Little Critters Board Books {review}

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IMG_4013If you were born in the vicinity of 1975 or later, than chances are you are extremely familiar with the Little Critters book series! Growing up these were some of my most favorite books and I have a huge collection to prove it!

Each month I am given the opportunity Tommy Nelson as a Tommy Mommy to review some really great books! This month I was beyond thrilled when I found out that two of the books that I would be reviewing two Little Critters books!

As with all little critters books these two books have fun illustrations they’re engaging and I have a wonderful moral and message to the story!

My kids were so excited when they saw the two little critters books because their entire lives they have been surrounded by my paperback books from when I was a child (thank you mom for keeping those!)
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The first little critters books and then tell you about is

We All Need Forgiveness
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Forgive each other because the Lord for gave you.
Colossians 3:13

This adorable book follows Littler Critter through a series of accidents where he asked for forgiveness…but when the tables are turned he finds it more difficult to forgive and move on. He has hurt his friends but is it too late?

This book does a fantastic job of relaying the importance of forgiveness to small children.

My twins wanted to talk about each event in the book and tell why it was important to ask for forgiveness and forgive…it was precious listening to then talk about it with each other!

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Next is…

Being Thankful”

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Thank the Lord because he is good. His love continues forever. Psalm 107:1

In this book Little Critter is struggling with wanting things he doesn’t have. He sees things that his friends have that he doesn’t and he gets mad! After spending time with his grandparents he realizes that he is a lucky little critter and needs to be thankful for everything he has…because he has a lot more than a lot of others. Little Critter even get to help teach his little to be thankful for what she has.

The twins LOVED this book so much! They wanted to tell me all the things they are thankful for. This book couldn’t have come at a better time, they have recently starting to say “I want” and “I need” an awful lot. This book contributed to stopping that want want want mentality in its tracks (thank you Lord!)

I absolutely love that these two books are board books, I love the extra sturdiness of them.

If you have little ones {children, grand kids, nieces/nephews} I recommend adding these adorable books to your bookshelf!

GIVEAWAY WINNER: Joni Johnson

Thank you to everyone who entered!

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Share a Blessing {review}

TNM

I am so excited about Share a Blessing! When my daughter saw this book she absolutely freaked out she loves coloring stickers and giving people cards share a blessing was pretty much tailor-made for her!Unknown

This a genius little book is full of 24 different cards and over 1000 stickers so your child’s imagination for these cards is endless!

Recently I was given the opportunity to crochet a hat for a five-year-old girl who is currently going through chemo after being diagnosed with cancer this summer. This is not the first time that I have crocheted hat for a child going through chemo but this was the first time that I did after receiving The Share a blessing book so my daughter and I decided that we would make this little five-year-old girl beautiful card to go with her beautiful hat and tell her that she’s a fighter and we are praying!

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Each card and stickers are beautifully coordinated together and each card has either an encouraging message or beautiful Bible verse!

I love that my daughter has been able to express her creativity as well as to show her sweet kind hard she loves sending cards to her grandma and her daddy and even me!

Do you have daughter {or son} who loves creating things or maybe a granddaughter? I would highly recommend share a blessing to you! Or maybe you were sending out cards! I would totally get this book for myself I kind want to take it for my daughter 🙂
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The only thing that I would ever change about Share a blessing is that it could be 10 times bigger with hundreds of different cards to choose from!

*Please note that these cards do not come with envelopes so if you were planning on sending them in the mail you will need to grab up some envelopes to fit them

GIVEAWAY WINNER: K Letourneau

Thank you to all who entered!
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Bottle|Band Review and GIVEAWAY!

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I so excited to share Bottle|Band with you today! First things first:

 

What is Bottle|Band?

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Its a cool silicone band that goes around your water bottle giving it a handle and making it easier to carry! Yay! No more dropping my water bottle!
 
