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Monday, August 29, 2011

Planting Apple Trees

After church yesterday, my husband and 2 boys and I went to buy 2 apple trees! We have wanted to do this for some time since the apple tree that was in our yard when we moved in 3 years ago has never really done well. Apparently you need 2 apple trees to cross pollinate. So today we bought 2 macintosh trees. (one of my favorite type of apple! yum!)

Here are some pictures of the planting process. My toddler loved it!

He was such a great helper!

We even enjoyed finding some big worms in the soil. He was in heaven:)

We don't have a huge yard and already have a decent size willow tree in it. So we put them here, close enough to cross pollinate with each other. (we hope!!) It will probably take another year or two before we start seeing much fruit but they look good and healthy.

This was a fun family activity to do with our kids today. (the baby liked it too as he watched from the side lines. I know he would have loved to have gotten dirty in the dirt too. Maybe next year:)

What types of outdoor educational activities do you like to do with your kids? Sometimes a simple task like watering the lawn or garden can turn into a fun and educational thing.

What is your favorite type of apple?

Thanks for reading and have a great week ahead!


Monday, August 22, 2011

Back to School Health

With school starting, I thought it was a good time to talk children's health. It's that time of year again where kids are sharing many things at school including lots and lots of germs! Yuck!

From a health care stand point through my music therapy training, the best thing that we can teach our kids is the importance of good hand washing and hope they listen:) I sing the ABCs with my kids while washing hands to make sure they are washing long enough. It makes it more fun for everyone.

But even with that, kids still pick up lots of germs from school. One thing that we do in my family to help prevent illness is supplement with good quality vitamins.

Neither of my boys have ever had an ear infection! We do catch colds from time to time, but they usually come and go within a couple of days or so. That says a lot considering my preemie who just turned one, was predicted to catch a lot of colds that could turn into RSV this year. But he didn't! Both of my kids have been very healthy and I am so thankful!

My almost 3 year old takes Shaklee's Incredivites Chewables which he loves. I love them too because all of Shaklee's supplements come from natural sources and they help to fill in the gap in his nutrition with his sometimes picky eating habits.

The Incredivites contain lactoferrin, the immune booster found in breast milk. No other children's vitamin does. It also has 23 nutrients in it including 600IU of vitamin D which help with strong bones and teeth. And he loves the berry flavors so it is easy for him to chew and take. Because he is under the age of 4, he only needs one a day, which makes the bottle last for 4 months! Good stuff!

My other son, who just turned 1 takes Shakleebaby Multivitamin and Multimineral Powder every day. He gets 1 tsp. in his morning oatmeal.
I like it because it is a powder and mixes easily into most liquids and baby food and it doesn't have any taste to it. It also has 23 essential nutrients in it, which help to fill in the gaps in his nutrition. It also has prebiotics in it, helping with digestion and immune support, along with 400 IU of vitamin D. Again I say, good stuff! :)

During cold and flu season, or when my son is fighting a bug, I give him a little extra boost in his immune system with Shaklee's Chewable Vitamin C. My toddler loves the citrus taste and it helps the bug to go away quickly.

I grew up with these, so they bring back memories for me too! Each one is equivalent to 1.5 organic oranges!

I also give my toddler Shaklee's Alfalfa when he is fighting a cold. It stops a runny nose right in it's tracks! (and is great for his seasonal allergies too!)

My toddler chews these, but if the flavor is too strong for you child, they can be easily crushed and added to food. I also take alfalfa for my allergies and when I am feeling like a cold is coming on. It works great!

A word about DHA:

The last thing that I should mention is Shaklee's Mighty Smart Chews.

These are 100% natural ultra-pure DHA, the most abundant omega 3 fatty acid in the brain and eyes. These taste kind of like an orange citrus starburst and my son LOVES them! (I do too!) They do not have any artificial colors, sweeteners or preservatives. Science shows the importance of DHA for kids (adults too!) for their growing and developing brain. I may be a little biased, but my little guy is pretty darn smart which could be in part because of the Mighty Smarts....just sayin' :)
Thanks again for reading! I thought it was pretty important to write this post with school starting. If you just want to start with one supplement for your child, I would definitely suggest one of the first two multivitamins I mentioned at the top (Incredivites chewables or the Shakleebaby multivitamin and multimineral powder). Great first defense against all of those school germs!

Have a good and healthy day!


Saturday, August 20, 2011

On Wisconsin!

This post is SO long overdue! I apologize for those of you who have been watching for it!

We visited Wisconsin over Father's Day weekend (yes, in JUNE! I told you it was long overdue!)
We had a GREAT time there! We decided to avoid Chicago traffic on a Friday and also take advantage of being able to have lunch with my husband's parents in central Illinois, so we routed our trip to Madison that way.

Here is grandpa playing with the boys before lunch.

And a picture with grandma
after lunch, we headed to Madison to visit our good friend, Joanna. When we crossed into Wisconsin we pulled off at a rest area and there was this terrific playground there. It was a great place to stop. Wisconsin is such a great state with very clean and surprisingly fun rest areas! Who knew?!
Here are some of the highlights from our trip to Madison. We had a great time!

First stop, State Street. If you have never been to Madison, you should make a trip! It is a great city and State Street is a must see. Cars are not allowed to drive on it and there are a lot of great restaurants and shops there. It is also right next to the Capitol building.

It wouldn't be State Street without some street musicians.
Next stop, Capitol Square where the awesome Farmers Market takes place on Saturdays. It was such a beautiful day and it was so crowded!
One surprising thing that happened while we were there was the annual naked bike ride around the Capitol area! yes, I said naked! Don't worry, I did not put any pictures up of that nor did we participate!! Madison is such a liberal city that I guess I shouldn't have been surprised! lol

Like a postcard
Here is my little guy, Andrew (bottom right) with our good friend Joanna (in brown, who is also Benjamin's Godmother) and also our friend Jennie (in white) and her two kids. I lived with Joanna and Jennie in Madison the year before I went to grad school. Seems like another lifetime ago now!

