Tuesday, November 12, 2013

A chance

1 John 3:18 "Dear children, let us not love with words or speech, but with actions and in truth..."

I'd been thinking upon this verse just before the train pulled into the station. How can I best show love to the people God has placed in my life?

Teach me, Lord. 

I know the right words. I know them all by heart. I can tell you what you want to hear. But they mean nothing if my actions don't reflect them. And if I'm distant, cold or distracted my actions don't mean anything. 

I want to do better. For my husband. My family. For You. Give me the chance.

The day was a long one. Good and blessed, but long. I was ready to make my next train and get home. To get to my train and get out of cold weather that I was underdressed for, I picked up the pace. 

Then, I heard a voice behind me. I almost didn't turn around. I could keep walking like I didn't hear anything and no one would care. I was only fooling myself. It wasn't working.

He said, "Here's your chance. Turn around and share MY love."

Behind me I saw a woman. No coat- just a sweater and a hat. [Who am I to complain about being cold?] Her cheeks were red, hands frozen from the cold. People were pushing past us in each direction, all with places to be. 

I said hello. Her voice was quiet, saddened. She asked for some help. She just needed something to eat. 

Even still, I almost politely told her I wasn't able to help. Walk away, make my train and forget about the encounter. She would be alright, she probably didn't even want the money for food anyway. 

How do I call myself Your follower? How pathetic I would miss this opportunity to serve You. 

Instead I remembered the last five dollars I'd kept on hand in my bag for just in case something came up.

This is the something.

So we walked. Talked briefly about our hometown, the weather, our names. Her name was Sarah. And for four dollars and eighty-two cents, she ordered a slice of pizza. Her dinner. She smiled, thanking me over and over. I told her I was glad I was able to help, wished her well and went on my way. The encounter was brief, but she weighed heavily on my heart the rest of the evening.

I wish I had prayed with her. Instead, I prayed over her as I walked to my next train station. 

Give her comfort and peace. Let her know You love her, Jesus. Thank you for giving me a chance.

God heard my plea to do better and He put an opportunity in front of me. To choose to take action-to take a step towards a change. Every single day it is my choice to love and to turn my saying into doing. For everyone in my life. From strangers to family and everyone in between. 

It isn't easy and my heart isn't always willing at first, but I am so glad that the Lord doesn't give up on me. There are even times when I don't choose to show love. But He forgives, loving me still.  He keeps prodding and guiding. And He doesn't make me to do it alone-He's there the whole time. 

Feeling grateful for my warm home, with food in the cabinets. For jobs the Lord has provided my husband and I so he can finish school. For family. For my warm coat and mittens. For opportunities to serve others-hopefully showing them the amazing truth and hope of Jesus' love. 

Friday, October 25, 2013

Yu! Healthy Snacks Giveaway Winner

The winner of the Yu! Healthy Snacks giveaway is Danielle C! Danielle, I've sent you an email so you can claim your prize! Thanks again for everyone who entered.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Nappy Kind Review

I love baby clothes. They are so cute, colorful and tiny! My favorite part of the morning routine with little ones is choosing what outfit they will style for the day. There are appliqued dresses with matching hair bows and sweater vests with baby jeans. Many baby outfits can be cute, but not incredibly functional for everyday wear. Whenever I am in charge of dressing children, I most often [always] search for the comfy pants and soft tops. I'm a big fan of seeing kids comfortable and able to move freely and easily throughout the day. When little chunky legs are just learning how to crawl and walk, it's so much easier to cruise around in knit pants rather than stiff jeans.

Another factor that determines the outfits I choose for kiddos is how easy [or difficult] the outfit is to get on and off. I am changing diapers [and said outfits] many times during the day, and the less buttons, zippers and snaps the better it is for everyone. 

Recently I learned of a shop called NappyKind that specializes in selling functional, quality leg warmers for babies and young children. NappyKind is owned by two individuals, Sabrina and Junior, who believe every parent should have a set of leg warmers in their little one's wardrobe. 

Not only are the leg warmers they sell functional and well-made, but they are affordable and absolutely darling! 

Green polka dot leg warmers
I was sent a pair of their leg warmers to review and I was not disappointed. When I first opened the package I was impressed with how soft and durable they felt. Children play hard in their clothes, so being able to withstand different kinds of messes and plenty of washes is important. 