My husband and I almost never run with water bottles because it can feel like too much “baggage”, honestly its really annoying to hold a water bottle while running or hiking! I’m always worried about dropping it! Then at home or at the gym I can’t tell you how many times I have dropped my water bottle on the treadmill…Please tell me that I’m not the only one! 🙂 But, not taking/drinking water is so not good for us! Staying hydrated is so important when it comes to taking care of your body. A little Hydration 101: When you drink water you flush out nasty toxins that are in your body…but there are even more benefits…including metabolism boost, weightless,  beautiful and healthier skin  and most importantly {in my opinion} a healthier heart. When we are working out or just simply being active we NEED to stay hydrated, the problem? There are situations when drinking water isn’t easy…like running or when you are in a workout groove at the gym or at home. However skipping the water a pressing on can lead to dehydration, and the only thing dehydration is good for is making you tired with no energy and possibly sick…NO one wants that…and it can be dangerous!

After chatting with the guys at Bottle|Bands about trying out the Bottle|Bands, I have to admit I was pretty excited! Ooh maybe I would actually take a water bottle on my runs and hikes, maybe I wouldn’t be so worried about dropping it!

When I got my bands in the mail my hubby {who is a hardcore runner} was so stoked and immediately wanted to give them a try, sooooo we did! we were both VERY impressed! The Bottle|Band stayed secure the whole time and was really comfortable to use! Yay! We didn’t have to worry about dropping bottles!

BBBottle|Bands and Kids! I LOVE LOVE LOVE these for my kiddos! They are perfect! Our family goes on walks/jogs every night! Especially in the summer we go through a LOT of water…but whose carrying it you ask? Yep! Mom and Dad! Not anymore!  The kids can just loop there water bottle with a Bottle|Band over their handlebar and we are good to go! Mom and Dad love it and so do the kids!

What I love about Bottle| Band:

  • Its one-size-fits all!
  • It’s very comfortable to use
  • Because of the handle you can hang your bottle on your treadmill, a door knob, or at the equipment at the gym!
  • You can customize your very own band! How cool would it be to get matching Bottle| Band for your kiddos team! Walking or running in a charity event? Get matching Bottle| Band for the whole team!
  • Running in a race? BottleBand is perfect for disposable bottle because once you finished you water you can throw your bottle away and put the BottleBand on your wrist and keep on running unencumbered!
  • Bottle| Band costs about $6!!!
  • Bottle| Band comes in a bunch of colors, with different sayings! Check em’ out!IMG_4035
How to use Bottle| Band:
 

 
I don’t have any CONS at all! The Bottle|Bands fit all the bottle I tried including our ninja smoothy cups {my hubby and I have smoothies in them every morning and they are perfect to take on morning hikes}
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I would highly recommend this product to anyone who spends a lot of time outdoors or at the Gym {home gym included!} The Bottle|Band makes carrying and hanging your water bottle super easy!
 

 

 

 

You can WIN IT

I have partnered with The Bottle|Band team for a Giveaway!!!! Click Below to Enter!

Enter Bottle|Band GIVEAWAY!

*Giveaway will run from 8/15/14 – 8/29/14  A winner will be selected 8/29/14 – contacted via email friday 8/30/14 *U.S Residents

Special Thank You to Bottle|Bands for this FANTASTIC Giveaway! 

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MORE Back to School Printables!

So, yesterday I posted some First Day of School Printables {view post HERE!} Within an hour I was totally  inundated with requests for “Chalkboard First Day of School Printables” Well, I love you guys so I could help but oblige! Thank you all so much for loving my printables as much as I do! 🙂

Here you go! This printable pack includes PK-12th as well as a just plain my first day of “school” – this will be perfect for your ‘cool’ preteen/teen! 🙂

FDDOWNLOAD PRINTABLE PACK HERE!

I hope you enjoy these! Please continue sending me printable requests!

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Back to School Printables!

Today I have TWO different Back to School Printable packs for you! I can’t believe summer is over! Wow, that went fast didn’t it!

The first set:

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DOWNLOAD NOW!!!

 

Whether you Homeschool, Private School or Public school these are perfect for taking pictures of your kids on their first day of school. My kiddos look forward to the “first day of school” pictures every year! {Download the whole pack and print what you need! Save until next year!}

The second set: Back by popular demand!

