makes sense to stock up at the same time.)
  • Sparkle® Paper Towels (Sometimes you just NEED to use a paper towel for a job. I always keep these on hand and they’re a must before you tackle heavy duty cleaning.)
  • Angel Soft® Bath Tissue (Another one of those items you do NOT want to run out of. While you’re deep cleaning your bathroom it’s a great idea to stock up for awhile on this.)
  • STAINMASTER® Carpet Pet Stain Remover (Our puppy Thomas + our cream colored carpet in the bedrooms makes this product a must! It’s also amazing for cleaning out those kid-related messes that are bound to happen to carpet!)
  • all® Laundry Detergent (As I’ve shared before, I absolutely love this detergent! So perfect for our entire family. Another one of those “good to stock up on to save time and money” items!)

Now it’s time to come up with a game plan!

Every house is different, so take my lists as your starting point and then customize them for your home! It is so simple to tweak a few rooms and cleaning items, and you have the perfect custom plan for your own home. I’ll take you through step-by-step, but don’t worry–I have the Master List for you to customize and print out later on!

Spring Cleaning In Less Time

Create a Master Spring Cleaning Room List

First, start off by listing out every room of your house. Don’t forget to also include any other areas that you have that aren’t really rooms, like entryways or closets. For example, this is our house:

  • Master Bedroom
  • Master Bathroom
  • Kid’s Room 1
  • Kid’s Room 2
  • Guest Bathroom
  • Living Room
  • Kitchen
  • Office
  • Front Porch
  • Back Porch
  • Hall
  • Laundry Room

Now go through the lists and brainstorm every possible thing to deep clean this room. Include odd once-a-year tasks, like cleaning jewelry or polishing silver.

Tip: Don’t get distracted by decluttering and organizing.

Especially if you’re like me, you enjoy organizing far more than you enjoy cleaning. That means that when it comes to spring cleaning, you’re far more likely to get caught up in sorting through drawers than you are scrubbing. Right now, we’re NOT going to focus on getting your house clean and decluttered! Having an organized home is vital to peace and happiness. However, it’s *not* what we’re focused on today. This is all about the cleaning in spring cleaning. So as you make your list, don’t add in tasks like sorting through drawers or getting rid of things. That is a different list and task entirely!

It’s true, though, that you can’t deep clean a messy room. My tip for this is when you start your time (more on that later) take the first few minutes to pick up *quickly*. If there are piles of things like clothes, run them to the laundry room, or if there are stacks of paper or odd items that don’t belong anywhere, gather them all up together. Put it all in one place to sort through *later*.

 

Spring Cleaning In Less Time

Create Detail Cleaning Tasks

For example:

  • Master Bedroom
    • Treat Stains
    • Vacuum Carpet (move nightstands and quilt rack to vacuum behind)
    • Detail Dust all surfaces including Fan
    • Wipe Down Blinds
    • Wipe Down Doors (don’t forget knobs!)
    • Wipe Down Baseboards
    • Clean Windows
    • Clean Jewelry
  • Master Bathroom
    • Clean Sinks & Counters
    • Scrub Soaking Tub
    • Scrub Shower
    • Wipe Down Cabinets
    • Remove & Clean Rugs
    • Wipe Down Toilet
    • Sweep Floors
    • Mop Floors (getting into all the corners)
    • Wipe Down Doors & Switch Plates
    • Clean & Dust Picture Frames
    • Wipe Down Baseboards
    • Restock Paper Goods

 

Spring Cleaning In Less Time

Customize My Template

Don’t want to start from scratch? I make it easy for you! Go Here for my entire list template! Click On File, then Hit “Make a Copy”. Rename it whatever you’d like and save it to your Drive! Now you can customize it, using all my rooms and tasks as a starting point.

Once you’re through, you can use it to stay on task online, or print it out to reference as you start your cleaning.