Another great aspect of these leg warmers is one size fits from infancy to toddlerhood. They will fit larger on an infant than on a toddler, but these leg warmers have a great stretch to them. This allows them to accommodate children as they grow. [They fit great on a 21-pound one-year-old. I will update with a picture when I can get my camera working] :)

A few more reasons I love these leg warmers from NappyKind:
  • Layering- These leg warmers make a great layering piece for little legs in cooler weather. Easy to throw on underneath a pair of pants, or by themselves. 
  • Ease of use-You just pull them on and you're good to go! These leg warmers make diaper changes a breeze. I always struggle to get pants back on squirmy kids after diaper changes. Leg warmers have no buttons or zippers that cover the diaper, so there is no need to take them off for a diaper change.
  • Helpful for potty training-While this isn't something that I am helping any little ones with as of now, I can definitely see these being helpful during the potty-training stage. 
  • Great for children learning to crawl/walk-Leg warmers provide extra support and cushion for little knees learning to crawl, or when baby starts taking those first wobbly steps.
NappyKind has a big variety of leg warmers in many styles and patterns. They are all adorable and I am impressed at how affordable they are as well. NappyKind even offers worldwide shipping!

Owl hat from NappyKind
In addition to leg warmers, NappyKind also sells a number of other items for baby. This includes hats, leather shoes, cloth diapers and gift sets. Everything they sell is high quality and super cute! 

 NappyKind is a great company! I enjoy supporting small businesses when I can, and NappyKind was wonderful to work with. I have fallen in love with this company and all of the cute baby items they sell. They will definitely be a go-to store when I need to purchase cute gifts for friends with little ones.

Check them out at their website by clicking here

You can also follow NappyKind on Twitter and Facebook.

*Disclosure: I was sent a product sample at a discounted price to facilitate this review. All views and opinions are fully my own.*

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Yu! Healthy Snacks Review and Giveaway

Having fast and healthy snack options throughout the week is important to me. With me working full-time and my husband at school and working, being able to have a snack to grab on the go is a must. If I had enough hours in my day I would love to make snacks from scratch, but that is an unrealistic expectation.

Thankfully, there are companies that understand that healthy snacks are important to people. Yu! Healthy Snacks is one of these companies. They have made it a goal to provide healthy snacks that also taste delicious!

Yu! Healthy Snacks sells a variety of snacks that are all made from 100% real fruit. They make unique snacks that are free from artificial colors, flavors and preservatives.

Recently, the folks at Yu! Healthy Snacks gave me the opportunity to review several selections of their nutritious snacks. I love hearing about new companies that strive to make their products as naturally and healthy as possible, so I was very excited to try these snacks.

Here are the snacks I was sent to review:

This selection included a sample of their Yu! Jus Fruit, Yu! Bars and Yu! Granola. Once I opened the package these sweet snacks did not last long.

Yu! Jus Fruit-These bite-sized fruit chews are made from 100% real fruit. The are gluten free and contain no added sugars. These fruit chews come in five different flavors: blackcurrant, blueberry, strawberry, mango and cherry.

These fruit chews were the first snacks my husband and I tried. We received and mango and strawberry flavors. I have a real sweet tooth, and couldn't wait to grab these after dinner. They were sweet [but not overly sweet] and tasted delicious. My favorite part was being able to pronounce the 5 ingredients on the back of the package. One package of Yu! Jus Fruit satisfies one of your five daily servings of fruit. Yu! Jus Fruit chews only contain sugars that occur naturally in the fruit, which is a huge plus.

Yu! Bars- Yu! Bars are made from real fruit and cereal and have a covering made out of real yogurt. They come in four flavors: wild berry, strawberry, apricot and cherry.

These fruit and cereal bars were another delicious treat. They were just the right size for an afternoon snack. I got to try the wild berry and strawberry flavors and neither of them disappointed. I especially enjoyed the yogurt coating on the outside of these.

Yu! Granola-A combination of granola cereal and real fruit pieces all covered in a delicious real yogurt coating. They contain no artificial colors and come in 3 different flavors: granola and raisin, granola and strawberry, and granola and mango.

These granola and fruit pieces may have been my favorite of the snacks I got to try. I received the strawberry flavor and they were delicious! I was surprised with how many came in a package. Loved that they only had 99 calories, were covered in real yogurt and made out of real fruit.

Being able to find snacks that aren't produced artificially is extremely important to me. I try to have as many healthy snack options as possible, and the snacks from Yu! Healthy Snacks are definitely a keeper. I love the short ingredient list, the fact that they use real fruit in their snacks and how easy they are to pack in lunches and grab as a snack before class. These snacks would be great for children and adults alike. I would definitely recommend Yu! Healthy Snacks to anyone looking for a more natural, yet still delicious treat to keep in the house.

To learn more about Yu! Healthy Snacks, click here.

You can also find them on Twitter and Facebook.

Yu! Healthy Snacks has generously offered the chance for one of my readers to win a selection of their tasty snacks, like the ones I was sent to review. You can enter to win in the Rafflecopter form below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

*Disclosure: I was sent a sample of the product in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own. 

