September 29, 2014

Vitamin D Deficiency + Giveaway

As I watch the leaves change and see it getting dark around 7, I am quickly reminded how gone are the long summer days with an ample amount of sunshine.  Living in the midwest, in the winter, is not kind to our Vitamin D levels.  About 5 years ago, I learned that I have a Vitamin D deficiency and still do.

During the summer, it is easier to maintain your Vitamin D levels as  you are more likely to be exposed to the sun for a period of time throughout each day.  In the winter, at least in the Chicago area, the last place you want to be is outside in the bitter cold.  So I turn to and rely on a Vitamin D supplement. I am lactose intolerant, so I do not drink milk - which is another great way to get your Vitamin D.

There has also been studies that have supported the fact that Vitamin D may reduce the risk of colorectal cancer.  This is something close to my heart, as I lost my mom to this cancer and in turn, I run the risk of getting it.

As you can imagine, I was ecstatic when Vita Optimum approached me with their supplements.  I am particularly picky when I choose my supplements.  I have tried many from other stores and didn't see great results. Then I learned that it is important to pay attention to the quality and ingredients in even your supplements. I am happy to report that I have had amazing results with Vita Optimum's Vitamin D3 supplement.  

The pills are a nice, small, easy to swallow size. There is also 360 softgels in the bottle. That means you have enough for a year!  They do not contain soy, gluten/wheat, preservatives, artificial ingredients, sugar, starch, lactose, eggs, peanuts/tree nuts, stearates, silica, or titanium dioxide. So it is safe to take for those with various allergies/intolerances. Although, always remember to talk with your doctor before starting any new supplements.

What it does include helps it stand out from the crowd: Organic GMO-free extra virgin olive oil, Bovine gelatin (Kosher/Halal), Vegetable glycerin, purified water, GMO-free MCT oil (from coconut).  You can rest assure that no nasty GMO's are getting into your vitamins!

This is my favorite part....made in the USA!

Now, a little 'blurb from the fine folks over at Vita Optimum:

"Based in San Francisco, Calif., Vita Optimum was established in 2013 with the purpose of placing reasonably priced high quality and all-natural vitamins and supplements into the marketplace. All of our products are third-party tested, made in the U.S.A. and in facilities that pass FDA regulations. Vita Optimum’s Vitamin D3 is third-party certified and made from organic extra virgin olive oil. Our product has no fillers or preservatives. One bottle is good for one year and Vita Optimum offers a 100% Satisfaction Guarantee and a No Questions Asked Refund Policy. This does not have any expiration, which means that at any time our customers feel our products didn’t deliver to our promise, they can ask for a refund."

Vita Optimum has been kind enough to offer readers a 25% discount on any of their products, when purchased through Amazon, using promo code BLG25OFF. This offer is good until October 31, 2014.

They have also graciously offered to give a reader a free bottle of their Vitamin D3. This contains 360 softgels, so you will be set for a year!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Winner will be chosen at random using rafflecopter. Winner will receive a bottle of Vita Optimum Vitamin D3 with free standard shipping through Vita Optimum can only ship to the U.S.

I received compensation and product in exchange for this post.  All opinions are of my own. 

August 29, 2014

The Day She Got Her Ears Pierced

Today was a big milestone day for Eliana.  She got her ears pierced!  The hubby and I had discussed that when she tells us she is ready, we would allow for her to get her ears pierced.  What started as a crazy day of back to school shopping for her at the Chicago Premium Outlets (on Labor Day weekend when they have crazy good sales!), ended with her exclaiming that she was ready to get her ears pierced.  I know some people are super against mall piercings, but after weighing the pros and cons, understanding the process of sterilization, and knowing that piercing from her doctor was not an option and that she would be terrified at a tat shop, I decided that this was the right fit for us.

She was super excited picking out her earrings and holding the Princess bear.  Reality hadn't set in quite yet at this point.

Once the super nice, patient lady was cleaning her ears, nerves started to set in.  But she was still excited!

The associate was really good about attempting to hide the gun from Ellie, so that she wouldn't get worked up and pull away.  Then, in it went! And the tears came....

She didn't want to get the other one done.  So with a little bribery and reminding her that she would look silly with one earring, she decided to go on with it.  Especially after seeing the 1st one in the mirror! The only deal was that she would get a lollipop afterwards and I would sit with her the second time. Deal!

As soon as we left the store, she told me that the 'little pinch' wasn't too bad and that it didn't even hurt anymore, but it was still okay to cry when it happened.  And she's right.  It's always okay to cry, just remember to pick yourself back up and keep on.

So proud of how brave you were, babygirl! Now, can we slow down on the growing up? It's happening so quickly!

August 21, 2014

Life this week

We have had such a busy week...and it's only Thursday!  Aidan started school on Monday. He also turned 11 on Tuesday, as well as had soccer practice. Now, we are trying to survive the week, so we can get to the busy-ness of the weekend which includes a soccer game, birthday party, birthday sleepover, Dave & Buster's outing, and soccer pictures.  Whew!

I can't believe that I forgot to take pictures of Aidan on his bday, besides the few grainy cake photos.  Mom fail!

