Thursday, November 20, 2014

Creating Happy Healthy Holidays with the Help of Children's Hospital Colorado

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Children's Hospital Colorado. The opinions and text are all mine.

Children's Hospital of Colorado is definitely a place where my family seeks advice and help since Little M was born. We trust their expert advice and their amazing doctors and staff. I'm not sure what we would do without them.

Children's has created a resource called Just Ask Children's that allows parents to ask medical experts important questions. With the holidays fast approaching, this month's focus is helping parents to create happy, healthy holidays.

We'll begin the holidays by traveling a long distance to see family and friends. This can be very stressful when we aren't prepared. I appreciate the great tips Children's has provided for traveling long distance with a toddler.
  • Bring many activities to keep your child's focus for at least 5 to 10 minutes. Try to bring something new that will keep your child's interest, such as coloring books, stickers, books, and arts and crafts. The dollar store is a great place to find these items.
  • Bring your own snacks and sippy cups to prevent spills. And provide special treats for rewards for things like buckling their seat belts and sitting still.
  • Bring a change of clothes and dress in layers. You never know what the temperature may be.
  • Bring your child's favorite toy or blanket to help ease tantrums and meltdowns.
  • Try to keep your child on their schedule, including naps.
  • Take walks up and down the aisle when it's safe to do so.
  • Consider a little extra screen time.
  • And consider bringing your toddlers car seat to keep them safely buckled.
When visiting family over the holidays, conflicts may arise. Children's gives great advice when your young child sees or experiences this. Find a quiet moment and let your child know that you were upset and said or did things you didn't mean. Let your child know that you still love that person and they will always be family. This is also a great time to talk about strategies to prevent anger from escalating, such as, counting to ten, taking deep breaths and finding some space.

When going out of town for the holidays, there are often different rules our children follow. Children's reminds us of the importance to talk to our children ahead of time. Let them know that some rules are the same, like being kind to others and using good manners. But other rules might be different, such as, bed times might change and extra sweets are a special treat during the holidays.

Eating healthy is another challenge we face when traveling over the holidays. Children's suggests asking those in charge of meals to let them know your desire for healthy eating options during your stay. You can also ask how you can help to prepare meals or bring your own healthy snacks. And of course be flexible. Healthy options might not be available all of the time.

For more great holiday tips and advice, visit Just Ask Children's, next Tuesday, November 25th, from 9 am - 4 pm, to ask your important questions. You can also follow them on Facebook and Twitter.

Reader Comment Disclaimer: comments submitted may be displayed on other websites owned by the sponsoring brand.

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Children's Hospital Colorado. The opinions and text are all mine.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Celebrating World Prematurity Day at 9 Months Old

Not only does Little M turn 9 months old tomorrow, we also celebrate World Prematurity Day. Taking a look back at his first few months of life, being born 5 weeks early, I feel like he is super baby.

Our experience was nothing like I imagined.  Never in a million years did I think I would be a parent to a preemie.  I will never forget that cold night, at 32 weeks pregnant when my water broke on our new mattress.  We woke our daughter and rushed to the hospital where I was quickly hooked up to IV's, received shots and struggling to not pass out.  We made it through almost 3 weeks on bed rest, when I had an emergency c-section.

We were very blessed that Little M's stay was as short as 10 days in the NICU.  But the days and nights were certainly challenging for me, trying to balance healing, building back my relationship with my daughter after a month of separation and visiting Little M.

Remembering the doctor would not sign off on us taking him home from the NICU until we could prove we were aggressive feeders.  And when we did get to take him home, I remember those sleepless nights, trying so hard to get him to latch on to his bottle.  Then praying to God that he would not vomit it all up, everywhere.  

I remember 
realizing he wasn't progressing at a "normal" rate
the many ultrasounds of his hips, ureter and head
the chiropractor appointments twice a week due to reflux
the experimenting with formulas, bottles and sleep positions

And I look at how far he has come.  No one in this world would guess he was born too early.  Barely able to fit in his car seat and worried we wouldn't be able to take him home.  Now sitting independently and proudly!  

