Wednesday, April 16, 2014

the marathon of life. #stonyfieldblogger

Have you seen this videos going around? You must watch it.



It hits home. This is my job. It's amazing and I wouldn't change it for the world, but there are times I feel as though I'm in a neverending marathon. We are getting past the sleepless night, we are out of diapers and potty training, but the work and worry are not over. My days that were one filled with diapers and naps are being replaced with research and planning. Preparing my children for the real world. Protecting them from danger and investing in their futures.

Daily we are striving to teach our children to grow up to make great choices, to be a respectable people and to live life well. This is not easy. My sleepless nights are no longer for feedings but because of love and care. Watching your child make mistakes and helping them through it. Watching them fail and learning to process that. Guiding them into decisions that are well processed and good.

Being concerned with their surrounding. What are they learning from their peers? What are they teaching their peers? Being concerned that they grow up to be strong, loving people who reflect the purpose of the Kingdom.

Worrying constantly about their health and wellness. I struggle with this so much. Seeing Owen go through so much as we discovered his illness. Watching him grow up learning to this new way of life for him. It is hard. Making sure that I protect them from harmful toxins as they mature and develop so they too one day can raise a happy healthy family.

Our world is sadly a scary world an it makes this marathon more daunting then ever. But each milestone is a victory. Each sleepless night is worth it. Each lesson learned is medal. Unlike a physical marathon, you cannot train for this one. You just have to trust in the Father and press forward no matter how difficult the terrain.

Keeping myself surrounded by village of supporters and cheerleaders is the only way I can stay strong. Mentally, I have my husband who is in this with me every step of the way. Spiritually, I have my mom, who is a light on my darkest days. And physically, I have companies like Stonyfield fueling me with health and goodness everyday of this race.

~Courtney

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

RawGuru.com - Review and $25.00 Gift Card Giveaway


Earth Day is right around the corner and as we are reminded to be good stewards of the beautiful creation around us, I also think we need to remember being good to our  own bodies as well. We try hard in our family to eat unprocessed and all natural foods along with lots of fresh fruits and veggies. So when I came across some of the products from RawGuru.com I knew I wanted to try them out!

 Raw Guru is a great source of the latest up to date raw food that offers top of the line raw nuts, seeds, nut butters, superfoods, supplements, snacks, chocolate...all organic and the highest quality possible. Their entire facility is vegan, organic and non-gmo. The website also offers recipes, videos, resources, food equipment and much more.



RawGuru.com carries a few different certified organic, nut butters including the stone-ground brand,  Dastony. I was able to sample the 100 % organic almond butter from Dastony and seriously cannot get enough of it. The butter is not super thick like many I have tried including the stuff I make myself and you can even add a spoonful to a glass of water to make almond milk.  I have had it on toast, put it in my oatmeal, and even eaten straight from the little 8oz. jar. It is so delicious and I am eager to try the coconut butter and cashew butter as well. Plus the little elephant on the jar is too adorable to resist:)


The site also offers a great line of probiotics  including  powders and  snack almonds  by Sunbiotics. Including superfoods, each serving of Sunbiotics boasts 5 billion CFUs of 5 well researched stable probiotic strains. Sunbiotics may help restore a proper balance of flora in the digestive system depleted by stress, antibiotics, and gastrointestinal disturbances.The Just 4 Kids probiotic powder is offered in apple or banana and Courtney's kids have been drinking the apple powder the last month and getting their and have not been too thrilled with the taste mixed with water, so she would recommend the banana flavor put in smoothies:)  Kevin and I really enjoyed the  soaked and sprouted Sunbiotics Cheesy Probiotic Almonds and the Sunbiotics Chocolate Probiotic Almonds. The almonds are a   Dairy Free, no soy, non-GMO, no wheat, no eggs, no yeast, no sugar, no corn, no carriers, no artificial flavors or preservatives gourmet snack loaded with about 8 billion probiotics per 1.5 oz package. I was really surprised at how crunchy they were and how much flavor each bag had. The chocolate of course were our favorite! 
Sunbiotics Chocolate Probiotic Almonds

 The website has a variety of raw, organic snacks including dried fruit and raw nuts and seeds and they give free shipping on anything over $99. 

The folks at RawGuru.com are giving away a $25.00  gift card to one of our readers. So be sure to check out their website and follow them on social media to get a head start on the competition:) 

Cheers,
Abbie



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Saturday, April 12, 2014

Tea Collection's Hello Little Citizen Baby Sweepstakes ($3000 value)


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

The Tea Collection Hello LIttle Citizen Baby Sweepstakes is a chance for you to win their grand prize ($3,000 value) filled with incredible products and gift certificates from the best names in baby gear: Tea Collection, Petunia Pickle Bottom, Plum Organics, 4Moms and more! I just entered myself and would love to have some really great things for my little Alamea. Its as easy as filling out their entry form, but you'd better hurry because the contest ends on 4/20. 

