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Mamas Spot Visits New England in the Fall!

by Heather Monday, November 17, 2014

Easy

As most of you know recently my husband and I took an RV excursion through New England in the fall. It was an amazing journey and the fall foliage was spectacular! It was definitely a trip we will never forget and right now you can follow along and be a part of our journey.

Check out the first of four posts here! Have you been to New England in the fall? What were some of you favorite parts of the trip? Be sure to check out more posts of our trip to New England in weeks to come!

Mama

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Getting The Sleep You Deserve and Need With Mattress Firm #sponsored

by Heather Monday, November 17, 2014

Easy

I have been compensated by Mattress Firm for my participation in this campaign as a part of the Mom It Forward Blogger Network. As always though all my crazy opinions and stories are my own.

We all know that we function better throughout the day if we have a good night sleep the night before, but getting a good nights sleep goes further than just not being cranky the next morning. Here are just a few of the benefits to getting a full night's sleep:

1. Sleep is restorative for the brain.

2. Too little sleep can lead to weight gain by altering levels of the hormones that regulate satiety and hunger, leading to overeating, overweight, and obesity.

3. Growth hormone is secreted during slow wave sleep.

4. Insufficient sleep is associated with a higher incidence of behavioral problems, especially attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

5. Memory consolidation occurs during slow wave sleep, meaning that the different pieces of what we've learned during the day come together coherently so that the knowledge can be accessed when needed.

6. Kids with more sleep see more improvements in school.

7. When kids sleep well, their parents' sleep improves, doing wonders for their ability to function during the day (and maintain their sanity in the evening and night).

As moms we know that we want our kids to sleep well and school aged kids should be getting between 10-12 hours of sleep, and I think we all know what happens the next day if they don't get that sleep. Wink I think though that as parents we sometimes forget that we need to give our kids the right tools to achieve those 10-12 hours. And one of the most important tools we can give them is a good mattress that fits their needs. "Replace Every 8" isn't just for grown-up mattresses, but kids mattresses need to be replaced every eight years as well. When getting a new mattress for you child you want to make sure you are getting something that fits your child and their needs.

Here are just a few things to consider:

Size: The mattress size you choose will mainly be about your personal preference. While a twin mattress is common for younger children, larger beds will allow for future growth and tend to be preferred by older children.
Firmness: The ideal mattress for a child will provide the proper support while cushioning developing bodies. Regardless of the bed type or size, children need firm support to ensure their spine and bones develop properly and stay in alignment.
Breathing Sensitivities: If your child has allergies or asthma, you may opt for a synthetic-filled mattress to resist dust mites and allergens. When shopping for a bed, look for mattresses that also have microbial or hypoallergenic fill and covers to help reduce these potential problems.

Taking these things into consideration will help you find just the right bed for your child. It's also really important to get a mattress from an expert, and someone that has your needs in mind and doesn't just want to get you out the door with a new bed, and that's why tons of families choose Mattress Firm. Mattress Firm has experts that are there to guide you through the process and make sure you get what is right for your family. Mattress Firm will support you through every phase your family goes through, Mattress Firm grows with you!

Recently we found our little boy sleeping on the floor even though he had his own bed. My husband and I couldn't figure out why he was doing it. I didn't like to have to lift him back up onto his bed every night, but I also didn't want to just leave him on the floor. After about a week of him sleeping on the floor I started to wonder if he was just unhappy with his bed. He was four and sleeping in a toddler bed, but the mattress was the same that was in his crib as a baby. It was definitely time for a new mattress for him and time for a "big kid" bed.

We went and he got to pick out his own mattress, which he was super excited about. Once we got it home I knew we had made a great decision just by looking at how happy he was with his new bed. If you are looking at getting your kids a new bed, but you are worried about the costs of it all remember that a bed is an investment that will last 8 years! Also a well rested child means a well rested mom. Laughing

He also loves his really soft Mattress protector, which works great and I don't have to waste a fitted sheet on his bed! I also find this incredibly necessary for younger kids, it's always good to protect against any night time accidents. You don't want to ruin the new mattress you just got!

