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8 Things to Put at the Top of Your Disney Cruise Packing List


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Disclosure: This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. All opinions are mine alone. #StopPainNow #CollectiveBias

Heading on a cruise with the main mouse? Here’s the 8 things you’ll want to be sure to remember and put at the top of your Disney Cruise Packing List.

We recently returned from our second Disney Cruise and everyone’s first question is “How was it? Are they really worth it?!?” It’s true, they’re definitely expensive and an investment for most families. We started planning our second one as soon as we got home from the first, which should tell you something for sure. It took 2 years of planning and saving to get back on the boat and even though it wasn’t our first time, I found myself reading blog posts and searching Pinterest for packing tips. There are a lot of helpful packing tips out there, but I decided to condense them into one post and share the top things that you should not forget when you’re planning your Disney Cruise packing list.

Sunscreen

While it should be on your list, sometimes the most obvious is often neglected. You can buy sunscreen on the boat, but it’s over priced so put it on your list now! After a few days of splashing in the pool and building sandcastles on Castaway Cay, you’re going to need it. For our family of four, I usually pack 3 full bottles.

Carry-On Bag

This may be my biggest tip because you’ll turn your luggage over to the cruise personnel who will deliver it right to your room. The only problem? It could be 6 o’clock in the evening before it gets there! So be sure to have all your personal items that you may need with you in a tote bag.

Insider Tip: Wear your swimsuit under your clothes so you can head straight to the pool… after stopping at the buffet in Cabanas first, of course!

In my carry-on tote you’ll always find a change of clothes for the girls, medicines I need for the day, hairbrush, sunscreen, and my phone case.

No Beach Towels

While this isn’t something to include on your packing list, it’s something to definitely remember. Do NOT worry about packing beach towels. They take up a ton of room in your bag, which is precious room especially if you’re flying to your port and Disney provides you with pool towels not only when you’re hanging out on the ship, but also when you port at your destinations.

Insider Tip:  You can also leave the shampoo, conditioner, and body lotion at home too. These are provided in your staterooms and I love them. If you love them too, you can even buy bottles to take home from the gift shop on board.

Waterproof Phone Case with Lanyard

The Disney Cruise Line has not yet adopted the Magic Bands system. Instead they use a plastic, credit-like card as your room key. You use this card for everything so you want to keep it close. On that same notion, you’ll want to keep your phone close too… for all those picture-perfect memories. I love the waterproof phone case sleeves because they can hold both!

Cup or Water Bottle

The Disney Cruise Line is one of very few cruise lines that offer free soft drinks. They do have paper cups available by the drink machines, but they’re small and disposable. Be sure to take your own reusable cup or water bottle.

Pirate Night Outfit

During every Disney Cruise you’ll experience one night full of Pirate festivities. It’s one of the most fun nights for our family and we always try to take clothes to match the theme. You’ll see LOTS of variety within costumes – some people go all out, some are homemade like ours, and others just go in regular casual wear for the night.

Sneakers

My family actually enjoys a Disney Cruise more than Disney World! You see, you have the best of Disney World all at your fingertips, but you also have one thing that Disney World doesn’t… Castaway Cay! Disney’s private island is by far the reason we’ll continue to keep coming back.

If you’re a runner, or even if you’re not, consider participating in the Castaway Cay 5K. Bring your sneakers and run, or walk [because walkers are definitely welcome too!] while enjoying the beauty of Disney’s private island.

Medications

You’ll definitely want to remember your medications. While a cruise is definitely relaxing, there’s a lot of walking involved on the boat. I remember that from our last cruise and was sure to bring along Curamin® Stop Pain Now. It’s a dietary supplement that I’ve been using to help deal with the chronic pain of my recent diagnosis of Costochondritis.

While my chest doesn’t hurt all the time, when I have a flare up it is really bad and the last place I wanted to have a flare up was on a boat in the middle of the ocean! Before our trip, I headed to our local Vitamin Shoppe to pick up a bottle of Curamin® Extra Strength for the peace of mind of knowing I wouldn’t have to deal with the pain while we were on vacation.

I’ve been choosing to use Curamin® because it’s a safe, effective, non-addictive herbal formula, which differs from over-the-counter pain medications and prescription drugs that can sometimes have negative side effects.

If you also suffer from chronic pain, don’t just mask the pain like I did for so long, get to the source of it. You can find Curamin® at health food stores nationwide. Be sure to check their store locator for your nearest location. Don’t let your chronic pain deter you from doing the things you love… I definitely don’t now!

I really think that anyone, any age, would enjoy a Disney Cruise. As with any vacation being prepared is one of the best ways to make sure your cruise is an enjoyable experience. Be sure to bring all the necessities and leave the fun up to Disney!

10 Fun Sea Turtle Facts for Kids + DIY Sea Turtle Craft + an EnviroKidz Giveaway


The best way to teach your children about endangered animals is to get hands on! Check out these 10 fun sea turtle facts for kids plus how to make your own sea turtle craft that floats!
This post was inspired by a collaboration with EnviroKidz. All opinions on the cuteness of sea turtles are my own. This post may contain affiliate links.

