Friday, October 24, 2014

Busy Mornings are tough #BringHillshireHome

This is a sponsored post for the Mom It Forward network. All opinions are my own.

This morning I found myself elbow deep in ground turkey.

It seems to be a season of new babies in my MOPs group, and one of my favorite ways to serve others is to prepare meals. Especially for new moms.  And somehow I signed myself up to bring dinner to two families this evening, in addition to cooking for my own, so my day started EARLY.

And I was presented with this option.
An epic battle between two breakfast foes, am I right? Sweet, evil indulgence vs. healthy, light and good for you.

Any other morning, I would have had a really hard time making this choice, ladies. Because I *always* opt for chocolate. Always. But this morning (and afternoon, as it turned out) required my full attention in juggling meatballs, bacon, peach muffins, Dinosaur Train, and diaper laundry. Oh, and wearing a 18 lb infant on my back. Sure, that donut would have satisfied a craving and given me a little bit of energy. But halfway through the muck of ground turkey, I would have realized that it isn't enough and then I'd have to carefully wash up while my sugar high quickly crashed and I'd be left shaking, wondering what I can do to fix this. Because I didn't take care of myself.

Luckily earlier this week a JimmyDean coupon (a Hillshire Brands product) came across my Just For U app and I snagged it, knowing that not every morning is perfect and allows me to take my time to sip my coffee and eat my breakfast.

So prepping breakfast this morning took 3 minutes, which allowed me a couple seconds to collect my thoughts, think about the ingredients that I'd need to pull together and get started with like zero breakfast clean up.

Was it tasty? Yes. Was it quick? Yes! Did I have the energy to get through my 3 dinner preps before lunch time? YES, YES!

Check out these other delicious recipes from other bloggers!
Glazed Sausage Waffle on a Stick
Pancake Sandwiches
Breakfast Eggrolls
JimmyDean English Muffins
Kielbasa with Apples, Potato and Peppers
Breakfast in 5 minutes
Apple Cider Braised Red Cabbage with Kielbasa
Smokin' Sausage, Eggs and Potatoes for Breakfast

Peewee Cheerleading - Safety is the key!

My 7 year old niece is in her third year of pee wee cheer! Miss Ella is the first grandbaby on my husband's side, and all of us aunties and uncles have a very special place in our hearts for this girl. It blows me away that she does big kid things like goes to school, does VBS, wears glasses and is a third year cheerleader. Woah. Where did all this time fly?

Just like any other sport, cheerleading is a physical activity that tests the strength, endurance and motivation of its players. Being vigilant of each of the girls in their stunts is a big job for the coach and assistants - and Ella is very fortunate that not only is her coach a nurse but also her mama!

I talked to my sister in law about her goals as a peewee cheer coach - 

We as coaches all go through Heads Up Concussion Prevention training. Cheerleading is actually one of the top sports for concussions! As a coach I will only let the girls have both feet off of the ground if they have permission from myself or my assistant. As pee wee cheerleaders we are in the learning fundamentals phase of the sport and we focus more on the girls learning proper safety techniques and motions. At this age they know the job of the bases, the back spot, and the top girl. All of our coaches have participated in stunt safety certification as well. CPR and first aid are required and it doesn’t hurt that our coach is a nurse and two of our parents are nurses too! My goal for the season is not to make elaborate pyramids of seven and eight year olds but to have a group of seven and eight year olds that can tell me that the job of the back spot is to protect the top girl’s head, neck and shoulders :) As they move up in the program they will start to do basic stunts and work their way up to the elaborate pyramids that cheerleaders are known for. I strive to give these little ladies rock solid fundamentals so that when they are allowed to take both feet off the ground they will be safe and happy. At the beginning of the season I welcome my parents with a letter that outlines what my goals are for the season and keep communication open throughout the season so that they know what my expectations are. Safety is always at the top of our priority list and as a result I think that out families feel confident that we will give their child an opportunity to have fun, learn fundamentals, and above all be safe and have fun. We have never had an injury in our three seasons as pee wee cheerleaders :) with the exception of bee stings! 

I've partnered with Alfac to share a few tips on how to help kids (and adults!)
stay safe while playing sports.

1. Wear your gear! It's there for protect you in case of an injury and to keep your fellow players safe too.

2. Follow the rules! They're also put in place to make sure everyone has fun safely. 
3. Listen to your body. This is a fundamental that players have to learn early. It's not fun to sit on the sidelines, but if you ever feel pain or discomfort while playing you should always tell your coach or a grown up immediately.
4. Listen to the doctor. They will let you know when it's ok to play again, because the last thing you want is to have to take more time out of the season because you went back in too early!
5. Make sure you're covered. 
Accidents happen. When unexpected injuries happen on the field, make sure you’re prepared with supplemental insurance to help cover out-of-pocket expenses. According to the 2014 Aflac WorkForces Report, 66 percent of U.S. workers could not afford the costs associated with a serious illness or injury. That’s why voluntary insurance plans are so important. In the event of a serious injury, they help provide peace of mind and cash benefits to help you get back in the game fast.