Taking a break on the square
After the farmers market, we went to have lunch. Joanna made us an awesome picnic lunch and the kids loved being in the park, enjoying the birds.
sharing a joke:)
We went to the zoo and it was so great, and FREE! Wow! They had an awesome kid play area there too. So fun!

A rare moment of sleep....
On Father's Day, we met another college friend and her family for brunch. Here is her little girl and my toddler having fun after we ate. They are 3 months apart in age and had a blast hanging out together.
And here I am with Joanna and our friend Michele.
After THAT (yes, there's more!) we headed down the interstate an hour to my brother's house to celebrate Father's Day. My brother has an actual arcade in his basement and all of the kids (big and little) LOVE it! Here's Andrew with my dad playing the bowling game.

Andrew with cousin Jessie (who's birthday we were also celebrating)
The kids loved the pinata!

collecting candy from the pinata

Benjamin with my brother (also his Godfather)
Last stop, my parents house for the night!

Whew! I am remembering how much we did that weekend as I write this! It was a lot but also a lot of fun seeing everyone. We also drove our new minivan that we just bought, so that in itself was fun! (never thought I would say that!!) :)

Have you been to Wisconsin? What is your favorite place to visit there or thing to do?

Thanks again for reading and have a great weekend!


Saturday, August 13, 2011

Free Shaklee Membership and Special for Current Members!

I am SO excited about all of the new specials that are coming out of the Shaklee Global Conference in Washington DC right now! One of which is a FREE MEMBERSHIP special ($19.95 value).

New people to Shaklee who order one box of Shaklee's newly improved Vitalizer, will get a FREE lifetime membership to Shaklee! Members save 15% always on all products with no annual fees.

is the most complete vitamin and nutrient supplement system that you can give your body. It contains 80 bio-optimized nutrients, which are clinically proven to create a foundation for a longer and healthier life. Everything you need is in one daily strip. It is available for women, men or for people over the age of 50.

And the really neat thing is that Shaklee scientists have created the SMART delivery system where each vitamin and nutrient is delivered and released in the appropriate place at the correct time in your body.

Cool stuff!

And as always, if you decide to Purchase Vitalizer and do not feel great after trying it, you can get your money back. This is true for any of Shaklee's products. :)


The other special that I am excited to share with you is for current Shaklee members. I am always so thankful to the members in my group who love their products enough to share with friends and family. Well, Shaklee just started a referral program for you! It is very easy and it doesn't require you to become a distributor to get FREE Shaklee products for sharing! So great! Here is how it works:

1. Current Shaklee members can send a special invite message (with a special coded link) from the member referral center on your page. You can send this to friends and family through facebook, twitter or email.

2. Your referred friend uses the coded link through a special site where they can purchase products and also get a one time 15% discount!

3. If their order is $25 (member price) or more (doesn't include tax or shipping), then the referring member (you!) will get $25 credit to apply to your next order!! So cool!!

And you can do up to 100 per day! If you accumulate more credit then you can use at one time, it will be banked for your next order.

Shaklee does all of the tracking and you get all the benefits!

Pretty cool, huh?

If you are new to my blog and would like to learn more about Shaklee and why I love it so much, feel free to click on the Shaklee link on the right hand side of this blog to see other posts I have written.

Thanks for reading and have a great and healthy weekend!!


Thursday, August 4, 2011

Baby's 1st Birthday!

My second child, Benjamin, just turned a year old! I can hardly believe it has been a year since he made his dramatic appearance into this world. I was thinking back to a year ago when I went into labor suddenly and progressed very quickly. (total of 2 hours from when I started "feeling bad" to his birth) I was in denial that I was even in labor since it was so early on. My husband and I rushed to the hospital (going through red lights and all!) to get there on time. I WAS NOT going to have the baby in the car! lol. But I just about did. We arrived at midnight and he was born twenty minutes later and spent 19 days in the NICU. We weren't allowed to even hold him for the first week. It was a difficult and stressful time, but the end result was so worth it. Benjamin is such a joy in our lives and we cannot picture life without him in it. He has been so happy and healthy since we brought him home. I wanted to share some of the pictures from his day and from the little party we had for him over the weekend. I also wanted to share some pictures from a year ago to show you how far he has come!

This picture was taken 2 days before he arrived. We were vacationing with our friends in Nashville, IN which is 2 hours away from our home. We rented a cabin in a remote area and I am just SO thankful that I didn't go into labor there!!!
This was the first picture we took of Benjamin in the NICU the day he was born. It was so hard to see him hooked up to all of the machines.

Big brother on the day he was born. Andrew wasn't old enough to go into the NICU so he had to wait to meet his brother.
His first day home with us! And the first time the brothers could meet. It was a wonderful day!!
Here are the pictures from his birthday and party.

My toddler had a fun time with the new toys too!

Below are pictures from the party. All of his grandparents were able to come, as well as other family and a few close friends. It was a nice day. Here are friends Jacqueline and Sebastian.
and grandma with Benjamin and friend David.
grandpa is ready to tickle Andrew while friend Kristina looks on:)
Friends Laura, Kendrick and Jacqueline along with grandma and grandpa and my college friend Joanna who made the trip from Madison. She is also his godmother.

I wish we had a better picture of the cake. It turned out very cute.

My older son barely tasted the cake on his first birthday. But this one couldn't get enough. He dove right in:)

with cousin Jessie
sleepy after the party...
having fun with grandpa

My sweet baby...
I hope you enjoyed the pictures from my little guy's big day. Have a good and healthy rest of your week!

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