Monday, June 30, 2014

Taking Time For Our Furbaby :: The 28 Day Challenge

This shop is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Pollinate Media Group® and Purina One, but all my opinions are my own. #pmedia #ONEDifference

Since welcoming Gavin into our family last summer, our priorities, routine and overall lifestyle has changed quite a bit. None of us were really ready for the changes, but we all adapted. Perhaps the member of our family who was affected the most is Riley. She went from being the center of attention and only "baby" in our house, to being a "pet." Don't get me wrong, we love Riley. She is the perfect furry companion. Loyal, gentle and sweet. She loves us and she adores her new little brother. Watching her grow into her new role has been a joy, and we still try to spoil her here and there. Just not as much as we used to!

Diet wise, Riley has always been a little finicky. She typically eats twice a day, and nibbles on Gavin's scraps any chance she gets. When she was younger, we had to switch her food several times because her stomach was sensitive and she was getting sick often. She was skipping meals and her energy wasn't the same. I wanted to find a solution that would have her feeling good and looking forward to her meals. 

Participating in the Purina 28-Day Challenge was such a blessing for our little fur baby. In just a few days, Riley went from skipping her breakfast to eating every last bit of her meal as soon as it was placed in front of her. I noticed her energy level increased and I felt so much better knowing she was getting a full meal twice a day. 

I love the combination of real ingredients and the fact that this food contains glucosamine, as labs are prone to hip problems. I know that Riley is getting a good source of nutrition and I feel confidant serving Purina One to her. Over the course of the 28 Day Challenge, we have had a happy and thriving pup on our hands, and it makes me so happy to do something a little something special for our first baby.

Your pets can try the 28 Day Challenge, too! Right now, when you sign up for the Purina One 28 Day Challenge, you will get the $3 off coupon to put towards a bag of food. You can shop for Purina One at your local Target, PetSmart of Walmart, and the coupon is valid at all three locations. 

Join us in the Purina One 28 Day Challenge and keep your pet healthy and thriving!

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Family Vacation :: Fenwick Island

Summer is here and that means we are jetting off to the beach every chance we get. This past week, we got to host my family in Fenwick Island at my in-laws house. It is not very often that my entire immediate family gets together, especially for a vacation, so we were excited for the time away.

It has always been my family's style to grocery shop and eat at home for most of our meals while on vacation. It is a nice way to save money and we typically split up the cooking responsibilities so everyone gets a break.

B and I volunteered to take care of dinner the first night we were all together. We went the light and healthy route and prepared a bunch of grilled chicken, grilled veggies and a huge salad with lots of fixin's.The salad wasn't fancy, but it has become a favorite of ours. We simply wash and prep a large batch of spring mix and top it with fresh cut veggies (usually broccoli, cauliflower, carrots and mushrooms). I also prepped shredded cheese, dried cranberries, sliced avacado and croutons as toppings. One of my favorite things to do is to top my salad with the grilled chicken and veggies and mix it all together. The warm chicken and vegetables add extra flavor and protein to this staple meal. 

Of course, no vacation meal would be complete without the perfect drink pairing(s). Because we had eight adults on this trip, I made sure to offer a little bit of everything. Did you know that CK Mondavi is the only American made/grown wine in the “supermarket wine under $10” category? CK Mondavi is the perfect summer/4th of July wine. Not only is it the only wine in this price point to be 100% American made & grown, but a percentage of sales goes to supporting veterans. CK Mondavi wine is sold nationwide in every US state. Established in the 1940s, CK Mondavi remains a family- owned business that has thrived for four generations to produce fine wines.

I love that a percentage of each bottle sold between May - August is donated to Intrepid Fallen Heroes (up to $50,000). Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund (IFHF), an organization that supports the men and women of the Armed Forces and their families. Funded entirely by public donations, IFHF serves U.S. military personnel wounded or killed in service to our nation and their families.

We have been enjoying the sun, the bean, the pool and lots of time to catch up and relax. And B and I absolutely love all of the extra help with Gavin! He is such a spoiled boy this week. At this rate, we may never go home. 

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Celebrating the Daddy In Our House

This year is B's first Father's Day. I don't have anything grand planned, but my husband isn't into that anyway. We bought him a few presents and plan to shower him with love and plenty of relaxation time. Even if some of that time will be spent in the car traveling home from NY.

Watching B become a father has been one of the greatest joys. For the first month of Gavin's little life, I was pretty caught up in my own emotions and how to handle a tiny baby. But he was with me every step of the way. He calmed me when I was freaking out, helped me make tough decisions, and humored me when all I really needed was a stiff drink and some adult conversation after a day home by myself with an infant. He has been my rock, and I don't know where I would be without him. 

Being "Daddy" is  a whole new role for him, but he took to it almost effortlessly. He has good instincts, and the ability to keep cool in most situations. He is also hilarious and full of fun, and now that Gavin is at the age where he is constantly interacting with us, him and B fall into a pit of laughter at least once every evening. I would be lying if I didn't say I look forward to those moments every evening before bedtime.

Most people will tell you Gavin looks almost just like me, but when I see him laugh and smile, it always reminds me of his Daddy. They have the same jovial spirit and they just light up around each other. It is a gift I never expected, and now I can't imagine my life without it.