I also want to talk a little about another sleep essential: good pillows!

What would sleep be without good pillows? Without a great pillows we would get even less sleep. Pillows can either provide you with the beauty sleep you really need or rob you of it with a restless sleep. As I get older unfortunately I find myself experiencing more aches and pains and when I notice those aches and pains the most is right after I wake up. That's a horrible way to wake up; I want to wake up feeling refreshed and ready for the day not like I have been sleeping in a torture device for the last 8 hours. I have two little ones that depend on me being at my best and instead I find myself afflicted with a headache for half the day. I knew I couldn't keep going like that and the final straw was when my little girl asked me one day, "mama why do you always have a headache? Do all mama's have headaches in the morning?" After that I realized I needed to do something and I needed to invest in my sleep. Proper sleep is the best asset I have to a happy and productive day. First step and the easiest is to get new pillows, and no I don't mean head to Walmart and just start trying all of them out, that will only lead to a lot of disappointment. No you will need a professional, you need a serious pillow from a sleep expert. You need someone that knows what they are doing when sleep is concerned, you need Mattress Firm.

One of the most amazing pillows I have ever used is from Mattress Firm and I now will never rest my head on anything else! They come with either a coconut scent or lavender (I personally prefer coconut). You can check them out here! And I will also be giving two pillows away!! Be sure to also see the experts at Mattress Firm for your next mattress and get the best sleep you can!

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Mama

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The Healthy Natural Way To Get Your Child Through The Cold Season #Sponsored #MC #LittleRemedies

by Heather Sunday, November 16, 2014

Easy

I participated in an Influencer Activation on behalf of Influence Central for Little Remedies. I received product samples to facilitate my review as well as a promotional item to thank me for my participation.

Most kids and babies are exposed to an alarming amount of chemicals on a daily basis, as an 80's child I know I was taking in all sorts of chemicals that were technically unsafe and harmful for me, but my mom did the best she could with the information she had. These days we have so much more information and it's right at our fingertips. We now know that the more natural the product or remedy the better and that goes even further when talking about our kids.

Moms are trying to do everything they can to ensure their children are happy and safe from the moment they enter this world. When you find out you are pregnant you start doing everything in your power to ensure your baby is healthy and safe. As soon as I found out I was pregnant I immediately stopped my bad soda drinking habit and started eating as healthy as I could. None of that should change once you child is born either, you realize you never want them consuming anything that isn't natural or healthy. What would be the point in keeping them safe and healthy while in the womb, just to have them inundated with harmful things once they are born? Everything your little one eats will either hinder or help them to grow big and strong, and you only want the best for your child.

Making sure your child gets the best goes further than just the food they eat. Anything they ingest should, ideally, be natural and good for their bodies. That is why I only use Little Remedies to get my kids on a path to feeling better when they are sick. Unfortunately coming to this solution wasn't easy.

Around the time my baby girl was turning one she got her first cold. It was New Year's and as I put her to bed I could tell something was up and she wasn't feeling well. I had hoped she would just fall asleep and hopefully feel better in the morning. Unfortunately that wasn't the case, as a new mother this was my first "all-nighter". There was no way she was going to fall asleep and she only seemed to get worse by the minute. She started to get a bad runny nose and I could tell she was feeling miserable.

As moms all we want to do is make it better as fast as possible, so I jump in my car and ran to the store looking for anything that would help her sleep and feel better. It seemed as if I was at the store in seconds, I got to the store quick bolted out of my car and ran right toward the pharmacy area, it was if I had a super power that made me incredibly fast. I thought for sure I would grab the best medicine there was and be out the door in a flash. Wow... I couldn't have been more wrong. There were so many options, but none of them seemed right for my little girl at her age. I suddenly felt like the store was spinning and I couldn't figure out what I was going to do. It felt like I had been standing there for an hour. I finally got on the phone with my husband who was trying to calm our daughter down and do what he could to distract her from her symptoms. I started telling him about every medication, we were doing calculations in our heads; I would say, "well if a four year old can have a one teaspoon, we just need to cut that down by three right?" or "maybe if we just give her a tiny drop it will help?"

