Simple City Life

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Limited Time! Try @KiwiCrate for free.

I am really excited to share Kiwi Crate Free Trial  for a limited time only! From now until July 31st, you have the opportunity to try a sample-size project, Starlight Lantern, from one of  Kiwi Crates popular crates! {Just pay $3.95 for shipping.}


Of all the crafting boxes we have tried, I have to say Kiwi Crate is really the greatest. All supplies are quality and the projects are great for all ages. If you have been on the fence about trying these great subscription boxes, now is a great time to try it. A risk free trial just for you. 
Take a look around their website too- you will fall in love with the creativity! My kids get lost in these boxes and love having the projects to display around the house. With simple and easy to follow instructions, you can leave the kids to work alone or jump in and and enjoy the creative juices!

Hurry though, this offer isn't going to last forever! Make sure you share this with your friends too. :)

Be Creative, 
Courtney

Monday, July 21, 2014

*New* Super Nutrition Shakes from @HappyFamily

Happy Family has been busy in the kitchen again. We all know that they take pride in their products and are always looking out your for little one. They strive to give your babies and toddlers the very best. By using organic ingredients they are keeping all the nasty chemicals out of your child's diet. We have used Happy Family for years, and continue to use them regularly. Even my 10 year old enjoys them, she loves the blueberry and beet rice cakes.

What Happy Family has just brought to the table is a new Super Nutrition Shake. Each shake contains 8 grams of protein, 3 grams of fiber and 21 vitamins and minerals, that's a lot of super! When Owen was younger, I wanted a product like this. His health wasn't the best, but typical meal shakes were full of nasty ingredients. He was borderline failure to thrive and I was always looking for ways to pack him full of nutrients. When these new Super Nutrition Shakes arrived at our door step, everyone was excited to try them. Raichlen of course, stole them both and drank them in no time at all. he has since been asking for more. I managed to get a taste of the chocolate. Not going to lie, it was pretty great! No strange taste at all. He snatched it back and finished it in a few seconds
 The only thing I will mention is that these do contain Carrageenan. I did ask Happy Family about this ingredient as it is under a lot of question. She confirmed that they do use a small amount to stabilize the ingredients. They are using the approved carrageenan for organic consumption. If you have further questions, I am sure they would be more than willing to answer them. 

You can purchase these products from Happy Family's site as well as on Amazon.com. A four pack of shakes ARV is $14.00. They are currently on sale right now too.

Happy Monday Friends!
Courtney

*I received products to facilitate my review. All opinions are my own.  

Thursday, July 17, 2014

zulily Freckles + Kitty Clothing Contest- Ends 7/19/14



Let's Win the zulily Freckles+Kitty Clothing Contest! 


Have you seen the colorful outfits from Freckles+Kitty, the adorable clothing company out of California? YAY for USA Made kids clothes!!  Today through Saturday (7/17 - 7/19) zulily is running a contest where we can BOTH win three dresses for our little ones from Freckles+Kitty! Just post in the comments section below which Freckles+Kitty item is your favorite, ( I personally love the Red Heart Stripe Ruffle Dress)
and if  Simple City Life Blog is selected, I will choose someone from all those who commented to win something of your choice for your sweet little girl. 
Red Heart Stripe Ruffle Dress
Don't know much about Freckles+Kitty? Freckles+Kitty is California made toddler and girls clothing inspired by what’s popular now. The best part is that zulily has select Freckles+Kitty styles up to 65% off! You’ll find brilliant colors and trending details such as floral appliqu├ęs, printed lace, hoodies, sets, and, of course, ruffles. Lots of ruffles! They use soft fabric blends to give your little girl exceptional comfort with a sense of style and fun. These fabrics are always easy-care and washable. Each Freckles+Kitty garment reflects the California spirit, and it’s these details that make each piece playfully individual. Check out Freckles + Kitty on sale at zulily! And don't forget to comment below and tell us your favorite little outfit!

