Published


This is a sponsored post. All opinions are mine.

Bodhi preschool year one first and last dayWho is ready for the kids to get back to school? This sweet little 2-year-old (above left) is heading to Kindergarten! I can’t believe it and yet I’m completely thrilled for him. He’s ready!

He’s home with me for two more weeks between the end of his summer program and the beginning of Kindergarten. I think we’re both pretty ready for some structure and we’re almost ready for school. I’ve been gathering supplies, clothes (the kid grew several inches since spring) and other necessities plus getting our house back-to-school ready!

Have you guys heard of Groupon Coupons? It’s super new to me and a great option for saving some cash this back-to-school season!

Back to school with groupon couponsGroupon Coupons is loaded with savings at so many of our favorite stores including online options.

Remember our back-to-school guide? Combine that with Groupon Coupons for extra savings at places like J.Crew Factory and Nordstrom! Read More »


Published


This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #KashiPlantPower #GOTOGETHER #CollectiveBias

SUPER CLEAN Protein power chocolate shake recipeI’ve been on a bit of a health kick over here. I’ve had low energy this past spring and early summer. I’ve found that eating well and exercising every day has made a huge positive difference for me! And of course, sleeping well would be nice too, but our littlest one has had some sleep regression these past few weeks.

Now that I’m doing strength training along with my cardio exercise, I am very focused on a well-rounded diet. As a vegetarian, one way I often make sure I get plenty of protein is with protein shakes, specifically Kashi® GOLEAN™ Plant Powered Shakes. The ingredients are SO good and simple! I always add in tons of extra good-for-me ingredients too. Here is my favorite recipe! :)

SUPER CLEAN Protein power chocolate shake recipeSUPER CLEAN PROTEIN POWER CHOCOLATE SHAKE RECIPE

Ingredients

  • Kashi GOLEAN Plant Powered Shakes in Dark Cocoa Powder flavor
  • 3/4 c greens. Spinach, kale and chard are great!
  • 1 T Cacao (for texture)
  • Small piece of fresh Turmeric (for superpowers-just kidding, but it’s a great addition) I used less than 1/5 of the piece shown.
  • 8 ounces of water/serving
  • Ice to taste

Kashi shake (2 of 9)Directions

  1. Combine all ingredients in a blender
    SUPER CLEAN Protein power chocolate shake recipe
  2. Blend on high power (or smoothie setting) until mixed completely.
  3. Enjoy!
  4. Serve with unsweetened coconut and cacao on top.
  5. For extra thickness and sweetness, add a banana to the mix. You’re welcome!

SUPER CLEAN Protein power chocolate shake recipeKashi GOLEAN Plant Powered Shakes are a new product from Kashi and I’ve loved them! They are available on Target.com and are loaded with goodness. These powders are vegan, gluten-free, non-soy, no stevia, high in plant protein, loaded with probiotics and taste great! The ingredients are all recognizable which I really appreciate!  Read More »


Published


Ultimate back to school shopping guide for boys.Today we have the ultimate boys back to school shopping guide and lookbook because boy moms love dressing their kiddos well too! I’m sharing everything you need for back to school in every price range with loads of choices including high and low options, super soft denim and all kinds of wearable looks for little boys. I included layers for any other parents out there like me who live in a city with four seasons.

HUGE DEAL ALERT!
Towards the end there is a section with back-to-school boy finds for under $10. The H&M T-shirts in there are $2.40 right now with the coupon code listed at the bottom plus free shipping if you spend $60! They come in sizes 18 months to 10 years and there are several adorable styles!

Please note—everything labeled (LTFL FAVE!) is something we own, bought this year or have used. Please “PIN IT!” if you love it or Share it with your friends with boys!

Our little buddy Rocco is the model in several of the Target listings. So fun! Keep your eyes peeled for that sweet guy! His mama is the best!

Are you ready to get shopping? Read More »


Published


This post is sponsored by Tessemae’s via Mom It Forward.

Vegetarian Whole30 Tessemae Egg Salad Lettuce Wrap recipe.Since June, my energy levels have started to dip a bit. I don’t feel like my best self on a daily basis and I’m eating way too many sugary foods. I mean, come on! Ice cream and summer go together SO well!

