Wordless Wednesday: Old Town Alexandria

23 Apr

Wordless Wednesday: Old Town Alexandria @zealousmom.com #wordlesswednesday

Wordless Wednesday: Old Town Alexandria @zealousmom.com #wordlesswednesday

Wordless Wednesday: Old Town Alexandria @zealousmom.com #wordlesswednesday

Wordless Wednesday: Old Town Alexandria @zealousmom.com #wordlesswednesday

Wordless Wednesday: Old Town Alexandria @zealousmom.com #wordlesswednesday

Wordless Wednesday: Old Town Alexandria @zealousmom.com #wordlesswednesday

Wordless Wednesday: Old Town Alexandria @zealousmom.com #wordlesswednesday


Selfless Selfies: Mommy & Me, 7th ed.

21 Apr

Mommy & Me, 7th Ed. A fun link-up to share those special moments between mommies and our little ones. #motherhood @zealousmom.com

Selfies have gotten a really bad rap lately. Don’t get me wrong, if your entire Instagram feed contains your own face with different facial expressions, then you’re not helping the reputation of selfies very much. With that being said, however, I think selfies have their place.

If selfies were not meant to be, then what’s the point of the camera flipping around on a smart phone? Furthermore, sometimes selfies are necessary when you want to ask your friends if they like your new hair style or if a pair of earrings matches a new outfit. There are so many selfie options. The duck-face selife, the gym selfie, the car selfie, the dressing room selfie, etc.

Interestingly, I just looked it up on dictionary.com, and the word has been around since 2005. I was pretty impressed; I thought it was much younger than that.

Enough teasing. My two boys love having their pictures taken, especially my two-year old. He won’t smile when I ask him to, but if the photo is his idea, he’s all about it.

My five-year old finally enjoys taking pictures and will totally smile on cue at any moment. It’s a wonderful milestone to achieve. I love taking the boys on dates, and how else would we capture our sweet time together without selfies?!

I do worry about teenagers who spend time planning their next selfie instead of reading a book or studying US History, but if you’re a mom like me and you love snapping photos of you and your kiddos, then be selfish and selfie all night long.

(Ha! I am the first one to use it as a verb. Thank you very much, Mr. Webster).

Mommy & Me, 7th Ed. A fun link-up to share those special moments between mommies and our little ones. #motherhood @zealousmom.com

Mommy and Me Monday at Really, Are You Serious?
Hosted by Krystyn at Really, Are You Serious?

eMeals Giveaway #giveaway

18 Apr


eMeals Giveaway! Win a three-month subscription to #eMeals. #giveaway @zealousmom.com

Are you sick and tired of planning dinners for the week? I don’t know about you, but this task is seriously one that I utterly loathe. Life is so busy that it’s truly hard to be creative and healthy with dinners every single night. eMeals has really helped me with this frustrating task.

I have been using their Classic Plan for seven months now. Each week, a weekly meal plan is sent to my email inbox along with a grocery shopping list for my favorite store. I’ll then go through the list and highlight which meals I will definitely use then archive other meals for a later time. There are several different meal plan types: Classic, Slow Cooker, Simple Gourmet, Portion Control, Low Carb, Gluten-Free, and Natural & Organic.

If you’ve not tried eMeals, now is your chance! I’m super excited to be pairing with eMeals to host this giveaway. One winner will win a three-month dinner plan subscription and all entrants will receive a discount code once the giveaway ends. The giveaway runs now through next Friday, April 24. If you win and enjoy the meal planning system, you can continue your plan beyond the three months.

Which plan would you like to try (Classic, Slow Cooker, Simple Gourmet, Portion Control, Low Carb, Gluten-Free, and Natural & Organic)?

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 


This blog post includes affiliate links.


