7 Tips for Hiking with Kids

Hiking with kids doesn't have to be a hard thing if you follow these 7 simple tips!

This last week we went hiking as part of our Memorial Day activities.  We live close to the mountains and there are a lot of canyons and hiking trails to choose from, so we are always finding fun new places to explore.  My kids especially love hiking and it is one of mine and my husband’s favorite activities as well so we do a lot of it.  With this being the case, I’ve learned a few tips along the way that have helped make hiking a more enjoyable experience for everyone.

This post is sponsored by Nuby.  All opinions are 100% my own.  This post contains affiliate links which means if you click on one and make a purchase, I will receive a small commission at no additional cost to you.  Thank you for your support!

It’s Not A Race
As we were walking along the trail with our kids this last week, they inevitably got side-tracked by different things: climbing on rocks, a flower, a stick.  My initial reaction was along the lines of: “C’mon, let’s go!” but then I realized that the point of the hike wasn’t about making it to our destination as much as it was about spending time together doing something we enjoy.  So if you go into your hike expecting that it will take longer, you can cut down on frustration at the so-called interruptions that are going to happen.

Hiking with kids doesn't have to be a hard thing if you follow these 7 simple tips!

Bring Backpacks
This one has been a lifesaver for us when we go hiking.  I bought each of my kids a small backpack that we pack whenever we go on a hike.  Included in their packs is water and a couple of snacks to eat along the way.  They love having their own backpacks and I think it also helps them feel big and gives them a little bit more autonomy.  Even if your child says they will just carry their water or snacks in their hands or pockets, have them bring the pack because almost without fail they will want you to carry it for them or it will be put down and forgotten.  Here are a few good backpack options I found: HERE, HERE and HERE.

Hiking with kids doesn't have to be a hard thing if you follow these 7 simple tips!

Create Teaching Moments
At one point in our hike, we stopped for a little snack break and the thought occurred to me to talk to my kids about littering.  I asked my daughter what we should do if we are out somewhere and there isn’t a garbage can for us to put the wrappers or plastic bottles in.  She replied that we should put it back in our backpacks and then throw it away later.  Then we talked about why that was important (keep trails clean, showing respect, etc).  It was a really simple lesson and one of those things that makes a bigger impact when we are actually out in nature rather than trying to explain it at some other time.  A few other teaching moments you could incorporate into your hike could be talking about plants and animals in the area, how rivers/streams are made, bring a nature journal and collecting leaves/flowers.

Hiking with kids doesn't have to be a hard thing if you follow these 7 simple tips!

Research the Hike
Anytime we go on a hike, I make sure to find some basic information about it: Does it have bathrooms at the trailhead or along the way?  How long is the hike?  Difficulty level?  Directions or landmarks for finding the trail?  Best time of year for hiking?  Stroller or wagon friendly?  The list goes on and what you want to know will obviously depend on your own family.  I recently found a really helpful website called AllTrails.com, where you can search by state and it will come up with a list of hikes and a helpful description of what you’ll find.

Hiking with kids doesn't have to be a hard thing if you follow these 7 simple tips!

Sunscreen, Wipes, Hand Sanitizer
Even if you put sunscreen on before you start the hike, odds are that you’ll need it again at some point before you get back to your car.  There are plenty of travel size containers of sunscreen that there really isn’t an excuse not to bring some.  Also, nature is dirty and kids seem to gravitate towards dirt so having something to wipe their hands off with is a good idea.  Just grab a travel size package of baby wipes and throw them in your bag.  And lastly, grab a small bottle of hand sanitizer to disinfect everyone’s hands with before eating or after playing in the water (if your hiking to a waterfall or by a stream).

Hiking with kids doesn't have to be a hard thing if you follow these 7 simple tips!

Flip-Flops/Water Shoes/Extra Socks
I don’t know about you, but after a long hike, all I want to do is take my shoes and socks off and let my feet breathe.  A lot of times, we will go out and get some food or stop by a store after our hike and it’s nice to have the extra pair of shoes to change into.  Depending on the hike, we will bring water shoes so we can wade around in the water and cool off, plus they protect our feet from sharp rocks and give us traction.  Along with this, consider bringing an extra pair of socks.  The shoes I use when we go hiking double as water shoes, but I hate wearing them without socks, so I like to bring an extra pair that I can change into before we start back.  Same goes for your kids.  Throw the flip flops or water shoes or socks into their backpack and let them carry it.