Schedule & Batch Time

You could take a weekend and knock out every single room and task with the help of your family, but I wouldn’t recommend that! You’ll end up exhausted. Worse than that, in a few weeks, the dirt will start to build back up and it won’t even seem like you did it.

You may have heard of batching or rotating spring cleaning, and that’s exactly what I’d suggest! Now, this will look different for everyone. Some people do well when they work for 10-15 minutes every single day in one room. Or maybe you like to work a little longer, but not as often. In this case, you might do 30 minutes on Saturday morning. I’d suggest trying both out, or some combination. The smaller chunks of time add up to big results. You’ll start fresh each time so you’re at your best and less likely to get distracted or tire out.

Now put that time into your schedule. It’s not hard to do something for 10 minutes a day, the trick is to actually DO IT. So put it on your schedule until it becomes second nature.

Again, this will take a bit of moving around until you find what works best for you. At one point, I tried to fit in my time after dinner. I quickly I found it was too hard to do it then. Often, by that point in the evening, all I wanted to do was relax and hang out with my family. Now I’ve moved it up to my lunch time break. Since I work from home, this gives me a great way to move around a little and get away from my desk mid-day, while accomplishing something. It also is much easier to knock out quickly when I’m the only one at home!

Brainstorm times that would work well for you. Maybe it’s as part of your morning routine, when your baby is napping, or right after you get home from the day.

I hope these tips will help you on your way to a Spring Cleaning Schedule that saves you time and money! Don’t forget to head to Dollar General to stock up on all these great cleaning products and household goods & save with their Spend $15, Save $5 deal!

Tools You Need To Breastfeed

Legalese Disclosure Nonsense: I’m partnering with SimpleWishes to bring you these tips, tricks, and a great giveaway!

 

Breastfeeding *seems* like it should be simple enough. I mean, all you need is your baby and your, ahem, breasts, right?!

Well, if you’ve been looking into breastfeeding, or if you’ve tried it, you know that’s far from the truth! Although it might be more complicated than you first thought, that doesn’t mean it can’t be a wonderful and successful endeavor. Even when you purchase these tools, you still save thousands of dollars over purchasing formula. Not to mention, you’ll be giving your baby the very best possible food you can! I could go on and on about all the benefits of breastfeeding, both for you and your baby. That’s a topic for another post, though! For now, I’m going to give you the top tools to purchase ahead of time to make sure your experience goes as smoothly as possible!

Tools You Need To Breastfeed Successfully

A Great Nursing Bra – A great nursing bra will be your very best friend. You want to purchase a few that are sturdy (you’ll need to wash them often!), and also that provide easy access. When you have a hungry infant in one arm the last thing you want to do is sit for several minutes fumbling to get them to the goods! I recommend purchasing 2-3 of the top rated ones. After you try them out stock up on several of your favorite!

A Great Pumping Bra – Wait, didn’t we just cover this? Actually, you’ll want bras for nursing, and different bras for pumping! Especially if you’ll be pumping often, or continuing to breastfeed once you return to work, this is an absolute necessity. The best pumping bra is one that will allow you to pump hands free. Pumping can consume huge amounts of time, and time is so valuable as a mom with a baby! Reclaim your time with hands-free pumping!

The Simple Wishes Signature Hands Free Pumping Bra is absolutely one that you should consider purchasing. It has received rave reviews from over 6,500 fans on Amazon (Wow!!!) Click through to read all the tips, tricks, and recommendations from fellow nursing moms! Then keep on reading and don’t miss the bottom–I’m actually giving one of these amazing Pumping Bras away to one lucky reader!

An Efficient Pump – Pumps can seem like a huge expense, and it’s tempting to go for the budget-priced model. If you’ll only be pumping on rare occasions, this might be a good choice. If you plan to pump frequently, however, a great quality pump will make a huge difference. Efficient and high-quality pumps are far more comfortable, and they also pump remarkably faster. Again, do your research on Amazon and searches to find the right quality for the right price! It’s certainly worth the time and effort.