Last week, I decided it was time for a change. Thanks to my sweet friend Tiffany, I’m now doing the vegetarian version of Whole30 (which true Whole 30 people would say isn’t actually Whole30 at all). I’m only in the beginning stages, so I have a lot to learn and a lot to live through yet, but things are going fairly well for me.

Tessemae Egg Salad Vegetarian Whole30 Tessemae Egg Salad Lettuce Wrap recipe.I’m not opposed to sweets and treats and grains and some of the things that Whole30 eliminates at all! I love a good dessert table at a party and think treats are such a fun addition to life when we’re not ridiculously addicted to them like I had become. When my 30 days is up, I will likely try to have treats in moderation again, but now I know that if it gets out of control, pressing the reset button is a good idea.

My Vegetarian Whole30 Goals

  1. Increased energy
  2. Kick my out of control sweet tooth
  3. Generally eat better (make vegetables a bigger part of my diet) with less processed foods and find good options for things such as dressings and seasoning so I’m not constantly reaching for junk.

Since Whole30 includes zero processed foods, it’s a switch in thinking but is way less difficult than I expected, mostly because it’s not a calorie counting game. You eat large meals, but they are just a lot healthier and quite a bit more time-consuming to make. ;)

Green smoothiesHere is what a day looks like for me
Breakfast: Black coffee, Egg omelet with cherry tomatoes, onions and spinach topped with avocado and a side of roasted sweet potatoes
Lunch: Egg salad lettuce wrap
Dinner: Taco bowls with cauliflower “rice”
Snack: Apple with almond butter or celery with almond or cashew butter, handful of nuts or seeds, raw vegetables or fresh fruit.

Whole30 recommends that you don’t snack, but I’ve been feeling hungry and as a vegetarian with limited protein sources in this 30 day cycle, I know that having a whole foods snack is a good idea for my body.

Tessemae Egg SaladVegetarian Whole30 Tessemae Egg Salad Lettuce Wrap recipe.Lunch has been a big deal for me. I easily eat a large breakfast, head to the gym, work a bit and then hunger hits big around 11:30 a.m. My lunches need to count and so far, they have. Today I’m so excited to share my clean Egg salad lettuce wrap recipe with you because it’s delicious, nutritious and EASY thanks to Tessemae’s Whole30 approved dressings! Read More »


Published


This post was sponsored on behalf of Sequoia Grove via One2One Network. All opinions stated are my own.

Driveway Happy Hour with Sequoia GroveFor any of my long-time readers, I’ve talked about Driveway Happy Hour at least once a summer. It’s our neighborhood’s weekly Friday night family-friendly get together that includes tons of playtime for the kiddos, a little bit of wine for the parents and great conversation.

Driveway Happy Hour with Sequoia Grove (10 of 11)It rotates throughout the neighborhood each summer. It was our turn to host this past Friday night and we had such a fabulous night with our amazing neighbors. I focused on just a few things to make the night fun, festive, but also simple and enjoyable. I had Natalie create some lovely posters (as usual!) with fun phrases.

Driveway Happy Hour with Sequoia Grove (5 of 11)I decorated with simple white vases filled with ferns and raffia table runners. I already owned all of the white linens and borrowed folding tables from neighbors.

Driveway Happy Hour with Sequoia Grove (8 of 11)Entertaining simply is my new favorite thing! I actually enjoy our parties now that I keep it more simple.

Driveway Happy Hour with Sequoia Grove (3 of 11)We served pizza, brownies, cookies, chips and dips, fruit pops and snacks plus Sequoia Grove Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon for the adults. Read More »


Published


This post is in sponsored by Jack Nicklaus Ice Cream. Jack Nicklaus Ice cream for National Ice Cream Month

July is National Ice Cream Month and we couldn’t be happier to bring you our fun ice cream cart and a giveaway (think $100 plus ice cream) today to celebrate this important occasion!

Jack Nicklaus Ice cream for National Ice Cream MonthI love putting together fun little treats for the kids and our neighbors on the fly. Using Ezra’s lemonade stand as an ice cream cart was so much fun for the boys and a great way to celebrate National Ice Cream Month.