Hiking with kids doesn't have to be a hard thing if you follow these 7 simple tips!

Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate
And last, but not least, bring lots and lots of WATER.  This is one of those things that you absolutely do not want to skimp on.  Who cares if you have to stop along the trail 10 times so your child can relieve themselves?  It’s much better than the alternative.  Whether you’re hiking when it’s cloudy and cooler or hot and sunny, you need to keep yourself and your family hydrated and cool.  Little kids can overheat pretty easily so stopping and reminding everyone to get a good drink is essential.  Throw some ice cubes into everyone’s bottle or cup or even freeze the whole water bottle for a refreshing and cool drink for your entire (or at least most) of your hike.

Hiking with kids doesn't have to be a hard thing if you follow these 7 simple tips!

Hiking with kids doesn't have to be a hard thing if you follow these 7 simple tips!

We brought our kids’ Nuby Thirsty Kids Reflex water canteens with us on our hike and they were perfect.  The plastic is made of durable tritan from Eastman and the push top could be pushed down and covered by a plastic latch so it stayed clean.  The 12-oz size was perfect for our kids and how much they normally drink.  You can find these cups in store at Target and Babies R’ Us.  (Shop the water canteens online HERE.

(For my local Utah friends, the hike in these pictures is Battle Creek Falls in Pleasant Grove.)

What tips and tricks have you found helpful when you go hiking with your family?

And now, I’ve got a fun giveaway that you can enter to win four (4) of these Nuby Thirsty Kids Reflex water canteens for your kids!  See below to find out how to enter!

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The Best App for Organizing Kids Artwork and Schoolwork

Learn more about the best app for organizing and managing your kids artwork and schoolwork

When I was in 9th grade, my mom brought out a box of my old school papers, pictures I had drawn as a young child, lists of my first words and favorite foods to eat at different ages and so on.  She apologetically told me that she’d tried to keep as much as she could but couldn’t hold onto everything and hoped I was okay with what she’d held onto.  I opened a box and it was like a walk down memory lane, except I didn’t have memories of everything in the box.  I tried to organize everything by age and then school year but my mom couldn’t remember all the dates and could only give me approximate time frames.  If I was lucky, I found a year or even a full date written on the back.  All those pictures and school assignments are now in a scrapbook of mine that I started on shortly after receiving this box of memories and I continued to add to it as the years progressed.  Now I have kids of my own and I find myself wanting to keep every single picture they draw or art project they make, but let’s be real: there is no way I can physically hold onto everything.  So what’s the solution?  I’ll tell you: it’s called Keepy.

I received a subscription from Keepy to try it out and share my experience with you.  As always, all opinions are 100% mine.  This post contains affiliate links.


What is Keepy?

Learn more about the best app for organizing and managing your kids artwork and schoolwork

Keepy is an app you can download onto your phone (or other iOS or Kindle device) that is basically a way to keep track of all your kids art projects, drawings and even schoolwork.  By creating an account for each child, you can easily organize each picture or video you take.  You can then invite family or friends to view the pictures/videos you save and they are the only ones who have access it to.  No more group texts every time you want to show off how creative or smart your child is–just save the picture and anyone on your list will get an email about the new Keepy you’ve saved and they can view it on their own time frame.  (You can also choose to send it to a specific person rather than everyone.)  Another awesome thing about Keepy is that you can add descriptions, crop, rotate and even add video of your child talking about the project, drawing, artwork or schoolwork.

My Experience with Keepy

I have to tell you that I was so excited to learn about this app.  I had already started taking pictures of my daughter’s preschool crafts that she brought home last year and tried to organize them into a folder in another app, but it was annoying and time consuming, plus I didn’t think everyone I was friends with would care about seeing them.  I continued taking pictures, hoping to find another solution.  When I was approached about trying out Keepy, my answer was a huge “YES!”  I actually had this pile of papers in my kitchen that I’d been meaning to take pictures of so I grabbed that and got started.