My kids, like almost every other kid on Earth, love animals. They even love the gross ones because, well, they don’t know they’re gross yet. And they really love the ones they don’t see often – like sharks, pandas, monkeys, and sea turtles, which just happen to be animals that they often see on their favorite EnviroKidz cereal boxes and snacks. Oh yes, sea turtles have always been fascinating to both of my girls. I think cute little Crush from Finding Nemo played a big part in that.

To get our conversation about sea turtles going, we decided to make some of our own. This floating sea turtle craft is so easy, but so fun for the kiddos to make and then play with after.

All you need to make these fun floating friends is:Foam-Sheets, 50-Pack, Rainbow ColorsFoam-Sheets, 50-Pack, Rainbow Colors

  • Green Craft Foam
  • Plastic Containers from applesauce or fruit cups
  • Googly Eyes [optional]
  • Craft Paint
  • Glue

Let your children paint the plastic cups any shades of blue or green. While they’re painting, print out this sea turtle template then trace onto your green craft foam. Once the painted cups are dry, glue them onto your foam turtles.

These turtles will actually float, which makes them a ton of fun especially in the bath tub or water table!

Another thing my girls love is learning about their favorite animals. Sophia’s favorite type of books are animal nonfiction books. And they’re both always amazed at fun facts which is what inspired me to share these 10 fun sea turtle facts for kids.

1. Sea Turtles have been on Earth for more than 220 million years.

Yes million years. That means that sea turtles were around when dinosaurs roamed the Earth!

2. Sea Turtles can live to be 100 years old.

3. Sea Turtles have a form of GPS.

Ok, maybe not exactly like the navigation systems we have in our cars, but sea turtles do use vibration to know where they’re going. They also have excellent eyesight and sense of smell.

4. Females return to the beach where they were born to lay their own eggs.

See… that GPS must work pretty well because this means they may travel hundreds of miles to return to the beach where they hatched.

5. Only 1 in 1,000 baby sea turtles survive.

Once the females lays her eggs, she leaves and the eggs stay on land for 2 months alone before they hatch. This makes the eggs extremely vulnerable. Once hatched, the baby sea turtles must find their way to the ocean and avoid predators like crabs and birds during their slow trek to the ocean. Those flippers are made for swimming not walking, which makes them very slow and a bit clumsy [as seen in the Disney movie, Moana when baby Moana helps one make it safely]!

6. Sea turtles lay 100-200 eggs at a time.

National Geographic Readers: Sea TurtlesNational Geographic Readers: Sea TurtlesSea Turtles: Fun Facts About TurtlesSea Turtles: Fun Facts About TurtlesCute Set Of Turtle Family Bath Set (set of 4)Cute Set Of Turtle Family Bath Set (set of 4)Nalgene Kids / Children's - Purple Sea TurtleNalgene Kids / Children’s – Purple Sea Turtle

7. Sea turtles don’t need a supply of fresh water. They get their water intake from the food they eat.

8. Unlike land turtles, sea turtles can’t hide their heads and legs inside their shell, which makes them much more vulnerable to predators in the ocean.

9. There are 7 types of sea turtles.

Sea Turtles are classified into these seven types: Green, Hawksbill, Leatherback, Flatback, Loggerhead, Kemp Ridley and Olive Ridley. The fastest type are the leatherbacks who have been known to swim at over 20 miles per hour. Green sea turtles are the world’s largest species of hard-shelled sea turtle, with most weighing about 300 to 400 pounds. The biggest type of sea turtle is the loggerhead that can weigh as much as 1,000 pounds and the smallest being the Olive Ridley that can be as small as 100 pounds at full grown size.

10. 6 out of 7 types of Sea Turtles are endangered.

There used to be millions of sea turtles in the ocean, but now there are only thousands. The main reasons that EnviroKidz Organic Crispy Rice Bars, ChocolateEnviroKidz Organic Crispy Rice Bars, Chocolatethese beautiful creatures have become endangered is due to: poaching, loss of nesting or feeding areas, ocean pollution and weather changes caused by global warming.

If your kids are like mine, after they hear that last fact, they’ll want to do something to make a difference. And they can with your help thanks to EnviroKidz. Through their 1% for the Planet partnership, EnviroKidz helps support carefully chosen organizations that work tirelessly to save koalas, sea turtles, chimpanzees, gorillas, lemurs and more. The lucky EnviroTrip winners will get the chance to see the great work of these organizations, learn about local culture, meet the animals, and get their hands dirty to help save the sea turtles’ habitat.

Every year EnviroKidz holds an on-the-box EnviroTrip contest, and each year winning families join them for a fun and educational adventure to help save endangered species. This year’s trip is to Belize! Ready to take your family on a trip of a lifetime to learn even more about how YOU can make a difference – enter the EnviroTrip Contest! Hurry, the contest ends at 9:00 am on April 28th, 2017.

Nature’s Path is ready to turn your children into EnviroKidz – one lucky reader will win a prize package full of EnviroKidz cereals and snack bars!

This giveaway will end on April 12th. It is open to US residents, 18+ only.
Please use the Rafflecopter form below to enter.

