Monday, July 27, 2015

Homemade Popsicles

Trying to beat the heat in these dog days of summer (that we are finally experiencing after a month and a half of rain almost every day!), and spending many days at the pool, having picnics and playing water games outside, and making and eating our own homemade popsicles. My kids love popsicles, and I used to always buy them from the store, but they have so much sugar and unnecessary ingredients in them. Even the ones marketed 'healthier' still contain a lot of unnecessary, inarticulate ingredients, and most of these are actually really expensive once you find out how easy and cheap these are to make yourself.
Last summer I picked up these popsicle molds at the Dollar Store and I've been making our own popsicles with these since, and you can too -- it's soo easy, and so much healthier for you and your kids!
Here is a recipe for our favorite, Cran-Apple Yogurt Pops made with R.W. Knudsen Family's Just Cranberry Juice. We love R.W. Knudsen Just Juice brand because they stand by wholesome ingredients without any artificial flavors or preservatives - they are made from organic single-fruits, with no added sweeteners and completely sweetened 100% by the juices straight from the fruit, and they taste absolutely delicious.
What You Will Need:
- 1 (5.3 oz.) container vanilla Greek Yogurt
- 1/3 cup cranberry juice (R.W. Knudsen Family Just Cranberry Juice is our favorite)
- 1/2 cup cinnamon (or regular) apple sauce (Santa Cruz Organic apple sauce is our favorite)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons agave nectar
- 4 (3 to 4 oz. disposable cups and wooden craft sticks (If you don't have popsicle molds)

1. Place yogurt, juice, apple sauce, and agave in blender. Cover and process until smooth.
2. Divide evenly into cups or popsicle molds. Cover cups with foil. Insert wooden stick into center. 
3. Freeze 3 hours or until firm & enjoy!
There are so many other easy variations to making your own popsicles -- you can literally blend in any fruit you fancy, or cut out the blender and mix in chopped fruit pieces. & if you are having a lazy day, you can just pour in orange juice, or half OJ half cranberry for a quickie. 
Check out more delicious and healthy summer smoothie recipes here - and for some more toddler meal and snack ideas check out this old post.

*Disclaimer: I have received R.W. Knudsen juice products to facilitate my review but the review and all opinions contained herein are 100% my own.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Bits of Life Lately

Landon at Summer Camp
The two fawns that frequent our yard 
A girls day
Nature walks
Sidewalk chalk art
Barnyard Blair
Farm fun
Planted in the backyard...probably what keeps my baby deer around
Refrigerator raids

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Bits of Life Lately

Baptizing our Godson :)
Party Blair
So proud of my growing veggies!! Think it's kind of a miraculous thing, watching them grow from seeds.
New bowling spot
Yogurt, always a fun idea.
The best spot in our backyard
No big thang
Snuggles with her "da-ey" and "bebe"

Thursday, July 9, 2015

GIVEAWAY! Enter to win your own customized, professional grade teeth whitening kit from Smile Brilliant!

I am so excited to be hosting this giveaway today for one of your very own customized, professional grade teeth whitening kits you can do from the comfort of your own home! The company is Smile Brilliant and they have been so amazing to work with and truly offer an incredible product that I hope you will look into.
If you are one of those people who just don't have much luck with the store bought whitening strips, have painful sensitivity after using store bought whitening strips, or notice store bought strips not to whiten every single one of your teeth in the same way, just keep reading, there is another way! Basically some people just have different genes -- different tooth make-up, and they have naturally darker enamel, which the store bought whitening strips simply do not work for. If you are one of these people, maybe you notice they work, but you have to buy the most expensive one, and you have to wear them for 3 hours or so, and you have to buy these and re-do these treatments frequently. But what you actually need is the professional whitening treatment, because the store bought strips simply do not work for everyone. Until Smile Brilliant, you had to get these at your dentist office, and come back for multiple trips to create the mold and do the treatments, and which also would cost you a pretty penny - $500 plus. Smile Brilliant offers the same quality professional dental whitening treatments, but that you can do from  your own home. It is all very simple and they give you easy to follow, detailed instructions on how to take your impressions and use the trays (Watch the short video above!), and they also give you de-sensitizing gel to use afterwards which restores your enamel to not feel any sensitivity after using. 
My husband is definitely one of those people who has naturally darker teeth, and who had to constantly re-buy the most expensive store bought strips, and these worked the best ever on him. Another little added plus with these was that he was still able to talk and conduct business as usual with these trays in (they are just like wearing a retainer) - so it did not interrupt any of his business as usual.
The added plus for me was having the custom mold to my own teeth. The store bought strips do not work well on my bottom teeth because my bottom teeth are kind of crooked, and there is one tooth kind of set back that the strips simply can't get to because it's set farther back, but since these trays are custom, every single tooth got just as white. What I also love is that they offer a desensitizing gel to apply after whitening, which helps emmensly with the painful sensitivity I always get from whitening.
You can read additional reviews on Smile Brilliant here.
***To enter to win your own customized whitening kit from Smile Brilliant, all you need to do is enter your name and email into the following link:***
Giveaway will run for 1 month from today and officially close at 12:00 pm on August 9, 2015. Winner will be notified via the email they provided by a Smile Brilliant representative. 
In addition, you can use referral code "mummascorner" to receive 5% off the entire product list at Smile Brilliant.
Good luck!!