Good Luck,
Abbie

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

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Gluten Free Black Bean Burgers with Roasted Carrots #MyPicknSave #CollectiveBias

I love summer. It make me so very happy! We spend our days outside and the house stays so much cleaner. We also enjoy a good portions of our meals outside too. Not only do we love to grill out or dine on our front porch, we also get invited to friends for cookouts. I never had to worry about this before, but ever since Owen was diagnosed with celiac, it has added a new level of stress. We have learned to adjust our eating at home, but going out can be stressful. My fears of him accidentally ingesting something that will send him into intestinal distress lurk around as I prepare for any outing. We have learned over the years that gluten free living is so much more than avoiding bread. Your basic everyday items are sources for hidden traces of gluten- ketchup, dressing, mayo, seasoning packets, lunch meats, bbq sauce and so on. It's important to be aware of this even if you are not gluten free. I always try to feed Owen some extra snacks before we go to a dinner as well as packing a back up meal. If you are shopping for a meal that you know needs to be gluten free, finding a store that is conscious about marking their products is key. We are so lucky to have Pick'n Save stores here in the Midwest. They have created the health key system that helps you find the products you need without having to pick up every product to read the label. Owen loves this system. No longer do I hear 5,000 times, "Mom, is this gluten free?". He can walk the aisles and look for the green tags that label the gluten free items.
Since we love to be outside grilling, we have had to adjust our meals a little. It isn't horrible, just a few tweaks to keep everything safe for Owen. A few of the summer grilling staples we have had to change are ketchup, bbq sauce, bread crumbs and seasonings. Since we are also avoiding high fructose corn syrup and artificial colors we limit our selections, which is actually nice, less choices makes my life easier! If you take a walk over to the ketchup section you will see several choices, however you will notice the nice and straight forward green tags. We typically purchase Annies Organics Ketchup, if we are on a budget we get Heinz Simply Ketchup. The same thing will happen all over Pick'n Save, you learn that the green tags are your new best friend and decision making becomes very simple. For everything you purchased on a regular diet, there is a equal gluten free option.
If you are looking for a great recipe to wow! your gluten free friends for that amazing summer cookout, here is a recipe that is one of my kids favorite!
Gluten Free Burgers with Black Beans

1 lbs. lean ground beef
1 can black beans rinsed and drained
2 garlic cloves
1t. red pepper flakes
1T cumin
1 egg
1/4 cup  gluten free bread crumbs
sat and pepper taste
Udi's Gluten Free Buns

Mix seasonings, egg, garlic and meat together. Add black beans slowly kneading them into the meat mixture. Form into patties and grill over medium heat until done. Lightly

toast buns on the grill before serving.

Suggested toppings: wilted kale, tomatoes, onions, ketchup, bbq sauce,guacamole and anything else!

Roasted Rainbow Carrots

1 bag organic colored carrots
1/4 cup organic coconut oil
1-2 cloves garlic (crushed)
sea salt

Peel and cut carrots into "fries". Toss lightly with oil and garlic. Lay on a cookie sheet and sprinkle with sea salt. Cook in oven for 20-25mins (or until tender) on low broil.

Happy Gluten Free Cooking!
Courtney

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Healthy Home Improvements by Healthy Child Healthy World.

Summer is the prime time for home renovations and projects. Healthy Child has created this easy to follow infograph to help assist you as you do these projects. Avoiding chemicals and toxins in our house if key to keeping our families healthy. Before you get started, take a look and see if you need to change any of you plans.  You can also download this simple Healthy Home E-book to help you along. 




Saturday, July 12, 2014

Weekend Fun with Planes #fireandrescue! {FreePrintables}


Dusty's back and we couldn't be more excited to see him again  and meet his new friends. If you haven't the trailer for this new movie, in theaters July 18th, you can watch it here. My boys are ready and anxious to see Planes Fire and Rescue, and if I'm being honest I am too. It looks to me like there will be valuable lessons for kids of all ages in this film. Disney has been rolling out the best films lately!