Just look at those sweet smiles! Does the Dad in your house bring out the smiles, too? Well, Oral-B at Target is hosting the Power Dad’s Smile Everyday Sweepstakes with over $1,000 in prizes starting June 2! Oral-B is the #1 dentist-recommended toothbrush brand worldwide. You could win the Father’s Day Power Bundle which includes the Oral-B Black ProfessionalCare 1000 Rechargeable Toothbrush, the Braun Series 7 760 shaver and a $250 Target GiftCard! The Braun Series 7 760 shaver includes the most innovative features for Braun’s most advanced shave, contour adaptability for improved skin contact, shaving technology for a close and comfortable shave and cleansing technology for a hygienic and fresh shave every day!

To enter simply share a photo of you and your Dad on Twitter or Instagram using #oralbsweeps between June 2 and June 15. 

Happy Father's Day to all the Dad's!

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Operation Summer Slimdown

“This shop is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Pollinate Media Group® and Slimfast, but all my opinions are my own. #pmedia #14daystoslim

Last summer I was majorly pregnant and felt as big as a house. So on the off chance that we did get down to the beach house, I stayed pretty covered up. Then I dealt with my post-baby body for the remainder of the warmer months. No bathing suits in sight. 

The first time I put on a bathing suit, I was seven months postpartum and still not 100% comfortable showing much skin. Having a baby just does things to your body. And although I am proud to bare the after effects of carrying and birthing my son, the warmer months are here again, and I want to get a little piece of my confidence back.

A few months ago, I started working out more often (I've talked about that here several times before). I started to feel better about myself and I was finding confidence enough to try some old clothes on, and to add some fun new pieces to my wardrobe. With our beach vacation coming up, I wanted to shred a few more pounds and do a little more prep work. In addition to my workouts, I decided to take on an ab challenge, and to give the Slimfast 14-Day Slimdown a try.

The Slimfast Protein Meal Bars come in a variety of flavors, and offer up to four hours of hunger control. If you're anything like me, you snack on and off all day when you're at home. These bars were the perfect alternative for me so that I could grab a snack and fight off hunger for a few hours. They also travel really well in my diaper bag. After my workout, I am always hungry and thirsty, so I love to pack an extra water bottle and a snack bar. 

Slimfast® just came out with new meal bars in the delicious Have Your Cake™ flavor! Each Meal Bar contains 180 calories, and is made of delicious vanilla cake and frosting, combined with fun sprinkles. Slimfast® Have Your Cake…™ Meal Bars are available in 5-count boxes and sold at Target and other stores for around $5. The Slimfast 14-Day Slimdown is a delicious and easy way to lose up to 6 pounds in the first two weeks. 

I am not exactly where I want to be yet, but a healthy diet, plenty of exercise, water and the Slimfast 14-Day Slimdown are helping me get closer to my goal every day.  

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Gavin Thomas :: 6-9 Month Update

I have been trying to pretend that my little baby is not getting superscaryclose to a YEAR old the last few weeks. I was looking over my last update this morning and can't believe how much he has grown and changed since then! I guess that's what happens when you do quarterly updates rather than monthly ones.

We have been having a blast the last few months. Gavin is growing, learning and changing every day, and I just love having him as my little sidekick. We go to Stroller Strides and on play dates, and he has definitely done his fair share of shopping/errand running with me! We are on the move several days per week, so I try and have a low key day at home at least 1-2 days per week if I can. Truth is, Gavin is pretty easy going and he travels pretty well. We are so in for it with our next baby, I can just feel it.

Speaking of traveling, Gavin has already been to New Jersey, Florida, Philadelphia and Fenwick Island this year! We have plans to head to the beach as often as possible this summer, so my little beach baby will be well versed in road trips and sunny, sandy days. 

We made it through Gavin's first few colds and a round of croup during months 7-9. I like to think that I earned some new 'Mom stripes' for battling through croup the week leading up to Easter, and still making it to NJ for the holiday. 

Gavin cut his first two teeth over the last 4-6 weeks, and I will admit, his little toothy grin is probably one of my new favorite things ever. He is constantly on the move, and although he is not 100% crawling yet, he is bouncing, scooting, reaching and rocking with the best of them. My husband is starting to get stressed out because Gavin isn't 00% mobile yet, but I am taking my time and counting my blessings because I know that once it happens (and that day will be SOON), my life will get that much busier! 

Although his mobility may be a little on the slow side, his small motor and verbal skills have really ramped up! He is a total chatterbox and loves pointing, smacking toys together, focusing on small items, playing peek-a-boo, clapping and he even started throwing his arms up in the air for "SO BIG!" from time to time. It is SO. CUTE.

Weight/Height: Gavin is now fully weaned from breastmilk and on formula and solids. He is eating three meals and drinking four 6-7 ounce bottles per day. He also loves to snack of Puffs and Mum-Mums. He is now up to a whopping 21 pounds and is almost 28 inches tall.

Hair/Eyes: His hair is getting lighter all the time. I think we may have a little blondie on our hands by the end of the summer! His eyes are still almost identical in color to mine; a blue/green/hazel blend that changes color from time to time. 

