Friday, November 22, 2013

Loving...National Geographic Books for Kids

Disclaimer: I recently received a box of National Geographic Books for Kids and Adults from National Geographic and MomsMeet Program, May Media Group LLC. As a MomsMeet blogger, I am thrilled to share my opinions about the books, but I was not otherwise compensated for this post. My opinions are my own, and may not reflect the opinions of May Media Group LLC.

We are a family of readers. We love to read. I'm so happy and so thankful that my kiddos truly enjoy reading. I really do believe that books are the gateway to a world full of knowledge, imagination, adventures and learning.

That said, when I was given the opportunity by Moms Meet Blogger to do a review on National Geographic Kids Books, my answer was an immediate yes!
We have been National Geographic fans and have subscribed to their magazines for many many years. My oldest daughter has had a subscription to their kids magazine and eagerly awaits each new issue. Our whole family likes the beautiful pictures and the interesting knowledge they share. We expected great things from the box of books, and we were not disappointed.
Just in case you're new to National Geographic:
“National Geographic is one of the world’s premier scientific, education, and research organizations. For more than 125 years, the National Geographic team has been dedicated to exploring and documenting the world. Their message reaches more than 450 million people worldwide, each month through several media outlets. The company has funded more than 10,000 conservation, exploration, and scientific expeditions in support of their mission ‘to inspire people to care about the planet.’ As part of this mission, National Geographic also offers nonfiction books for both adults and kids to help educate and inspire. National Geographic is the leading kids nonfiction publisher, and each of their books is packed with photos, facts, and fun, offering the perfect balance of ‘edu-tainment’ for kids and parents. If you’re looking to get your kids excited about learning, National Geographic books are a great place to start.”

It can often be hard to make nonfiction, factual information appealing to kids. As a teacher and a mom of three, I know that all too well. National Geographic did a wonderful job with these books. Honestly, these books are gorgeous. 

There are full color illustrations, pictures, and photographs in every book, and they are very appealing to kids. My kids have been engrossed in the books since they arrived. Reading aloud, sharing fun facts about animals, and curling up for quiet moments on the couch. My oldest, Kaylee, loves all the odd facts. It's so fun to listen to her exclaim over the weird things she's reading. My middle child, Isabelle, loves the cute, cuddly animal pictures. It's heartwarming to listen to her aww and coo over the photos. And my youngest, Lilah, well...she looks flipping the pages. Ha!

But seriously - the information packed into these pages! You won't believe the things your kids will learn. I'm loving it! I would highly recommend these books to all families with kids. I have no doubt your children will love National Geographic as much as mine do!

Just so you know (because Christmas is rapidly approaching!) National Geographic Books are available wherever books are sold, including national book chains, online retailers, independent bookstores, discount wholesale clubs, toy stores, specialty retailers, and more.
Additionally, National Geographic is offering a 30% discount on books purchased through this link until December 31, 2013. Order by Dec 6, 2013 for delivery before Christmas!

You can connect with National Geographic on Facebook and Twitter.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Autumn cinnamon bread

Each summer, though I love the sunshine and hot days, I always find myself longing for fall. I miss the cool air, the gorgeous leaves, and the cozyness the season brings.

And every fall, as soon as the weather turns chilly, I always find myself wanting baked goods, pumpkin anything, and lots of sweet spices like cinnamon and nutmeg. Mmm...

I'm going make the assumption that you're a little bit like me. For those fellow pumpkin lovers, I shared a ridiculously easy pumpkin cookie recipe awhile ago, and still have more pumpkin recipes to share.

Today, though, I have the perfect fall treat. An autumn apple cinnamon bread. (no yeast needed!)
We are approaching prime apple season, and this bread is a great way to bake with your favorite variety.

For the bread, you'll need:
-- 2 apples, diced into small pieces.
-- 1½ cups whole wheat OR all-purpose flour
-- 1 teaspoon baking soda
-- 2 tablespoons cinnamon
-- 1 teaspoon nutmeg
-- 1 teaspoon salt
-- 2 eggs
-- 1 cup granulated sugar
-- ¼ cup applesauce
-- ¼ cup canola oil
-- 2 tablespoons vanilla extract

For the cinnamon layer and topping, you'll need:
-- 3 tablespoons brown sugar
-- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
-- 2 tablespoons cinnamon

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and grease (or spray with nonstick cooking spray) an 8×4-inch loaf pan.

