What We Did on Our Summer Vacation

This post is brought to you by my partnership with Tommee Tippee as a Tommee Mommee. All opinions are my own.

Now that school is starting on Monday, we’ve been trying to race the clock and have the last bit of fun before summer ends. I asked Shane the other day if there was anything that we didn’t get to do and he said the only thing we haven’t done is go to the splash pad- we did everything else he dreamt of doing this summer! {&Don’t tell Shane, but I’m totally taking him to the Splash pad on Friday.} So what have we been up to?

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We hit some of Shane’s favorite restaurants, including the BBQ joint with the giant bear statue and the Hawaiian BBQ place.

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We did some crafts as a family- here we made our own campfire!

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We went to the library, where Shane maxed out the amount of books he could bring home within two minutes and then played puzzles for half an hour.

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We hit the pool whenever we could!

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Shane had his family birthday party…

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…and his friend birthday party! He had a blast at both.

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We spent a lot of time at Gymboree, since they are basically an indoor {i.e. air conditioned} playground.

hanging out

We even had some more casual days, watching TV or movies on the couch.

We had a lot of fun, but we hit some major milestones, too! Zac turned 6 months old on July 31st and Shane turned 5 on August 13th. Zac learned how to crawl, and began eating solid foods! He can even drink from a sippy cup now, which is kind of amazing.

Zac and his Tommee Tippee cup

Zac loves his Tommee Tippee sippy cup. It has two handles {not that he always uses them}, so he can hold it easily, and it’s the perfect size for him to be able to raise it up to drink from it. He can easily get his juice or water out of it, and he loves to gnaw on it, too. {Along with everything else in the house.}

Shane and his Tommee Tippee cup

Shane and Zac both love their Tommee Tippee products- even Shane drinks from Tommee Tippee cups {without a lid usually since he’s 5- but when he wants to bring drinks downstairs where there’s carpet, we do use the lids with the valve taken out, just to provide a little extra protection against stains from my clumsy kiddo}. Zac loves their pacifiers, too! He usually only uses one while he’s sleeping and he’s too light of a sleeper to take a photo when he’s sleeping, but it’s really cute.

You can find Tommee Tippee products at major retailers near you, including Babies R Us & Target. {You can also find them online.} As for the fun memories, you’ll have to make your own! I hope you had even half as much fun as we had this summer!

What did you do this summer?

15 Household Items You Didn’t Know You Could Put in the Dishwasher

As a member of the Finish Power & Free Alliance of Moms, I was compensated for my work on this campaign. However, all opinions are my own.

With a baby crawling around and getting into basically everything, we have had to become a lot more vigilant about making sure that we clean. Not only does that involve making sure that the floor is a baby-safe zone with nothing he can choke on or break on it, but it means that items are needing to get washed more often. Whether the baby slobbers on it, the dog licks it, or someone spills something on it, it’s more important than ever to clean things right away- before they wind up in baby’s mouth.

Most things can be hand washed in warm, soapy water, but I hate doing it. It takes forever, and I never feel like it’s clean enough. Whenever possible, I prefer sticking anything and everything into the dishwasher. And I do mean everything! Below are some common items that you can actually clean in the dishwasher!

15 Things You Didn't Know You Could Put in the Dishwasher

-Bath toys

-Pacifiers & teething rings

-Action figures (or “guys” as we call them)

-Makeup brushes

-Toothbrushes

-Stove knobs

-Switch plates and light fixture covers

-Refrigerator shelves

-Stroller or car cup holders

-Dog dishes

-Dog leashes and collars {just not leather ones, or ones with rhinestones}

-Baseball hats

-Flip-flops

-Tools {unless they have chemicals on them or wooden handles}

-Cleaning supplies like sponges, scrub brushes, dustpans, and small trash cans

Power & Free Powerball and Jet Dry Rinse Aid

To keep harsh chemicals off of these household items {and your more normal dishwasher items, like silverware, cups, and dishes} try using Finish Power & Free! Their formulas feature less-harsh chemical formulas but don’t sacrifice quality- so even if you have a baby putting everything into their mouths, you can rest easy. Both their Finish Power & Free dish detergent and Jet Dry Power & Free Rinse Aid clean just as well as the original but with less of the harsh chemicals {both use Hydrogen Peroxide}- making it the ideal dishwashing choice for families with little ones!

Have you ever put something besides dishes in the dishwasher?

