January 23, 2015

5 Tips for Giving Your Immune System a Boost

What a yucky, yucky cold a flu this season this has been! Today, I am sharing 5 Tips for Giving Your Immune System a Boost. I realize that each family's needs will vary, but these are some things that have worked great for us, and maybe you'll find something here that will help you in your efforts to give your loved ones' immune systems a little boost!
Immune System

[One] In General: 
If we know someone is sick...raging fever...stomach bug...etc. we avoid them like the plague. At the same time, however, I also feel strongly about exposing my kids to lots of germy situations. Because they are out and about...in public places...in group environments...consistently around a lot of other people, their immunity is pretty strong...which keeps them from getting a cold ever time they walk out the front door. 

I've written a little more about this weird balance I maintain as well as other ideas for Keeping Your Family Healthy. Sure, throughout the course of a kid's life, they are going to experience 198,674 rounds with the yuckies; In fact, it is good for them to be exposed to germs - Their immune systems benefit from being able to fight off crud every once in awhile, but here are a few things we do around here to keep our family as healthy as possible.

[Two] Sleep:
As a former teacher...as a mom...I can tell you right now that a lot of kids simply are not getting enough sleep. Their behavior and their health is proof of it, and around here, we are sticklers for bedtime! 
It is never too late to establish a good bedtime routine. If you have not had one in the past or if you feel you need to adjust yours to make it run more smoothly, it may be a little tricky [initially] to get everyone used to the new plan, but I promise you - it will eventually become the norm! Your kids will benefit from it, and so will you! Sometimes I am great about getting my kids to bed, but then I stay up too late - enjoying the quiet...reading...browsing Pinterest...tackling my chores...but it is so important for adults to get their sleep, too! 

[Three] Diet:
Y'all know I love a bargain at the grocery store, have to be strategic about what I buy! 
For healthy eating, couponing doesn't always work
To keep our immune system strong (as well as for lots of other health benefits), I really try to keep our diet heavy on fruits and vegetables~ From the time my littles start eating solids, they eat only real food - tons of produce...lots of good fats, tons of fiber, gobs of vitamins, you get the idea. Junk food, candy, sweets, etc. are rare exceptions - not the rule. We don't buy junk for them. Therefore, they don't eat junk. If you've found yourself in a bad cycle with this, quit buying certain foods, and your kiddos will eventually get hungry enough to eat something healthy. You may think that sounds harsh, but I have encountered many a kiddo who simply need to have their taste buds retrained and many a parent who simply need to learn to say "no" to their child. 

[Four] Supplemental Products:
See this? THIS is the best kept secret in the world! It is an all-natural elderberry supplement, and it is a miracle worker! For myself, I love these tablets. Some people choose to take them everyday, but this is how I use them: If I start to feel like I'm fighting off the yuckies, I take these, and they have knocked it out every.single.time I've used them. 

For my kids, this liquid is perfect. This time of year especially, I use it as a preventative supplement for them.

Some of our friends and family use Sambucus by Nature's Way - same deal! So if you've never tried elderberry, have it shipped to your house stat!

When my little ones are still nursing, I use these supplemental Vitamin D drops for them.
I chat more about these drops (as well as other products we love) in 

The last supplement I would recommend would be essential oils. Notice I said supplement - not cure all. I realize that the internet is completely saturated with people pushing the oils, and frankly, it has gotten kind of exhausting seeing post after post about them, so I'll just say this: We use them for a few things and they've great for us~ If you're interested in trying some for your family, go for it! You can sign up to be a member, and for $150, you can get the diffuser that everyone talks about as well as several oils to get you started. 

This is a great way to try them to see what will work for you. In germy seasons, I love to diffuse thieves. For headaches or upset stomach, I use peppermint on contact. For a sore throat, I like a drop of lemon in hot tea. For relaxation, I love the lavender. If you struggle with allergies, etc. there are some great options for you, but I'll stop there. *smile*

[Five] Hand-Washing
We use lots of hand sanitizer, but nothing takes the place of a good hand-washing. For the sake of all that's good and right, let's all remember to wash our hands. It will make all the difference in everyone staying well this season!

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January 22, 2015

Creating Family Yearbooks by Shutterfly

Inspired by Ashley from Under the Sycamore, I recently decided that I wanted to start creating Family Yearbooks. There was just one problem...I was about three years behind in tackling this project. So I decided that for Christmas (this past year), I would gift my family with three years worth of family yearbooks. Putting together this particular Christmas gift was definitely a labor of love, but I am so glad that I did it! Shutterfly has so many options for creating the perfect photo album, and I love the various specials, coupon codes, etc. that they offer! 

Today, I want to give you a glimpse in to how our yearbooks turned out! 
Family Yearbooks

Quick Note: Two things were key in this project turning out the way I wanted! 
First of all, it helped that all of my photos were already chronologically organized on my computer. If you are looking to dive in to a project like this, I would definitely make sure your photos are somewhat organized before you get started. 
Second, do you remember how I told you that I write letters to my kids? These letters served as my journaling for this project! My thoughts, memories, etc. were already recorded, and I was able to plug in the words with the corresponding pictures. 

Are you ready to see a few pictures? Okay, lots of pictures!

**This 3 x 3 layout was PERFECT for plugging in my favorite Instagram photos! 

I took Ashley's advise and ordered two of each year: one for my family to enjoy and one to put back for safe keeping. 

This project will look different for everyone! I love all of the pre-made templates, layouts, etc. that Shutterfly offers, but I also really like how I was able to customize my pages as well!

This year, I am planning to start working on our next yearbook late summer/early fall - ensuring that it is under the tree and ready to go by Christmas! 

P.S. Let me brag on Shutterfly again for just a moment...When I made mistakes in my books (which definitely happened, because well, that's life...), they immediately allowed me to correct the errors, and they shipped out replacement copies FOR FREE! I was really impressed by this!

If you love Instagram as much as I do, Gramzies may be just what you're looking for:

Many of you have asked what kind of camera I use. I take ALOT of photos on my phone - which is a G3, but my camera is Nikon D3300. While I love to take pictures, I do not at all consider myself a professional - I let my Nikon do all of the work for me!

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