A Nursing Pillow – A wrap-around nursing pillow helps make proper positioning and comfort for you and your baby a breeze! Of course Boppy is a huge and well-known brand, but many stores carry knock-off versions that are just as nice, if not better.

A Nursing Cover – You can nurse discretely anywhere at all, as long as you have a great cover! We highly recommend investing in these–it will keep you from hiding away all the time, and also from making anyone feel uncomfortable!

The biggest thing to look for is a cover with an open neckline. Eye to eye contact is important during nursing. Also, as babies get older they don’t love the feeling of a blanket over them. An open neckline keeps them tucked away without them feeling like something’s right on their head, which will cause them to continually try to throw it off. Being able to check in on your love is essential for making sure they get the proper latch, as well! The best open neck breastfeeding covers are just wide enough to allow you a good view, while also being only open enough so that you can see down, but anyone around you cannot.

Breastfeeding Friendly Bottles – When you do a combination of bottle and breast it’s a great idea to invest in bottles that are specifically designed for breastfeeding moms. These have nipples that are more similar to your own. This helps for an easier transition for baby when you’re bottle and breastfeeding.

I hope these tools you need to breastfeed successfully will help you! Do you have one I missed? Be sure to let me know in the comments!

Now it’s time for the giveaway!!!

One Lucky Winner Will Receive a Simple Wishes Signature Hands Free Pumping Bra

Just enter using the Rafflecopter form below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

How To Put Together The Perfect Valentine’s Date Outfit

{2/3/2018 Update}

Somehow it happens that I wrote this post a year ago?! Don’t ask me how that happened.

I just had to re-post this year to give you an update. I absolutely *love* the Nicole dress. It has held up so well and looks just like it did in these photos. I’ve gotten so many compliments on it, and it’s my go-to for any fun occasion.

If you’re still a Lularoe hold out or need a new group to join definitely check out Keli’s–she’s still going strong!

Original Post:

Can you believe that Valentine’s Day is coming up so quickly?! Crazy!!!

So how do you celebrate the day? Some couples love to go All Out with a big, fancy, romantic meal and date.

Others prefer a nice but family-friendly celebration that’s fun but not-too-fancy. (We did this for years when hubby was in the military and there were no babysitters around)

Still others prefer to just stay at home, order-in or cook together, and snuggle on the couch watching their new favorite show.

No matter how you choose to celebrate your love, I’ve got your look covered this year with these 3 adorable looks that are *perfect* no matter how you’re celebrating! Want to know my *secret weapon*?? It’s totally  Keli Jennings’ LuLaRoe Group!

Amazing LuLaRoe Outfit

Now, odds are you HAVE heard of LuLaRoe (if you haven’t yet…ummm..welcome back to the internet because I assume you’ve been gone a long time?)

If you have heard of this company it’s very likely you fall into one of two groups.  The first group is already Lula-obsessed and wants to join All.The.Groups and Buy.All.The.Things.

The second group (which I was a member of until *very* recently) has looked longingly at the beautiful and bright pieces from afar but has held out with all determination. You see, I knew that once I tried them I’d be in love, and it just wasn’t the right time.

Amazing LuLaRoe Consultant

If you’re in that second group, as I was, I have to tell ya, girl, there is no better time to fall in love than Valentine’s Day. So come on in, join the craze, and the fun! 😉

I’d love to have you in Keli’s LuLaRoe Group along with me! She’s also on Instagram so be sure to follow her over there as well! We met each other when we were both Coastie Wives and stationed in North Carolina. Sadly, we were only able to get together a few times, but since then we’ve stayed online buddies and kept in touch through both our our many moves! Her hubby is still in the Coast Guard and she is a busy work from home mamma just like me!

She was SO sweet to send me these pieces to try out and to style together. With just 4 pieces you can put together these three completely different and totally versatile looks! ((Pssstt….be sure to read aaalll the way to the bottom as she’s *also* so sweet she’s giving out an amazing prize that you can win!))