2. Begin by chopping your apples into small pieces. Or do large pieces. Whatever you want in your bread.

 3. In a medium sized bowl, stir together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. Set aside.

4. In a larger bowl, beat the eggs on medium speed for about 30 seconds.
Add in the oil, applesauce and vanilla and mix until combined.
Then, add the sugar and mix well.

5. With the mixer on low, slowly add in the flour mixture and blend until the flour is just barely combined. Stir in the apples.

6. In a small bowl, mix the brown sugar, white sugar, and cinnamon, noted at the beginning.

7. Pour half of the batter into the prepared loaf pan. Sprinkle half of the cinnamon sugar topping over the batter.

8. Pour in and smooth out the rest of the batter in the loaf pan, and sprinkle the remaining cinnamon sugar on top.

9.  Bake for 60 minutes, or until the loaf is golden and a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.

And finally, as I am a FIRM BELIEVER in the deliciousness of butter, you need to know that this is best served warm, with butter. No need to eat it straight out of the oven though; 13 seconds in the microwave is perfect!

What's your favorite fall flavor??

Monday, December 31, 2012


Forgive me for my late introduction. We've been quite busy, you see.

On a hot sunny Tuesday in August, we welcomed sweet little Lilah to our family.

In the following months, we've been adjusting to our new life with three girls. And it turns out what they say is true - a baby and a toddler will keep you busy! Add a 9 year old to that - and whew!

I'm still figuring out how to get it all done. But in the meantime, we're still having fun!

Friday, June 29, 2012

Birthday girl

Somehow, I'm the mom of a NINE year old. How did that happen?!

I know, I know, all the talk of "time flying" and "enjoy every moment" and "it's over before you know it" always sounds so cliche...but underneath it all, it's so true, too.

My sweet Kaylee turned nine this week, and I'm loving watching her grow up.

It's hard to believe that she's already nine. It sounds so old! I love looking at pictures from when she was younger, and comparing them to the girl she is today.

I truly believe that children are one of life's greatest blessings. It's not always easy, and it's not always fun, but in my experiences, the good far far outweighs the bad. Kaylee has brought so many smiles, and so much love and laughter in my life. She has such a kind, sensitive heart, and I enjoy all the time I get to share with her.

She's spent her birthday week at camp, doing lots of fun things like archery, inflatables, zip lines, bungee trampolines, and rock wall climbing, and we're having a swim party with several of her friends tomorrow. Making memories - it doesn't get much better than that!

What is one of your favorite birthday memories??

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Summertime beauty essentials

Thanks to Walgreens for underwriting this post. I was paid as a member of the Clever Girls Collective, but the content is all mine. Visit

Oh, summertime. My favorite time of year, no doubt! I love the sunshine, the warm weather, and being outside and soaking it all in. Playing with the kiddos, laying out by the pool, vacations to the beach, summer sports leagues - whatever your summer activities look like, you'll want to be looking your best. And let's face it, when the summer season is upon is, we all need to make a few changes to our daily beauty routine. The heat and humidity are a lot different than the cold and wind we lived with during the wintertime.

The good news is, changing your beauty routine and finding those few perfect products doesn't have to be complicated or expensive! There are so many affordable, quality brands and products that you can find at your local Walgreens.

Here are a few of my favorite summer beauty products:

First, remember to start with sunscreen! Seriously, one of the most important things you can do for your skin is to use a daily moisturizer with sunscreen. And honestly, summertime is a time to keep things simple. Who wants to go through all the trouble of moisturizers, foundations, AND sunscreens? I say no thank you! Instead, I highly recommend trading all that in for a tinted moisturizer with spf. Swapping three products for one? Yes, please! This is a good one to try:

Now that you've got a good base coat, and are protected from the sun, let's have a little fun! Adding color and a little shimmer is a great touch for your pretty summer face. Bronzers are great for acheiving both, and I love how easy it is to blend in a creamy bronzer. I like this one:
Personally, though, my favorite feature to focus on is eyes. In keeping with the simple theme, all you really need is a swipe or two of mascara to enhance your pretty peepers! And since it's summer, and you may be getting a little sweaty, I'd recommend you opt for a waterproof formula. This has always been a winner for me, as it's great for adding both volume and length:

Lastly, I like a lip product that will add a hint of color and a lot of moisture. Soft lips are a good thing! Made with all natural ingredients and a perfect color for everyone,  I recommend:

So there you have it! A pretty - and protected! - summer face with only 4 products. Easy, affordable, and beautiful!

What about you -- any great summer beauty tips or must have products?? Share them in the comments!


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