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Easter Bunny Inspired Recipe for Frozen Yogurt Pops


This recipe for frozen yogurt pops comes with an extra crunch. Plus they’re in adorable bunny shapes which makes them perfect for Easter and Spring mornings and afternoon snacks!

This post may contain affiliate links.

“Who wants a popsicle for breakfast?!” It’s my girls’ dream question in the morning and believe it or not, I actually do give them popsicles for breakfast sometimes! Of course, they’re not just any popsicles, but ones that I make at home and you can too.

There are a ton of different variations and recipes for frozen yogurt pops. Tailor your flavors to what your kids like, obviously, but these are also a great way to have them try new foods. You can add in real fruit, chia seeds, and our favorite – granola. I am obsessed with these myself because I love the added crunch of the granola on the back!

Now are you ready to see just how easy these frozen yogurt pops are to make?!

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Any yogurt of your choice.
  • Easter Bunny silicone candy mold. I found this great version on Amazon as they no longer carry the one I have. You can also do these in ANY silicone mold for other times of the year. Seriously – how cute would it be to make donut frozen yogurt pops with this donut mold!?!
  • 1 Cup of Granola
  • Lollipop Sticks

Wilton Easter Bunny Shaped Silicone Treat MoldWilton Easter Bunny Shaped Silicone Treat MoldColored Lollipop Sticks 100 count 6 inch lollipop sticksColored Lollipop Sticks 100 count 6 inch lollipop sticksNature's Path Organic Love Crunch Premium Granola, Aloha BlendNature’s Path Organic Love Crunch Premium Granola, Aloha Blend

Putting these yogurt pops together is as easy as you’re thinking.

  1. Fill your silicone mold with your choice of yogurt, leaving a bit of room if you’re adding granola.
  2. Place a lollipop stick in each one.
  3. Sprinkle granola in a thin layer over the yogurt.
  4. Freeze the mold for about 1-2 hours, until frozen through.

Once they’re completely frozen, enjoy! You can save these by popping out of your molds and you can even save them for a few days [although I bet they won’t last that long!] for snacks by putting them in a storage container and storing in your freezer.

You and your kiddos will also enjoy these other recipes for frozen yogurt pops:

Sunny Spring Days Giveaway


We are celebrating Spring with this fun Sunny Spring Days giveaway for families! Coordinated by Mommy Scene and sponsored by the participating brands, this fun giveaway has something for everyone! One lucky winner will receive all of these awesome prizes when the giveaway ends 4/14/17.

Charlie Banana Diapers

Prize: Charlie Banana One Size Diaper Twitter Bird & Deluxe Inserts

The Charlie Banana reusable diapering system is innovative and Eco-friendly; each set includes 1 cloth diaper and 2 highly absorbent, reusable, washable inserts. The sizable safe-snap system allows the one-size diaper to grow with your baby. Highly absorbent inserts make these cloth diapers great for both daily and overnight use. Learn more at charliebanana.com.

Scrub Bugs

Prize: 2 Scrub Bugs Hand Scrubbers

Scrub Bugs are the 1st surgeon inspired hand scrubbers for kids. They are proven to clean hands over 3X better than ordinary handwashing.  Cleaner Hands, Healthier Kids – More Fun! Learn more at myscrubbugs.com.

Wild Dill Kids

Prize: A Wild Dill Exclusive Print!

Wild Dill commissioned artist Juliet Meeks to come up with a sweet nighttime inspired watercolor for a baby nursery. The result is this magical sleepy narwhal swimming under a starry sky and moonlit night. 8″ x 10″ high quality print designed by Artist Juliet Meeks. Learn more at wilddill.com.

Kangapouch

Prize: Organic Cotton White Sleep Sack, 0-12 months OR 12-24 months

Kangapouch is a cotton down fill baby sleep sack that will move with your baby through rolls and turns during sleep, keeping your baby warm, comfortable and covered at all times. Kangapouch is also ideal for sleepovers and camping. Kangapouch is the original down filled baby sleep sack. CPSA certified and created to the highest quality, ethical and safety standards. Kangapouch has adjustable snaps on the shoulders and Velcro waist fasteners to allow for growth. Zipper-pull guard protects your baby’s skin and two- way zippers allows for easy diaper change and added ventilation for use in all seasons. The white organic cotton Kangapouch uses a 550 thread count of 100% organic cotton fabric and is filled with duck down. Easy machine wash & dry. Learn more at kangapouch.net.

Lottie, Finn & Friends

Prize: Lottie, Finn & Friends 7.5″ Doll

Lottie, Finn & Friends are age appropriate, relatable and empowering dolls and accessories inspired by childhood. Unlike other dolls, Lottie is based on a nine-year-old child. This collection of dolls and accessories encourage children to be imaginative, adventurous and most of all, to have fun. 2017 will see Lottie launch a series of chapter books with Penguin, as well as a ‘Brownie’ doll and accessories as part of a licensing deal signed with the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts. Learn more at lottie.com.