Date Night At Home

Look #1 Comfy Date Night At Home  — perfect for a night of Netflix marathoning, video gaming together, board games, cook outs, or roasting s’mores on your fire pit!

Since I didn’t have tons of experience with this brand when I heard LuLaRoe I thought Leggings. I love leggings, or at least, I always loved the concept of them! (feel as comfy as wearing jammies but look totally cute and on trend, yes please!)

I’d never really found super comfy ones previously, though. When all my friends started raving about how amazingly comfy and soft the LuLaRoe leggings are (they’re nicknamed Butter Leggings), I knew I wanted to add them to my closet! Some of my favorites are the super unique, amazing, and wild patterns that they have. For my very first pair, however, I wanted to go with some that I can wear aaalll the time with nearly all my clothes. So, of course, this gorgeous slate blue pair was just the thing. #allthebluethings

Date Night At Home

If you’ve never tried on a pair before, one thing to know about these leggings is that they really are leggings–not jeggings. I’d describe them as really thick, but super comfy tights that do feel soft as butter and comfy enough to sleep in. So you absolutely, positively need a long, loose shirt to cover up with, at *least* down past, ahem, what my mom-in-love calls your “hineybow”.

Good news, LuLaRoe actually sells those, too! This is the Classic shirt and it’s just perfect because it can completely be dressed up or down according to whatever you’re doing. You’ll see I used it for both my most casual *and* my most fancy outfits–so awesome!

This outfit and look are just aaalll about the comfy! The leggings are all that they claim to be, and the shirt is super soft and flowy and comfy, too!

Oh–and meet our newest kitty addition! I’m quickly becoming a crazy cat lady as we recently adopted a kitty to be friends with Sylvanus! This is Arwen and she is the sweetest cat you’ll ever meet! She will sit and meow at me if I don’t give her a thorough snuggle session every few hours, it’s hilarious!

u part wig

Here’s Sylvanus! She’s gotten SO FAT it’s hilarious! It’s amazing to see how much she’s grown since she found us as that itty bitty kitty that was the size of Amber’s hand! And she’s just as crazy as ever. It wasn’t planned but our kitties look uncannily alike! You can tell them apart by Sylvanuse’s pretty white dipped paws and chest, and she’s about twice the size of Arwen!  They made the perfect props for this shoot! 😉

Paired with big, comfy boots this look is great for any at-home date night! For a final touch, you’ll want to add just a bit of fancy to this look. It is a date, after all! So I topped it off with two long faux pearl necklaces, fun drop earrings, and a pretty bracelet. I did my hair in half up twists and did my makeup in my everyday way. No need to be fussy with this look, just let your every day pretty that your hubby fell in love with shine through!

Look #2 Date Night Out — Perfect for going to the movies, a sit-down restaurant with a kids menu, or around town to play tourist.

Out of all 3 looks, this is the look that feels most like ME. Lately, I’ve been wearing dresses, styling my hair, and doing my makeup complete with contouring and all the shadow even just for an everyday occasion. Not *every* day mind you, #aintnobodygottimeforthat , but I try to do it pretty frequently. When I feel like I look my best, it just brightens my mood and as a result, it makes everyone in our families day better!

Plus, did you know that dresses are MAD COMFY???? For real!!! I’ve actually gotten to the point where if I want a “comfy” day I find myself reaching for one of my dresses OVER a pair of jeans–true story!

This dress is the Nicole dress from LuLaRoe. I know, I know–it was MEANT to be. And honestly, I’m pretty sure they had ME in mind when they made this.

(Just kidding! It was actually named after the founder’s *daughter* who helped get the company started almost on accident! The Story Behind The Company is SO inspirational, so be sure to go watch that!!)

I seriously adore this dress. It really is like it was made for my body type!!! I’m smaller chested with a bigger booty and for some reason the fat I have decided to migrate to my upper arms once I hit 30.