If you are looking for a little down time from the crazy summer schedule- print off some of these great sheets. I'm sure your kids will love them!

Coloring Sheets:





 Connect the dots:


Have a Wonderful Weekend! 
Courtney

Friday, July 11, 2014

{Fashion Friday} Jamberry Nail Wraps #Review and #Giveaway



I hope you all had a wonderful 4th of July! We spent the day on a leisurely 12 mile bike ride, watching a parade, spending time with sweet friends and while Kevin and Alamea took a 3 hour nap, this momma gave herself a manicure and pedicure! It was so relaxing to actually beautify my feet and hands and pamper myself for a little while. It was even more fun to trade in the nail polish and try out Jamberry Nail Wraps.These beautiful designed wraps are non toxic and have no gross smell, dry time or chipping. There are over 300 designs to chose from and you seriously can waste a lot of time looking through all the beautiful colors and prints. Not only are they non-toxic, Jamberry wraps are latex free, gluten free, vegan, made in the USA and never tested on animals and the wraps are "5 Free": free of dibutyl phthalate, toulene, formaldehyde, formaldehyde resin, and camphor.


Please ignore my dry, cracked hands...they need some TLC
The whole process of Jamberry Nail Wraps is a little slower than painting your nails but the end result is worth it. There are a few things to remember when using the wraps. Nails should be prepped by washing hands thoroughly, pushing back cuticles, swabbing with an alcohol wipe, and drying before application. I did all of the prep but I did forget to use the alcohol wipes, but it didn't seem to make much of a difference. After you prep your nails and find the correct size of wraps for each nail all you have to do is make sure you have the Jamberry mini heater ($19) or like me use a blow dryer.   Heat and Pressure are key to applying these nail wraps, and pushing back your cuticles to ensure proper adhesion and prevent the wraps from lifting is key!


This video gives more info on how the process of applying them works. 

Like I mentioned the process of the nail wraps is a bit slower than painting your nails but I loved that I could do the dishes right away or even change Alamea's diaper right away and there was no smudging of paint. It is a bit of trick to get the right size for your fingers and to lay them out on the nail bed without it being crooked but after my first attempt at one hand the second one was faster and looked much better. My toes on the other hand were a little bit of a mess but that was mostly due to me not matching the direction of the pattern..haha.

Jamberry claims the wraps last 2 to 3 weeks on your fingers and 5 to 6 week on your toes. I am actually planning to take them off today because they are starting to pull up a little bit due to forgetting to wipe them with an alcohol swab. The oils on your nail beds make it difficult for the wraps to stay down, so I will be sure to remember that for next time.  I could probably file them down and they would be just fine as well.  My toes on the other hand look great and neither my hands or feet have chipped nail polish which is really nice. To take the wraps off you can that use warm water and lemon juice for a non chemical or toxic option.


I really like these wraps and could probably get pretty addicted to buying tons of these beautiful designs or if I had room in my budget I would  like the monthly subscription which is new this month called StyleBox. StyleBox is $30 of Jamberry products that comes to your house in a cute box every month for $25 or less (depending on how many months you sign up for.)  One of the wraps in each Stylebox will be exclusive-- you can ONLY buy that wrap through Stylebox! I am a sucker for subscription boxes..haha. 


 So how much to do the basics cost? They are $15 for one sheet, which I thought was super expensive until I went and had a pedicure last month and saw that for a manicure the price was $15. Each sheet of wraps is enough for 2 to 3 applications and there are even Junior wraps for little girls that have enough for applications. You can also buy three wraps and get one free though the link above, Just be sure to choose "Simple City Life" at checkout, so they know we sent you:)

 My very kind friend Nicole who I heard about Jamberry through is giving away a full sheet of Blooming Splendor for our readers so be sure to enter this giveaway because it's a fun one and ends on July 21st and you can tweet everyday for added entries!