I can't believe he is in 6th grade and 11 years old! I mean, I know time goes quickly and all, but seriously?!  Right now, he wants to be a video game designer.  I have a hunch that he will grow up and definitely end up in the computer field, just like his step-dad! I found these great 1st day of school signs at Modern Parents Messy Kids. You can get these printables here.

We only live 1/2 mile from the elementary school, so he gets to ride his bike to school, when the weather cooperates.  This is the last year he can do this, as the middle school is in the next town over, and almost 6 miles away!

Off he went, but somebody didn't want his brother to leave and attempted to follow him...

The next day, after school and soccer practice, we celebrated his big day with pizza from his favorite pizza joint and an ice cream cake from Dairy Queen (his favorite).  He was excited to receive checkers from his siblings, Pokemon cards, Beyblades, his new favorite shirt, and The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (Spiderman) Sony Playstation 4 PS4 Game.

 Have fun being 11, buddy! I love you more than you ever know and I hope you never change - always love others the way you love them now. 

August 20, 2014

Back to School with Tea Collection

**This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on the links.

School began this week for Aidan.  Holy smokes, 6th grade already?! Time sure flies when you're having fun!  Eliana starts right after Labor Day.  I wish it was a national law that schools cannot start before Labor Day, but I digress...

With back to school in full swing, it's time to do the dreaded Back to School shopping.  For those not at the school point with your kids, read: goodbye money!  With that being said, I am always looking out for clothing that I know I will get my money's worth out of.  That is why I love Tea Collection. It is perfect for young kids.  Adorable clothes, yet practical and durable enough to withstand the playground.  We have lost many pairs of pants to the playground and rough playing. 

As Eliana enters her final year of Pre-K, I picked out a few of my favorite outfits that would be adorable, yet practical for her. They are so versatile and every outfit in their collection is so easy to mix and match. Love!

1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5

May 30, 2014

Eliana's Surgery

My baby girl had surgery 2 days ago.  You see, she's always been a snorer.  It was cute when she was a baby.  Then as a toddler, she could put any grown man to shame.  I mean, this girl can snore!  It was cute and funny until the day I came across an article about small children snoring and how it usually can mean something is not right.  I kind of took the article and stored it in the back of my mind, so that I could bring it up to her doctor.  Of course, we went to her 4 year old appointment and I forgot all about mentioning it.

A few months later, I started noticing through the monitor (she shares a room with Jameson), that she was starting to take pauses and gasp between snores.  Noticeable enough to freak me out and keep me up at night to listen to her.  So when we were at Jameson's 18 month check up, I casually mentioned it to the doctor.  She checked Eliana's mouth and sure enough, her tonsils were enlarged enough that she felt it warranted a referral to an Ear, Nose, and Throat doctor.

After our doctor personally referred us to an ENT that she couldn't speak highly enough about, we set up an appointment and drove the almost 40 minute commute to see her.  Within 5 minutes of meeting the doctor and looking in Eliana's mouth, she deemed that El had 4+ hypertrophic (enlarged) tonsils, aka kissing tonsils, meaning that more than 75% obstruction.  She didn't do a scope on her adenoids, since she was needing a tonsillectomy now, but assumed that they were also enlarged by her nasally voice and scheduled in an adenoidectomy with the tonsillectomy.  Once she was in there removing the tonsils, she would check out the size of the adenoids and remove, if necessary.

Fast forward to this week.  We had her surgery scheduled for the 28th.  To prepare Eliana and not make her afraid, I found a good book at the library called Good-bye Tonsils! .

In the book, the girl gets her tonsils removed.  On the evening before the surgery, it's her sister's birthday.  They celebrate her little sister's birthday, and also have a special cake that says 'Goodbye Tonsils'.  That was Eliana's favorite part.  So being the awesome mom that I am, she got one too.

The next morning, we had to be up and leave the house around 5:45 am.  We had a check in time of 6:30 and surgery at 8:30.  We let Eliana stay in her jammies, even though they said it wasn't necessary.  She got to bring her favorite blankie and teddy bear.  I knew she wouldn't want to change after we got back home.  After we got up to the pediatric unit and got her changed into her gown, we talked about how quick it will be and how much ice cream, popsicles and other cold goodies that she would get to have.  And we watched a little Disney Jr while we waited for her time.

After a while, they came with the bed and brought her a sedative to take and wheeled her down to the pre-op area.  We got to go with and stay there with her until they took her to the OR.  We watched Cinderella, while the dr and team prepped for surgery and her sedative kicked in.  She started getting a little loopy, which was actually pretty funny.  The stepmom was yelling at Cinderella and El was cracking up about it!

 After the anesthesiologist came to talk to us to tell us what to expect, the ENT came and also ran down the timeline for us.  Suddenly, my nerves were going crazy!  They wheeled her away, but I did it! I didn't cry and neither did she!