Now, I’m not complaining! I’m just letting you know–these clothes are made for REAL people who are REALLY moms and have mom bodies! I certainly have one! They are cut in such a way that they flatter all your gorgeous points while being so forgiving with the parts that are maaayyybbee just a lil more full or lumpy than your high school self had.

The half length sleeves, fitted bodice, and flowy skirt to just below knee length are a dream for me!

It’s stunning and comfy and makes me *feel* beautiful. And isn’t that what *really* matters. When you FEEL pretty you exude that, and that’s what people focus in on and see!

Oh, and it’s totally twirable, too. One of the tests Amber loves to do with dresses is to see “if it twirls”. Well, I know from careful testing 😉 that this dress totally twirls *and* it also makes for some epic curtsies!

Trust me, your hubby (or boyfriend) is going to L O V E this look!

Look #3 Total Glam for a Fancy Date — perfect for going to see a play or orchestra, a restaurant with white tablecloths, or if you just want to watch your man’s jaw drop when he sees you!

Isn’t it crazy how you can take the same Classic top from couch to five star worthy with just a few changes?! When I saw this *gorgeous* Cassie skirt I was in love. I believe my exact (facebook) words were “THIS ONE!!! PLEASE!!” As you can see it has this epic and beautiful detailing, and the color is one that I’ve been obsessing over for awhile now. Even when it goes off-trend I will still wear it because it’s so pretty.

I’m so superly in love with it!!! I wasn’t sure which Classic T I wanted to pair it with, so I let Keli pick one out for me. I’m usually soooo matchy-matchy that I wouldn’t have thought to pair these two together, but the result is simply perfection! She can put together the perfect look for you, too!

For a super fancy night out I paired these pieces with high heeled boots, big curls in a half up style, and plenty of bling!

Go all out on your makeup, too! This is the time to break out your favorite Youtube makeup tutorial (if you don’t have one yet just go on there and search for one, there are tons and I’ve learned sooo much through watching them! Amazing makeup tricks for the win!). For this look, I went for bright, pretty eyes and a bold lip.

Absolutely stunning enough to be worn on your fanciest date (short of needing a formal) this outfit is oh-so-comfy too! The skirt is also very easy to pull up or down, so you can keep it the length you need. I have a very short torso, so it rode high on me when I kept it knee length, but these days I prefer the top to my bottom pieces a little higher, anyways (remember that 2 kiddos and after 30 years old bod I mentioned earlier)? This is another pairing that perfectly flatters beautifully real mommy bodies!

So there you go! 3 Totally different looks for any celebration you have planned! And, of course, these don’t have to be Valentine’s Day looks only!!! These are the perfect solution for any date, or life scenario, ranging from working from home (top) to church (either look 2 or 3!).

Want to know the best part? One reader will win their very own gorgeous Cassie skirt! So don’t forget to Join Keli’s VIP LuLaRoe Facebook Group and Follow Keli on Instagram then enter below to win!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Save

Save

Save

Save

Saying Yes To Embracing My Life

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #WellYes2018 #CollectiveBias

A few months ago I was feeling worn thin. I couldn’t quite put my finger on it, but there was this sense of disappointment. I felt like I was continually spinning my wheels, and never being or doing quite enough. So, being the organized gal that I am, I did what I always do, I tried to figure out a way to put that “enough” into a schedule and made a list and a plan to jam every good thing in and weed out the bad. I minimized my stuff and maximized my time.

I soon discovered that wasn’t what the problem was, though. No matter if my days were busy-crazy or slower paced, there it still was. Now, don’t get me wrong! I still loved life. It was just that ever-there presence of not-quite-enough floating around in the back of my head making me discontent.

Then, as I was thinking over this new year I had one of those light-bulb moments.

It was, in fact, a face-palm light-bulb moment. You see, if there’s one thing I’m continually coaching and encouraging the kids about it all comes down to one little word:

attitude

Yes, this time, it turns out that I was the one with a bad attitude! Who would have thought?!