Have a great weekend and take time to pamper yourself!!
Abbie

a Rafflecopter giveaway





Tuesday, July 8, 2014

The Hundred-Foot Journey. {New Featurette}

I'm really excited for this new DreamWorks movie starring Helen Mirren and produced by Steven Spielberg, Oprah Winfrey and Juliet Blake. Since Scott is such a foodie, I think we will both enjoy this film. 

The Hundred-Foot Journey opens in theaters everywhere August 8th. Looks like I need to get a babysitter! :) I have also included a recipe for some delicious sparkling lemonade. 

  
Enjoy this clip and make some lemonade!
~Courtney

Monday, July 7, 2014

Six Easy Steps to a Green Summer Party


As summertime begins and families head to the beach, the park, the mountains and other favorite spots in the great outdoors, it’s a good time to remember there are easy ways to celebrate our love of Mother Nature by throwing a green party.

Step 1: Location, Location, Location
Pick a picnic spot you can walk, bike or boat to or arrive by public transit. If that's not possible, carpool with friends.


Step 2: Choose an Eco-friendly Invitations
Whether throwing a baby shower, a beach partybirthday picnic or backyard BBQ, you’ve got to let your guests know about the green fun you're planning in eco-friendly style! If it's a neighborhood party, print invites on recycled paper and personally hand them to guests. Or use electronic invitations, which are convenient and don't waste paper.

Step 3: Green Menu Planning
Great produce makes the chef's job super easy. Think simple. Finger foods like cut fruit, nuts, local honey and peanut butter sandwiches are simple and nourishing for all ages. Also, some cheeses, like brie and camembert, are lovely softened in the sun over fresh-baked bread.
Farmer's markets have the freshest and tastiest fruits and vegetables available from the area. Organic products are hormone and pesticide-free, making them safe to eat.
Make your own beverage and serve it in a plastic-free pitcher. That way you don't have to deal with all the cans and bottles.
Beach and BBQ Picnic Kits at ECOlunchboxes.com
Step 4: Waste-Free Dinnerware
Say goodbye to throw-aways and plastics. Ask picnickers to BYO dishes, water bottles, utensils, etc. This can be done tastefully if you explain you're hosting a zero-waste party and need some help to accomplish this.
If that’s not your style, pack a sturdy cardboard box with reusable items to share with your invitees, such as non breakable stainless steel picnic plates, reusable bamboo utensils, reusable straws, washable cotton napkins and sturdy mason jars for use as cups.
Sure you may have to do some washing, but much of this stuff will naturally decompose. Plus, you're saving money by going waste free.


Step 5: Showcase Mother Nature
Nature’s beauty is inspiring when it comes to setting the table in eco-style. Leaves, flowers, pinecones, twigs, seashells and other natural treasures can be showcased on your eco-friendly BBQ or green a beach party blanket.


Step 6: Clean up!
Clearly mark bins for recycling, compost and waste for your guests. Since most public parks don't separate waste and your efforts will end up in the trash, toss your separated bags into the trunk to put out with your trash pickup at home.
Beach and BBQ Picnic Kits at ECOlunchboxes.com

 {By Sandra Ann Harris  
Founder, ECOlunchbox  July 2014}

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Berry Hibiscus Honest Pops

We are finally enjoying some warm weather. It seems to come and go, but for the most part we are getting out of the house. Summer is great, but it can be hard monitoring snacks and sweets, and that singing truck that is driving up and down the street isn't helping me out.  I finally bit the bullet a few weeks ago and bought freezie pop molds. I prefer these since they seem to a lot less messy. The first batch we made were yogurt pops, the kids have loved having them around and since I know what is in them, I don't mind when they ask for them.

Once we were out of the yogurt pops, I looked through the pantry and used what I had on hand to create some new and delicious freezer pops. I used three ingredients:  Honest Tea's Hibiscus Berry Lemonade,  pure maple syrup and frozen mixed berry. To make these simple delicious pops, here are is the extremely simple recipe.


Enjoy and have a healthy summer! 
Courtney