Tooth Whitening Gel by Smile Brilliant

Monday, July 6, 2015

The Importance of Quality Rug Pads For Your Home!

As we are still in the process of making our new home 'ours', (new home tour pics coming soon!) I definitely have an ever-growing wish list of items I want to add to our space to personalize and give a more 'lived in' feel reflective of our personalities, but we've definitely filled in the home so far with the essentials: furniture & rugs. Rug pads were always something didn't use or skimped on in the past. Until we actually got our First and 'Forever Home', I really didn't consider rug pads an essential. But after educating myself on the importance of quality rug pads, I won't have a single rug down on my hardwood floors now without one.
If you don't use rug pads on your hardwood floors, or if you use a cheaply-made rug pads, you could be causing serious damage to your floors! -- 90% of all rug pads come from overseas and they are chemically rich and toxic breeding grounds for odor causing bacteria and VOC emissions. Additionally, the petrochemical oils in pvc pads often dissipate into the floor, permanently marring and discoloring your floor finishes over time. (This is why you can find so many discussions posted on threads and forums in regards to hardwood floor damage that occur with cheap rug pads).
Most consumers typically don’t want to shell out money for a quality rug pad because a. nobody sees it, and b. because they (usually) just spent a lot of money on their rug. This was totally my mode of thinking before as well. But because of this, manufacturers produce rug pads with the cheapest materials at the cheapest price. This means rug pads are often manufactured overseas using cheap chemicals and materials. This is why when you open the packaging of plastic padding, it typically has a really bad odor. The outgassing that occurs from these plastic pads, aside from the environmental impacts from having these products in your home, has another bad effect. Sometimes, the out-gassing from the pads reacts with the chemicals in your floor finish, causing permanent staining, marring, or discoloration. Here is a picture of what this damage can look like:
Another way manufacturers will cut costs is by using clay fillers in their pads, these clay fillers will break down over time and end up all over your wood floors. Most consumers will often not notice this issue because of how infrequent customers look under their rugs. While most rug pads look good 'point of sale', the vast majority will not produce at a desired level. The reason for this is that manufacturers will cut costs, adding cheap fillers and materials that won't last more than a few years. They do this for a number of reasons -- 1. Customers rarely look underneath their rugs, 2. Rug pads almost never come with a warranty, which protects you if your floors get damaged, and 3. A typical consumer cannot tell the difference in quality.

The reason certain types of pvc rug pads can off gas and end up damaging and discoloring the floors is because they cannot absorb and release moisture. So on hot and humid days, or with glossy floor finishes, the oils can react with the floor finish and cause permanent damage. Eek!

Here is a picture of a pvc rug pad:
The problem with pvc is they can’t breath and end up sticking to certain floor surfaces. They also will stain certain floor finishes and can’t be used in hot and humid climates. Most, not all, will outgas and can cause floors to change colors.

So all this being said, I can't stress the importance of not skimping on this item for your home. For eco-friendly, quality-made rug pads, go to and you will find your peace of mind and perfect product to fit whatever flooring or carpeting you have. I use their rug pads myself after bad luck with cheap rug pads and would definitely not go to any other company now. Their rug pads are the highest quality I've ever seen or felt and they are also eco-friendly!