Jack Nicklaus Ice cream for National Ice Cream Month (9 of 12)Jack Nicklaus Ice Cream was developed in partnership with legendary pro-golfer Jack Nicklaus and The Schwan Food Company in 2015 with the goal of bringing families together with an affordable, delicious dessert. We tried six flavors and there wasn’t one we didn’t love! So good!  Additionally, a portion of sales of the product goes to support Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. I love this aspect!

Jack Nicklaus Ice cream for National Ice Cream Month (10 of 12)How to put together an ice cream cart or station

Jack Nicklaus Ice cream for National Ice Cream Month (6 of 12)You will need:

  • Ice cream (We loved having a variety of flavors of Jack Nicklaus Ice Cream to share with our friends)
  • Ice cream bowls or cones
  • Ice cream scoop
  • Sprinkles
  • Spoons

Jack Nicklaus Ice cream for National Ice Cream Month (11 of 12)If you have a tray or cart, simply set everything out. Kids love to put together their own ice cream bowl. Have an adult do the scooping and let the kids own the sprinkles.

Jack Nicklaus Ice cream for National Ice Cream Month (7 of 12)Ice cream is such a fun summer treat and it’s always a crowd pleaser!

Jack Nicklaus Ice cream for National Ice Cream Month (8 of 12)

ICE CREAM AND $100 VISA GIFT CARD GIVEAWAY!

Now, one of you gets to experience this amazing ice cream! Just leave a comment below sharing what you love most about summer and your favorite ice cream flavor. Our winner will be chosen on Tuesday, Aug. 2 at noon. One randomly picked lucky reader will win the following:

  • A Jack Nicklaus tumbler cup
  • A Jack Nicklaus golf ball
  • Jack Nicklaus Ice Cream coupons
  • One $100 Visa gift card

Thank you for supporting the delicious brands that make Live the Fancy Life possible.


Published


This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #BTSSpirit #SweetSquad #CollectiveBias Back to School Ghostbusters Slime Cookie Ball truffles (12 of 15)Like so many mamas,  I’m already picking up school clothes, school supplies and getting our house organized for this exciting time of the year. I’m SO looking forward to creating fun memories with my boys this school year. One way I like to do that is with after school adventures and great after school treats.
Back to School Ghostbusters Slime Cookie Ball trufflesToday I’m so excited to share this fun (and easy) Ghosbusters inspired treat… our Ghostbusters Green Slime Cookie Truffles.

Do you remember the old Ghosbusters movie? I’m SO excited for the new one. It’s in theaters now and I’m looking forward to seeing it soon. When I got this opportunity, I knew immediately that I would do something with slime (ectoplasm)! Not only is it fun and colorful, but it takes me back to my childhood. Read More »


Published


This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #CelebrateAmazingBDays #CollectiveBias

A puppy party with American GreetingsBefore Mr. Ezra came along, all of our birthdays were crammed together in spring. Then our June baby came two weeks late, arriving on June 23. Ezra is a joyful, happy, energetic, compassionate, kind, sometimes introverted, sweet, snuggly little one. He completes our family in a way we never could have imagined before his arrival.

Ezra Jude turns twoSummer birthdays are so much fun and a new experience for us. I love being outside and hosting a more casual get together to celebrate our sweet boy. Today I’m sharing a little puppy party I put together for Ezra’s 2nd birthday. We had some illness back in June so didn’t have a birthday party for Ezra other than a small cake and ice cream gathering with our immediate families. I wanted to put together this puppy party (at his request) even though we weren’t inviting people over. Our little family celebrated Ezra just for fun with a puppy party that made him oh so happy!

A puppy party. Puppy themed cake DIY.And it was a very easy party to put together thanks to store-bought ways to customize our party and more. We used American Greetings wrapping paper, gift bags, tissue paper, stickers and cards to pull this party together.

A puppy party with American Greetings (2 of 20)American Greetings is making it easy to celebrate your favorite people with summer birthdays this year. Summer is a huge time of year for birthdays—that’s why American Greetings is taking over the seasonal section of the Walmart card department to help celebrate birthdays in a fun and meaningful way!