Back to School

DOWNLOAD NOW!!

These are fun little keepsakes for your little ones {and bigger ones} I posted these last year and they were so popular that I decided to add an all new “last day of school” These will be so fun to see how your kiddos have changed in just one year! {Download the whole pack and print what you need! Save until the end of the year and beyond!!}

Keep your eyes out next week for all NEW Lunch Box Note Printables!

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Diastasis Recti 101 {Learn and Heal}

Over the last few weeks the subject of Diastasis Recti has come up a lot…actually more times than it ever has in the past…and I’m a twin mama {meaning I have a higher risk of Diastasis Recti} This got me thinking & researching and a post was born! If you’ve never heard of Diastasis Recti or aren’t sure exactly what it is, don’t worry, you are not alone.

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Could you have If you have Diastasis Recti?

Here are a few questions that may help:

  • Have you ever been pregnant?
  • Do you have a tummy pooch that won’t go away?
  • Has your innie belly button mysteriously became a outie?

If you answer yes to any of these questions you NEED to do a Diastasis Recti self check {see the how to self check below}

What’s Diastasis Recti?

Pronunciation: dye-uh-STAY-siss REK-tye
Also Known As: diastasis, abdominal separation
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Diastasis Recti is a serious condition that effects 1 in 3 mothers to some degree. Yet, very few of us even know what it is or how to Fix It! {Psst YES it can be done!]

“Also known as abdominal separation, diastasis recti is a condition where the right and left sides of the rectus abdominus (the muscle that makes up the front wall of the abdominals, also known as the “six-pack” muscle) spread apart at the body’s midline. Diastasis negatively affects the strength of the abdominal wall and can aggravate lower back pain.

Abdominal separation occurs most often in response to the force of the uterus pushing against the abdominal wall during pregnancy, but can also happen when there is an extreme over-abundance of sub-muscular (visceral) abdominal fat. In pregnancy, hormones are also partially to blame, as they can soften connective tissue, allowing the separation to occur more easily.” 

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Here I am…32 week pregnant with my twins!

Risks of developing diastasis are greater in women who:

  • Are over the age of 35
  • Have had a high birth weight baby
  • Have had twins, Triples and beyond
  • Have had Multiple Pregnancies
  • Are very Petite
  • Have had Abdominal Separation with a previous pregnancies
  • Have poor abdominal muscle tone
  • Have done excessive abdominal exercises after the first trimester of pregnancy

So why does it matter?

When you abdominal muscles separate, your core’s support is weakened resulting in the tummy pooch that you can’t seem to get rid of {ummm…this could actually be your organs protruding! SCARY} The organs protrude because the muscles are sperated instead of being pulled together! Even scarier if there is ever any trauma this could result in hernia can develop. A diastasis recti may appear as a ridge running down the midline of the abdomen It becomes more prominent with straining and may disappear when the abdominal muscles are relaxed. In extreme cases, diastasis recti is corrected with a surgical procedure known as an abdominoplasty. This creates a tighter abdominal wall.

Diastasis Recti Self Check:

The goal of this self check it to determine how many fingers will fit in the space between the two recti muscles {you can use the Diastasis Recti image above as a guide}

  • Step 1: Lay on your back, knees bent at 90° with feet flat {basically the sit up/crunch position}
  • Step 2: Slightly lift head, placing chin on chest and tighten abdomainal muscles {you may need to relax and tighten to feel the muscles better} Using two finger feel for two ridges down the middle of you stomach {start from the top of your abdomen working your way to your pelvis.
  • Step 3: If you feel separation it is now important to determine the degree of separation. This can be done by  determining the number of fingertips that can fit within the space between the muscles {from left to right}  Separation consisting of a width of 2 fingertips or more is the determining factor for diagnosing diastasis recti.

Do you feel a gap? Is it wider than 2 or 3 fingers? It’s OK, DO NOT FREAK because it is NEVER too late to close Diastasis Recti!

What you NEED to know about  Diastasis Recti?

First, closing Diastasis Recti is all about healing the connective tissue. This healing process and how long it will take in depended on the severity of your diastasis and how committed you are to the healing program {workout}.

