Cuddling Up With Huggies Little Snugglers #MC #Sponsored

I participated in an Influencer Activation Program on behalf of Mom Central Consulting for Huggies and Target. I received samples for this review and a promotional item to thank me for participating.

After almost FOUR years straight of changing diapers {!!!}, I’ll say this: All diapers are not created equal. Some leak, some give rashes, some feel cheap and others are super soft. Also, each brand works differently for different kids. I’ve tried brands that worked great for Kinley, but gave Karina a rash. Now, with a little boy, I’m finding other challenges in the diaper chaining department.

We recently had the opportunity to try out Huggies Little Snugglers — with my newest addition, and I have to say, I am impressed! In fact, these may be my new favorites for the first weeks of baby’s life.

Huggies Little Snugglers at Target

Shopping for Huggies Little Snugglers at one of my favorite places ever — Target! These are also available at Target.com. They were easy to spot on the end cap at my store. 

First, they fit perfectly, which says a lot because Miles is pretty close to 14 pounds at just 6 weeks old. I love how the curves fit around his thighs, and the tabs seem stronger than some brands, which is so crucial in the first weeks when you’re changing a newborn with little frog legs! Additionally, the GentleAbsorb Liner seems to help keep pee and poo away from his skin really well. We’ve had zero issues with diaper rash, and I think this may be why since my guy seems to have sensitive skin in other areas.

In the early weeks of changing a baby, it’s soooo needed to have the little wetness indicator to show if baby wet. Otherwise, I would have no clue since sometimes they go such a little amount, but will cry from the discomfort of sitting in it. I mean, wouldn’t you? Huggies to the rescue!

Huggies Little Snugglers

See how it turns green when baby has wet? Otherwise, it’s just yellow. How awesome is that!?

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Crockpot Applesauce Recipe {With Michigan Apples!}

Michigan Apples

It’s apple season here in Michigan, and I couldn’t be happier. Move over everything pumpkin spice, this has been the year for all things apple! After a rough apple crop last year, I’m so happy to see apples a-plenty growing in abundance here and helping all of our wonderful orchards and cider mills stay in business.

Our favorite local orchard to go to for picking apples is Spicer Orchards in Fenton, Michigan {about 15 minutes south of Flint}. Not only is in scenic, but there is TONS to do for kiddos {playground, huge sandbox, corn barn, tractors, etc.}, which makes it a big draw for us. We make sure to go several times throughout the season for outdoor fun, fresh donuts, apple cider and apple picking.

Spicer Orchards

A few weeks back, we  trekked out for apples. I love apple picking because it’s easy to do with small kids in tow because it’s relatively quick. Also, I like being able to choose what size apples we grab — the small ones are perfect for kids so they don’t waste! On this day, we picked a peck, which was $11 for the bag. To me, that’s pretty reasonable since we were able to squeeze a ton of apples into our bag. We picked mostly Gala apples, one of my favorites, along with some Mollies Delicious.

Check out this infographic full of all things apple in Michigan, courtesy of the Michigan Apples Committee. I love the stats in here!

Infographic Revised Sept 2014

Michigan sure rocks apples, huh? Woot.

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12 Tips for Natural Childbirth {One Mom’s Experience}

“Birth sticks with a woman, remaining in her bone and her flesh as an embodied memory long after the baby has left her womb.” – Pamela E. Klassen

When I posted on my Facebook that Miles was born, I contemplated whether or not I should add that it was a drug-free birth. I went back and forth, hoping it wouldn’t come across as bragging, since lord knows us moms need to feel inferior about something else.

I asked the husband, and he said after all I went through during my first two labors, I deserved to brag. So I did it. Because you know what? I am damn proud. Proud my body, heart and head finally aligned for our third and final baby.

After two births that were traumatic to me, I finally have the story I am proud to share.

Before this, when I thought of my births, I had a bit of hostility…Why didn’t my body just allow birth to happen? Why did an epidural not provide me relief? Why did I need the vacuum during my first birth, pitocin during my second, and painful episiotomies both times when I didn’t have many friends who experienced these medical interventions? Of course, I was elated when my girls arrived healthy, but thinking of the entire process, I felt bitter, especially as I grew more educated about birth.

These factors are one of the reasons I chose a midwife for my third baby {in a hospital setting}. After studying what they do different, I knew that would be the route I should go to avoid having a repeat of my first two births where I didn’t feel in control at all.

During my first meeting with my midwife, I spoke nervously to her about my past birth experiences and she suggested I had postpartum post-traumatic stress disorder and should consider talking to a therapist. I am not above seeking help when needed, but I knew I could overcome my birthing fears on my own if I educated myself more.