A puppy party with American Greetings (14 of 20)For me, parties have become something I love to do simply. Hosting over the top events is no longer appealing. I want to inspire you all with manageable party ideas… the kinds of ideas that anyone can pull off with limited time. And I want parties to be joyful for my family. To do that, I need to be my best self and our parties need to be simple. Here’s how I put together a simple yet custom and fun puppy party for Ezra.

A puppy party with American Greetings (18 of 20)Decorations and food

A well put together dessert and food table is a necessity for every party, but this doesn’t mean you have to spend a fortune or hours putting it together. I whipped this one together in less than 20 minutes.

A puppy party with American Greetings (12 of 20)For decorations, we used all of my kids’ stuffed puppies and placed them throughout the party space. We put party hats on them to add to the birthday party vibe. A custom “Be Silly. Be Honest. Be Kind.” poster was the dessert table backdrop. Read More »


Published


Today I’m excited to have my dear friend here sharing how she is trying to change the world one book at a time. Please welcome Aurora Whittet to the blog. 

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/bloodmark/mamas-knight-a-cancer-story-of-love

I used to think that because I wasn’t a doctor or a lawyer or a pastor that there was nothing I could do to help change the world. I was just an artist and an author. What could I really do to shape the world?

But one day when I was driving I started thinking of Tyson Cluever, a friend of mine from high school who had been diagnosed with brain cancer and had two little boys. She told me that all the books she found to help her children understand what was happening were for specific types of cancer, none for hers, and I realized there was something I could do to soften the blow of cancer on a family. So I set out to write and illustrate a children’s Mama’s Knight: A Cancer Story of Love, to help families communicate what it means for mama to have cancer. The book is personalizable for each mom with any type of cancer and is filled with activities that link to themamavillage.com, giving moms a place to go for help and ideas. 
 A book for mother's fighting cancer
Mama’s Knight has been lovingly received by moms, pediatricians and family therapists. It is so overwhelming to see it come to life. It has been an emotional journey with Mama’s Knight, as I lost my own mother to cancer in 2013, so this project has a warm place in my heart.
Mama's Knight Kickstarter: A book for moms dealing with cancer
Mama’s Knight will publish in October 2016, I am running a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds to donate hundreds of books to mamas in need. I want to help as many families as I can, but I can’t do it alone. I need your help. Donate today!
Mama's Knight Kickstarter: A book for moms dealing with cancer
 
SYNOPSIS
Mama’s Knight: A Cancer Story of Love is an emotional toolbox that can help kids and parents communicate about what it means for Mama to have cancer. The book is filled with tools and activities designed to make coping with illness easier on both parent and child, and can be personalized for each child.
Please join the Kickstarter today or if you’re not able to help, please share the Kickstarter page on your own social media including Facebook. Your support is so appreciated. 

Read More »


Published


BadMomsMovieGiveaway

Ladies! Who needs a night out with your bestie? I have 5 (That’s right, FIVE!) pairs of tickets to the advance screening of #BadMoms on Thursday, July 21 at 7:30 p.m. at AMC Southdale in the Twin Cities.

Let’s share a #BadMomMoment today.

My Bad Mom Moment!

I sneak bites of ice cream behind the kitchen island so the kids don’t see me. We rarely have ice cream in the house, but when we do, it’s Ben & Jerry’s Tonight Dough and I like it to last! I just have a bite or two each day for several weeks and have my own #BadMomMoment ;)

BAD MOMS in theaters July 29

In this new comedy from the writers of The Hangover, Amy has a seemingly perfect life – a great marriage, over-achieving kids, beautiful home and a career. However she’s over-worked, over-committed and exhausted to the point that she’s about to snap. Fed up, she joins forces with two other over-stressed moms on a quest to liberate themselves from conventional responsibilities – going on a wild, un-mom-like binge of long overdue freedom, fun and self-indulgence – putting them on a collision course with PTA Queen Bee Gwendolyn and her clique of devoted perfect moms.

Enter to win passes to the movie on our Facebook page

Share your #BadMomMoment over on our Facebook post for your chance to win.