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Sponsored: 5 Healthy Eating Habit Tips for Kids


farmers market

The tiny dancer at the farmer’s market – strawberry face says it all – she samples everything.

We’re already half-way through summer and before we know it, the kids will be back in school. Sometimes it’s hard to get your kids to eat healthy so if we can start the healthy habits now, they’ll be second nature once the kids are packing lunch. Here are quick five tips to get your kids to eat healthy…

1. Farmer’s Market
Take the little ones to the farmer’s market with you so they can see all the gorgeous fresh produce. Most vendors offer samples — let the kids try all the yummy fruit. I take my little one every week and she wants samples of everything.

2. Cook with the Kids
Let the kids see the process of cooking. Even better, let them help out in small ways. If they feel invested in what you’re making they’re more likely to eat it.

3. Lead by Example
You can’t expect your kids to eat healthy if you’re stuffing fast food and soda in your face. Most kids, especially when they’re really young, imitate their parents. So, if you eat healthy, chances are your kids will too.

4. Cut Out Processed Foods
Try to cut out processed foods as much as you can. They’re bad for you. Period.

5. Dessert = Fruit
I have a giant sweet tooth and if I could, I’d eat cupcakes, cookies and ice cream every day. But those are treats and they should be for special occasions. Instead, for daily desserts, opt for nature’s sweets – fruit!

Hope these simple tips help you get your little ones on track to eating healthy. Eating well will make your kids feel great, and will help them fight off all those germs they’ll encounter at school.

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L’il Critters™ are the #1 child gummy vitamin. We are the better tasting gummy vitamin that is preferred by Kids and trusted by Moms. “We Make Nutrition Taste Good.

Disclosure: Compensation was provided by Church & Dwight via Glam Media. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of Church & Dwight.

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Happy Mother’s Day!


I’m wishing s all the Lil’ Miss-reading Mamas a Happy Mothers’ Day! As a mama myself I know how important it is to feel like all of your hard work and sacrifices are appreciated. I came across this video from a fellow mama on Instagram and I’d be lying if I said that there wasn’t a part of me – albeit a tiny part – that doesn’t relate to this video. Wishing you a Happy Mother’s Day and hoping you can have five minutes of peace on your special day :)

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Sponsored by HP & Intel: Travel In Style


To recognize the launch of the Envy 4 Touchsmart Ultrabook™ with Intel® Core™ processors I was asked to write about Traveling in Style. As mamas, we try to be prepared for everything which leads to over-packing. Since we have to travel with so much gear for the little ones, it helps to keep our own stuff on the light side. As an avid over-packer, I know that’s easier said than done but I know in my heart what I SHOULD be doing. Here are some tips for packing light – if only now I could follow my own rules!

Make a list – check it twice

Travel

The key to packing light is planning. I have a travel checklist saved on my computer and before I start packing I print it out so I know what I need. Having a list that you can stick to makes it easier to avoid over-packing and bringing things that you may not need. Having the list also helps save time and helps you remember things that seem obvious but sometimes get left behind. The one time my husband didn’t use the list for a business trip he left his pajamas behind! You can download the full travel checklist here. Feel free to customize it for your family.

Pick a color scheme and stick to it

color coordinate

One of the ways to avoid over-packing is to pick a color scheme and stick to it. First, you avoid bringing extra items that don’t fit into the color scheme. Second, if everything works together color-wise, you can pack fewer pieces and make different outfits made up of coordinating pieces.

Choose items that you can roll or lay flat and don’t need ironing
flat

When packing, lightweight jersey and linen are your friend. Choose items that you can easily roll or lay flat as that method of packing takes up less space and leaves you more room to bring back items that you bought on your vacation.

Pick versatile items you can dress down or up and re-wear them
dress down or dress up

In order to cut down on the amount of pieces you need to pack, choose items that you could easily dress down or dress up so you get more mileage out of every item you have with you. You’ll have more options and you’ll have something dressy in case you have an unexpected fancy event.

Accessorize

accessories

If you’re staying in your color palette and choosing items you can dress down or up the way you can really jazz up your outfits is with accessories. Using accessories is one of the easiest way to dress up or dress down an outfit. Since we’re trying to avoid over-packing, accessories are a great way to change your look without taking up too much room in your luggage. Just make sure that the pieces are in your color theme!