Yummi Pouch

Prize: Jewel Cloth Snack Bags – set of 3

Take snacks on the go with Yummi Pouch cloth sandwich bags. These gorgeous Eco-friendly cloth storage bags have a moisture resistant interior, open with a zipper, and are decorated with modern jewel color patterns. Also available in snack bag size! Perfect for crackers, sandwiches, dry snacks, small items, accessories, and cosmetics. Learn more at revelae.com.

Sudsy Dough

Prize: Sudsy Dough Moldable Soap

Sudsy Dough is an interactive, sensory bath toy that doubles as a moldable scented dough and a cleansing soap. Kids can squeeze and squish Sudsy Dough in the bath, rub it on as body wash, or take it outside the tub and let it dry to make custom-shaped soaps. Sudsy Dough is scented and moisturizing, available in fragrances Sassy Strawberry, Merry Mango, Bubbly Blueberry, and Awesome Apple. Learn more at revelae.com.

Enter to win this fun prize collection!
Giveaway is open to US residents, 18+ only. Ends April 14th.
Please use the Rafflecopter form below to enter.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
This giveaway is coordinated by Mommy Scene, sponsored by the participating brands, and is open to US entries ages 18 and older. No purchase required to enter. One winner will be randomly chosen and contacted through e-mail, and their name displayed on the giveaway widget after the giveaway ends on April 14, 2017. Mommy Scene and participating blogs are not responsible for fulfilling brand-sponsored prizes. Prizes will be shipped directly from each brand. Have fun and good luck!

Here’s Why I’m Starting a Routine of Taking a Probiotic Daily [+ a Giveaway!]


As we age, it’s important to be more proactive about our health. Here’s why I’m starting a routine of taking a probiotic daily and why you should too.

This is a sponsored post for which I’ve received free product and/or compensation, but the opinions are 100% my own.

While I feel healthy at this point in my life, something is definitely going on within my body that I’ve decided it’s time to figure out. I was recently diagnosed with perioral dermatitis by my Dermatologist. It came as a shock because I have never really had skin issues, even in my teenage years.

I’ve also noticed that I’ve been developing some other minor symptoms that when added up, become significant issues. While I attributed some of them to aging [oh my – aren’t I too young to use that statement?!], I know that some are more than likely due to my diet and environment.

That’s why I am choosing to add in a probiotic to my daily routine. While I ultimately would like to eliminate certain foods from my diet [including dairy and gluten to determine if one of these are a culprit], I don’t think I’m ready to jump on that bandwagon just yet. I feel like by adding PB 8™ Probiotics into my daily life, I’ll be on the right track to taking charge of my health.

PB 8 Probiotics have been sold for more than 25 years so I definitely feel like I’m choosing a brand that has longevity behind it’s products. The newest PB 8 probiotic capsule is easy to swallow and free of dairy, gluten and soy. There are 10 Billion beneficial bacteria in a single PB 8™ vegetarian capsule. Ⱶ PB 8 is specially formulated with probiotic strains that help support your immune and digestive system.*

During my research on probiotics I discovered that at least 60% of the immune cells are in the intestines. It seems that so many people suffer with immune deficiencies these days and I have to wonder what could be the cause! Be sure to follow along as I’m committing to adding a probiotic capsule for the next 3 months and I’m excited to share how it effects my daily life.

Want to join me? PB 8™Probiotic that helps support the immune system can be purchased online at Amazon, Vitacost, and Puritan’s pride. You can even get $1 Off with this PB8 coupon! One lucky reader is going to win 2 bottles of PB8 Probiotic Capsules to jump start their digestive health with me!

PB8 Probiotics

This giveaway will end on April 6th. It is open to US residents, 18+ only.
Please use the Rafflecopter form below to enter.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

20 Fun DIY Beauty and the Beast Crafts


With the release of the new live action version of a Disney classic comes a whole new generation of fans. Here are 20 great, fun DIY Beauty and the Beast crafts you can enjoy by yourself or with your little one!

This post contains affiliate links.

Have you fallen in love with the new live action version of Beauty and the Beast like the rest of the world has already? The movie just premiered this past weekend and it’s already blowing up box office records. We were lucky enough to see the movie on the last night of our Disney Cruise and I was just blown away at how amazing it really was!

While I have been a fan of Belle and the Beast for years, a new generation is just getting a taste of it all. That’s why I think you’ll LOVE this list of fun and tasty DIYs all centered around our beloved characters!