Wordless Wednesday: Eclectic Vibes of Downtown Asheville

16 Apr

Eclectic vibes of downtown Asheville. If you've never visited Asheville, you will not be disappointed. @zealousmom.com #asheville

Eclectic vibes of downtown Asheville. If you've never visited Asheville, you will not be disappointed. @zealousmom.com #asheville

Eclectic vibes of downtown Asheville. If you've never visited Asheville, you will not be disappointed. @zealousmom.com #asheville

Eclectic vibes of downtown Asheville. If you've never visited Asheville, you will not be disappointed. @zealousmom.com #asheville

Eclectic vibes of downtown Asheville. If you've never visited Asheville, you will not be disappointed. @zealousmom.com #asheville

 

 

Firsts and Lasts

14 Apr

Though there’s a lot of living in between, it’s often life’s ‘firsts’ and ‘lasts’ that we remember and cherish the most.

A baby’s first cry, first crawl, first tooth, first taste of food, first step, first birthday, first words. A child’s first bike ride without training wheels, first loose tooth, first day of kindergarten, first soccer game, first sleepover. A teenager’s first time behind the wheel, first prom, first date, first kiss, first job, first college acceptance letter. An adult’s first promotion, first year of marriage, first home, first child.

Then there are lasts. Last night in a crib, last baby tooth, last time in a booster seat, last day of summer camp, last time with a friend before he moves away, last End of Grade test, last varsity football game, last prom, last day of high school, last day of vacation, last family dinner before moving away to college. Last look around a first home. Last day of work before retirement.

My heart was a little heavy last week as we experienced a first and a last with our sweet boy, Brooks. I know he’s mature enough to begin his life away from me, but it sure is hard to let go, even the littlest bit.

Wednesday was a big day for us. It was the day of kindergarten registration which is completely mind-boggling. I feel like a cartoon character whose mouth is hanging open and someone needs to come by and pop it back into place. I just can’t believe it’s already time for kindergarten. Where in the world did the last five years go?

For Brooks, it was his very first time walking into his soon-to-be elementary school, the school where he will learn multiplication tables, skin his knees, laugh in the cafeteria, make lifelong friends, develop his first crush.

As we sat there and listened to the principal and teachers talk about his new school and all of the exciting experiences that await the rising kindergarteners, I found  myself growing excited for him. He’s ready to move on from preschool, so I must be there for him. I will for sure shed some tears this fall as he begins this new adventure, but I will try my hardest not to let him see me do it.

first and lasts 1

Also on Wednesday was his last preschool program. His preschool puts on several programs throughout the year. They are so much fun, and the kids always do a wonderful job. This program was called Spring Sharing, and the theme was Down on the Farm. The kiddos had practiced their songs for weeks, and were like little Broadway stars.

As I laughed and smiled the night of the show, a little part of me was sad. Brooks and his classmates looked so tall and mature as they stood in the back doing exactly what they were supposed to while some of the toddlers wallered around up front or yelled out for Mommy. The contrast between Brooks’s class and the little ones was a visual reminder that he’s ready to graduate preschool, but again, it’s not easy to accept.

firsts and lasts 2

When Brooks was born, the first three months seemed like an eternity. He tried to win the award for most colicky baby, and I stumbled through those early days of motherhood, exhausted and unsure of anything I did. Now all of a sudden, he’s five and it’s time for him to begin a new phase in his life.

No one said being a mom was easy, but I always thought the rough times would be the hardest. As I sit here and type this, I’m starting to think it’s the exact opposite. I can deal with tantrums, leaky diapers, loud car rides, sleepless nights, and sibling fights.

It’s the special times that bring tears to my eyes and make my heart ache with happiness and pride. So as my sweet boy journeys to kindergarten and begins a new chapter in his life, I will be his biggest cheerleader and his toughest coach. I will try to absorb as many moments as I possibly can because it really does all go so quickly, and I’m not planning on missing a bit of it.