When I took a step back I realized that I’ve been grasping for things when my hands are already full. I have all in life right now that I ever hoped and dreamed of. A wonderful hubby, two beautiful children, a job I love, a home of our own. When I stop and think about it the blessings that crowd my life just pour down in floods.

I didn’t really need to do, be, or have more, at all. I just had to say Yes.

Yes to embracing this beautiful, wonderful, messy, and extraordinarily ordinary life of my own.

So the focus of my new year is to say Yes. Yes to stopping and really soaking in and enjoying all the wonderful things our life includes right now. Yes to keeping my eyes on those blessings, and up and away from the bad. Yes to finding the funny side of an annoying thing. Yes to enjoying the simple things in life whether it’s a hug, a smile, a good book, or a hot, comforting bowl of soup.

Because of this New Year, New Me goal I just had to smile when I saw the Well Yes!® soups at my local grocery store. Well Yes! helps women say yes to deliciously crafted food, with real nutritious ingredients, so we have what we need to say yes in the rest of our lives. So I stocked up on several of their tasty flavors like Well Yes! Chicken Noodle, Roasted Chicken Wild Rice Soup, Hearty Lentil Vegetable Soup, and Italian Vegetable with Farro Soup. I knew a warm bowl on a chilly day would be just the thing to have as I was working on refocusing my thoughts and having my “Well, Yes” moment! If you’d like to stock up on some of this delicious soup for yourself, then be sure to grab this coupon!

My focus now is to make a conscious effort to say yes to my life and stay positive. To really appreciate everything and everyone around me. I also want to say yes to sharing and showing those people my love and gratitude. Saying yes to my life this year means spreading my joy and thankfulness to those in it. I’m excited just thinking about what a difference this seemingly small step will make for me and everyone I know this brand new year!

What are you saying Yes to in your life this New Year? Maybe, like me, you just need to stop and embrace your life as it is!

Want even more amazing “Moment of Yes” inspiration? Check out the great ideas here!

Then start off your New Year a fun way by entering to win this great sweepstakes! Enter the #WellYes2018 Sweepstakes in the widget below for a chance to win up to a $500 Visa gift card! It’s as easy as clicking, logging in, and sharing your Moment of Yes story! If you win, think of all the ways you can use the prizing to achieve your Moment of Yes!

#WellYes2018 #Sweepstakes (1/15 to 2/16)

Easy Ways To Fill Your Holiday With Warmth & Joy

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and The Coca-Cola Company. All opinions are mine alone. #LayerOnLove #CollectiveBias

It’s the most wonderful time of the year!!!!

Right???

While this month *should* be filled with warmth and joy, it can easily spiral into stress, discontent, and exhaustion. So today’s post is all about taking just a few moments to re-align your focus onto what really matters. This includes making sure that your family is filling your month with that warmth and joy that truly bring the most wonderful time of the year.

As we get started we’re going to focus on the word Easy. For so many people work this month is at its all time busiest thanks to retail, marketing, and year-end scrambles. After you clock out don’t forget to throw in the programs, the purchases, parties, traditions, expectations, travel, doing good, a sickness or two, (are you getting exhausted just reading that list???)

Well, the last thing I want to do is make you feel like you need to add one-more-thing to your schedule. Also, quite honestly, the fact is that adding warmth and joy is often found in embracing things the easy way!

So now that you can take a deep breath and let it out, here are my best ideas!

Start a new holiday tradition of giving back

This is the best time of year to focus on what we’ve been blessed with, and to pour that blessing out towards others. However, even giving back can quickly become all too easy to get overwhelmed with. On top of everything else that is going on, doing good can become something that’s another complicated, expensive “to-do” list item. Which means that it’s no longer about helping others, it’s about getting unhappy and stressed.

This year I’d love to share an amazing option to give back in a way that is meaningful, affordable, AND easy! Last year Coca-Cola worked with One Warm Coat to provide a layer of love for over half a million people in need. This year, they’re doing it again and want to make it easier for you to get involved.