Doodle Craft – Beauty and the Beast Enchanted Rose

Two Kids and a Coupon – Grey Stuff Brownies

Kandy Kreations – DIY Chip Teacup

Nerdy Mamma – Beauty and the Beast Rose Oreos

A Girl and a Glue Gun – Beauty and the Beast Cut Files for Making Shirts

Disney Beauty & The Beast Live Action Enchanted Rose Jewelry Box ToyDisney Beauty & The Beast Live Action Enchanted Rose Jewelry Box ToyDisney Beauty & The Beast Live Action Enchanted Tea Set PlaysetDisney Beauty & The Beast Live Action Enchanted Tea Set PlaysetWomens Sexy Popular Beauty and the Beast Printed Pants Leggings (L)Womens Sexy Popular Beauty and the Beast Printed Pants Leggings (L)Disney Beauty and The Beast Live Action Baby Belle DollDisney Beauty and The Beast Live Action Baby Belle Doll

Rambles of a Polish Addict – Beauty and the Beast Belle Inspired Nails

Operation 40k – Beauty and the Beast Cheesecake Shooters

Cutesy Crafts – Beauty and the Beast Coloring Page Bookmarks

Cuzin Logic – DIY Cogsworth Ornament

Val Event Gal – Beauty and the Beast Rose Centerpieces

Natural Beach Living – Cogsworth Snack

The Keeper of the Cheerios – Beauty and the Beast Inspired Snow Globe

Disney Movies – Belle’s Hanging Vases

Women and Their Pretties – DIY Beauty and the Beast Wreath

Crafter Hours – DIY Bell Dress Costume

Kandy Kreations – Cogsworth Craft

Beauty And The Beast Mens Awesome Aprons Vintage ApronsBeauty And The Beast Mens Awesome Aprons Vintage ApronsDisney's Beauty and the Beast Deluxe Cake / Cupcake Topper Decorating KitDisney’s Beauty and the Beast Deluxe Cake / Cupcake Topper Decorating KitRed Rose 3D Fancy Pops - 25CT.Red Rose 3D Fancy Pops – 25CT.Beauty And The Beast Belle PEZ DispenserBeauty And The Beast Belle PEZ Dispenser

Simply Made Fun – Beauty and the Beast Enchanted Rose Wall Art

Two Kids and a Coupon – Beauty and the Beast Printable Coloring Pages

Cutesy Crafts – Beauty and the Beast Cupcakes with Strawberry Roses

Brit.co – Beauty and the Beast Teacup Cupcake Liners

An Easy and Delicious Mediterranean Salad Recipe to Make Tonight


Fancy Mediterranean salad recipes sometimes seem as complicated as spelling the word Mediterranean. This is not one of those recipes. It’s easy, delicious, and should be on your menu tonight!

This Mediterranean salad recipe was inspired by a collaboration with Newman’s Own Organics. All opinions are my own.

When we go out to eat at a restaurant I have to say that my favorite thing to order is usually the salad. I always try to pick one beyond a typical house salad because that seems to be the only kind I regularly make at home. So, when we’re at a restaurant, I try to branch out and try something different.

Lately though, in an effort to stay on budget and stick to a healthier diet, we are eating at home more than eating out these days. While I was planning our weekly menu I thought to myself “Why can’t I step out of the regular salad routine at home too?!” It turns out, I totally can, although I really had no idea what type of salad I should make so I let the grocery store shelves help inspire me.

I always purchase Newman’s Own Organics salad dressings because of the fresh, crisp flavor that they add to salads. When I saw the new organic line of dressings on my latest shopping trip, I knew one of them would be my salad inspiration. While I chose to use the Newman’s Own Organics organic Balsamic dressing for this Mediterranean salad recipe, I think the organic Olive Oil & Vinegar dressing is next on my list!

Newmans’ Own Organics was founded by the late actor and philanthropist, Paul Newman. Since that very first day the company began in 1982 Newman’s Own has always given 100 percent of profits to charity. Today, the company has given over $485 million to charity! Today, Newman’s Own Organics continues to carry on Mr. Newman’s philanthropic legacy with the Newman’s Own Foundation, building upon the premise the company was founded upon, while also creating some of the cleanest and best-tasting organic foods available.

Spinach Manicotti with Salad

While I set out to create a side salad that would pair perfectly with my Spinach Manicotti, the salad ultimately became a delicious dinner all on it’s own. Chopped fresh vegetables paired with olives, artichoke hearts and feta crumbles, covered in organic Balsamic dressing is how this Mediterranean salad came together.

If you’re ready to toss your plain house salad from your weekly menu, I encourage you to pick up a bottle of organic salad dressing from Newman’s Own Organics and give this one a try.

 

Easy and Delicious Mediterranean Salad
Save Recipe

Ingredients

  • 16.5 oz. Salad Greens
  • Jar Marinated Artichoke Hearts, drained and chopped
  • 1 Container Grape Tomatoes [halved]
  • 2 Cucumbers, chopped
  • 1/3 - 1/2 red/purple onion sliced
  • 1/2 Green Pepper, chopped
  • 6 - 8 oz. Feta Cheese Crumbles
  • 1 cup Whole Pitted Olives
  • Newman's Own Organics Balsamic Vinaigrette Dressing

Instructions

  1. Chop and prep fresh vegetables per instructions in ingredients. Toss together with Newman's Own Organics Balsamic Vinaigrette Dressing. I like to use approximately 1/4 cup for this size of salad, but you'll want to add slowly to get the salad you prefer.
  2. Serve as a side salad or enjoy this healthy, fresh salad as your dinner tonight!
6.8
https://soeasybeinggreen-blog.com/mediterranean-salad-recipe/

Impact the Future of Healthcare in this Community + Earn Amazon Gift Cards


This is a sponsored post. I received a promotional item from C Space as a thank you for participating.