Then I started reading off ingredients, have you done that before? It's like the list is never going to end! I exclaimed to my husband "what is this crap?!" I didn't want her ingesting all of those nasty ingredients. I got off the phone with my husband determined to find a better solution.

I went up and down every isle and there it was... Little Remedies, it had a heart on the box and said, 100% natural. I said a little prayer in my head "please let this be the one", and my prayer was answered! Only three safe ingredients, only the very best for my little girl! I rushed home to help my baby feel better and she slept just fine thanks to Little Remedies. To this day I still count on Little Remedies to safely get my kids better.

Unfortunately as the weather outside gets colder I know it is inevitable that I will have a sick child soon, and sure enough this week my little boy came down with a cold and it was Little Remedies to the rescue. And once again I am using Little Remedies 100% Honey Cough Syrup and also Little Remedies For Noses Saline Spray. Soon enough he'll be feeling better and back outside pretending to be a superhero, but for now he needs his mom and comfort. I am relived that the comfort is coming from a medication that is healthy for his body and not full of harmful ingredients or chemicals. 

Mama

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New Adventures and more fun with the KIA Sorento

by Heather Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Hello old friend... you are anything but old, but here we are meeting again. Last year you were amazing, you had class, style and everything else a girl could want and it looks as though nothing has changed. You still uphold those standards that made me fall in love with you before. As I get behind the wheel all of those fantastic memories come flooding back. It's now a new year and you are still the car of my dreams. This time we will have some new adventures in a big city. You will take me to see things I have never seen before, we will see lights and buildings that touch the sky.

Your seats will warm me up after some amateur ice skating and cushion my now really sore backside after my failed Ice Capades maneuvers. I should have practiced at home first and not made my very first ice skating experience be at Rockefeller Center in front of seasoned New Yorker's who looked so much more graceful than me, and tourist who probably got a kick out of watching me cling to the side and fall down so much. I should take a cue from you and your safety measures, you are always making sure I am safe when I am with you. I always hope it won't ever be necessary, but I know I can count on your advanced airbag system and other safety features to keep me and those I care about safe and sound.

I also love that you help me navigate, you know how bad I can be with directions sometimes, and navigating through a big city can be tricky. With your UVO system I know I won't get lost and I also will get where I need to go even faster. With UVO I also know the tunes will keep flowing without me having to lift a hand off the steering wheel, just another way you keep me and my passengers safe. Everything is right at my fingertips including hands free calling; I can call home to my kids who are staying with grandma and grandpa and tell them all about my ice skating adventure. Laughing

I have to admit that I have never had such a stylish friend, you are trendy, sleek and up on all the new tech trends as well. With your rear-view camera and blind-spot protection I know you will stay stylish and sleek, and I never have to worry about hitting anything and dinging you up, you are confident as you roll down the street and your tech makes me feel confident as well.

Like any good friend you are there to help me out when I'm in a jam. Hands full of groceries, luggage or kids and with a touch of a button you are there to help. With power lift gate I can easily access your roomy cargo space and stow away everything without even touching the exterior.

Pretty awesome for a traveler and mom on the go like myself. As our time together winds down I feel a little sad, we had such amazing adventures together so many great memories and they happened because you took me there. You didn't just help me get from point A to point B, you showed me new places, people and things I had never seen before I met you. Together we conquer the world. 

Thanks KIA for my Big Apple Experience!