Enter to win the #AflacSweeps!
If you're a college football fan, you will want to check out this sweeps!
Three fans will win a prize of a trip for two, two tickets to one of three college football games in November and a chance to meet Desmond Howard!

Enter once per 24 hours on Facebook; for bonus entries, share on Twitter. Enter today and then
spread the word to let your friends know it’s #GameOn!

Click to enter 

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

Thursday, October 23, 2014

JBF Lynnwood: The Sale is ON!

This week has been a busy one! Besides recovering from 4 days in California, followed by the Enchanting Fall Ball and a family pumpkin carving day...I still had to prepare for my second time consignment at the Just Between Friends of Lynnwood sale on Tuesday night! Eeep! Thankfully all the hard work had already been done when my first time consigning, so all I was doing this time around was adding to the pile and getting it over to the event location. But still...things rarely go perfectly and of course there had to be a little bit of excitement during drop off!

But once I dropped off my items and put them on the racks, I breathed a huge sigh of relief because that meant the rest of the week was going to be easy-peasy. All I had left do this week was shop at the sale, cook a few meals for some new mamas and then pick up my unsold items on Saturday. Whew! Whoever said that sometimes you need a vacation after your vacation hit the nail right on the head.

As always, I love to share about some of the great deals I snagged and give you a peek at what is in store at the sale. 

I know I say this every time, but this time I got such a great deal! One of the benefits of being a consignor at JBF is that you get advanced viewing of what is for sale the next day ;) While hanging my items and dropping off my toys, I keep an eye out for what is for sale and benchmarking if my items are priced correctly. My friend pointed out a fabulous red retro play kitchen set that I knew Penny would love, but also knew that it would probably go very quickly. You see, consignors and volunteers have access to pre-sale hours, so not only does it pay to consign and volunteer (volunteers get a higher percentage back on their sales), but it also gives you a heads up on what is at the sale! If that's not motivation, I don't know what is!

So I took a look at this adorable kitchen set and it was priced at $6.00. $6! I examined it, everything looked pretty much brand new and sighed a sad sigh, knowing that someone else would snag it before I would the following day.

I bet you can tell where this is going - I GOT IT! By the time I showed up to shop, the little red kitchen was still there and I quickly flagged down a volunteer to set it aside for me. 

The JBF Lynnwood sale this season is literally overflowing with items! You've got rows and rows of clothes (I didn't see any size for boys, girls or maternity that seemed under represented), Halloween / dress up costumes, shoes, baby gear (several very discounted Ergos, I might add) and toys galore. 

So get yourself down to Gold Creek Church in Mill Creek, starting today! Be sure to check the full sale schedule - there are special pre-sale times for first time parents, military families, MOPS groups, and more!

Fall 2014 Public Sale Hours:
Thursday Oct 23: 12 - 8pm

Friday Oct 24: 9 - 7pm
Saturday Oct 25: 8 - 2pm (Half Price Day!)
Gold Creek Church, Mill Creek WA
4326 148th St SE, Mill Creek, WA 98012

Disclosure: This post was sponsored by JBF of Lynwood. All opinions are my own!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

The Enchanting Fall Ball

Imagine, if you will, a room full of little girls singing "Let it go" all at the same time. It was so unbelievably precious that it marked the roughly 10th time that I teared up (thanks residual postpartum hormones) at the Enchanting Fall Ball that Adam and I took our girls to this past Saturday. Penny was dressed as Elsa (thanks to Great Pretenders for providing her dress for this occasion!) and Ruby was a very chubby, squishy and delightful Snow White.

Enchanting Princess Events, whom I introduced to you back in August, hosted their 3rd annual Fall Ball at the Marysville Opera House and just like my first impression of the great group of women who run this business, I was blown away at the authenticity and detail of their work for this event. Enchanting Princess Events isn't just a dress-up / rent-a-princess gig. Each of the actresses embodies her character and really puts on a show for the kids. When you meet Beauty, Rapunzel or either of the Ice Sisters, it's truly like you've met the character in real life. Watching the magic happen in Penny's and my 7 year old niece's eyes was something that I'll never forget. 

Before I get going, I wanted to take a moment tell you about a part of Enchanting Princess Events that I'm not sure everyone knows about. Lianna (owner and who plays Beauty) makes it her main focus for her business to give back to the community.  In addition to regularly 
visiting the Seattle Children's Hospital, and participating in Make a Wish events, all of the proceeds from the Fall Ball benefit the Children’s Museum of Skagit County and the Boys and Girls Clubs of Snohomish County. You can book these lovely ladies for parties too, but I think that their charity work is definitely worth highlighting!