Having a natural birth was such a healing process for me, so I want to share 12 things I did differently this time around.
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Smoked Sausage, Egg and Cheese Bake Recipe for #MIDairy

Smoked Sausage, Egg and Cheese Bake

The post below is sponsored by the United Dairy Industry of Michigan. I was compensated for developing a recipe using dairy products, however, all opinions expressed are my own.
 
With three little ones, I’ll admit it: I don’t cook a full-blown breakfast as often as I’d like these days. Not that we go out, either. Between needy kids and a loves-to-nurse in the morning babe, I’m just usually scrambling in the morning and throwing whatever is in the fridge together. I need recipes that are EASY since I usually am holding the baby and attempting to keep the toddler out of the pantry and fridge.
 
With school in the afternoon for Kinley and general toddler pickyness, I need them to eat a FILLING breakfast because the rest of our day is generally a crapshoot of what they will actually eat.
 
This smoked sausage, egg and cheese bake is one of my absolute favorite recipes to throw together for both breakfast and brinner {breakfast for dinner}. It is a HUGE hit in our house. Since it seems pretty rare these days that we all like the same things, I make this one often, especially when smoked sausage goes on sale and I have beautiful farm fresh eggs from my friend who raises chickens.
 
Eggs - Smoked Sausage, Egg and Cheese BakeAren’t farm fresh eggs just the prettiest? I love how they come out in all different colors and sizes!
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Our Experience at Breakfast On The Farm {Uphaus Farms in Manchester, Michigan}

Breakfast on the Farm - Michigan

Supporting Michigan agriculture is a passion of mine and something I have enjoyed learning about since marrying my husband who grew-up on a farm.

My kids absolutely love visiting my in-laws farm. From checking out the tractors, to sticking their hands in the corn crib and grabbing feed for the cows — it truly is such a great learning and sensory experience for them, and I love watching them run all over the yard with excitement.

We recently had the opportunity to visit another cattle farm in Manchester, Michigan — Uphaus Farms — through the Michigan State University Extension Program, Breakfast on the Farm. We all had a ball! OK, the baby just slept the entire time, but he got lots of stimulation in the form of moo-ing, baa-ing and lovely cow smells ;)

If you aren’t familiar, Breakfast on the Farm (BOTF) gives consumers and farm neighbors a first-hand look at modern food production, and the farm families who work hard to produce a safe, wholesome food supply for Michigan communities and the world.

The night before the event, power outages swept across the region, leaving thousands without power, including the farm. That didn’t stop the event from happening with the help of generators. Because of mud and outages, they had busses transporting us from a parking lot to the farm. While we weren’t thrilled with needing to bring a stroller on board, the girls were SO excited to ride a real school bus – ha!

When we arrived, we were shuffled into the food line. I was happy because I was hungry! Good thing too, because they had LOTS of food: Eggs, pancakes, sausage, yogurt, muffins and milk. We all ate like kings — especially the girls who really seemed to enjoy it all :) Woohoo for a FREE farm-fresh breakfast!
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Summer Wedding Memories + Giveaway with Papyrus and Meijer {ENDS 9/22}

Meijer-Logo-300x120

The giveaway below is sponsored by Meijer. I received promotional items and a gift card in exchange for this post.

I love that summertime creates so many memories among friends and families. One of my favorite things about summer is weddings! For me, there’s nothing quite like a wedding…From the flowers and dancing to witnessing a couple make the ultimate decision to be together forever – it’s all so beautiful and always pulls at this hopeless romantic’s heartstrings.

I have been lucky to be invited to some pretty epic weddings over the years. One friend had a carnival-themed wedding outside, which was SO fun. Another friend is Chaldean and had the most beautiful ever with tons of friends, family and traditional Arabic dancing.

Carnival Wedding

Being goofballs at a friend’s carnival-themed wedding

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Baby Week + New mPerks Features for Meijer Shoppers

Attention Meijer shoppers! There are some BIG changes happening over in Meijer land today that just may officially make me a forever loyal Meijer shopper.