Mama

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How To Survive A Family Trip To The Big Apple With Embassy Suites

by Heather Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Easy

When planning on visiting NYC I believe most tourists look for a hotel in Manhattan close to all the attractions, but I found out that there is an even better option for those planning on visiting the big apple and an option that is recommended for anyone, but especially for those traveling with kids. When traveling to NYC as a family you will find that as exciting as the city is you need some peace and quiet when you lay down to sleep. That is why we highly recommend and will always choose Embassy Suites in Secaucus New Jersey. Now I know what some of you are thinking… why would you stay in a completely different state, but Secaucus is only a very short 15-24 minute shuttle ride. That's right... in only 15 minutes you can be right in the Big Apple! With two small kids I have found that vacations can get crazy, loud and hectic without throwing in a crazy, loud and hectic city into the mix. So I knew I wanted to pick a hotel that was super family friendly and just enough outside of the city that we could get some quiet but close enough that we can get into Manhattan and see all the attractions really easily. Embassy Suites Secaucus fits those needs perfectly and provides so much more! We got in late on the first day and only had time to see Time Square before heading off to our hotel. We found the New Jersey transit to be very easy to use and you can access it at the Port Authority near Time Square. One bus will take you from the city and drop you off right in front of your hotel. Once at the hotel, the hotel shuttle can take you to all the surrounding restaurants, stores and even the train station which can also get you in the city. And if you are looking to save a little money Walmart and other stores are just right around the corner, you can grab some food and take it back to your in-room fridge. We grabbed some items to make sandwiches and other meals and used the fridge in our room to store everything. This allowed us to spend more on souvenirs, nice meals out and more activities.

Also the hotel provides something that you won’t find at a lot of other hotels especially Manhattan hotels; a complimentary made to order breakfast and a managers reception with free snacks and drinks. That alone will have me going back to Embassy Suites for any family or even non family travel. Throwing in a hot breakfast every morning for your whole family not only makes your wallet happy, but also is a huge time saver as well. And as for the food itself it was great! For a family of four this will save you at least $40-$50 a day on breakfast alone. That’s huge!! And then the evening snacks on top of that will save you even more. And you know that when you get back to your hotel and start to settle in is exactly when kids start complaining that they are a hungry. So you will be so happy that all you have to do is head down to the managers reception every night for a little snack to quiet those rumbling tummies. After the managers reception parents can take a little break from the kids by heading to your room and setting up the kids on the pull out sofa in a connected room that has a door you can close for more privacy. That’s right no kids in your room jumping on your bed asking you a million questions while you are trying to sleep, they can be in their own room while you are in yours. How awesome is that?! Occasionally while on vacation my husband and I like it to feel more like a vacation and with that we love to sleep in at least once, being able to have a door to close between us and the kids just reinforces to let mama and daddy sleep in and they can watch cartoons until we get up. 

When staying at an Embassy Suites it's hard not to sleep in, the beds are always so comfortable. I would say too comfortable, but who am I kidding that's not possible. My husband even recently started keeping the curtains open just a little bit so the sun will come in and remind us that we need to get up, otherwise we will just keep hitting snooze. I was going to show a pic of the bed all nicely made, but this is more realistic... this is a comfy bed that has been slept in. This is a bed after a peaceful good nights sleep you will need to head out into the fun of NYC. And the hotel that will provide you with a peaceful great nights sleep and more is Embassy Suites Secaucus. 

I received night stays in order to facilitate my review, I have written my honest opinion about how much I loved this hotel and I can't wait to share with you more inside views of other Embassy Suites. 

Mama

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Twice: FREE $80 Credit! Designer FREE!! Go Now!!

by Heather Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Easy

I was going to post this earlier, but the site was slammed, but it seems to have calmed down now and is easier to use!

Currently LikeTwice.com, a new website that offers high-quality, name-brand, affordable secondhand clothes, is offering up a FREE $80 credit!!

You can score several pieces of clothing shipped to your door for FREE!

Here is how to score this awesome deal:

1) First head over here to sign up and you will automatically snag a $10 credit!

2) Install their apple app to score up to $30 in credit! $10 for each device (up to three devices)

3) Install on an Android device for 50% off your order

You will then get $80 worth of clothing for $0!!!

Twice carries many name-brand clothing from popular stores, like GAP, Ann Taylor, Express, Banana Republic, American Eagle, and more for up to 70-90% off the retail price!

However, please keep in mind that most of the clothing items are very limited in sizes and carry only one size for each item.

If you don’t find an item that you like today, you will need to grab it quick!!