Diapers/Clothing: Gavin is wearing size 3 diapers throughout the day and size 4's overnight. I finally switched to Target diapers and never looked back! He is in mainly 12-18 month clothing, but depending on the store, some of the are 18 or 18-24 months. Talk about growing like a weed! There are so many cute summer clothes for baby boys this year that I have been having a hard time controlling myself. It is safe to say that my child may have a better and more complete wardrobe than me at this point.

Sleeping: Gavin is a great sleeper. I don't even want to take credit for it, as I think we just lucked out with a baby that likes to sleep. He is consistently napping twice a day for 1-2 hours. If we are out of the house in the morning, I typically let him nap in the car or stroller and then take a longer nap at home in the afternoon. He goes to bed between 8-8:30PM and typically wakes up between 7-8AM. Sure, we have our bad days or nights, but I really can't ask for better right now. 

Milestones: We have booked a date and location for Gavin's nautical themed 1st birthday party. I am already emotional about the whole thing and the process has barely started. He went to the beach with his cousins and helped his Daddy celebrate his 30th birthday over Memorial Day weekend. We have plans to head back to the beach at the end of June with my family, and I am so excited for an extended trip with them!

Our baby is turning into such a little boy, and as much as I love it, it's sad and awful at the same time. Ha! I feel so blessed to be able to spend my days with this little guy and cannot wait to see what the next few months have in store for him!

Your Vehicles' Most Advanced Safety Feature Is YOU.

When I got my license, I didn't own a cell phone. I will admit, there were fewer distractions back then. I would load my CD player with a favorite new album fresh from Sam Goody's and be on my way. As time went by, the distractions grew; a 6-disc changer and a cell phone containing numbers and text messages from the friend I was meeting up with that night. Now my smart phone is basically my personal computer, containing all of the contact names, numbers and social sharing that I could want. And all of that distraction tempts me, and I will admit that I have grabbed my phone a few too many times while driving.

The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons and the Auto Alliance want to increase awareness about the risks of distracted driving. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), of the nearly 33,000 roadway fatalities in 2012, there were 3,328 fatalities and approximately 421,000 injuries in distracted driving-related crashes. 

The statistics are scary, right? We are not only responsible for ourselves and the loved ones inside our vehicles when we drive, but we are responsible for helping to protect the other drivers around us as well. This fact really hits home now that I am almost always toting Gavin around with me; the most precious cargo.

The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS)—the specialists who put bones and limbs back together after road crashes and traumas—along with our partners, the automakers, would rather help all drivers "decide to drive" each time they get in the car and to keep bones and limbs intact. Remember, the most advanced safety feature of any vehicle is the driver. The AAOS and the Auto Alliance urges all drivers to keep their most sophisticated safety features engaged at all times: eyes on the road and hands on the wheel.

The truth is that no text or Instagram update is more important than being the safest driver I can be.  Of course I am not perfect, and I have 'liked' a photo and sent a text while behind the wheel. But, I want to renew my pledge to not be distracted while driving.

AAOS and the Auto Alliance have teamed up and created the Decide to Drive campaign and Catchphrase Contest urging drivers to put down the distractions and take back control of the road. The Decide to Drive program aims to empower drivers and passengers to speak up about distracted driving, continue the conversation at home, work and play, and reduce distracted behaviors behind the wheel. The contest will run from May 30th (tomorrow!) through June 13th and you can learn more about how to enter on their website. 

Do you have the best slogan or catch phrase to make the Decide to Drive campaign pop? Enter the Decide to Drive Catch Phrase Contest between May 28 - June 13. Your words could be chosen as the official Decide to Drive campaign catch phrase, and you could win one of two $500 runner-up prizes or the $1,000 grand prize! Can’t wait to see what you come up with! Enter here:

Will you join me in making an effort to allow less distractions in your vehicle while you're behind the wheel? Let's help in the effort to save more lives. 

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

Monday, May 19, 2014

That Familiar Tug On The Heartstrings ...

It's happened a few times over the last few months; that familiar tug on my heart strings. The kind that makes your heart jump. Perhaps it's because we are into a pretty good groove. Our schedule is just full enough, we have time for friends and family, and my business is thriving. This blog has taken a bit of a backseat and become review central (I know, I know, I apologize), but I like to think that this is giving me more room to live our days to the fullest.

We have adapted. Things look much different around here than they did just a short year ago. Our home is full of laughter and joy from the sweetest little boy, and we have already made so many memories here. Watching my husband become a father has been one of the greatest joys of my life thus far. He is a natural. So gifted and patient and a wonderful teacher.

It's when I reflect on all of these things that the thought of baby #2 keeps creeping into my head. It has to be all of the new babies that are arriving. Already, Pam?! I mean, we know we want more children, and would like them to be relatively close in age, but has 'that time' already come? For me it has. And even funnier, it's come for B, too.

Who knows what will actually happen over the next several months. But, our hearts are ready to start entertaining the idea of another child, and maybe our heads are starting to catch up.

So tell me, when did you know you were ready to start thinking about baby #2?