First, if you don’t use mPerks and shop at Meijer, go get it now. You can register by visiting mperks.meijer.com or by downloading the mPerks app for free in the iTunes App Store and in the Google Play Android app store. I love having it on my phone because I can easily scan through and grab savings while in the car before heading into to store. There’s also the ability to make a list, which makes it easier to shop.

mPerks personalized rewards First, if you log into your account TODAY, you will notice that mPerks is launching a Personalized Rewards update which includes:

  • Rolling start dates which give customers four weeks to earn after they clip their reward {with that said, don’t clip the reward until you are about to go to the store!}
  • Ability to earn towards any or all rewards at the same time — in the categories of your choosing {produce, paper products, health/beauty, etc.}
  • No waiting until the next month—when customers complete a reward, they can start a new one {This is helpful because I always would forget otherwise!}

new rewards 2

Once a reward is earned and clipped, they are located in a new ‘earned rewards’ section of the site, which makes it easy to keep track of all the savings. Updates are available at mPerks.com and on the Meijer mobile app. If you already have the app, be sure to download the update to gain access to mPerks Rewards 2.0.

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Our Birth Announcement Reveal + Custom Invitation Giveaway with Small Moments {Ends 9/15}

One thing I love creating when my babies arrive into this world is a birth announcement. Sure, there’s Facebook to see baby updates and share photos with family near and far, but I love having a hard copy of the newest littles in my life to hang on my fridge. In fact, looking at the things hanging on people’s fridge is seriously my favorite thing to do when visiting other people’s homes ;)

I was thrilled when Kim of Small Moments reached out to me to design my announcement cards after seeing the beautiful photos Deanna Spivey Photography took. Her work is absolutely stellar. Also? Love that she is local to Michigan/Ann Arbor/Detroit and she works SO fast. Speed is so appreciated as a busy mom who often forgets to send cards out!

Here is what she created for us. I’m in love <3

miles_weber_baby_announcement

Front

miles_weber_baby_announcement2

Back

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My Hair Donation To Wigs 4 Kids

There is no denying it — each of us has had cancer impact our lives in some way or another. This week I had a new reason to say screw cancer, because two family members were diagnosed with it.

Like most of the world, I loathe cancer. I hate that it hurts so many people, and I really hate that even children endure it. My heart goes out to all dealing with this terrible disease.

When I learned about hair donation to help cancer patients a few years ago, I knew it was something I wanted to put on my bucket list. In the past, I always grew impatient and cut my hair before it met the required lengths {most organizations require between 8 and 12 inches}, but when I learned I was pregnant, I knew I could make it happen since prenatal vitamins help with hair growth and I knew I wouldn’t be dying my hair.

I was thrilled when a friend mentioned Wigs 4 Kids, a St. Clair Shores, Michigan-based organization. Something that struck me about them was that they give wigs to children free of cost. I also love that they provide hair to children with other hair loss issues such as alopecia, trichotillomania, lupus, hydrocephalus, burns and more.

To me, it’s just hair…But to a child who has lost her hair? It could mean the world.  

So when I cut off 11″ of my hair today, I didn’t mourn my loss. Instead, I celebrated the fact that I am lucky enough to give it to someone who needs it more than I do.

My amazing stylist Jill at Maki J’s Salon in downtown Howell reassured me that I could pull off short hair, so I put my trust in her and let her go with her vision. Since I have really thick, wavy/curly hair, she made sure to give me a mom-friendly ‘do that I can wear both curly and straight. While it is going to take some getting used to, I couldn’t be happier with her work. Here are the results:

My Hair Donation to Wigs 4 Kids

I can’t wait to ship off my hair this week and help a local child in need!
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Family Fun in Southeast Michigan in September 2014

September is just around the corner, which means it’s time for another installment of family fun around Ann Arbor, Detroit, Flint and Lansing! I don’t know about you all, but I am really looking forward to this month…Back-to-school {a.k.a. back to a routine – yay!}, apple picking, cider, donuts and a few of the fabulous events outlined below. Enjoy the month, friends!

Family Fun in Southeast Michigan in September 2014

RE-PIN HERE!

FAMILY FUN IN SOUTHEAST MICHIGAN IN SEPTEMBER 2014

Finishing up Labor Day weekend…The Michigan State Fair, Romeo Peach Festival and Arts, Beats and Eats. Check my August calendar for details!