Setting up the app was really easy.  I downloaded it from the Google Play Store and right off the bat, I received prompts on how to set everything up.  (I have an Android but it’s also available for iOS and Kindle.)  As part of my collaboration with Keepy, they provided me with an unlimited account which meant that I could download and save as many pictures as I want in a month for up to a year, at which point I would need to either renew or continue with a monthly or basic (free) account.  I set up accounts for both of my kids and started adding “fans” which are the people I want to share my Keepys with.  (If I want to add my husband to the account as a parent, he can also add photos or videos to the account!)

Learn more about the best app for organizing and managing your kids artwork and schoolwork

Then I took pictures of each item I wanted to save, cropped and rotated them (if needed), wrote a description about the project and saved it under the right kid.  A few days after downloading the app, my daughter brought me a picture she’d drawn and started telling me a story about it.  After she was done I told her I wanted to record her telling the story again, so I grabbed my phone, took a picture of her drawing, and recorded a video of her talking about the picture.  (They have it set up so that it uses the forward facing camera and kids can see themselves talk.)  It was a really fun and cute way to save that little memory and there’s no way I could have captured that simply in words in a description of the picture.

Learn more about the best app for organizing and managing your kids artwork and schoolwork

Each time I take pictures on my phone, I receive a prompt from the app asking if I want to organize the photos.  This is great because I have the best of intentions of saving pictures in the right place, but forget so the reminder is really helpful.  I can always go back and edit the description or add a video which means I have flexibility and don’t have to do everything right then.

Another great feature of Keepy is that you can save videos as well as pictures.  You can organize everything into different folders, tag which child(ren) are in it and share it the same way you do with pictures!  Seriously, I’ve been blown away at how versatile and robust this app is!

So far, I’ve loved using this app and it’s ease of use, flexibility and range of features have been a huge motivator for me to continue using it.  I did have a couple of questions as I started using the app and when I emailed their support, they got back to me really quickly which I greatly appreciated.  They were helpful and my issues were resolved quickly and efficiently.

Learn more about the best app for organizing and managing your kids artwork and schoolwork

Now What?

So you’ve decided you want to get a handle on managing and organizing your kids artwork and schoolwork.  Good for you! *wink*  Click on this link HERE to download it on your phone (or other iOS or Kindle device).  You can try out a basic account with no strings attached and see how you like it.  Each account has a password you can set up so you can access the app from different devices.

With a basic account, you can upload up to 5 photos/videos per month.  If you want to do more than that, you can upgrade to a monthly account for $2.99/mo, or a yearly account for $9.99/yr.  Both will give you the ability to upload unlimited photos/videos.

If you want to have something more tangible to give as a gift (Mother’s Day or Father’s day anyone?) or keep at home, you do have the option to print out an 8×8 photobook of your Keepys.

I hope my experience with Keepy has motivated you to check it out, use it and feel like you can still keep your child’s memories without feeling like you have to keep every. single. paper. *wink*

What feature of Keepy appeals most to you?

Define Your Time: More Than Just A Time Management Course

Define Your Time is more than just a time management course.  It's a new way to look at your life.

Last November when I went to Pinners Conference, I attended a class about how to make the most of your time.  The speaker, Nicole Carpenter, founder of MOMentity, gave us 10 tips for getting more done and most of them were easy enough that you could implement them the next day if you wanted to.  If I had to guess one of the top 3 things most people say the don’t have enough of, it’s time.  It’s elusive.  It goes by too quickly.  It’s viewed as either your enemy or your friend.  It’s something we don’t have control over.  Or do we?

After the class finished, I approached Nicole and asked her if she would be interested in a collaboration.  I loved her upbeat, positive attitude and her enthusiasm was contagious.  A week later, she emailed me and asked if I’d like to participate in her upcoming Define Your Time course: a four week workshop where you work through four different modules, attend training calls and complete homework assignments.  While I feel like I’m pretty good at managing my time and staying organized, I also recognized the opportunity to learn some new skills to help me manage my life even better.