Their pads are made from 100% natural rubber -- the safest material to use on all floors. While pvc pads “stick” to floors, natural rubber will “grip” floors. Natural rubber has very low VOC’s and comes directly from real rubber trees, thus out-gassing and floor staining is never an issue. Aside from its performance benefits, natural rubber is made using real 100% natural rubber tree sap and as such it is very eco-friendly. Their rug pads also contain a layer of 100% recycled felt. These two components provide an easy to clean and vacuum product, that is anti-microbial, will never mold, mildew, or smell. Here is a picture of our new rug pad:
Unlike other cheap rug pads I've used in the past, the rug pads from RugPadUSA provide an extremely comfortable, thick cushioned underfoot that also helps prolong the life of your rugs -- by alleviating stress on your rug. In addition, it keeps the rug properly anchored which facilitates much easier vacuuming (dirt is the #1 cause of rug degradation!)
What is so important to me though, having two little crazy people running around the house all day, is that their rug pads WORK. They keep the rug in place like no other, the kids don't ever slip on the rug, no matter how crazy they're being, and it also prevents the rug from bunching up at the corners which in the past has caused both me and my crazy kids to trip over. RugPadsUSA lives up to their strong reputation and offer rug pads that will not stain, mar, damage, or discolor your floors or finishes, AND they are made with materials that will not out-gas after long term use -- A quality rug pad like the ones from RugPadUSA will keep your rug from slipping for many many years, as compared to only a couple of years from cheaper, lesser-quality companies. The last thing I will say about their rug pads is that they truly made the room look so much nicer, more polished, and put together. Instead of rugs bunched up and all out of alignment, they are beautifully placed, and they keep in place. They make my rugs feel richer, thicker, and so much softer and more cushioned to walk on, all the while providing the best protection possible for our beautiful hardwood floors. And the final icing on the cake? As you can guess from their company name, they are made here in the USA, and they also come with a 20 year warranty.
I really hope you guys will go check out this amazing company and get rid of those cheap rug pads you might have and order a quality, eco-friendly rug pad from today, I promise you will be so happy. And you can use promo code "pr15off" at checkout to receive 15% off your entire order!!!  Happy home-making and happy floors :)

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Lambs Farm!

Had so much fun at Lambs Farm last weekend. We'd never been before but bought a groupon for it  and was looking for a nice relaxing yet fun outing for the kids, as they were both getting over being sick. We just went for the morning, had a picnic lunch there and went home after lunch, and it was perfect. No lines and tons of different attractions minus the farm animals -- a petting zoo, carasoul, pony rides, train rides and mini golf. The place was much smaller than I thought, and definitely manageable for me to come back sans Chris someday :) The best part of all about this place is that it is a true non for profit that enables people with developmental disabilities and Down's Syndrome a beautiful place of employment. A few pics:

Cord Blood Banking with LifeBankUSA!

I blogged about cord blood banking with LifeBankUSA after Blair was born and am back today with another follow up post as I keep getting so many questions about this hot pregnancy topic.
I absolutely loved working with LifeBankUSA to donate Blair's cord blood last year. We got our request and paperwork processed super fast, and the process at the hospital to donate the kit was so unbelievably easy. All I had to do was bring the cord blood kit box in with me to the delivery room, and the nurses completely took over with all the instructions from LifeBankUSA. Basically all they did was take 4 vials of blood from me, check off a few administrative notes, package up the tissue, placenta, & cord blood after delivery, and then all I had to do was call LifeBankUSA within 2 hours of her birth to have a representative come pick up the box. I was a little stressed out about the whole process beforehand but everything turned out to be very simple and uncomplicated and very easy on me.
If you don't know anything about it, there are soo many reasons to preserve your baby's cord blood, or otherwise donate it. Through cord blood banking, you can collect and preserve potentially lifesaving stem cells, and doing so could one day save the life of your child or a blood relative. The ability of stem cells to save lives via cord blood banking has proved successful for replacing abnormal or diseased cells, and treating life-threatening blood disorders such as leukemia, lymphoma, and myeloma. In fact, 1,988 stem cell transplants have been used to treat some 80 diseases.
You can bank even more stem cells by collecting them from 2 usable sources of stem cell-rich blood: the umbilical cord and the placenta. This service is called Placental and Cord Blood Banking and it is available only through LifeBankUSA. Whether you choose Placental and Cord Blood Banking or Cord Blood Banking alone, there are still many other reasons to choose LifeBankUSA -- LifeBankUSA is the only company that offers cord blood, placenta blood, and tissue banking, and they are also the first to release placenta-derived stem cells for a successful transplant. They have been absolutely wonderful to work with and they will collect cells from anywhere in the US. Another reason to bank with LifeBankUSA -- They include tissue banking (tissue from the placenta) for free. Placental tissue contains mesenchymal (MSCs) and MSC-like cells. While stem cells found in cord blood and placenta blood have been used to successfully treat patients, there are currently no approved uses for stem cells derived from the umbilical cord or placenta tissue. Possible therapeutic applications are in early research stages and LifeBankUSA's parent company is actively involved in their development. LifeBankUSA will store the placenta tissue for you as part of their banking package using their cryogenic tanks for long-term preservation. In the event your baby's tissue cells are ever needed for future therapies, the tissue may then be processed and cultured using available technology at the time. Banking with LifeBankUSA will definitely give you peace of mind, knowing that this stem cell-rich blood can be used to treat certain diseases in the future.
I really hope if you are pregnant you give cord blood banking some serious thought! And definitely keep in mind all of these added benefits that are unique to LifeBankUSA. I know when you are pregnant, you have about 1,000 things on your mind every minute, but going through LifeBankUSA for your baby's cord blood and placental banking will help give you greater peace of mind, I promise :)

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