Second, if your Diastasis Recti is moderate {2-3 finger gap} or severe {5 finger or more gap} crunches and planks are the WORST THING that you can do.  Why? because these workouts/movements actually pull the muscles apart and will only make your condition worse.

Third, it is SO IMPORTANT to do the self check! You may not have Diastasis Recti even if you are in the “High Risk” category {listed above} At the same time you may have Diastasis Recti even if you have zero connection to the “High Risk” list.

Great Easy to follow Diastasis Recti Workout:

These exercises have been shown to reduce the distasis recti separation!

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Taken from Julie Tupler, RN the author of “Lose Your Mummy Tummy” this is a book I highly recommend for anyone struggling with a weakened core caused by diastasis.

  • Core contraction – In a seated position, place both hands on abdominal muscles.Take small controlled breaths. Slowly contract the abdominal muscles, pulling them straight back towards the spine. Hold the contraction for 30 seconds, while maintaining the controlled breathing. Complete 10 repetitions.
  • Seated squeeze – Again in a seated position, place one hand above the belly button, and the other below the belly button. With controlled breaths, with a mid-way starting point, pull the abdominals back toward the spine, hold for 2 seconds and return to the mid-way point. Complete 100 repetitions.
  • Head lift – In a lying down position, knees bent at 90° angle, feet flat, slowly lift the head, chin toward your chest, (concentrate on isolation of the abdominals to prevent hip-flexors from being engaged), slowly contract abdominals toward floor, hold for two seconds, lower head to starting position for 2 seconds. Complete 10 repetitions.
  • Upright push-up – A standup pushup against the wall, with feet together arm’s-length away from wall, place hands flat against the wall, contract abdominal muscles toward spine, lean body towards wall, with elbows bent downward close to body, pull abdominal muscles in further, with controlled breathing. Release muscles as you push back to starting position. Complete 20 repetitions.
  • Squat against the wall – Also known as a seated squat, stand with back against the wall, feet out in front of body, slowly lower body to a seated position so knees are bent at a 90° angle, contracting abs toward spine as you raise body back to standing position. Optionally, this exercise can also be done using an exercise ball placed against the wall and your lower back. Complete 20 Repetitions.
  • Squat with squeeze – A variation to the “Squat against the wall” is to place a small resistance ball between the knees, and squeeze the ball as you lower your body to the seated position. Complete 20 repetitions.

*No Diastasis Recti will result in very minimal or no gapping of the muscles.

Finally:

If you have Diastasis Recti , I would HIGHLY recommend quitting ALL of the “traditional” abdominal exercises. I would also recommending getting a copy of Julie Tupler’s Lose your Mummy Tummy! Through Julie’s Tupler Technique® it could take you anywhere from six weeks to a year to close your diastasis.

Now GO and do a self check!

References and sources for this post include:

MuTuSystemLose Your Mummy Tummy aka Tupler Technique® , About.comWikipedia

*As always, please check with your medical professional before starting any exercise postpartum.

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LIVEexercise.com Review and Membership GIVEAWAY!!!

NGNELast month I shared a little bit about LIVEexercise {you can check out that post here} Today I’m beyond excited to share more about LIVEexercise with you!!

I want to take a few minutes and answer some questions that you might have about LIVEexercise starting with…

What’s LIVEexercise?

First of all LIVEexercise is AWESOME. It’s a online community of trainers and workout partners! These men and women are completely dedicated to making healthy living accessible for EVERYONE regardless of fitness level, body types, ages or location. In addition they are also dedicated to making all of this affordable regardless of your income level!

LiveExercise’s personal trainers are absolutely the best in the world!

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The workouts are really LIVE which means no retakes or  make up artists. I love the raw realness of these trainers, they are like friends, no judgement, no disappointment, they are there to encourage, push and support you because they really care! All workouts are filmed and broadcast in real-time from the LIVEexercise studios in Boca Raton Florida.

What kind of workouts does LIVEexercise post? Whoa, there are a ton! Like I mentioned above, LIVEexercise is dedicated to making workouts for EVERYONE regardless of fitness level, because of this there are several different categories…take a look…

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Like I said WHOA!