I received the Define Your Time course for free in exchange for my honest review.  All opinions are 100% mine.

Define Your Time is more than just a time management course.  It's a new way to look at your life.

Nicole is a mom as well as a business owner, so she totally gets both aspects and how life can get crazy and out of control.  From her website:

“I know you are overwhelmed and, on some days, losing your mind! I’ve been there. I know what it’s like to love your kids to pieces but be unhappy with yourself (and even your life). I know what it’s like to FAKE HAPPINESS and be TOTALLY DISCONNECTED from your kids.  I even know what it’s like to WISH FOR DIFFERENT even when others would say what you have is pretty great.  Do you feel this way? It’s OK, there is a way out! Out of disconnect and out of overwhelm. MOMentity is here to help moms lost in motherhood realize they can both love themselves and their family and teach them a process that can make it happen.”

Doesn’t she sound like someone who “gets it”?

The class started and it was a fairly small group of women.  Some had taken the course before and others, like me, were new.  Nicole does a great job leading the calls and making sure everyone is able to share their thoughts, questions or concerns.  Nicole is so sweet and completely genuine.  She is passionate about helping women and is motivating to listen to.  She really knows and believes and applies everything she teaches.  She is also super real and not afraid to share the times when she has trouble, even with her own program.  I really appreciated this because it made me feel like even if I were to get off track, that I could jump back on board and keep moving forward.

For me, the most helpful part of the course was the first section where she lays the foundation for the following modules.  Define Your Time isn’t just about giving you a bunch of tools for time management, although that is part of it.  It is about figuring out your own values, where you currently spend your time and where you want to spend your time.  Once you’ve laid all that out, then you build on that newer, stronger foundation as you move forward with the other modules.  The reason I liked this portion of the course so much was because I realized that where I was spending my time and where I wanted to spend my time weren’t in alignment.  As a result, I was conflicted with how to best manage my time.  It was actually a very eye-opening experience and it’s something I’m still reflecting on a month after I finished the course.

Overall, I thought the course was very well put together.  Nicole does everything she can to help you be successful and apply her methods and tools to your own life.  She makes everything very personal and applicable and helps you think about time in a different way.  After taking her course, I feel more in control of the time that I have available because I have the tools I need to make time work for me instead of the other way around.  Define Your Time is a great option for anyone looking to get control of their life and make some positive changes using proven tools.

If you’d like more information about the Define Your Time course, click HERE to go to Nicole’s website.

Do you feel like you’re good at managing your time?  What areas are hardest to manage?

Winter 2017 Walmart Beauty Box Review

Winter 2017 Walmart Beauty Box Review--Is it worth $5?

*I am reviewing this box by choice and have not received it for free, nor have I received any other compensation from Walmart.  All opinions are my own.*

Before I start today’s post, I just have to take a moment and say thank you for the overwhelming response I received to sharing my miscarriage story.  I received so many texts, Facebook messages, post comments and phone calls from people expressing their sadness at what I’ve been facing and their love for me and my family.  But in addition to this, I also heard from many women who have had miscarriages and said that reading my story gave them feelings of hope and encouragement.  At the risk of sounding cliche, knowing that I was able to help at least one person feel like they aren’t alone in their struggles makes it feel worth it.  I am hopeful for the future.

Today I am doing a review of the Winter 2017 Walmart Beauty Box.  I actually received it a couple of weeks ago, but due to circumstances outside my control (see above), I haven’t had time to adequately review enough of the products until this week.  (I’ve also done reviews on the products in the Summer 2016 and Fall 2016 Beauty Boxes.)

What is the Walmart Beauty Box?

For $5, you receive one beauty box every three months filled with various beauty items ranging from full size to travel size to sample size.  You can cancel the subscription at any time.

I’ve had my subscription for two years and I’ve enjoyed the items enough not to cancel.  Some boxes are better than others, but the items that I’ve received have been worth more than the $5 it costs for the box itself.  It’s fun to get a little surprise in the mail every few months and I can totally see the appeal of other monthly/quarterly subscription boxes.

