Tuesday, July 30, 2013

The Importance Of Water


I know we hear it all the time, but so often it is hard to actually live out that command to make sure you drink enough water.

If there is one thing I am focusing more on since starting the Shaklee program 5 months ago, it is drinking more water. I think the reason behind that is because I want to do everything in my power to make sure I am doing what I can to aid in weight loss. So each day, my goal is to drink half my body weight in ounces.

The cool thing is that drinking water doesn't only help with weight loss, but it also helps with our overall health.

From the time the girls were old enough to have a sippy, we only put water in it. To this day, my girls love water. I also set the example for them at home, and while out and about, by always having my water bottle close by.

The hardest part for me on drinking water is that in the summer when it is hot, it is easy for me to drink it, but come winter, I have to force myself to do so. I often will try and have a warm cup of water then, with possibly a lemon slice to add in the flavor (am I the only person who hates warm water?).

So why drink water? For me, I know it aids in weight loss, helps make my wrinkles less noticeable, and I overall feel physically healthy and better. I can totally tell if I'm not drinking enough water in a day.

Do you drink water each day? If so, how much do you drink? Do you put lemon in it? Any tips for me come winter, so that I can keep up with my water intake?

This is a sponsored post as part of the Shaklee Corporation blogger program. I have received free products, online support and incentives for participating. My opinions are my own.

People following the weight-loss portion of the Shaklee 180™ Program can expect to lose 1-2 pounds per week.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Cadbury High Tea Party

Hello and welcome to tea at three with us (said in my most proper British accent). ;)

That's right! We recently had a tea party right in our front yard. I'm not sure I've ever seen the girls so excited, and at supper that night, Zoelle even thanked God for a wonderful afternoon tea party.

Oops! I forgot to take the hat off this one before the party! :)

In order to be proper, I asked everyone to please dress in their finest. Zoelle led everyone to our dress up box, and each child picked out the dress they wanted to wear. Then, each child got to choose from the fascinators and hats. This was probably one of the most delightful moments of our tea party as each child was in an over sized hat, with a cute little dress up dress, and big smile of anticipation on their face.

What would a tea party be without tea? The girls helped me ahead of time in preparing sugar, creamer, and the tea pot. We even made it with my favorite tea! Zoelle later told me she didn't really like it except the bottom (which is where all the sugar was). :)

Lastly, we brought out the kids favorite (who am I kidding, it was an adult favorite too), the Cadbury ice cream bars. Yummy! Everyone had four different kinds to choose from:  Cadbury Royal Dark, Cadbury English Toffee, Cadbury Caramello, and Cadbury Vanilla Chocolate. I'm pretty certain that each adult and child loved whatever ice cream they got. My favorite is the Caramello.

My hubby even snuck one too and said that he loved the Dark Chocolate as it was rich, yet had that typical Cadbury goodness.

After lots of excitement, hot tea, ice cream treats, and lots of giggles with dress up, it was time to be done. The conclusion: We all want to do afternoon tea and Cadbury bars more often!

Disclaimer: I received this party kit as part of a promotional program with Cadbury and MomSelect. All opinions are my own.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Jamba Juice Review

While we don't have a local Jamba Juice close to us, I do love to go to it when I'm in the big city a few hours from us. Recently, Chris & I made a trip to the city as a date day for us, and we made sure to stop by Jamba Juice, thanks to the Moms Meet Program, to try the new Tropical Harvest Smoothie.

The Tropical Harvest Smoothie is made with a fusion of mangos, peaches, and passion mango juice blended with juices from butternut squash, sweet potato, and carrot. With only 230 calories, this beverage is free of dairy and gluten, which is extremely important to me as I am currently both dairy and gluten free.

If our girls would have been with on this trip, I would have loved to order them the Jamba Kids Berry Beet It Smoothie. It is made with a blend of strawberries, mangos, bananas, and mixed berry juice with carrots, beets, broccoli, spinach, kale, and lettuce.

I didn't have my camera with on my trip and I completely forgot to take a picture of my drink with my phone, but I can honestly say I was very impressed with it. Even Chris, who is pretty picky when it comes to a "green-type" smoothie liked it. I can't wait to go back and get back with our girls to try the kids smoothie!

So if you happen to live near a Jamba Juice, or have a chance to visit one, make sure you try the Tropical Harvest Smoothie!

Disclaimer: I received this product for free from the sponsor of the Moms Meet Program, May Media Group LLC, who received it directly from the manufacturer. As a Moms Meet blogger, I agreed to use this product and post my opinion on my blog. My opinions do not necessarily reflect the opinions of May Media Group LLC or the manufacturer of the product.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Dear Xiomara,

Happy 3rd Birthday to our spunky, joyful, strong-willed, and always smiling, Xiomara Marie!

Three whole years old! Even though I know that means you are a bit too old to be a baby, I still call you my baby as you will always be that in my eyes!

It was this very night three years ago that I got a call from Clarissa (your birthmom's social worker), saying that your birthmom, J had gone into labor 5 weeks early. Knowing that we would be leaving soon to pick you up, and because it's what I do when I'm stressed, I cleaned the house while waiting for another call that you were born. That call would come in the middle of the night while I was half asleep (as if I could sleep knowing you were coming?!?).

The next morning, we announced on Facebook and on our blog that you were born. I had a dentist appointment that morning and so while I was at the dentist's office my phone kept ringing and going off. Finally, I had to explain to them that you were born. The very first time I told anyone I had a third daughter.

That first day after your birth seemed to drag by, and then the day came to meet you and I had 3 plane flights to catch before I finally saw you in your birthmom's arms for the very first time.

I will never be able to fully describe to anyone what that day was like. You became ours that day, all the while knowing you were still hers. Yet, I loved you with the same fierce, motherly love, that I had for your sisters. That love has never stopped, it has only grown.