 

 

 

4 Essentials for the Medicine Cabinet

11 Apr

4 natural health care products every mom should keep in her medicine cabinet. @zealousmom.com #kidhealth

What’s in your medicine cabinet? I don’t know about you, but I am extremely picky about what goes in and on my two little boys’ bodies. My sister is an esthetician and works in the skin care field all day, every day. She has told me that most over-the-counter products are stuffed with fillers, chemicals, parabens, sulfates, and preservatives. Further, most of them don’t work all that well.

Since learning more about skin care products, I am now willing to spend a couple extra dollars for products that do not contain these gross ingredients and actually do their job for my children

I was sent the following four organic/natural heath care products to review, and I love all of them. Below are 4 essentials that every parent should keep in the medicine cabinet.

Fairy Tales Lice Good-Bye Survival Kit

essentials 2

Obviously, none of us want our children to get lice, but it happens often, even to the most unsuspecting victims. Lice outbreaks are most prevalent in elementary-age children and are contracted from head to head contact. This lice kit has everything a parent would need to tackle those little monsters. It includes conditioning cream that treats the lice and a nit comb that’s made with unique grooved teeth and rounded ages, making it 300% more effective than other nit combs. The kit also contains a conditioning spray that prevents lice. If you hear that a student in your child’s class has lice, you could spray this on your child to prevent him from getting it. All ingredients in this lice kit are free of pesticides and chemicals. It retails for $29.99 and can be found at Ulta, Bed, Bath, and Beyond, or at fairytaleshaircare.com.

Kid’s Xlear Nasal Spray

essentials 4

Most nasal sprays for children only contain saline. Saline-based products have been proven to clear and maintain healthy nasal passages; however, the saline can dry out the passages leading to irritation. Kid’s Xlear nasal spray is the only nasal spray that includes saline and xylitol. Xylitol is a natural carbohydrate found in plants and vegetables. The xylitol moisturizes and protects the nasal lining so that it doesn’t become irritated. This product retails for $6.99 and can be found at Whole Foods, The Vitamin Shoppe, or online at xlear.com.

BabyGanics Mineral-Based Sunscreen

essentials 3

I am so excited about this sunscreen. Many organic and natural sunscreens that I have tried are very difficult to rub into the skin. They leave a white film that’s nearly impossible to rub in. The BabyGanics sunscreen does not do this. Further, it contains no PABA, parabens, sulfates, phthalates, or fragrances but is absolutely just as effective as traditional sunscreen products in protecting against UVB an UVA rays. The hypoallergenic, mineral-based formula is tear-free and gentle on sensitive skin. It’s the only sunscreen with the neo-nourish seed oil blend that nourishes the baby’s skin while protecting against the sun’s rays. This product retails for $9.99 and can be bought at Babies-R-Us, Buy Buy Baby, and Target.

Mommy’s Bliss Kids Upset Tummy & Nausea Relief

essentials 6

Since being a mom, I’ve found that stomach viruses are the most challenging to treat. It seems like there are few effective products out there that truly help little bellies feel better. The Mommy’s Bliss Kids Upset Tummy & Nausea Relief treats nausea, motion sickness, gas, bloating, indigestion, and general stomach discomfort. It’s 100% vegan and vegetarian, made with organic ginger, fennel, dill, and peppermint. It contains no alcohol, parabens, artificial flavors, colors, dairy, or soy. This product comes in ten individual packets which are super convenient to throw in the diaper bag. It retails at $10.49 and can be found at select local retailers as well as online at mommysbliss.com.

“Be Prepared” Segment on WSPA’s Your Carolina

wspa crew

I was also asked to review these products on a segment of Your Carolina with Jack and Megan. If you’re like me and are always on the lookout for organic/all-natural products that actually work, try out these four. You won’t be disappointed!