Here’s what I got this time around:

Winter 2017 Walmart Beauty Box Review--Is it worth $5?
  • Tressemme Fresh Start Volumizing Dry Shampoo (travel size)
  • Curel Hydra Therapy Wet Skin Moisturizer (travel size)
  • Garnier Whole Blends Refreshing Shampoo/Conditioner (single use)
  • Neutrogena Norwegian Hand Cream (travel size)
  • L’Oreal Paris Age Perfect Cell Renewal Day Cream (single use)
  • Burt’s Bees Naturally Nourishing Body Lotion (travel size)
  • Dove Morrocan Argan Body Wash (travel size)
  • AMLA Legend 10-in-1 Blow Out Elixer (single use)

My Review:

  • Tressemme Fresh Start Volumizing Dry Shampoo–In the Fall 2016 beauty box, I received a travel size can of Batiste dry shampoo.  I really liked it and have used it over the last few months as needed.  I was a little surprised that they included another dry shampoo in this month’s box but it doesn’t hurt to have some on hand when the Batiste runs out.  I’ve used this one only once since I got it and it seemed to do a pretty good job of giving my hair volume and decreasing the greasy look.  I liked the smell too.
    • Would I recommend it: YES
  • Curel Hydra Therapy Wet Skin Moisturize–In the Summer 2016 beauty box, I received a single use sample of Nivea’s In-Shower body lotion.  There was only enough for one use, but it did seem to moisturize my skin really well which surprised me.  With it being winter, dry skin is a problem so I was curious to see how the Curel in shower body lotion would measure up.  I like that they gave me a travel size and I’ve used it a couple of times since receiving it.  One thing I like better about the Curel is that I didn’t have to rinse it off after applying where the Nivea I had to take the extra step of rinsing.  To see if it would moisturize my skin, I didn’t apply any lotion after my shower.  The next day, my skin didn’t feel dry or itchy so I think the lotion did it’s job.
    • Would I recommend it: YES, although I preferred the smell of the Nivea lotion
  • Garnier Whole Blends Refreshing Shampoo/Conditioner–I’ve purchased and used Garnier shampoo and conditioner before, but not this exact one.  Supposedly this formula helps your hair be more shiny, but unfortunately it’s only a single use sample so it would be hard to know if it helps with this in the long run unless you buy the full size.  I haven’t tried it out yet, but the Green Apple & Green Tea scent should smell pretty good.
    • Would I recommend it: UNDECIDED
  • Neutrogena Norwegian Hand Cream–All day long, I am washing my hands for one reason or another, so they tend to get really dry, especially in the winter.  The other night after washing the dishes, I put on a little Bath and Body Works lotion I had in the kitchen, but it did nothing for me.  I remembered the hand cream from the beauty box and put a little on my hands.  It absorbed really well without any residue and immediately my hands started feeling better.  The next day, my hands still felt moisturized.  I was pretty impressed.
    • Would I recommend it: YES
  • L’Oreal Paris Age Perfect Cell Renewal Day Cream–As I get older, my skin just doesn’t quite recover the way it used to from the sun or wind or dry air so using something that would help renew my skin sounds great.  There are two sample size packets: Golden Serum and Day Cream.  There aren’t any instructions on the little card to tell me what order I should apply them or anything.  I’m guessing I could probably get a couple of uses out of each packet, but I doubt that will be enough to really tell a difference.  I will update once I’ve tried it out though.
    • Would I recommend it: UNDECIDED
  • Burt’s Bees Naturally Nourishing Body Lotion–I’ll be totally honest: I hate the smell of anything from Burt’s Bees that I’ve tried, so this sample is useless to me personally because I know I will never use it.  I will probably give it to my husband to keep in his car or at work so he has something for when his hands get dry and doesn’t smell girly.
    • Would I recommend it: NO
  • Dove Morrocan Argan Body Wash–Apparently Walmart likes to send out a Dove body wash with every beauty box because I’ve received one in the Summer 2016, Fall 2016 and now the Winter 2017 box.  I’ve used this body wash a couple of times and like the smell, but don’t think that it does anything special for my skin compared to what I’m currently using (Olay).
    • Would I recommend it: YES
  • AMLA Legend 10-in-1 Blow Out Elixer–I’ve never heard of this brand before so I have nothing to go off of besides what it says on the packet.  I’ve used other brands of heat protection hair lotions and I do think they help.  I haven’t tried this one out yet, but I’m hoping it will give my poor winter hair a little boost and seal in some moisture.
    • Would I recommend it: UNDECIDED

Well there you have it!  I hope my little review was helpful to you.  If you want to find out more about the Walmart Beauty box, go HERE.  You can sign up and check out the FAQ.  Since the Winter Beauty Box has already shipped out, you would receive the Spring Beauty Box next if you choose to sign up.