Weekends, through September 28 – Michigan Renaissance Festival Come to Holly Grove where music, sword-swallowing, comedy, fire-juggling and of course, the costumes of a bygone era all wonderfully on display. Open 10 a.m. – 7 p.m., rain or shine! Dress in costume for added fun and be sure to check out how the Festival celebrates with themed weekends. Free parking. Adult general admission: $21.95; child general admission: $12.95. Screen Shot 2014-08-28 at 8.24.35 AM

August 29 – October 30 – Celebration Cinema’s Flick’s Family Festival {Various Locations around Lansing} – Visit one of the Celebration Cinemas locations for FREE kid’s movies {12 and under}, or just $5 for adults. The movies/dates are as follows: Aug. 29-Sept. 4: The Nut Job, Sept. 5 -11: The Muppets Most Wanted, Sept. 12-18: The LEGO Movie, Sept. 19-25 Mr. Peabody & Sherman, Sept. 26-Oct.2: Rio 2, Oct 3-9: Legends of Oz, Oct. 10-16: How to Train Your Dragon 2, Oct. 17-23: Earth to Echo, and Oct. 24-30: Maleficent.

September 1 – FREE Entry To The Henry Ford Museum {Dearborn} – Getting into Michigan’s best museum for FREE on Labor Day thanks to Target!

September 1 – Labor Day Sale at all Metro Detroit Salvation Army Thrift Stores – Stop in for 50% off all clothing! This is the perfect sale to stock up! View participating stores here.

September 3-7 – Frontier Days {Charlotte} – Pioneer-spirited guests will enjoy this annual event featuring one of Mid-Michigan’s largest parades, a championship rodeo, flea market, more than 250 arts and crafts exhibits, an old-fashioned saloon, and more. FREE.

September 4-7 – Richmond Good Old Days Festival {Richmond} – The Annual Richmond Area Good Old Days Festival is one of Michigan’s best small town festivals and boasts the largest marching musical parade in Michigan, as well as a carnival, antique fire muster, a children’s candy scramble and much more. FREE.

September 5-6 – Brighton’s Smokin’ Jazz and Barbecue Blues Festival {Brighton} – Visit downtown Brighton for talented musicians and food vendors from all over the country smokin’ up the streets. Experience the tastiest of barbecue, the smoothest of jazz and the bluest of blues, and be sure to wash it down with ice-cold beverages from the beer and wine garden. Admission is $5, but FREE before 6 p.m. Ages 18 and under are FREE with accompanying adult admission.

September 5-7 – Plymouth Fall Festival {Plymouth} – This fest features carnival rides, a car show, craft show, pancake breakfast, rotary BBQ, spaghetti dinner, and live entertainment, food and more. FREE.

September 5-7 – Arts and Apples Festival {Rochester} – For 49 years, the Art & Apples Festival has transformed the 30-acre Rochester Park into one of the nation’s top fine art fairs with over 290 artists from across the country. Other attractions include non-stop entertainment, food vendors, and a Meijer Kids Art Zone. FREE. [Read more...]

Our Newborn Photo Session with Deanna Spivey Photography, Metro Detroit Photographer

Deanna Spivey Photography

I often like to stand on my soapbox and tell moms-to-be a few things they should consider getting with a new baby. Skip the $500 strollers and the heaps of things you may never use — get a great camera, a great rocking chair, and a photo package for the baby’s first year of life, or at the very least — professional newborn photos.

Deanna Spivey Photography Newborn 1

Why? A baby changes before your eyes during the first year of their life…and there is nothing quite so heartwarming than looking back at your nugget when they are just days fresh. {Their skin, hair, eyes and more change just a couple of weeks after birth, so it’s really neat to look back and see the changes.}

I was beyond ecstatic to work with Deanna Spivey Photography again, this time for Miles’ newborn shots.

I can take decent photos, and for that, I feel lucky. But I can in no way manipulate a baby quite like a professional can {nor do I have the energy in those first postpartum days}, and watching Deanna work was like watching a sculptor with clay. It was nothing short of amazing!

I mean…LOOK. Babies in baskets for the win!

Deanna Spivey Photography Newborn 2

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The Wet Brush: Best Detangling Brush {Review + Giveaway ENDS 9/4}

Wet Brush Logo

Disclosure: I was provided with The Wet Brush for the purpose of writing this review.

There is one hair battle I have fought long and hard my entire life: Thick hair.

Many people say they would love to have hair as thick as mine. Well people, it’s not all it’s cracked up to be…It takes SO long to dry and style, hence, it usually is up or looking like a hot mess because ain’t no mama got time for that. Also? It’s hard to brush through, therefore I’m already counting down the days until I can donate 10″ of it to Wigs 4 Kids!

It seems my Kinley is going to have this issue as well. Karina still has baby hair, but the constant toddler rat nest in the back may be an indication of what’s to come. Needless to say, hair brushing in our house is a constant battle.

I was ecstatic to learn about The Wet Brush, the best detangling brush ever, from my local blogging friend Coupon Savvy Sarah, and knew I had to give it a shot.

The Wet Brush
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