I hope these tips help you and your family travel in style! Buon Voyage!

HP Envy 4 Touchsmart Ultrabook

HP Envy 4 Touchsmart Ultrabook™
The HP + Intel + Project Runway Pin Your Style Contest

Want to participate?
Pin a photo of the HP Envy 4 Touchsmart Ultrabook™ via the Pin It button on the Pin Your Style contest page. Then, build a board that represents that week’s theme. Check out the weekly Pinsetter images on the site for inspiration.

Submit your board’s URL into the site to enter. Then, share your board with friends to earn the most votes!

Win prizes like an HP Envy 4 Touchsmart Ultrabook™ and a gift card to bring your style to life by getting the top votes for your board.

Don’t forget to to vote in the contest between April 29 – May 12 by viewing the Pinterest board submissions on the Pin Your Style contest page and vote for your favorites based on the theme.

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective, and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

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Sponsored by HP & Intel: Add A Touch of Luxury To Your Life


To recognize the launch of the HP Spectre XT TouchSmart Ultrabook™ powered by Intel® Core™ processors I was asked to write about adding a Touch of Luxury to our lives. As a mom I know first hand laziness that could set in when it comes to personal appearance when you have to worry about getting everyone else ready. I will admit, I drop off my tiny dancer to school in sweat pants. Not yoga pants, but grey fleece sweatpants. But I draw the line there. Any other time I leave the house I try to look put together. It only takes a few more minutes and makes me feel a lot better than when I look like a scrub.

When you take the time out to make yourself look good, it automatically translates to you feeling better about yourself. Not only that, but you’re setting a good example for your kids. Here are some quick ways to add a Touch of Luxury to your everyday style…

perfume

Wear Perfume
This is probably the quickest way to add a Touch of Luxury but one of the most worthwhile. Scent is so intertwined with memory and emotion just a spritz of your favorite scent will make you smell lovely and lift your spirits.

Wear Clothing – Not Workout Wear
Aside from dropping off the little one at school – or when I’m actually on my way to or from the gym – I wear clothing in public. I don’t dress to the nines, but a pair of chinos and a collared-button up shirt are very comfortable and make you look put together in snap. It takes just as long to put on pants or jeans as it does to put on sweat pants.

makeup

Put On Some Lipstick (0r lipgloss, or mascara…)
So you don’t have time to make yourself up completely? Then what’s the one thing that you rely on for a face pick me up? Lipstick? Mascara? Whatever it is for you – put it on. You will look and feel better. I personally don’t just use one item but I’ve gotten my casual, everyday makeup application down to less than five minutes and I don’t leave the house without makeup (except when I’m wearing sweat pants and dropping off the little one to school).

Use a Real Handbag Not a Diaper Bag
I don’t get the design of most diaper bags – just because your carrying baby products the bag does not need to scream “baby!”. We’re adults – you can use an adult bag. All you need is a large tote or a bag with lots of pockets. If you opt for a tote, be prepared to have small pouches so that you can keep similar items together. Whatever your preference, you don’t need to carry around a pink diaper bag. You can carry a women’s bag that happens to have diapers in it.

Keep Your Hair Long
I grew up on Long Island and all of the moms there – once they hit a certain age – chop off their hair and have men’s haircuts. I don’t know if it’s the water or what but I cannot comprehend this phenomenon. Whenever I see it I think, there’s another person that just gave up. Keep your hair! It doesn’t have to be to your waist – or even to your mid back – but please don’t get a men’s haircut. You don’t need to fully style your hair everyday. A good blowout lasts a couple of days and when in doubt you can opt for a chic bun or pony tail.

I hope these easy tips help you to add a Touch of Luxury to your busy lives!

HP-&-Intel_-Project-Runway-'Pin-Your-Style'---HP-Spectre-XT-(Touch-of-Luxury)

Spectre XT Touchsmart Ultrabook™ The HP + Intel + Project Runway Pin Your Style Contest

Want to participate? Pin a photo of the HP Spectre XT Touchsmart Ultrabook™ via the Pin It button on the Pin Your Style contest page. Then, build a board that represents that week’s theme. Check out the weekly Pinsetter images on the site for inspiration.