Here is a quick look at one of my FAVE workouts so far! I love it! I love Heather! View a clip from Episode 488 HERE!

How do I use LIVEexercise? The 3000+  will be totally  useless if you know how to use them. That’s why LIVEexercise has a onboarding” process. This on boarding process will help guide you towards the workouts and programs that are best for you!

screeninstructionsThere are a series of questions to help you find the perfect fit for you, such as:

What Level are you? choose from:

  • Beginner
  • Intermediate
  • Advanced

What is your Goal? choose from:

  • Build Muscle
  • Lose Weight/Fat
  • Increased Mobility
  • Performance
  • Tone and Tighten

What will you use? choose from:

  • Bodyweight
  • Resistance Bands
  • Treadmill

After answering these easy questions you will get suggestions based on your answers! Fool proof!

What if I miss a LIVE workout? No worries! As soon as the “live” shows are finished they are available on demand for replay, you also can view all past workouts in the archives! How cool is that! NEVER miss a workout because you’re late!

Can LIVEexercise really help me meet my fitness goals? Yes! LIVEexercise is there to support and cheer you on! When you workout with trainers you watch them push and struggle, they are right there with you! There ‘s something about that that just makes you want to push on! If you are dedicated to your fitness and want to make a change you will be encouraged knowing that the trainer ALWAYS shows up to work out with you and you will want to do the same.

I’m really busy and don’t have a lot of time to workout, can I still use LIVEexercise? No problem! YES you can! There are full-length classes that last between 30 and 50 minutes but, some take as little as 10 minutes! They are awesome and intense!

What kind of Equipment with I need? When you view the the LIVEexercise workouts you will notice that they often require Resistance Bands. LIVEexcerise LOVES resistance bands because they are compact, cheap, durable, and super effective. Get an amazing set of Resistance Band from Bodylastics HERE! I recommend the Max Tension XT set! You can also pick some up at any local store {including Wal Mart & Target}

What’s the cost?

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“LIVEexercise was developed with one goal in mind, to produce follow along at home workouts that would rival or surpass the best workouts at the gym or anyplace else. We call them at home workouts, but you can really do them anywhere! Since you can stream these incredible routines via the internet, you can also do them on the road, at the park, in an airport, the choice is yours.”

Why do I personally LOVE LIVEexercise? There are two main reasons. The first reason is the “On Demand” option! I have three kids, I’m a homeschool mom, I’m a full-time blogger…I’m busy 24/7, but I cannot and will not forfeit my health {I’ve done that enough in the past and it left me tired, feeling bad about my body and overweight} The On Demand options ensure that I will NEVER miss a workout, because let’s face it things happen and change our plans all the time. I’m able to pull up my favorite workouts, or the next episode in my program whenever I want…it might be 5 am or midnight, but I’m doing it!

The second reason is the fact that I can do all these awesome workouts in the comfort of my own home! I have friends who absolutely love the gym, and that’s great, but that is NOT me! I have never enjoyed going to the gym {regardless of my weight} I know that I’m not the only one who doesn’t care for the gym. There are a number of reasons as to why so many women specifically do not like the gym, including insecurity. When you go to the gym and you are uncomfortable it can be difficult to get a good workout in because of how you feel. That is NOT the case with LIVEexercise! You are at home, which means you can do your workout whenever and wherever!

Are YOU ready to LIVEecercies?

Here are a few ways to get connected with LIVEexercise:

Sign Up!

Right NOW you can get 2 Weeks FREE – all access!

You can WIN IT

I have partnered with Robyn at LIVEexercise to Giveaway 3 Months FREE of LIVEexercise!!!! Click Below to Enter!

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Enter the LIVEexercise Giveaway!

*Giveaway will run from 8/10/14 – 8/18/14  A winner will be selected 8/18/14 – contacted via email friday 8/19/14 *U.S Residents

Special Thank You to Robyn and LIVEexercise for this FANTASTIC Giveaway and the wonderful graphics! 

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