Do you want to impact the future of healthcare? Share your opinions, take surveys and earn Amazon rewards in this online community. The Idea Space community is where people living with various health conditions can provide feedback to influence future programs and services for their symptoms.

Membership is by invitation only and spots are filling up fast for this community, so take this quick survey today to see if you qualify: http://bit.ly/2lYdeRN

What to Expect: 

  • Fast and Easy – As a member, you can expect to spend 10 to 15 minutes online per week contributing to various community activities.
  • Influence – Your voice is powerful! Help us understand your experiences, challenges, successes and unmet needs. Members will express their insights though surveys and other online interactive activities to help inform decision makers in the healthcare industry who are working to ensure the relevancy of future programs and services.
  • Earn- Earn Amazon gift codes for your active participation

Privacy Note: Your personal and identifying information will be kept confidential and is NOT shared with the sponsor or anyone else – this is true for your completion of this brief qualifying survey as well as for your participation within the community. Your identity and contributions on the community site will be completely anonymous. This isn’t a clinical trial. It is anonymous, healthcare market research.

Membership is by invitation only and spots are filling up fast for the Idea Space community, so take this quick survey today to see if you qualify: http://bit.ly/2lYdeRN

5 Reasons Composting for Your Garden is a Good Idea


To make your garden more sustainable you should start your own compost. Here are 5 reasons composting for your garden is a good idea.

Reasons Compost in Garden is Good

Raising your own backyard vegetable garden is a fantastic way to be sure your family is eating healthy and it will save you money on your weekly grocery bill. Whether your growing vegetables in the ground in your back yard or in raised container beds, there is one thing that you could be doing to improve the quality of your backyard garden… composting for your garden!

1. Improved Growth for Plants

One of the best results that you’ll see with composting is improved growth for the plants in your garden. Composting materials help push apart your garden soil, which in turn helps it breathe better. This also allows water to drain more freely through the soil helping the plants to retain more moisture and nutrients.

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2. Less Waste

It only makes sense that if you’re composting food scraps and biodegradable materials, you’ll be creating less waste. By adding your eggs shells and fruit peelings to your compost bowl and ultimately to your garden, the less materials you’ll have to add to your trash bins.

3. It’s Easy

Don’t let composting for gardens scare you because it really can be super easy to do yourself. There are two main types of composting – Hot and Cold. Hot composting is a little more involved as you do need a space outside, either a compost tumbler like this one or you can even use a wooden box like this to hold your materials. You’ll also have to perform regular turning of your materials. Although this type of composting is more involved, it’s still fairly easy.

If you’re not ready for hot composting and the time involved, cold composting is even easier… so easy that you can start today! One easy way to start is adding a large bowl on your kitchen counter where you’ll put your organic materials such as egg shells, banana peels, coffee grounds, and more. Once your bowl is full, you can add these materials right onto your garden soil.

Yimby Tumbler Composter, Color BlackYimby Tumbler Composter, Color BlackLINKYO Compost Bin - Stainless Steel Kitchen ComposterLINKYO Compost Bin – Stainless Steel Kitchen ComposterFood Cycler Indoor Kitchen Composte Container - Easy to UseFood Cycler Indoor Kitchen Composte Container – Easy to UseMiracle Gro Dual Chamber Tumbling ComposterMiracle Gro Dual Chamber Tumbling Composter

4. Organic Materials

There are so many items that you can compost that are often just tossed into the trash. Organic materials like banana peels, corn cobs, and nut shells make great additions to your composting bowl or pile. In fact, by adding compost in soil in your garden, you’re helping insure more organic materials are being returned to the soil which will definitely help your harvest.

5. Saves Money

The more you compost, the less you throw in the trash! But not only will you be saving money because of less trash, you’ll be buying less additives for your garden soil as well. Composting is great for your garden soil because it adds many nutrients that help your plants grow.

Learning to be sustainable should be on every gardener’s list and by composting for your garden your one step closer. When your home is sustainable, your footprint on the Earth is smaller, and much more eco-friendly. Composting doesn’t have to be overwhelming and there are so many benefits to adding food wastes and other materials that you might normally throw away, to your composting pile.

Continue reading more of my gardening posts:

Compost in Soil without ComposterGardening with KidsHerbs to Grow

Instant Pot Cooking: 5 Ways to Use Your Instant Pot This Spring


Pressure cookers are great for comfort food in the winter, but don’t store it away for Summer. Here are 5 ways to continue Instant Pot cooking in the Spring.

Instant Pot Recipe Ideas

This post may contain affiliate links.

The weather is warm and you may be venturing outside to use your grill, but there are still great ways to your Instant pot this spring. Whether you use it to create a delicious side dish to go with that yummy grilled meat or make homemade yogurt for those morning smoothies, you can get the most from your Instant Pot this spring.

1. Brown Rice Salad

A wonderful way to use your Instant Pot this spring is to cook up some brown rice to go with your grilled meat. Once the rice is cooked, stir in some feta cheese, sliced olives, chopped green onions, and a bit of Italian dressing. It’s simple, quick, and makes you look like a culinary rock star. Best of all, you can do this rice salad with so many different ingredients.