Also, if you have a few gently used clothes and are looking to make a little extra money, you may be interested in selling your clothing to Twice!

They even pay for shipping and will pay you on the spot if they choose too accept your clothing ( You will want to click on the “Sell” tab for more details on that)

You can check it out here!

Mama

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Top 10 Dumbest Things We Say To Our Kids

by Heather Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Easy

Since having kids, I tend to say things I’ve never said and do things I’ve never done. Being a mom has made me rattle off the dumbest questions and most pointless sentences of my life. Some so ridiculous that after I say it, I think to myself: “What does that even mean?” Here’s a few examples of things I’ve said recently:

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#Sponsored #MC Heroic Habits for Wherever Life Takes You

by Heather Monday, October 27, 2014

Easy

I participated in an Influencer Activation on behalf of Influence Central for LISTERINE. I received samples for this review and a promotional item to thank me for participating.

I wrote a little bit ago about heroic habits and how our family keeps up good habits, and more importantly how as parents we encourage our little "super heroes" to have good habits including making sure they keep their teeth healthy. Looking back on the years I know that I am in "constant watch mode" making sure our kids are brushing, flossing and doing everything else they can do to have healthy teeth, but that started to make me wonder if I am leading by example or am I just trying to stop them from making the same mistakes I did when I was younger, and my conclusion... I am not leading by example enough. I can do more and I can do better. I find myself getting after them to brush longer and then I find that when it comes time for me to brush my teeth I rush through it too fast and a lot of the time skip flossing all together. So my husband and I have decided we need to be better examples for our kiddos and have heroic habits of our own.

With that in mind we realized that we need to keep up those habits no matter where we are or what we are doing. This became a little bit of a challenge since we travel so often and even as I type this my husband and I are 2300 miles away from home on a 10 day vacation. Now it can be difficult to keep any and all good habits up while on vacation; one heroic habit that I have been trying to keep up on is eating healthy. On vacation I find myself gravitating towards fast and frugal meals which typically are not healthy. It's not easy eating healthy for 10 days and while being on the road every day! But it's part of the heroic habits I am trying to have and I know it sets a good example for my kids to see me eating fresh healthy food as often as possible. I thought this heroic habit would be pretty difficult when we were in NYC last week, but I actually found fruit and veggie stands all over Manhattan and also found fresh smoothie stands all over. Awesome right?!

Unfortunately once we left the big city and set out on the New England open road it became a little more difficult, but not impossible! I almost caved a few times as we drove past some of my favorite fast food restaurants, but I held strong. Sometimes when we try to get into new healthy habits we will want to cave when it gets hard and the same thing can happen when trying to keep up good dental hygiene. We justify it with "it's ok I will brush longer in the morning" or "I will floss tomorrow" but if we want our teeth to be the healthiest they can be and avoid major dental costs (and I'm pretty sure we all do) there is no justification for not brushing, flossing and doing anything else we need to do for a healthy smile. With that in mind my husband and I made a commitment to properly take care of our pearly whites while on vacation as well. Before we left we each packed a little "heroic dental habits" bag for while we were on vacation. This bag includes:

:: A toothbrush

:: LISTERINE Mouthwash

:: LISTERINE POCKETPAKS

:: LISTERINE ULTRACLEAN ACCESS Flosser

Everything you could need!

 

To snag these items for yourself you can go here!

All of these products will help us maintain our good habits and will also help us set a good example for our kids. Every day we Skype with our 4 and 6 year old and my 6 year old wanted me to watch her using her new Barbie LISTERINE and so I took that opportunity to show her that I was keeping my teeth nice and clean as well! Every day we now talk (as much as we can with a toothbrush in our mouths) and show each other that we are keeping up with our heroic habits. Also while on this trip I have realized how nice it is to have some of the items above in my purse.