Now, at 9 months old, Little M is trying so hard to crawl.  He either lifts his chest off the ground or lifts his bottom high in the air.  But he just can't figure out how to do both at the same time.

He is eating 3 meals a day and sometimes snacks too.

He continues to wake up between 4 and 5 to eat and usually won't fall back to sleep unless I bring him to bed with me.  I'm hoping he learns to sleep a little bit longer soon.

He now has two bottom teeth.

Little M loves his big sister, the church nursery and putting everything in his mouth.

Check out how fast Little M is growing!

November 17th is World Prematurity Day!  Will you please say a special prayers for all the babies and their parents who are in the NICU fighting for their precious life?

Friday, November 7, 2014

Minted Holiday Card Wish List {Review and Giveaway}

Disclosure:  I wrote this post on behalf of Minted and will receive compensation to thank me for my time.  All opinions regarding Minted are my own and were not influenced by other sources.

One of my favorite things around the holidays is receiving beautiful photo cards from family and friends.  We enjoy displaying them on our mantel to remind us of how blessed we are to have such great people in our lives.

We have actually never done a real family photo or created Christmas cards.  Mostly because we can never seem to take a decent family picture without someone not looking at the camera or making silly faces.  See what I mean?

At the top of my Christmas wish list would be a beautiful family photo that I could share with all of our family and friends, using one of my favorite holiday cards from  Check out my top favorite Christmas Cards.

Option 1:

How cool is this?  It's like the cliffs notes to your Christmas letter (update of your lives) along with your family photo.  I love how unique this one is.

Options 2:

With the goofy photos my kids take, this would be perfect if I chose to use their picture.  I also love these two colors together.

Option 3:

And this would be my choice for a tradition Christmas card.  The colors and simplicity are the best!

Minted wants to help you prepare for the holiday season by giving away a $50 credit to one blessed reader.  Simply fill out the Rafflecopter form below to enter.  This giveaway is open to US residents only.

Be sure to stay connected with Minted on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest to keep up with the latest products, deals and giveaways.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

I Can Learn the Bible: The Joshua Code for Kids {Review and Giveaway}

Disclosure: I wrote this post on behalf of Tommy Nelson and received a promotional item to thank me for my time.  All views and opinions regarding Tommy Nelson and The Joshua Code for Kids are my own and were not influenced by other sources.

If nothing else in this whole world, the most important thing I want my children to learn is The Word. When they struggle in a situation, I want them to have a verse that pops into their head that they can go to when needed.  Or if a friend is in need, I want them to be able to share their heart with God's purpose. And I want them to know the meaning behind each verse.

I Can Learn the Bible: The Joshua Code for Kids breaks down 52 very important verses and helps Big C to deeply (as much as an almost 4 year old can) understand Jesus' word.  Each weekly verse also includes a prayer for children to fill in the blank so they can relate to it first hand.

This devotional is also great for opening up discussion with your children.  You can pause during any explanation and talk about examples that are going on in their life.  Or just read it straight through. My daughter doesn't understand everything I'm reading to her, but the kid friendly language of this book makes it easier.

There is a little phrase at the end of each chapter that Big C repeats after me.  This is her favorite part and I hope it resonates in her heart forever.  It goes like this:

"God's word is for me and to me, it is in me and working through me, and just like His love, it goes on and on forever!"

You can purchase the same book Big C has for 14.99 from or choose from a variety of other Christian resources.  Check out a preview of this devotional that is perfect for children ages 4 - 8.  Stay connected with Tommy Nelson on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest for all their latest products and discounts.