So what is One Warm Coat? For most of us, when the temperatures drop too low for short sleeves and sweatshirts, we solve the problem by tossing on our heavy jackets. But for the nearly 15% of Americans living in poverty, a winter coat is something “extra” that isn’t in the budget.

Growing up in Wyoming with the brutally cold winters, I cannot imagine anyone going without a heavy winter coat. I was very surprised, however, when we moved to the south at what a necessity having one still is! During the winter months, the weather fluctuates wildly, and the added humidity makes it feel like those lows cut right through to your bones without a warm coat.

One Warm Coat’s mission is to provide anyone in need with a warm coat free of charge. They are doing all they can to make sure that this necessity is no longer something those in need have to try to make due without! This year there are two amazing and easy ways that you can help Coca-Cola at Walmart’s “Layer On Love” program!

The first brings joy to you and others! Because, after all, holiday surprises don’t always come in big boxes with bows.

By purchasing Coca-Cola™ products at Walmart during your holiday shopping trips you help support the company that supports this amazing cause and program!

I picked up Coca-Cola™ Classic. It’s a treat that I always love to enjoy during the holiday season, and knowing I’m helping do good just makes it that much sweeter!

You don’t have to stop there, though! There’s another easy way to give even more warmth and joy. Coca-Cola at Coca-Cola at Walmart is already getting the snowball rolling by helping to donate 500,000 coats, but you can help them to donate even more! You don’t even have to leave your house, just follow these simple steps!

Text “LOVE” to 501501 to donate $5 to One Warm Coat

With just a few moments of your time you can help donate to this awesome cause. It really doesn’t get much easier than that! I’m always amazed at how much joy giving back brings my entire family. It is the perfect way to celebrate the holiday season the right way and really does add such warmth to our lives!

Another way to add joy and warmth to the holiday season is by creating and celebrating yearly traditions. In this social media age, it’s so fun to find out what other family’s traditions are, and get inspired by new recipes and ideas that can add even more fun to your holiday.

Now here comes the however…(are you sensing the theme of this post yet?!) While so many of these things are good and amazing, at a certain point having too many takes away the joy.  It can be so easy to get caught up in feeling like you HAVE to do ______  to make the season magical. Because if you don’t it’s going to be an epic #momfail, right?! After all, *everyone* else is doing it for their families.  So you shoot for the stars and do all-the-things. So what happens when you’re worn to a frazzle and all your time, money, and efforts meet with a lukewarm response from your over-booked-and-over-holidayed family? Well that, my friends, is the recipe for how NOT to have a holiday filled with warmth and joy. That’s why my next big point is to:

Only Do Traditions You All Love

This year take a deep breath, step back, and take a quick look at your current tradition list. It might even help to jot them all down quickly. Once you have, as you look over each one pay attention to your initial gut reaction. Does it make you excited? happy? eager? Does it put that merry little twinkle in your eye just thinking of how your family is going to respond? Or does it fill you with an overwhelming or exhausted feeling just looking at it?

I now give you permission to cross out each item that fills you with those negative feelings. Pow-wow with your family after you’ve done your initial list to get their feedback on what they’re most excited about this year. Is one of the crossed off items on your list one that your family does love even though you don’t? There’s probably a way to tweak it so that it’s simpler or less expensive. Just by talking you might be surprised at what they have the best memories of, and what things no one really enjoys.

Soon you’ll have a manageable list of easy traditions that everyone can love and appreciate. Also, scaling back also gives you a schedule that is not so overfilled so you have time to anticipate and savor them!

There you go! I promised it would be easy! Add these steps and actions into your holiday this year to help make a real difference, and to fill your lives with warmth and joy!

Don’t forget to help Coca-Cola™ at Walmart’s “Layer On Love” program by picking up your favorite Coca-Cola drink for all your holiday occasions!

Make giving back easy this year when you Text “LOVE” to 501501 to donate $5 to One Warm Coat!