Have you signed up for other beauty boxes?  What is your favorite/least favorite? 

Beautiful, Affordable Special Occasion Dresses

Beautiful, budget friendly dresses for those special occasions when you want to dress up!
This post has been sponsored by NeeSee’s Dresses.  All opinions are 100% mine.

At least a couple of times a year, I have an event I need to attend that requires me to wear something a little more fancy, beyond my normal church dress.  And every year I struggle to put something together that feels dressy enough for the occasion.  Because I don’t have a need for nicer dresses very often, I hesitate to spend a lot of money on something that won’t be worn more than a handful of times a year (at most).  To add to my troubles, I am tall (5’9″) and many dresses aren’t long enough for me.

This post contains affiliate links which if clicked on and a purchase is made, I will receive a small commission at no additional cost to you.

So when I spotted NeeSee’s Dresses through a Facebook ad about three years ago, I clicked on the link and found a number of dresses and other clothes that were a) cute, b) affordable and c) long enough,.  Let me tell you, I was sold!  I’ve ordered dresses, shirts, skirts, cardigans and other accessories from them and have been thrilled with every order.

One of my favorite products NeeSee’s carries is their dresses.  They are classy, beautiful and completely affordable.  I feel totally comfortable spending money on a dress (or two) from them because I know they are well made and the styles are classic.  Plus, they won’t break the bank.

Last week, I attended the wedding of one of my husband’s best friends.  I picked out the The Emmy in navy to wear and I absolutely love the color and the fit.  The lace overlay is beautiful and I felt amazing wearing it.

Beautiful, budget friendly dresses for those special occasions when you want to dress up!

I did end up ordering a silver belt to wear because I wanted to create the illusion of a slightly lower waistline.  You can order the belt HERE.

Beautiful, budget friendly dresses for those special occasions when you want to dress up!

One thing I want to mention is that I had our kids with me and I was still able to move around and be comfortable dealing with them.  This is a huge benefit to us moms!

Beautiful, budget friendly dresses for those special occasions when you want to dress up!

Tonight, I am going to my husband’s Christmas party which is always a fun excuse to dress up.  The dress I’m wearing is The Elsa Maxi Dress in Champagne Pink.

Beautiful, budget friendly dresses for those special occasions when you want to dress up!

As I said earlier, I’m fairly tall, but this dress easily touches the ground when I don’t have shoes on.  I have 3 inch heels on in the pictures below and you can see that it is still long.  (If you’re shorter, you could have the dress hemmed to fit you.  One thing I’ve learned is that it’s a lot harder to add length to clothes.)

Beautiful, budget friendly dresses for those special occasions when you want to dress up!

I love the gold sequins and the soft pink of the chiffon.  And the dress is super comfortable!  The whole thing is lined and the sequins weren’t scratchy at all.

NeeSee’s carries styles for everyone and their dresses range from comfy and casual to dressy and formal.  If you have questions, their customer service is extremely helpful.  If you’re looking for something besides a dress, you can check out their tops, skirts, shoes and even swimwear.  When you sign up for their emails, you’ll find out about amazing sales and they often offer free products (dresses, shirts, beanies, etc) when you spend a certain amount.  On top of that, they offer free shipping on orders over $75.  Right now, they are doing 12 Days of Amazing Sales and let me tell you, they really are amazing!

With all the holiday parties coming up this month, treat yourself to a little something that will make you feel good about yourself, pretty and comfortable in your skin.  So hop on over to NeeSee’s Dresses and find something you love!