This year has been a fun year of watching growth in your life. For starters, you finally grew! Our teeny tiny girl who has always worn clothes a good 6 months to a year smaller than the size you were, is now finally getting caught up and into 3T clothing. You are still on the small size all around, but overall you have some meat on your bones now.

While you haven't exactly done school at all, you have listened as we have sang ABC's, counted up to 30, you know your colors and shapes, and you love for us to read to you. Your language has exploded this year and you can pretty much say anything

About six months ago you learned to climb out of your crib, but we still haven't officially switched you to a big girl bed as I'm kind of dreading that day as you will all of a sudden seem so grown up. You stopped taking a paci and unfortunately found your thumb, which is the one thing daddy has always dreaded. You still nurse, but only once a week or so before bed (something I'm still marveling and cherishing being your weren't in my tummy). You often will wake at 6 in the morning for a bottle of almond milk and then either go back to sleep or sing loudly to your doll. This week, you decided on your own to not wear diapers, and I'm surprised at how well you are doing. You have only had a few accidents and for the most part, that is when you are swimming.

When I think of this past year, I think of your sweet smile greeting me each morning. Your crazy, curly hair often sticking out every which way, unless you wore your sleep cap. You give the biggest and tightest morning hugs and kisses that I always cherish. I think of your attempt at being stumpy, and crabby which never works as you end up always giggling. I think of your love for your sisters, but especially that crazy bond that you and Zoelle have that I will probably never understand. I think of the ever constant joy you are to your dad and I. That there are very few times you are ever crabby or crying. You are easy going, but full of energy. You have a strong-will, but do everything with joy. This past year, I think of your love for our pets, especially your kitty, Maple whom you sit with every morning on our front deck. I think of you being our little fishy, always wanting to swim or be in the water.  You also have a deep love for your cousin, India who was born two days after you. Your Auntie Gen and I were just talking of the thousands of pictures we will have of you two together by the time you graduate. They are priceless. This past year, you also had your adoption story shared throughout the world when your adoption was featured in The Huffington Post.

My prayer this year is that God would give me the energy to keep up with you! :) That you would continue to shine your light and your smile throughout the world. That you would know that He plans to use each part of you for good. That your strong-will and the bubbly spirit are the perfect combination for exactly what He has planned for you. Our prayer since the time you were in your birthmom's tummy was that you would bring joy to those around you, and you have, and so we will continue to pray that you do so.

Happy Birthday spunky little girl! It's finally your day, your birfday, just yours alone (something you've been patiently waiting for since May). So go enjoy it, swim and dance away! We love you and are so thankful to be able to call you our youngest daughter.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Kid-Friendly Vacations - Creating A Smooth and Tantrum-Free Trip {Guest Post}

If you have children, planning a vacation takes a number of additional steps.  Packing, planning, meals, entertainment all need to be thoroughly considered in order to ensure a successful trip for all. To keep kids happy and enthusiastic, prepare for these differences with some great travel tricks.

#1 – Maintain Regular Eating Schedules

Keep meals on schedule to prevent low blood sugar and crankiness from ruining the day. Most kid-friendly attractions have restaurants or snack bars to keep children fueled during the visit, but can be pricey. Keep snacks in the car or in backpacks for a quick lift if mealtimes are going to be delayed. Avoid a lot of sugary snacks that can cause blood sugar “crashes.” Avoid introducing your children to certain foods while traveling, like shellfish or nuts, as these can cause serious allergic reactions.  Finally, always make sure to have your pediatrician’s number handy when traveling.

#2 – Keep the Fun Coming

Keep activities for children in the forefront of your planning. Try to keep kid-friendly attractions evenly spaced throughout the vacation period to avoid boredom and restlessness. The zoo, amusement park, waterpark or aquarium are all kid favorites.  A beach day can provide hours of kid-friendly fun while you relax and supervise. Schedule energetic activities for the morning hours when kids have plenty of energy, and quieter activities late in the day when they are tired.  For a truly great vacation, find the balance between fun options and flexibility. 

#3  - Pick A Hotel With Special Features

The Fourth of July offers a great opportunity to travel with your family. Do some research for a hotel that allows you to see a 4th of July fireworks display from your balcony. You can spare yourself the hassle of parking and crowds and still give your children a wonderful holiday they will remember all their lives.

#4 – Other Ways To Avoid “Meltdowns”

Vacations often mean a big change in daily schedules. Toddlers may not get the naps they need, and older kids may become over-stimulated and irritable. As you plan your vacation time, remember to schedule in some quiet time during the day so that little ones can catch up on their rest. School-aged kid can read or watch a movie. Teens can use this time to contact friends at home or document their trip in a journal.  Depending on your vacation itinerary, planning a relaxed day at the pool can be a great idea following a rather busy day of fun.

#5 – Make Sure Your Hotel Is Kid-Friendly

Many hotel chains go out of their way to appeal to families. Research those with children’s programs that might appeal to your family. You can find a range of activities including “dive-in” movies by the pool, family horseback riding, and craft activities. Some even offer programs for teens. While the kids are engaged, you can get lost in a good book or enjoy a great meal with your husband.  The kids club on our last trip to Hawaii was an excellent resource for our family.  The vast assortment of kid’s activities provided tons of fun for our little ones and was still recommended as a top-notch Honolulu hotel.

So get excited about your trip!  If you plan ahead, your next family vacation will be one for the record books.  Happy travels!

Bio: Kendra Thornton: Travel advocate, TV spokesperson, PR businesswoman, proud wife and mama of 3. I am a long time travel expert who has been packing my bags and traveling the world since I was 3 months old! I've found my utmost desire in life is right here in my own home. I have taken my excitement for travel and brought it to you with some of my favorite travel tips and tricks. Enjoy!