Best Instant Pot Accessories

ekovana Stackable Stainless Steel Pressure Cooker Steamer Insert Pans with lidekovana Stackable Stainless Steel Pressure Cooker Steamer Insert Pans with lidInstant Pot Inner Pot, Stainless Steel with 3 Ply Bottom, for 6 Qt/L ModelsInstant Pot Inner Pot, Stainless Steel with 3 Ply Bottom, for 6 Qt/L ModelsCookingBasics Silicone Vegetable Steamer - Anti-Slip 2016 Premium Quality Silicone Steamer Basket With Handles for Healthy CookingCookingBasics Silicone Vegetable Steamer – Anti-Slip 2016 Premium Quality Silicone Steamer Basket With Handles for Healthy CookingTopoko 100% Stainless Steel Vegetable Steamer, Pasta Steamer, Folding Collapsible Basket for Various Size PotsTopoko 100% Stainless Steel Vegetable Steamer, Pasta Steamer, Folding Collapsible Basket for Various Size Pots

2. Homemade Yogurt Smoothies

Have you ever looked at the ingredients in your store-bought yogurt? It’s kind of scary, isn’t it? Instead of reaching for a store-bought yogurt each morning, use your Instant Pot to make homemade yogurt. Not only can you control the ingredients, but you’ll have the freshest yogurt you can get your hands on. Add the yogurt to a blender along with your favorite fresh fruit, ice, and protein powder for a quick breakfast.

3. Steamed Vegetables

A great way to ease the guilt of eating a big grilled rib eye steak is to pair it with some steamed vegetables. Thanks to your Instant Pot, you can quickly and easily steam up your favorite vegetables. Steam up some broccoli, red bell peppers, and carrots seasoned with your favorite spice blend.

These are my favorite for steaming vegetables in my Instant Pot.

4. Keep Things Warm

Instant Pot IP-LUX60 V3 Programmable Electric Pressure Cooker, 6Qt, 1000W (updated model)Instant Pot IP-LUX60 V3 Programmable Electric Pressure Cooker, 6Qt, 1000W (updated model)Cooking for a large crowd? Pop those steaks, burgers, hot dogs, etc in your Instant Pot and set it on the warming function. Everything will stay nice and warm until you’ve made enough for everyone. You can even start cooking before the party begins so that you can spend time with your friends instead of standing over the grill the entire time.

5. Dessert

Last, but not least, don’t forget about that awesome slow cooker function. Slow cookers are a great way to cook up a delicious dessert. Whether it’s a hot fudge cake or a pineapple upside down cake, you’ll have a delicious dessert waiting for you once you’ve polished off that yummy grilled steak.

Instant Pot Walnut Caramel Cheesecake

You can also use the pressure cooker setting to makes this delicious Instant Pot Cheesecake!

Don’t store your Instant Pot once spring arrives. You can create delicious side dishes, desserts, and even keep those grilled foods warm. Once you get started, you’ll find that you love your Instant Pot even more.

Dairy and Gluten Free Lunch Box Ideas featuring Daiya Foods


Don’t let food allergies have you struggling with school lunches. Here are great dairy and gluten free lunch box ideas that any kid will love.

This post was inspired by a collaboration with Daiya Foods. All opinions are my own.

When my oldest daughter was diagnosed with a dairy allergy at the age of 3, it honestly shook our world. I hadn’t given food allergies a thought before that time. But with that diagnosis, along with gluten intolerance, we had to make some lifestyle changes in the food we ate. It was much easier to make our foods safe for Sophia rather than serve her dairy and gluten free meals on her own.

When I first started researching and shopping for dairy and gluten alternatives I kept coming across one name, Daiya. I read that Daiya Foods and cheeses were a great alternative because they had some of the same consistencies of dairy cheese. It was a brand that I chose in the beginning for Sophia and one that I continue to use, especially when I’m packing her lunch box.

Daiya Foods, the makers of delicious plant-based alternatives that are free of dairy, gluten and soy will be launching several new products at Natural Products Expo West today, March 10. New innovations include Daiya Shreds – Cutting Board Collection and Cheeze Slices.

Since I couldn’t be in California at the Natural Products Expo West, Daiya sent me the new products and they definitely inspired some great dairy and gluten free lunch box ideas.

Before we went dairy free, cheese quesadillas were almost an everyday lunch occurrence in my house. Since then we hadn’t made too many, but the new Daiya Shreds – Cutting Board Collection on corn tortillas have been a lunch box request this week!


Daiya Shreds – Cutting Board Collection are a delicious plant-based addition to your favorite cheesy recipes, including pizza, cheesy pastas, your favorite Mexican dish, or my favorite – melted over steamed broccoli.

With a more dairy-like flavor and texture compared to Daiya Original Shreds, the Cutting Board Collection features the same amazing melt and stretch. Bold and deliciously flavorful, Daiya Shreds – Cutting Board Collection are available in Cheddar Style, Mozzarella Style and Pepperjack Style.