Submit your board’s URL into the site to enter. Then, share your board with friends to earn the most votes!

Win prizes like an HP Spectre XT Touchsmart Ultrabook™ and a gift card to bring your style to life by getting the top votes for your board.

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective, and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

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The Importance of Estate Planning For You & Your Family

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The Importance of Estate Planning For You & Your Family


estate planning key to future

You may not have the net worth of Warren Buffett but if you have children, if you have not already you should definitely consider estate planning.  Kern Singh of the Singh Law Firm was kind enough to share some information with us at the March F.U.N. Mothers’ Club Meeting and here’s a brief summary of what we learned.

You may not have the net worth of Warren Buffett but if you have children, you should definitely consider estate planning.  Kern Singh of the Singh Law Firm was kind enough to share some information with us at the March F.U.N. Mothers’ Club Meeting and here’s a brief summary of what we learned.

Key Definitions

First, it may be helpful to define a few key terms:

Estate Plan – a set of documents designed to “manage your assets and make health care and personal care decisions if you ever become unable to do so yourself.”

Probate – “A court-supervised process for transferring a deceased person’s assets to the beneficiaries listed in his or her will.”

Fiduciary  – “From the Latin fiducia, meaning “trust,” a person who has the power and obligation to act for another (often called the beneficiary) under circumstances which require total trust, good faith and honesty.” Legal Dictionary

Trustee – A person who manages a trust and the assets within it for the benefit of the beneficiaries of the trust.

Guardian – A person who has been appointed to take care of a child, and in the case of the death of the child’s parents, will act as the child’s parents.

Goals and Elements of Estate Planning

The goal of estate planning is to avoid probate because probate is costly, takes a long time and is not private.  A deceased person’s assets will become a matter of public record and the court will determine how long the process will take and how much it will cost.

A good estate plan will include four important documents: (1) Living Trust; (2) Pour-Over Will; (3) Durable Power of Attorney; and (4) Advanced Health Care Directive (also called Health Care Power of Attorney).  What follows is a brief description of each document and how it works.

1. Living Trust

“A living trust is a legal document that contains instructions for what you want to happen to your assets when you die.”  While you are alive, you are the trustee of your living trust.  When you pass away, the person you named as a successive trustee will become the trustee.  A living trust allows you to bypass probate and by avoiding probate, the trustee can pay your debts and distribute your assets in a private and timely manner.

The assets within the trust will typically include real estate, life insurance and other accounts and property.  To place the assets within the trust you just need to change the property deeds and financial accounts to name the trust as the owner.  You will continue to file the same tax returns.

2. Pour-Over Will

When you having a living trust in place, your will is called  “pour-over will” and has two major functions: (1) it designates the trust as your desired way to distribute assets; and (2) if you have children under the age of 18, you can designate guardians for them.

3. Durable Power of Attorney

Before you may become incapacitated due to health or age, it is important to designate someone you trust to manage your financial affairs in the event you are not able to do so.

4. Health Care Power of Attorney

In the event you are terminally ill or in an accident, your Health Care Power of Attorney will designate someone to make medical decisions for you.  The document will also list your preferences for accepting or denying medical treatment such as whether you would want to be kept alive on a respirator.

Choosing an Attorney

Creating an estate plan is of the utmost importance if you have property or children under 18.  Though creating the four documents may seem overwhelming if you visit an attorney they will do all of the work for you.  It’s best to find an attorney specializing in estate planning and someone who you feel comfortable with to get the best results.

Estimated Cost of an Estate Plan

So how much will this cost you?  I know that’s the next question because that was mine!  I can only speak to what The Singh Law Firm charges but feel free to shop around.  The cost for a married couple is $1600 and the fee includes creating a living trust, pour-over will, durable power of attorney and health care power of attorney.  The fee covers all updates to the documents in the future.  If you own more than one piece of property, or a business, then the fee will go up accordingly.  F.U.N. Mothers’ Club members receive 10% off their fees so don’t forget to mention F.U.N.

You can learn more at SinghLawFirm.com.  If you are out of state or not in the Bay Area, you’ll need to use an attorney in the state that you are located as estate laws are different state-to-state.

Unless otherwise noted, all quoted material comes from The Singh Law Firm pamphlet.