Cheers and Good Luck;)
Abbie







Friday, April 11, 2014

Smiling Tree Toys Review and Giveaway #naughtynuggetturnsfour

There is something about handmade gifts. Just knowing that someone took the time to work on a unique gift is amazing. I love receiving handmade gifts. Taking the time to make my own is a whole different story- thankfully the handmade business exists! There are so many amazing artist out there. I am a huge sucker for wooden toys. I think it comes from my grandpa's love of woodworking. Growing up watching him create amazing toys, furnishings and yes, even his own coffin, made me appreciate the art of woodworking. When I stumbled upon Smiling Tree Toys, I was overjoyed with the beautiful items they make.
Not only do they make adorable toys, they specialize in personalizing those toys! I love love love my kids having personalized things. Maybe because my mom bough t them for me as a child or because two of my children have more unique names. I was overjoyed when I opened Raichlen's blocks and saw his very unique name written out. I can't wait to work with him on learning how to spell and write out his name using these new blocks. I love the pride e has knowing that these are his blocks with his name on them.
These blocks came in a simple cloth drawstring bag for easy storage. When I opened the box from shiping I fell in love with the aroma of the fresh wood. My husband commented that it reminded him of Africa. :) I know that these blocks will be a timeless toy that Raichlen will keep for many years. These are unique to him and call me crazy, but I can see them on his office shelf someday.

Smiling Tree Toys has these adorable bunny teethers for easter too- You have just a couple days to place your order, so do not delay! I happen to love that this one has my daughters name on it too.

 You also have the chance to win your very own set of eight blocks. you will also have the option to apply the credit of eight blocks towards a larger set. :) Just enter below via the Rafflecopter form.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Three Avocados-Drink Coffee and Change Lives- #Review #HappyBirthday


Today is my favorite person's birthday,  my husband Kevin turns 37 today and I am so grateful for who he is and how he loves me and our girls. He is filled with so much life, creativity, love, patience, confidence and so much more. Many people that know him, knows he likes s a good pair of selvage denim jeans, a nice bourbon and most importantly COFFEE. Now I am not talking gas station coffee, but he is a bit of coffee snob. He knows so much about the little brown bean of caffeine and the brewing methods that follow, it's almost embarrassing. We actually have 6 different brewing mechanisms on our kitchen counter. So when I came across Three Avocado's -non profit coffee company I was intrigued and knew I needed to find out more about them.


100% of profits provide clean water and education - Three Avocados
Three Avocados is a non-profit organization that was founded in February of 2010 to help join forces in ending the global water crisis and educating children, starting with Uganda. 100% of the net proceeds of the company provide clean water in Uganda and education in Nicaragua, with hopes to expand in the future. Their story begins in the small village of Bulopa Uganda, where American, Joe Koenig the founder was visiting and  sitting  in a small church on Sunday. He noticed as the offering basket was passed around, a poor widow placed three avocados in the basket. It was literally all she had. And she gave it up, all for the sake of others. In Uganda Pastors do not get paid and at times the food they eat is given through the offerings of the people. The story inspired the Joe and when he left, he was challenged with the generosity of the widow, hence Three Avocados-Non Profit Coffee Company was born.

So why water?  Almost 1 billion people on earth do not have ability to get  clean, safe drinking water. The water they do have comes from unprotected sources, and often carries bacteria and diseases such as E. coli, Cholera, and Hepatitis A. I love the idea that the folks at Three Avocados are using an every day purchase for many of us, as a means to help other people's need for basic amenities like clean water. Three Avocados have  made it their mission to help give clean water through the purchasing of  great coffee. Isn't it amazing that something like clean water is so hard to come by in many parts of the world including Uganada young girls and women have to walk 4 miles or more every day just to find water and bring it back to their homes and family.

So what about the coffee? My husband and I have thoroughly enjoyed the coffee that was sent to me to sample and review.  The beans are 100% Arabica and come from Mt. Elgon in Uganda.The Uganada Bugisu whole bean coffee we have tried is dark, rich and smooth. Even my picky husband has thoroughly enjoyed his morning cup from Three Avocados. There are quite a few ways to promote and give towards this non-profit through purchasing bags of beans, cool cups, tee shirts and or donating directly. But one of the ways I really like is through their coffee subscriptions. For $13.95  you get a pound of coffee auto shipped every month to your house and the price is $1.00 off the regular 1 lb bags, plus shipping is included. So not only are you getting delicious coffee at your door step every month, you are giving someone the chance to get clean water every month! So COOL!! If you are looking for a cool gift for a  birthday or even quickly approaching Father's day, I highly suggest ordering from this really creative company. 
from: Three Avocados, Inc

I found out  from the company's blog that yesterday, April 9th they celebrated their 4 year birthday and have been able to provide 20,000 people with clean water since they started. So I also want to wish Joe and the crew at Three Avocado's a very Happy Birthday and commend you all on your hard work! 