In this bento box, I paired the cheeze quesadillas with fresh fruit and vegetables and a rice cake. My girls love to spread almond butter on them and top with fresh fruit!

While Sophia wasn’t ever diagnosed with a gluten allergy, I’ve definitely noticed that when she consumes gluten her eczema flares up. That’s one reason we strive for dairy and gluten free lunch box ideas that she can eat without flare-ups of any kind and that’s another reason that we choose to use Daiya’s products.


Daiya Foods is passionate about celebrating delicious food that is 100% plant based.  Everything Daiya manufactures is dairy-, gluten- and soy-free. Daiya’s selection of deliciously dairy-free foods can be found in more than 22,000 grocery stores across the US and Canada, including Whole Foods, Kroger, Safeway and Publix.

Another great dairy and gluten free lunch box idea that is super easy is a cheese and crackers box. Paired with gluten-free crackers, the Daiya Slices make the perfect “sandwich”. I like to cut the slices into fun shapes with food cutters just to make lunches a little more fun. The cheese slices are as yummy cool with crackers as they are melted on a grilled panini!

I always hear that bento boxes take too much time – but this box is the perfect example of a quick, delicious and nutritious lunch. In addition to your cheese cracker sandwiches, include a few fruit and tomato kabobs with fresh fruit and hummus [in the piggy pot] for dipping and your child will get excited about lunch every time!

The new and improved Daiya Slices are now made with coconut oil and have the same incredible melt, stretch and taste as dairy-based cheese. I also love the updated, re-sealable package available with all four crave-worthy flavors: Cheddar Style, Swiss Style, Provolone Style, and introducing NEW American Style. All of the flavors contain NO titanium dioxide and NO carrageenan.

While Sophia is technically the only one that needs to eat dairy free in our home, I’ve adapted many of our family favorite recipes with Daiya products. They really are ideal for anyone looking to eat better, whether they’re dairy-intolerant, allergic, vegan, or simply living a healthy lifestyle.

For even more dairy and gluten free lunch box ideas, be sure to follow my Dairy+Gluten Free board on Pinterest.

When Can Babies Eat Yogurt?


Do you find yourself wondering when can babies eat yogurt? This article is for you! Here’s why your baby should be eating organic yogurt as early as 6 months.

This post was created in partnership with Stonyfield.  All opinions are my own.

I remember when my baby was a YoBaby… in fact, both of them! As a young, first-time Mom I read all the books and followed all the “rules”. I knew babies weren’t supposed to have milk before age 1 and I assumed yogurt was the same since it’s made from dairy. I was wrong.

While introducing first foods into a baby’s diet can be exciting, it’s also a stressful time for parents. In research Stonyfield conducted with ORC International*, they found out that at least one-third of parents admit to feeding confusion during baby’s first months, and 53% feel overwhelmed by the varying opinions on early childhood nutrition. So I wasn’t alone!

“Most parents don’t know babies can begin reaping the benefits of yogurt as young as six months,” explains Dr.  Tanya Altmann, MD FAAP. “I recommend feeding Stonyfield YoBaby® daily at this age. It’s a great first food, made with organic whole milk, it delivers Vitamin D and calcium for bone growth, and now added BB-12® to help support digestive health.”

There’s also many other reasons to love YoBaby® yogurt…

With more than 17 years of experience making organic yogurt specially crafted just for babies, it’s no wonder that Stonyfield YoBaby® yogurt is the #1 Pediatrician Recommended yogurt for babies between six months and two years old among refrigerated yogurts.[3] A pioneer in the category, Stonyfield has been making its YoBaby® line since 1999, providing a number of reasons for parents to turn to Stonyfield when making their feeding choices:

  • Not only is Stonyfield YoBaby® yogurt the #1 Pediatrician Recommended yogurt for babies between six months and two years old among refrigerated yogurts, it’s the only organic yogurt made especially for babies.
  • Stonyfield YoBaby® products are made with organic ingredients including organic whole milk yogurt to meet babies’ unique nutritional needs.
  • Stonyfield YoBaby® yogurt is available in a number of  flavors: Plain, Vanilla, Banana/Mango, Blueberry/Apple and Peach/Pear, in a 4 oz. 6-pack format.

I am also so excited to find out that Stonyfield YoBaby yogurt is also available in an unsweetened formulation – Stonyfield YoBaby® Plain – and that Stonyfield is working to remove added sugar in the rest of the YoBaby® line as well.

To learn more about Stonyfield YoBaby® yogurt as well as all other Stonyfield products and more, visit www.Stonyfield.com.

* Survey Methodology: ORC International conducted this research on behalf of Stonyfield via an online survey of 1,016 parents of a child two years of age or younger, conducted August 23-29, 2016. Additional follow up questions were asked of 1,004 parents of a child two years of age or younger January 4-10, 2017.

[1] BB-12® is a registered trademark of Chr. Hansen.
[2] YoBaby® now contains the probiotic Bifidobacterium animalis lactis BB-12® that has been shown to have a digestive health benefit when consumed regularly as part of a balanced diet and healthy lifestyle.
[3] Source: IMS Health ProVoice Survey, 12/01/15 – 09/30/16.