About 45 minutes later, the ENT came up to the waiting room to talk to us.  Everything went perfect and they did end up also removing her adenoids, as they were also huge.  She walked us to the recovery room, where we got to see her.  The doctor warned us that kids are usually very agitated and not themselves.  As we turned into the post-op recovery room, my momma instincts kicked in.  I heard a loud choking-like sound with horrible crying.  I knew it was my baby, so I picked up the pace.  There she was in the bed, so distraught and trying to cough up that 'yucky' feeling in her mouth.  They had me hold her and try to calm her down as she came to.  After a while, she somewhat calmed down enough to be allowed to go back up to the peds unit for observation.  As soon as she took some fluids and walked for them, she would be released. 

It took some coaxing, but she ended up enjoying the ice chips much more than the apple juice or popsicles.  She did a quick walk, with the help of her daddy and a nursing student who was shadowing, down to the nurses station and back, and was given the okay to go home around 11:30 am.

While she was in surgery, we found a cute little 'get well soon' monkey down at the gift shop and got it for her, in hopes that it would make her feel a little better.  She naturally freaked when they removed the IV, but was happy to get dressed and get ready to go home.  If you call this a happy face, that is...

Here we are 2 days later now.  The 1st night was really rough.  She (and thus, I) slept only maybe 4 hours. Yesterday was better.  Today, not so great.  She's already napped once and is feeling a lot of pain in her nose and throat.  Poor girl.  The doctor warned us that today was going to be one of the worst days, and she was right!

We will all be looking forward to a good night's rest and a happy little girl again in a week or two!

May 1, 2014

In The Spotlight: Gipsy Dharma

Gipsy Dharma is perfect for you free spirits out there.  If you have a gypsy/boho soul, a little pixie dust, tribal vibe or just like to be different, then Gipsy Dharma is right up your alley.  When I was approached by this British footwear company, I was intrigued.  Upon learning more, I absolutely love what they have to offer!

The handmade leather boots feature an easy access zipper, as well as laces that enable you to tighten or loosen the boot to your desired comfort/look.  These are not only beautiful, they will also keep your feet comfortable, which makes them perfect for music festivals like Lollapalooza or Coachella. I know the girls in the clubs in Chicago would love to rock these!

As a mom on the go, I absolutely love these leather flip flops! They are handmade and hand dyed!

Gipsy Dharma also hosts a weekly giveaway on Facebook for a pair of their boots (worth up to $350)!  Click here to enter this week's giveaway.  A winner will be chosen on May 11, 2014.

Gipsy Dharma | Blog | Facebook | YouTube | Twitter | Pinterest | Polyvore

*Full Disclosure:  This post was sponsored by Gipsy Dharma.  All opinions are of my own.

April 30, 2014

Project Tween Room: Stripping Wallpaper

Besides trips, Easter, and life in between, this is the project that has kept me away from the blog for the last 2 weeks.  Every single moment that I had free time was spent in here.  Aidan's room had such a cute airplane themed room that was already decorated when we moved in.  At the time, it was perfect.  Aidan was almost 5 years old when we moved here and he loved (still does) planes, so we kept it how it was.  There is a huge airplane fan on the ceiling to match the theme.  Now fast forward to 6 years later.  'Cute' no longer fits in the ever changing, almost 11 year old's vocabulary.  We were both ready for a change.  I pinned and planned for months before getting here.  Aidan and I decided on a neutral color that can accommodate change as he enters closer to his teen years (eek!).  Right now he is about video games, sports and BMX, but things can change in a few months time.

We picked out this fun, neutral gray from Sherwin Williams.  It is called Online.  Perfect name for a gamer, yet could work with just about anything.

Aidan's room has a chair rail on the walls.  Actually it's only on 3 out of the 4 walls.  I had originally planned on keeping the rails and doing 2 different shades of gray, but at the last minute, the fact that the one wall didn't have rails was bothering me and I ripped out the chair rails.  Now it is just going to be one solid color.

1st thing is 1st.  It had this cute airplane border on the top, but let me tell you something: I loathe wallpaper!  My fingers were twitching to get it down, but wallpaper can be tricky.
I started out by scoring the paper.  Then I sprayed it with wallpaper remover and began peeling.
Unfortunately, after using that expensive wallpaper remover gel as instructed, it still left the paper backing.  Ugh.  After that, I knew where to go to make sure I could get this off without damaging the wall. I headed to Young House Love and followed their tips!

I busted out my trusty Dr. Bronner's Sal Suds .  Note that it's grimy, because we use it for a lot of grimy projects.  Fill a bowl with as hot as you can tolerate tap water.  Add a few drops of the soap. 
Wet a rag with the soapy mixture and saturate the heck out of that paper.
Once it's well saturated, go back and start peeling the sucker away.  Now, they were able to peel it in large pieces, I wasn't. I'm not sure if since I was working with a border, it was harder, or what.  I ended up grabbing my paint scraper and it came up no problem.
After that, voila! No more border! Woohoo!

There were a few minor gashes, but nothing that spackling couldn't fix!

Here is what the room looked like with the chair rails and original colors (already spackled):
Here it is with no chair rails and primed:
Blank slate! I finished painting yesterday, but still have to replace the ceiling fan, paint the ceiling and trim.  Will post the final results soon!
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