Today [saturday]

Early morning. Chores done. Lunch with a friend. 
Quality time. Video games. 
Fun conversation. Rainy, autumn afternoon. Writing. 
New recipes. Fresh herbs drying. 
Cool air. Open windows.
Quiet moments amidst busy city living. 
Cinnamon tea. Wet leaves.
Sweet guitar sounds behind me.
Sister chats.  Short naps.
Good questions. Silly moments.
Slightly productive, mostly relaxing. 
Wonderful Saturday.

View from our window this afternoon. Fall colors on a rainy afternoon. 

Sunday, October 6, 2013

It's the little things

This morning, wise older woman at church  stopped me to talk for a moment. Before leaving she told me, "Life goes by so quickly. We don't stop to enjoy the little things and compliment others as much as we should." I want to heed her words. So in the spirit of enjoying little things in life here are a few little things from my week.

It is October! The weather today has been absolutely beautiful and starting to feel like Fall. I was walking around on campus where Pete goes to school [and where we live] just loving all of the colors and sounds. Loving the jeans and flip flops and cozy sweaters. Soup for lunch and drinking tea this afternoon.
Love these cute [free] calendar printables from Pursuit of Poppiness

Before last week took a turn to ear infections and colds for the two sweet girls I care for, we got to get out and enjoy a fun morning at the park. We soaked in some sun and smiles before the rest of the week was spent indoors and sick. It breaks my heart to see little ones feeling badly, but it does force me to slow down for hours of snuggles, book reading and singing.

Big girl E in her bucket hat

I finally finished the knitting project I had been working on. If you remember my recent yarn review, you may remember I had started a present for a sweet friend's baby girl.
Baby Girl hasn't made her appearance yet, but yesterday we got to celebrate her upcoming arrival at a baby shower and I was able to gift the hat I'd been working on. I'm pretty proud of the way it turned out and can once again recommend how wonderful Xena Knit's yarn is! The hat came together easily and is soft, but durable. 

Life does seem to have a way of passing by ever so quickly. We live in a world that is moving so fast and I am realizing I might just miss it if I don't consciously slow down and thank the Lord for the small things He has given me. The endless songs of "Twinkle Twinkle," a redeeming conversation with my husband, time to visit with family and good conversation on a trip to the grocery store with my mother-in-law. All of these things may seem small, but in the end they add up to being the small [big] things I cherish most. 

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Once Upon a Sling [babywearing]

OnyaBaby Carrier
If you have been following my blog for any length of time, you may have heard me mention the term "babywearing" on occasion. A few years ago I wrote this post about how much I love babywearing.

As a nanny I have been able to use a number of different carriers on a number of children of multiple ages. From infant to toddler I've been blessed to be able to learn about the art of babywearing over the years. It is such a bonding experience. I'm not ever able to replace mom or dad, but while these sweet little ones are in my care it has been a great way to reassure them that they are safe and loved.

After nannying 2 infant girls for a year, we practically relied on carriers to get us through our days. We used the carriers for walks and to keep children happy when I needed to hold them both at once. I was able to wash bottles with a girl strapped to my back and it was essential for a hurting, teething toddler.

I've spent a lot of time researching the many types of carriers out there and their benefits. There is an overwhelming amount of information about the best carriers and the best way to babywear. That can get confusing.

Recently, while researching baby carriers, I found Once Upon a Sling. This company, located in Bloomington, Illinois, began in 2010 by Anna Hubbard. She saw a need for quality baby carriers and education in her area and set out to meet that need.

Once Upon a Sling carries many different types of baby carriers. From wraps to mei tais, they have them all! In addition to selling these carriers, their site is full of wonderful information on the types of carriers out there and how to best wear your baby.

Over the coming weeks I am hoping to be able to write a few different posts highlighting specific carriers that Once Upon a Sling sells. I would love to share my personal experience with the carriers I've tried, and ones I hope to get my hands on one day [right now I am dying to try the Onya or Beco Soleil].

Shop Once Upon a SlingIf you are in the market for a new carrier, or want to learn more about babywearing, check out Once Upon a Sling's website by clicking here or on the tab on the right side bar of my blog.

*New customers at Once Upon a Sling can receive 5 dollars off of their first purchase with the coupon code "FIRST5".

Babywearing is such a wonderful experience for both caregiver and baby. It makes for the ability to have my hands free even when baby needs some snuggle time [which means we avoid those late afternoon tired tears]. Safe babywearing makes for a convenient napping place while out and about without having to navigate a bulky stroller. Above all, the ability to babywear has given me even more confidence in how to successfully meet the needs of little ones each day. That is something that I would never trade.

This post contains affiliate links. Meaning, if you make a purchase at Once Upon a Sling through links on this blog I will receive compensation. The opinions expressed in this post are completely my own out of my sheer love for babywearing and to highlight an awesome company.