5 Ways to Burn More Fat When Running

8 Apr

5 Ways to Burn More Fat When Running @zealousmom.com #running #wellness

“A body in motion stays in motion, a body at rest stays at rest.” -a variation of Newton’s Law

If your goals as a runner involve losing weight, burning fat, and toning your body, you may become discouraged very quickly. Research states that when individuals begin running, they lose significant amounts of weight within the first 6-8 weeks, but after that, the body needs some help melting the fat away and toning up. Below are five ways burn more fat once running becomes a part of your life for the long-haul.

1). Interval Running: As with interval training, interval running burns more calories in a shorter period of time. Interval running involves alternating between short bursts of intense running with periods of recovery or light running. For instance, you may run hills or sprint (run hard enough to get out of breath but not to the point of exhaustion) for two minutes, then jog lightly for three minutes. Interval training increases the body’s ability to oxidize fatty acids. This type of running revs up the metabolism for 24-48 hours after your run and will ultimately burn more fat.

2). Pre-Run Sculpting: Many folks mistakenly do their cardio first then weight train, but the experts suggest doing the opposite. Performing a quick weight-training workout before running increases the amount of fat you melt. According to a study conducted at the University of Tokyo, exercisers who biked within 20 minutes of lifting weights tapped more fat stores than subjects who rested or didn’t tone at all. Before planning your weekly runs, keep in mind the “firm-then-burn” approach.

3). Move that Rear: It is a fact that the more muscle you build, the more calories your body will naturally burn each day. People, especially women, are often more focused on toning their arms and abs than they are toning their rears. While any muscle tone helps burn calories and leads to a healthier body, be sure not to leave out the larger muscles. The gluteus maximus is the largest muscle in the human body, so toning this muscle will ensure significant caloric burn. Squats, plies, lunges, and bridge exercises are all great for toning the backside. Strong buttocks help runners in that they make us faster and stronger. They also help with shock absorption, thus protecting our knees. Strengthen those glutes to burn more fat.

4). Run Longer: Studies have shown that the longer a subject exercised, the longer it took their metabolic rate to return to pre-exercise levels. Even going on one long run once a week can be beneficial in increasing your metabolism and burning fat. Exercise “after-burn” doubles when individuals increase workout time from 30 minutes to 45 minutes. After 60 minutes? The rate increases by five. Find a beautiful trail, enjoy the scenery as you run, and burn more fat in the meantime.

5). Don’t Let Food Take Control: Yes, if you begin interval training, running longer, and weight lifting, your metabolism will increase and your body will burn more fat. Don’t sabotage all of your hard work by consuming so many calories that you counteract your exercise. You may feel hungrier, but choose your foods wisely. Some simple tips are 1). Eat real/whole foods such as fruits, vegetables, and nuts. 2). Eat small meals throughout the day instead of three large meals. 3). Eat protein every day before 10:00am; this will kick start your metabolism. Also, be sure not to drink calories. Is that soda or glass of sweet tea really worth it? Choose water or unsweetened beverages.

An additional piece of advice is to always, always push yourself to the limit. If your running regimen becomes easy and routine, then fat burn will stop. Shock and surprise your body with the types of training you do, the surfaces of trails, speed and elevation, and length of your runs. Good luck and if no one else is doing it, praise yourself for all of your hard work! It will pay off.

Helpful Sources:

Fitness Magazine

Active.com


N.C. Transportation Museum Easter Bunny Express

7 Apr

 

Come ride the Easter Bunny Express at the N.C. Transportation Museum on April 12, 13, 18, or 19.

This weekend (April 12 & 13) and next weekend (April 18 & 19), The North Carolina Transportation Museum is hosting a special event where children can experience a 25 minutes train ride with the Easter Bunny, visit the museum, and create a craft. There will be an Easter egg hunt on April 19th.

Tickets are very reasonable and there are a number of different times available. To view information regarding times, events, and pricing, visit the NC Transportation Museum website.

We are headed that way this weekend. I can’t wait to see our boys’ faces. I’m not sure if they’ll be more excited about riding the train or hanging out with the Easter Bunny. We shall see!