So let me get the show on the road and tell you all about the fun that we had!

Upon arrival, the princesses are escorted down the aisle by a few charming princes. The first part of the event is a meet and greet with each of the nine princesses. Each princess is set in her own environment - so Sleeping Beauty was near a spinning wheel and served crown cookies, Snow White had a mirror and served mini cupcakes that looked like apples, the Mermaid served goldfish and Rapunzel was accompanied by her handy cast iron skillet, of course! Elsa and Anna took over the entire downstairs of the Opera House and turned it into Arendelle. 

The second half of the event was dancing. Each of the princesses took over the dance floor and the kids got to dance with her to her signature song. When I was Penny's age, The Little Mermaid and Beauty and the Beast were the two big princess movies of the time. Nowadays, little girls seem to know these songs but what really got the screams going was when Rapunzel's song came on... and true to form, the Ice Sisters made a dramatic entrance with a singing match of "For the First Time in Forever." 

The event ended with the singalong of Let It Go. 
This picture is what made it worth it. In Penny's eyes, she literally got to meet Anna, Elsa and all of her other princess role models. That is true belief in her eyes. It's really hard not to go on and gush about how realistic this event was, even for an adult. I suppose one of the best compliments came from my father in law, who has been to Disneyland at least 100 times (I'm not joking). Taking in all in, he simply said "This is the real thing. These women look more like princesses than anyone else I've ever seen."

So there you have it! Fall Ball 2014, under our belts. Can't wait for next year! If you're in the Seattle area, this should definitely be on your calendar. 

Check out more about Enchanting Princess Events:

See more pictures from the event..
JW Photography, official Fall Ball Photographer
Becka's Cupcake Boutique created Sleeping Beauty's crown cookies 
Mandy's Custom {cup}cakes created Snow White's apple cupcakes - which my little Ruby thoroughly enjoyed.

Disclosure: Our family was invited to the Enchanting Fall Ball in exchange for sharing about my experience on the blog, no other compensation was provided. As always, I wouldn't share about this if I didn't absolutely love everything about it! Thank you so much, Enchanting Princess Events!

Monday, October 13, 2014

Cricket + Pitbull + Enrique #stsa

I participated in Influencer Activation on behalf of Millennial Central for Cricket Wireless. I received a promotional item to thank me for participating.

One of the many ways that my husband and I have been able to support being a single income family is by ditching our contract cell phone plans. After being under contract with other carriers for several years, we found that we had almost no benefit to staying when we saw all the other affordable options out there that offer the same service as our contract plan did...for less! Saving money and keeping our calling freedoms is definitely something to smile about, right?

Cricket Wireless aims to give people something to smile about too! (#STSA). In addition to many other events that they sponsor, we can add the Pitbull and Enrique Iglesias tour to their list of awesomeness!

But it doesn't end there, here are some more great fan experience events awaiting at the concert!

1. At select tour stops you can find the Cricket Stage - where you can show off your best "headliner" pose. Share your image via "share kiosks" and your photo will be entered into a sweepstakes where a winner and 3 guests will get a trip to the Miami Latin Grammy Street Party. What what? 

2. VIP Meet & Greet - A backstage VIP area will be set up backstage. Meet&Greet participants will get to meet Pitbull or Enrique and take photos on a Cricket step & repeat.
3. Selfie Station - Mirrors in the ladies room encourage fans to snap selfies and post to their social channels. They can take pictures of all the fun they are having at the concert to share with friends.
4. Ask Enrique – Fans can win a trip to the Pitbull and Enrique tour stop in Atlanta, meet Enrique in person and ask him that burning question they have.
5. Hologram Standee Billboards - Located at high-traffic spots within the activation venues, holograms of Enrique and Pitbull will create completely lifelike images of the musician for concert goes to check out! The future has truly arrived, right?

Here's a list of the tour stops:
10/10, 2014 -- Los Angeles, CA -- STAPLES Center
10/11, 2014 -- Los Angeles, CA -- STAPLES Center  -- 
10/12, 2014 -- Las Vegas  -- Mandalay Bay Events Center
10/14, 2014 -- San Jose, CA -- SAP Center at San Jose
10/15, 2014 -- San Diego, CA -- Valley View Casino Center
10/17, 2014 -- Dallas, TX  -- American Airlines Center
10/18, 2014 -- San Antonio -- Alamodome
10/19, 2014 -- Houston, TX -- Toyota Center
10/22, 2014 -- Atlanta, GA -- The Arena at Gwinnett Center
10/25, 2014 -- Hollywood, FL -- Hard Rock Live
10/26, 2014 -- Miami, FL -- AmericanAirlines Arena
10/28, 2014 -- Orlando, FL -- Amway Center

Do you live near any of these concert venues? Give me a shout if you'll be at the concert, I'd love to hear what you think of the Cricket experience!


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