I carry with me the LISTERINE ULTRACLEAN ACCESS Flosser and the LISTERINE POCKETPAKS. I find that the LISTERINE ULTRACLEAN ACCESS Flosser is a lifesaver after meals especially if you have food between your teeth in two seconds of using it you can get rid of any extra food between your teeth and do it seamlessly without looking like you are flossing. I also have been using the LISTERINE POCKETPAKS for after meals, especially those with garlic or other strong flavors and also I have realized that after being on the road for a few hours your mouth can feel a little gross and you need something refreshing and your fellow car passengers will appreciate it as well. Wink

What I have come to realize most of all is that no matter where you are or what you are doing you can keep up those heroic habits! And if you don't have any heroic habits it's not too late to be healthy and happy! 

You can learn more about LISTERINE and heroic habits by visiting their website.

Also be sure to subscribe to the LISTERINE YouTube channel to learn about new products and promotions and to watch the LISTERINE heroic heroes video series!

Mama

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It's pumpkin carving season, but don't toss the seeds... eat them!

by Heather Friday, October 24, 2014

Easy

While it can be a little tedious, roasting pumpkin seeds is simple. Start by picking out a nice-sized pumpkin, in hopes that it will give you lots of seeds. Then take your prized pumpkin home and get to carving!

Start by cutting around the stem of the pumpkin. If you're going to be making a Jack-O-Lantern, be sure to cut the top with your knife at an angle, with the tip pointed towards the center of the pumpkin (where the stem is). By cutting at an angle, you'll be creating a pumpkin top that won't fall inside the pumpkin.

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#Sponsored - On the go with Jif and the busy family

by Heather Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Easy

I participated in an Influencer Activation Program on behalf of Influence-Central for Jif To Go Dippers. I received a sample to facilitate my review and a thank you item for participating.

I would love to say that I am a completely homemade type of mom, that everything that comes out of my kitchen I slaved over for hours to be able to provide for my kids, but I'm not. And in this day in age I see nothing wrong with it. Now don't get me wrong I have friends that will make completely homemade snacks like fruit leather and more that take at least several hours to complete from start to finish, but I just don't have time for that. I commend them for it, but I just can't. So when I go to the store I am looking specifically for items that fit this criteria:

:: Healthy

:: Mess Free

:: Convenient 

:: Can be eaten on the run 

:: And the last and most important... kid friendly. Something they will actually eat! 

There are a lot of things that fit my first four criteria, but my kids won't eat it or they complain about it; which essentially equals me and my husband eating whatever it is or money down the drain. Either way it's not good. 

Our family in total has been to 31 states in the last 2 years! That's a lot of traveling and a lot of food for everyone so being able to have a easy snack taken care of is huge!

I don't have enough time in the day to spend watching my adorable 4 year old slowly eating his snack and making "good guys and bad guys" out of it. Food time for him turns into a full blown production. So having something he can eat anytime anywhere is a lifesaver.

What I do have time for and a snack that meets all the "demanding mom" criteria are the Jif To Go Dippers. Have you tried them yet? I would love to know what you think. I toss one to the kids as we are heading out the door or to my hubby when he goes on a bike ride. Jif To Go Dippers are also great for adults! My husband loves having something he can stop and quickly eat that gives him energy to keep riding. Now keep in mind he cycles 30-60 miles every time he goes out! So that says a lot about how much he approves of Jif To Go Dippers as a quality snack. 

We also have enjoyed them on the trip we are currently on; right now I am writing you from Martha's Vineyard! We found that Jif To Go Dippers are a great snack to take on the plane and to have when we haven't been close to food options or aren't quite hungry enough for a whole meal. My favorite is the chocolate and my hubbies favorite is the peanut butter and the kids like both. I absolutely love Jif To Go Dippers as an alternative to chips and other unhealthy snacks. Typically when you need a quick snack you will find yourself going for a greasy bag a chips and feeling very unsatisfied afterward, but that's not the case with Jif To Go Dippers. You know that you are getting protein, fiber, potassium and healthy fats when eating peanut butter that you need. I don't know of any other convenient on the go snack that can do that! Be sure to grab Jif To Go Dippers for your "on the go" family! 

Be sure to also check out Jif here:

The Jif® Website: Head over here to the Jif website 

Jif Facebook Page: Head over here to the Jif Facebook Page

Mama

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