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Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Teacher Appreciate Week

Teacher Appreciation Week is right around the corner!!  

Mark those calendars, moms!!  May 4-8th.

Here are some adorable, thoughtful gift ideas for your child's teacher!

Popcorn and candybar and consider adding a GC to the movie store for a perfect night IN.


What teacher doesn't love nail polish?!

I thought this gift idea was too cute!  It is on the top of my list.

And finally...
I think the vase makes this gift!

What cute teacher appreciation gifts do you have in mind??



Monday, April 20, 2015

Get Involved! Local Roots Grant Program Information

Since we have SO MUCH free time during 'nap time' and after the kids go to bed, we like to make a little pocket change off our blog posts occasionally...to afford lip gloss, wine, and boots=)  So FYI we were given a product and/or compensation by the Aetna Foundation and The Motherhood but all of the thoughts and opinions in this post are ours.

Not only is it finally springtime in mid-Michigan, but farmer's market season is right around the corner and I am SO. PUMPED! We are blessed to live in a community that embraces healthy choices by offering several community gardens, miles of biking and running trails, lots of safe play areas for the kids and the opportunity to buy fresh food at our farmer's market from May to October. Even our picky eaters find something fun to eat at the markets. Cider donuts totally count, right?!


Unfortunately there are many communities throughout the U.S. that don't have these resources. Fresh veggies and fruits are hard to make a priority when your family is on a strict grocery budget or just doesn't have access. In lots of areas it's hard to find a community garden, let alone start a small garden yourself. I found it interesting to learn that your zip code, NOT your genetic code, is a better indicator of your health and longevity (according to the CDC).


Today we are excited to share information on a wonderful grant opportunity provided by the Aetna Foundation for nonprofit organizations called Local Roots. Starting programs like community gardens, fresh food distribution centers and/or providing education and work opportunities within a farm isn't easy. It takes a lot of time, man power and money. The Aetna Foundation is offering several grants to local non profit organizations to help them get started on their mission to share healthy food and lifestyles with vulnerable communities. 


I think this would be an amazing opportunity for a school or church to help little ones find a passion for gardening and a love of fresh, healthy food. This program isn't just focusing on organizations planting gardens, they are also providing funds to jump start the creation of cooking classes dedicated to fresh produce and healthy eating. These opportunities are not just great for our kids but for parents in the community looking for better ways to introduce healthy food to our kids and get them interested in making good choices.


To be considered for the Local Roots program an organization must have 501 (c)(3) status (non-profit, community, state and local government agencies are all eligible to apply). Proposed programs must include one of the following: 

- Nutrition education or cooking classes focused on the health benefits of fresh produce
- Growth or distribution of produce that reflects the food traditions of the target area
- Opportunities to learn job skills or entrepreneurship within the context of gardens, farms or farmers markets
- Opportunities for community service or volunteer work with the project

If you know of an organization that would be a good fit, please pass along this information and see www.aetnafoundation.org for more information, the deadline for entry is May 6th, 2015 at 5pm EST. 

Not sure of an organization to refer or a way you can get involved? Start at home!  Find a garden in your community by checking out the American Community Gardening Association (ACGA) or search for a farmer's market by using the USDA's National Farmers Market Directory. Geting your kids excited about food and educating them on making healthy choices starts at home. Some of our favorite moments are in our kitchen learning about food and spending time together as a family. 








Monday, April 13, 2015

The story of our colored shirts

If there was a fire, what 5 items would you grab out of your home? Here is my answer-

1. Hard drive (all our pictures and important documents)
3. "Taggie" and "Zoo Blankie" (our kids' special blankets)
4. Our wedding album
5. 1 yellow and 1 orange Old Navy size medium, long sleeved tees

Today we will be talking about those seemingly random items at the end of my list- my #5. I have been meaning to share more on this topic for a really long time, but felt like I needed a few more years of pictures to really make this post special. Now that I'm sitting down to write it, I can't seem to find the words to share how special those two shirts are to us. It sounds so silly until you see it-


The "yellow shirt" pictures started when I was about 7 weeks pregnant with our first. I knew I wanted to document my growing belly and I thought it would be fun to use the same shirt. I took a picture every month or pregnancy milestone, then one last picture in it after we brought our daughter home from the hospital. After that shot I packed it away.

My mom was visiting when my daughter turned 18 months and helped me do a few milestone pictures for her yearly photo book. I was editing during nap time when my Mom suggested I take a quick shot of Layla in my yellow shirt. GENUS! An idea was born and we have been taking "yellow shirt pictures" every year around her birthday ever since. 


My sweet baby girl is really growing up. It is so awesome to be able to see the changes when comparing all 5 pictures we have (so far). 

I had a bit of a dilemma when I got pregnant with #2. I knew I didn't want to use Layla's yellow shirt, that one was hers...luckily I did have the exact same shirt in orange. I didn't hesitate and started getting photos around 7 weeks again but this time I added a little story to each shot. 


And here are the rest of the pictures without the "story". Note- I started at 11 weeks this time because we lost a pregnancy in the first trimester before Jack. I was very hesitant to take the shirt journey again but I'm so glad we decided to do it.


Around 20 weeks we found out we were having a boy! The next orange shirt picture we did made me think...how long am I going to be able to convince my son to put this women's shirt on?! And how old will he be before it stops fitting?! I thought about making it into a tie for him but I just didn't the the results would be quiet the same. It's not OVERLY girly and it will be fun to see him squeeze into it when he's much older (for me...I'm sure I'll have to bribe him).


I can't even think about the day that my shirt won't fit the kids. I plan on doing these shots yearly until one of the follow events occurs- a) they no longer fit into the shirt, b) they refuse, c) they turn 40. Slightly kidding about that last one. 

We would LOVE to hear about any photo traditions you have with your kids- leave us a comment!



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