*I am not a practicing lawyer and the article is provided for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice.  Please see an attorney for legal advice.

You can learn more at SinghLawFirm.com. F.U.N. Mothers’ Club members receive 10% off their fees so don’t forget to mention F.U.N.

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Pajama Party Time!

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Pajama Party Time!


sleepover
Sorry for the lack of updates but I’m out of town and catching up on some quality time with my family. The Tiny Dancer only gets to see her cousins a few times a year and when they see each other it’s a constant whirl of hugs, kisses, playing, dressing up and dancing. It’s hard to get away from it to blog – sometimes I need to step away from the computer and just live :)

So sorry for the lack of posts, I’ll be posting more regularly next week. In the mean time, I leave you with a favorite song of the girls from Yo Gabba Gabba! that is pretty much the theme song of tonight’s adventures.

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Wishing You Well in 2013!

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Wishing You Well in 2013!


I hope you all had a nice holiday! I took a much needed break that ended up being a bit longer than intended. My husband was off from work for two weeks and since he normally works long hours, I took some extra time off to spend some quality family time. I barely checked my email or social media and the extent to which I played on my phone was a game of Solitaire before bed. I’m not going to lie, it felt good. Since I blog, I’m always connected and always checking my phone or computer or iPad. But for two weeks I was disconnected and I feel like it gave me the space I needed. I didn’t feel the need to share everything on Instagram (and then to Twitter and Facebook) and instead, I savored each moment with my family. My battery is re-charged and I feel reinvigorated to take on 2013. I’m starting my (now) annual cleanse to get my eating habits back on track and I’ve come up with some resolutions that I think I can actually keep. It’s good to be back and I look forward to sharing 2013 with you!

xoxo

P.S. – If you want to learn more about the cleanse, I explained it and kept a diary with recipes last year.

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Decorating the Christmas Tree With The Tiny Dancing Tree Hugger


treehugger

Friday night we invited some friends over to decorate the Christmas tree.  I had a mini tree from last year so I decided that Asiya could have her own tree to decorate.  Her zizi Liz gave her Hello Kitty garland and I bought her mini ornaments.  The Tiny Dancer decorated the tree all by herself – with a little bit of help – and by the end she was so excited with her tree that she hugged it!  Yes, she hugged her tree. It was one of the cutest things I have ever seen in my life.

P.S. Sorry for the sporadic posts, feeling a bit under the weather but I’m hoping to get some holiday recipes up for you in the next few days. 

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A Sad Day for Families – Sending Love to Parents in Connecticut

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A Sad Day for Families – Sending Love to Parents in Connecticut


This morning I was bombarding my sister with phone calls about what I should get her family for Christmas when after the third call she asked me, “Do you know what’s going on in Connecticut right now?” I said no because I wasn’t at home and I wasn’t near a television. She proceeded to tell me how a hateful person walked into an elementary school in Connecticut and opened fire on children and adults.

I was stunned and silent – she asked if I was still there. I couldn’t think of anything to say. All I could picture was those poor children so scared, away from their parents and thinking of the parents and the extraordinary losses they just suffered.

School is one of those sacred places that a parent can drop off a child and know that they will be safe. That’s not the case anymore. What kind of person walks into a school and shoots at kids? What kind of government allows people to carry guns? When is enough, enough? We’re so concerned about weapons of mass destruction – how about we focus on the weapons at home that are destroying our society one child at a time?

I could go on and on but that won’t bring those people back. My heart, thoughts and prayers go out to the families in Connecticut. If we take anything from this, appreciate your loved ones and show them everyday. Take nothing for granted.

 

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Thanksgiving Hang Over

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Thanksgiving Hang Over


thanksgiving toddlers

Ah, Thanksgiving is over, I’m probably a few pounds heavier and I can get back to blogging. I’m playing catch up today and there’s lots to update you on from tried-and-tested recipes that are perfect for any holiday gathering this winter (and that you can bookmark for next Thanksgiving) and some pictures of my Thanksgiving holiday decor (that you can pin to remind you for next year). In the mean time, I’ll leave you with these photos which are a glimpse of the fun we had at her school Thanksgiving pot luck.

thanksgiving toddlers

thanksgiving toddlers

thanksgiving toddlers

thanksgiving toddlers

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