5 Tips for Healthy, Hydrated Skin

Sponsored post by Lunchbox, all opinions are 100% my own.

I have always had skin issues. Living in the desert, I fight dry skin constantly. I also have eczema, so it’s even more important that I keep my skin hydrated and healthy. Over the years I’ve picked up a few tips and tricks for making sure my skin is healthy. Below are my top 5 tips to deeply nourish dry skin.

5 Tips for Healthy Skin

1. Drink enough water. If you’re dehydrated, your skin is more likely to be dehydrated as well.

2. Eat a healthy diet. Make sure you’re getting enough vitamins and healthy fats.

3. Use warm {not hot} water in the shower. Hot water removes natural oils from your skin, drying you out faster.

4. Pat your skin dry. Don’t rub your skin dry with a towel- it removes too much moisture and can cause flaking.

5. Moisturize. Use a great moisturizer as soon as you get out of the shower, like Vaseline® Intensive Care™ moisturizing lotion.

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Getting truly healthy skin starts with deep healing moisture. It’s not something you get by masking problems or through quick fixes. That’s why the healing power of Vaseline® Intensive Care™ moisturizing lotion is designed to go beyond basic moisturizing to help heal dry skin, leaving it looking healthy and radiant.

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This month, Walgreens has great deals on Vaseline® Intensive Care™ products. When you buy any 2 Vaseline® Intensive Care™ lotions during August you will receive 2,000 Balance Rewards points- and when you buy 1 Vaseline® Intensive Care™ product you get the second one at 50% off.

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Plus, if you visit Walgreens on August 23rd from 10am-5pm you can pick up an exclusive in-store $1 off coupon and get expert advice from a Beauty Advisor. Just make sure to get there early- they only have a limited number of coupons at each store.

Walgreens always has Vaseline® Intensive Care™ at an everyday value of $7.49 per bottle, but by combining these great deals on 8/23, you can get two bottles for just $8.23! Here’s how it works:

During August, there’s a buy 2, get 2,000 Balance Reward points special.

From 8/17-8/23, you can buy 1 and get 1 for 50% off.

Then at the Vaseline® Saturdate, pick up a $1 off coupon.

Combine all three of them for one really great deal!

Win It: One lucky reader will win a $50 Walgreens gift card to help you stock up on your favorite Vaseline products! Just enter using the simple form below. Good luck!

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20 Minute Meatless Meatball Recipe #BeyondMeat

This post is brought to you by BeyondMeat and Markerly. All opinions are my own.

As a teenager, I hated eating meat. I was never a full-on vegetarian, but I chose meatless alternatives whenever I could. Ten years ago, the meatless alternatives were good, but not great. They tasted good, but I could almost always tell the difference.

I do eat meat, but prefer to only do so when it’s been treated humanely from start to finish. Meat like that isn’t always available, and so it’s nice to know that there are other options out there. I was invited to try BeyondMeat Beef Crumbles, a new-to-me meatless alternative, and it completely blew me away. It tasted just like the real thing- in fact, it had several things going for it:

-It’s meatless. Whether you’re a vegetarian or just want to vary your diet, BeyondMeat offers an alternative. Made with 100% Non-GMO pea protein, it’s a plant product.

-Anyone can enjoy it: it’s Gluten-free, Soy-free, and Kosher.

-It’s nutritious: A serving contains 10g of protein {the same as ground beef}, without cholesterol, saturated fat, or trans fat.

-It’s delicious: Whether you choose the beefy flavor {a hint of garlic and citrus} or the fiesty variety {a zesty blend for tacos or chili}, it is perfectly seasoned.

-It’s versatile: You can make burgers, tacos, lasagna- whatever you want! If it uses beef, you can use BeyondMeat Beef Crumbles.

I made “meat”balls using the BeyondMeat Beef Crumbles. Not only are these meatballs meat-free, but they aren’t even really meatballs. I had never made meatballs before, and the recipes that I found on Pinterest were intimidating. Most of them took over an hour and  required dirtying several dishes just to make tiny balls of meat. By using the BeyondMeat Beef Crumbles, I was able to cut that cooking time down to roughly 20 minutes- including prep and clean up.