Tommy Nelson is giving away one copy of I Can Learn the Bible: The Joshua Code for Kids to one blessed reader.  Simply fill out the Rafflecopter form below to enter.  This giveaway is open to US residents only.  Good luck!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Nuby Traveltime Bowl Set {Review}

Disclosure: I wrote this post on behalf of Nuby and received promotional items to thank me for my time.  All views and opinions regarding Nuby and the Traveltime Bowl Set are my own and were not influenced by other sources.

Little M loves to eat.  And I enjoy making homemade baby food for him.  He is the only one in the family who eats everything I make.  Since we eat out on Friday nights, I knew I needed something to make eating out easy for Little M.  The Nuby Traveltime Bowl Set is perfect for us!

These bowls are perfect for at home or on the go.  They are made of break-resistant polypropylene and fit perfectly in your little one's tiny hands.  The lids (not pictured) snap on tight for freshness and on the go. This set includes a long handled spoon with rubberized grips that make it simple for feeding.

You can purchase the same Traveltime Bowl Set Little M has for $5.99 or choose from a variety of other colors.  This set is available at,,,

Stay connected with Nuby on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram for all their latest products, updates and giveaways!

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Life Verses for Children

My kiddos are my heroes.  They are so brave and courageous beyond my understanding.  They are fighters and survivors!  But I must say, my faith was shaken during their battles.

Big C was just an infant when she contracted meningitis.  I was so scared she wouldn't make it. There were many times I asked God why and often relied on others to carry me through.  Even though I questioned God, I turned to Him anyway, creating a life verse for Big C.  These were the words I prayed over her, often . . .

For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.

Big C conquering meningitis in the hospital.

Little M's battle was much different.  Not even born yet, but thriving inside me, after my water broke. I struggled every day to stay strong in the hospital.  But the shots, blood work at 4am, monitoring, IV line changing every 3 days, lack of sleep and unable to get out of bed, made me want to give up.

When Little M was born 5 weeks early, he amazed us all.  But one thing I saw early on was that he wasn't thriving in gross motor skills.  Of course as a mama, I began to worry and asked for help. Though he is still behind, he is moving forward.  It's been really hard for me to watch him progress so slowly.  So I knew I needed to focus on a verse just for him, too . . .

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

Little M at tummy time.

I know God will move mountains for Little M, just as He has done with Big C.

Have you picked a life verse for your child?

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Applegate Half Time Kit {Review and Giveaway}

Disclosure: I wrote this post on behalf of Applegate and received promotional items to thank me for my time.  All opinions regarding Applegate and the Half Time kit are my own and were not influenced by outside sources.

What is one of your least favorite chores?  Mine is preparing for the next day - getting lunches prepped and bags packed for whatever we have in store.  I know I can't do it the morning of, or I would probably go crazy.  So I was pretty excited to see Applegate has made this chore a little bit easier.

Applegate has teamed up with Stonyfield and Annie's to create the first pre-packed lunch kit with natural and organic ingredients.  HALF TIME includes Applegate natural meats and cheeses (which have no artificial ingredients or preservatives, and are antibiotic- and hormone-free), Annie's Homegrown crackers and snacks, and Stonyfield Organic YoKids Squeezers.

Now you don't have to compromise between convenience and quality!  This kit has been such a life saver for our family.  We often rush home for lunch and everyone is cranky, tired and hungry. It made it super easy to just pull the kit out of the refrigerator for Big C and sit down to get the baby fed.

Big C is very familiar with all three brands, so having it all come packaged in a fun box made it so exciting for her.  She also received a fun lunch box that she could design her own picture on, as well as, an activity book.  And for me, I got coupons and convenience!  Thank you Applegate for making my life a little less stressful.

Applegate is giving away a HALF TIME kit to one blessed reader!  This kit includes all three varieties of HALF TIME - Turkey and Cheese, Ham and Cheese and Bologna and Cheese, a draw your own lunch bag, a set of permanent markers, coupons and an activity book!

Stay connected with Applegate for all their latest products and deals on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram
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