 To purchase any of the coffee you can go directly to their website and while you are there read more about the story of the  company and subscribe to their blog or follow them via Twitter and Facebook.

Cheers and Happy Birthday!!!

Abbie

*Simple City Life was sent product for review but all opinions are completely our own
*post contains affiliate links

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Coming Soon From Disney!

If your kids loved Planes, then you will be very excited to know that this summer, July 18th, Dusty and his friends will be back in this new movie, Planes: Fire & Rescue. Planes: Fire & Rescue is a film all about second chances. Dusty explores the world of aerial firefighting, when his racing career maybe coming to an end. Check out this latest trailer and meet the new charactures below!





North Star Toys: Review #naughtynuggetturnsfour

Wooden toys are just the best! Do you agree? I love searching for unique, handmade finds. If you are like me at all, you will love North Star Toys. North Star Toys, owned by Tim and Connie, has one goal in mind. That goal is to provide you with toys that create play and imagination. When we switched our family to wooden toys, I did so out of the cncern that newer electronic and plastic toys do everything for the child. Your child no longer has to open his mind and let his imagination emerge when the toy is doing everything for him. When I found North Star toys, it was a breath of fresh air. Beautifully designed toys, all ready for hours of creative play.
I know that I can rest assured that these toys are safe for my children. There are so many toxins added to the plastics in our world that it is hard to know what is safe and what is not. North Star toys is committed to ensuring the environment is taken care of and is dedicated to following these green practices:
• We are a family owned and operated business
• Environmental sustainability is top priority for us
• Toys are for kids, not just of this generations, but for generations to come. We want to protect our planet for these future generations.
• We recycle our paper
• We use recycled packaging whenever possible
• We print on recycled paper and use vegetable-based inks for large printing jobs
• Our saw dust is used to supplement compost and for chickens
• Wood-scraps are donated to schools for art projects and used for kindling
• We use only sustainably managed American hard woods
• We use food grade mineral oil to finish our toys
• 100 percent of the electricity that runs our workshop comes from wind and/or solar energy


North Star Toys sent us this great Paddle Wheel Boat. The simple design is flawless. It works perfectly too! Raichlen has been taking baths with his new boat and loves being able to wind up the paddle wheel and let the boat glide across the tub. Owen has now claimed stake on this boat and has been taking even longer ths than normal. Personally I didn't think they could get any longer, but I was wrong. Of course, when they bath together, there's fighting over the new boat.

I highly recommend you check out North Star Toys on Facebook. Shop around too- they have a wide variety for all ages. Toys like these make a statement at birthdays and showers.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Rai-Rai-Raichlen's Four! #naughtynuggetturnsfour

Raichlen turned four officially on Thursday, the 3rd!
 However, we celebrated his big day on Sunday with all his friends. We hosted a great party, I was blown away by the turnout. We are truly surrounded by amazing friends here in Milwaukee. Raichlen asked for a "what does the Fox say?" party along with Tae Kwon Do. So I did my research and came up with nothing. Then I called in some reinforcements, my cousins advertising firm. They handle most of Scott's design work for his company too. I sent a text over seeing if anyone was interested in designing a Taekwondo fox. Thankfully, Paula was and in a few short days I had the coolest logo ever!

We held Raichlen's party at Up, Up & Play. A wonderful playspace in our neighborhood. I highly suggest that you check out them our for creative play as well a perfect place to hold a party. Zoey is wonderful at providing a perfectly clean space and handles everything for you! The owner Shannon and Kent are wonderful and generous people. I am so glad we decided to have the party here.
Since Raichlen has a obsessive crush on his Taekwondo, he had to have Miss. Aleaha come to his party. She taught all his friends some basic moves, how to break boards and how to get away from someone. All valuable information. Especially, since we had a attempted abduction in our neighborhood a few weeks ago. It is never too soon to teach your child about strangers.

 Of course we ended the afternoon with cupcakes and presents. Raichlen was completely spoiled! He has been having a blast with all his new toys. His siblings maybe enjoying everything too. ;)

 I can't say it enough, we are so blessed here in Milwaukee. I know that I do not recognize it enough, but we have amazing friends here. I cannot thank them enough, they have all walked through so much with our family.