Little Passports Update & 15% off Sale #littlepassports

6 Apr

Little Passports learning system. Awesome program to teach geography and social studies around the U.S. or the world. @zealousmom.com #littlepassports

We’ve been Little Passports subscribers for three months now, and we are loving it. To celebrate their 5th anniversary, the company is holding a 15% off sale with the promo code HAPPY5. The sale runs now through April 8. If you’re unfamiliar with Little Passports, it’s an awesome learning system that teaches children about geography and social studies. It exposes them to other cultures, foods, languages, and global resources.

Our very first package contained the original materials such as a map of the world, the introduction letter, the mailbox, and a passport. We taped the map to my five-year old’s bedroom wall and put a star where we live. Then each month, we place the little sticker tack on the country for that month.

Our second package highlighted Brazil. Brooks received his boarding pass for Brazil, a sticker of the Brazilian flag for his passport, postcards of indigenous Brazilian animals, and a relatively large purple gem stone. This was his favorite item.

The third package highlighted Japan, and Brooks especially loved all items included in that package. My mom, sister, and I are all sushi fans. We often take him with us when we go out to eat sushi. One of the items in the Japanese package was an eraser shaped like a piece of sushi that could be taken apart and put back together. Brooks also received his boarding pass, flag sticker, letter from Sam and Sofia (his traveling mates), pictures of Japanese architecture, and an origami booklet.

Little Passports learning system. Awesome program to teach geography and social studies around the U.S. or the world. @zealousmom.com #littlepassports

Along with items, learning activities are included each month. Paper activities are included in the package or a child can log on to the computer and play learning games that correspond with each country. One aspect I love is how the passport looks just like a real passport and mimics how one’s passport is stamped when a place is visited.

Little Passports learning system. Awesome program to teach geography and social studies around the U.S. or the world. @zealousmom.com #littlepassports

Subscriptions to the program are already inexpensive and through April 8th, you can receive an additional 15% off with the promo code HAPPY5. You can find more information about pricing here. I hope you enjoy this learning system as much as we have!

There are affiliate links included in this post.


Fun & Easy Easter Shakers

4 Apr

Fun & Easy Easter Shakers. Great craft for kids of all ages. @zealousmom.com #eastercraft

This Easter craft is easy and fun for children of all ages. The goal of the craft is to make musical  shakers, but as my boys have shown me over the last two days, a little creativity will create a number of other purposes for them as well.

Supplies

  • Clear plastic Easter eggs or something like it (I found these super cute animal eggs at Walmart)
  • Poly-Pellets (you can find these at craft stores such as Michaels)
  • Electrical tape

Fun & Easy Easter Shakers. Great craft for kids of all ages. @zealousmom.com #eastercraft

Instructions

  • Pour Poly-Pellets in a bowl; this makes them easier to scoop out
  • Use half of the egg to scoop out the Poly-Pellets
  • Put the top on the egg
  • Wrap electrical tape around the middle

Fun & Easy Easter Shakers. Great craft for kids of all ages. @zealousmom.com #eastercraft

These can obviously be used as musical shakers, and we had fun using them as such for a while. After that got old, my five-year old and I took turns hiding them all around our yard for an Easter egg hunt. The shakers worked really well for this purpose because they are heavy, durable, and stand up on their own, so we were able to hide them in some pretty great places.

My two-year old has had a blast shaking them, putting them in and out of the Easter basket, and lining them up on the table. I also used them to work on his colors, object recognition, and counting. After he had lined them all up on the table, I would say, “Point to the pink bunny.” or “Which one is orange?” Then he and I would count them together.

Needless to say, this extremely easy and quick craft has already provided hours of enjoyment! It is definitely one I would recommend.

Fun & Easy Easter Shakers. Great craft for kids of all ages. @zealousmom.com #eastercraft

Fun & Easy Easter Shakers. Great craft for kids of all ages. @zealousmom.com #eastercraft

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