20 Minute Meatless Meatball Recipe

Ingredients:

-1-2 tbsp coconut oil {enough to fill pan when melted}

-1 tbsp basil

-1 tsp oregano

-1 tsp rosemary

-1 package BeyondMeat Beef Crumbles {beefy flavor}

-4 tbsp tomato paste

-1/2 cup shredded mozzarella

-1/4 cup Italian breadcrumbs

-Olive oil spray

Directions:

-Preheat oven to 350 degrees

-Melt coconut oil in a medium sized skillet

-Add spices and heat on medium for about a minute

-While spices are on the stove, warm your BeyondMeat crumbles in the microwave for about 40 seconds {I put them into a bowl but you could leave them in the bag}

-Add the Beef Crumbles to the skillet in a single layer

-Add the tomato paste and stir well, coating most of the “beef”

-Simmer for a minute or two on medium heat

-When “beef” is hot, add mozzarella and stir. The mozzarella should melt into the “meat” as you stir- if it doesn’t, allow to heat on medium until it does.

-When everything is mixed, add the breadcrumbs and mix one last time.

-Using an ice cream scoop, form balls of “meat” and place onto a foil-lined cookie sheet. {As they cool down, you may be able to use your hands to form more compact, round balls.}

-Lightly spray with olive oil to prevent burning and place on the middle rack in the oven for ten minutes.

-Allow to cool for a minute or two before removing from cookie sheet, serve with pasta of your choice, top with marinara and enjoy!

I served ours with zoodles {noodles made out of zucchini} because Justin doesn’t eat pasta, and because it seemed fitting to replace our pasta with veggies since we were doing the same with our meat.

Buy It: BeyondMeat products are located in the freezer section of many grocery stores {we found ours at Whole Foods}. You can use the store locator to find some near you.

Read It: You can learn more about BeyondMeat products in these articles from The Today Show and the NY Times! You can also read more on their website.

Win It: EVERYONE who enters below will receive a FREE BeyondMeat Coupon! 5 people will win Beyond Meat swag kits including t-shirts, hats and coupons for Beyond Meat, and 1 Person will win a swag kit plus a $100 gift card to a Beyond Meat Retail Partner of their choosing. Good luck!

What recipe would you try first with BeyondMeat Beef Crumbles?

Get Household Necessities Delivered to Your Door from Walmart.com {Gift Card Giveaway!}

The Walmart gift cards and information have been provided by P&G.

Now that we’re a family of four, we go through a lot of household items. I’m cleaning twice as much since I now have a baby crawling around who likes to put everything in his mouth, so I’m constantly running out of cleaning supplies. It seems like we run out of diapers and wipes faster than we can buy them, and of course, it’s hard finding time to run to the store to replace anything because that means strapping two kids into car seats twice, taking them out twice, and keeping them distracted long enough to navigate the aisles and find the things we need.

If you couldn’t already tell, I’m not a fan of shopping right now. Unless that shopping is being done online, that is. I love the convenience of placing an order online and having it delivered to my door so that I don’t have to worry about cramming ten bags into the trunk that’s already filled with all the baby gear I need to go anywhere. While I use different online stores for different things, I recently made a household purchase using Walmart.com and it was beyond simple!

Top Cleaning brands

I never realized that Walmart.com had so many household items available to be shipped. They had a lot of my favorite P&G products, like Swiffer cloths and Pampers wipes. Shipping is free when you spend $50, so in addition to getting some necessities {toilet paper and the aforementioned Swiffer cloths} I used the opportunity to get the Swiffer Bissell SteamBoost mop that I’ve been eyeing forever!

It was so easy to find exactly what I needed. They had several different options for many of the products- the toilet paper came in many sizes, and the Swiffer cloths came in many sizes and scents.

Walmart Order

Checkout was simple- I had some gift cards and I was pleased to find that not only was it easy to enter the card I wanted to use, but my account still had a previous gift card from over a year ago saved. {I have a tendency to forget I have gift cards so that was a fun bonus feature.}

Household Necessities, Delivered

The best part of the whole thing was when the order arrived. Instead of having to trek out for a few things we needed, they showed up right at my door. {You do have the option of Site to Store delivery as well, which is free even if you don’t spend $50.}I love the prices at Walmart but don’t always love dealing with the crowds, so it was a huge relief to have everything shipped right to my house without any hassle. They had a huge selection of items, all for the same low prices I am used to finding in stores. I think I just found a new way to shop!

Walmart.com

Win It: One lucky reader will win a $25 Walmart gift card to make your own Walmart.com purchase! Just enter using the simple form below. Good luck!

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