Blessing, 
Courtney

Monday, April 7, 2014

Organic Quinoa Fish Cakes. #MyPicknSave



This time of year screams seafood and lighter meals to me. You too? The start of spring, the fresh air, it just call for simple, delicious and light meals. Many of you are also eating for lent this time of year and most likely the thought of another fish fry,or broiled piece of fish isn't as inviting as it was two weeks ago. Although I am a lover of all things seafood, my children are not. I have managed to pull a few seafood recipes past them, and this one here is one they always eat and still do not believe it is made with fish! Not only is this a great meal, it is also a perfect appetizer for the holidays coming up. you will wow your guests and have the satisfaction that this only took you about 20 mins to prepare!  Always look for wild caught fish. Eating wild caught fish is a better choice when available. Farmed fish are more likely to have been given antibiotics, contain GMO's and contain dyes.
Organic Quinoa Fish Cakes. 


Ingredients:
2-3 filets of white fish
1c. cooked organic quinoa
2 eggs
1/4 cup chopped organic kale
1/4 c. chopped onion
1 T.  fresh lemon juice
1 T. thyme
salt and pepper as needed.
1/2 c. oil (organic coconut or olive oil work well)


This maybe the easiest recipe on the planet. I'm not certain, but it just might.

Cook fish at 350 til flakes, or pan fry until fully cooked. Remove from heat source and flake in bowl. Stir in kale, onion, and all seasonings. Add both eggs and mix thoroughly. In a medium-large fry pan, heat oil to med-high. Form your blended ingredients into small patties, and gently place in hot oil. Cook for about 5 mins, or until a nice brown crust appears. The flip and cook the other side until nicely browned. Remove from heat and continue making patties until mixture is gone.

Recommended dipping sauce:
Sriracha Mayo.
1/4 c. mayo
2T Sriracha
mix well together and serve with fish cakes.


Shopping for organic ingredients is such a quick and simple process when shopping at Pick 'n Save. I can quickly discover my items and by using the healthy key system, right away I know if the items I am getting are inline with our diets. As a family who is striving to eat all organic and has a member with celiac, the health key has been an amazing resource. If you're not familiar with this resource, you can read all about it here.

I hope you enjoy this simple and delicious recipe. I'd love to hear how yours turned out.

Happy Cooking, 
Courtney



Buttons Cloth Diapers-Review and Giveaway


I am totally becoming obsessed with cloth diapers!! I have found myself scouring the internet reading reviews and finding new companies that offer adorable little bum covers. I feel like I am starting to get a handle on it all and even though I would never consider myself an expert, at least not yet;)

 I came across Buttons cloth diapers during one of my late night internet searches. I was instantly drawn to their site because of how simple it was to navigate through. They offer one style, one size diaper cover  in 7 great colors. The covers are only offered with snaps and no velcro closures. The inserts options consisted of a day insert small or large or a nighttime insert in small and large, and a few accessories including reusable wipes and wet bags. The company is a family owned business run by a husband and wife team from Northwest Washington.   At the time I was on the hunt for some nighttime inserts that would hold in the wetness for Alamea who seemed to be peeing through everything at night. So the folks at Buttons kindly sent me the cloth diaper cover in tangerine and the nighttime doubler insert in small to review.



When I received the package I was so excited with the company's packaging, even my husband mentioned it. The color of the diaper was so great and I was instantly drawn to how well everything was sewn on the cover and the gussets on the legs that always make me happy.

The nighttime doublers insert has 6  layers of micro fiber, for extra absorbency, and work as a doubler with Buttons daytime inserts snapped on top. The inserts snap right into the  one-size diapers covers. As I mentioned the inserts come in two sizes, small fit for babies 9-20lbs and large fit for 20 to 35lbs. I received the small size which when doubled are really huge for my little peanut. So huge that she has never worn them snapped together. Even with just one of the inserts snapped into place, there has been no issue with leaking but it's still quite bulky.  The cost of the diaper cover is $11.00 and nighttime doubler is $10.00. The price in my opinion is a little high especially since the fit for a one size seems pretty big and you still have to buy two different size inserts past a certain age or size if you want it stay with your child until potty training. But the quality of the sewing on the cover has really impressed me and I am a huge fan of the leg gussets, so the quality seems to be worth the price. Even though the diaper is bulky there has been no blowouts or leaking because of the leg gussets and diaper has become a great nighttime choice.

The companysent me a pack of their cotton flannel reusable wipes which I have LOVED! We do about 80% reusable wipes in our house and I seem to always pick the Buttons wipes before the others I have. The wipes have stayed soft and they are a great size. The cost per pack is $7.00 for 15, 7.5"x7.5" 100% unbleached cotton flannel wipes. Which again may be a little spendy especially if you are the type that sews your own. But for me, since I don't sew I would spend the money on 2 packs which would be enough to last between laundry days.

We are hosting a giveaway for Buttons Cloth Diapers of 1 diaper cover and 2 daytime diaper inserts (winner chooses color/size).  So be sure to check out their website to get acquainted with the colors, check out other retailers that carry Buttons and also grab a pack of reusable wipes while you are there.

Cheers,
Abbie


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