As an extra incentive, NeeSee’s has kindly provided an exclusive code for my readers: use SUNSHINE at checkout for 15% off your entire order until Sunday, December 4 at midnight MST.  Couple this with the 12 Days of Amazing Sales I mentioned earlier and you are getting a killer deal!

I also have to say thank you to my friend Kendra from Kendra Leigh Photography and Video for taking these pictures.  She is an amazing photographer and she made me feel at ease during these pictures.  I’m not usually the one in front of the camera and I appreciate her skill and talent in making me look good.  If you live in Utah County, definitely ask her to be your next photographer.

Happy weekend and I hope you enjoy the upcoming holidays!

Thankful, Grateful, Blessed

I have a stack of quote cards that I keep in my bathroom.  Each week or so, I move the one on top to the back of the stack and read the next one, trying to keep it in my thoughts throughout the day and coming week.  Right now, the one on top says, “How quick we are to find the rainbow before being thankful for the rain.” (Dieter F. Uchtdorf)

As we develop an attitude of gratitude, we are better able to weather the storms of life.

So often, we are looking for the rainbow or the light at the end of the tunnel because we just want to get through whatever we are facing and just be done with it so we can move on to other, happier things.  And don’t get me wrong.  It’s not like I think we should enjoy going through hard things or that we shouldn’t feel relieved when they are over.  I like feeling happy and strive for it.

I’ll be honest: my life is pretty easy most of the time.  My husband has a job that supports our family, which means I’m able to stay at home with our kids.  We have a full fridge, freezer and cold storage.  My children have clothes to wear and shoes on their feet.  When they grow out of them, I can easily go buy more.  My family is healthy and strong.  My list of troubles is fairly short and for that I am grateful.

But I’ve been thinking about gratitude a lot lately and how easy it is to forget to show gratitude.  I mean, sure, I regularly say thank you to my family and friends and people who hold the door for me on the way in/out of a store.  I say my prayers and thank God for my home, my family, my husband’s job and food on the table.  But what I mean is, it’s easy to be thankful when things are easy.  When things are going well.  Nothing major is going on.  Nothing that makes me stop and think about what it is that I have in my life because it’s just part of my life, you know?

As we move into the holiday season, I am making a more concentrated effort to look for the things I am thankful for and write them down.  I want to take special note of what I am grateful for in my life.  And by doing these things, I hope to better remember how very blessed I am.  My hope is to establish a habit and attitude of gratitude that carries beyond the holiday season and becomes a deeper part of me.

Here are a few ways I’ve thought of to help myself.  Maybe one of these will ring true for you as well:

Gratitude Journal:  I have a journal that only has lists of what I’m grateful for in it.  As I look back through it, I can see that I get more specific with what I’m thankful for the most consistently I write things down and it often reflects what was going on in my life at the time.  I have also seen people write down one or two things they are thankful for in their planner, which I think is a neat idea as well.

Thankful Tree:  Last year, we started a Thankful Tree as one of our Thanksgiving traditions.  I made a tree out of brown paper sacks and cut leaves out of construction paper.  Each day, we would write down what we were thankful for and put it on the tree.  By the end of the month, the entire tree was covered by all the things we were thankful for.  Definitely one of my favorite traditions we’ve started.

As we develop an attitude of gratitude, we are better able to weather the storms of life.

Say Thank You (Be Specific):  This suggestion steers away from writing things down, but I think it’s equally important to say out loud what we are thankful for and to tell people what about them we are thankful for.  Try thinking of one person each day that you are thankful for and then think of something specific about them that you are thankful for and then tell them!  I’m sure it will make their day.

To help celebrate the season of thankfulness and gratitude, Cents of Style has designed this cute shirt that simply says “thankful, grateful, blessed” on the front.  It is perfect for any time of year, but it’s getting quite a bit cooler here in Utah so I’m layering it.  You can get this shirt in 2 colors: gold/white and wine/white.  I had the hardest time deciding which one to get but ultimately chose the darker color.  Another thing I love about this shirt is how long it is!  I am tall (5’9″) and sometimes I have a hard time finding shirts that fit my long torso but the size small fit great with a little bit of breathing room.

As we develop an attitude of gratitude, we are better able to weather the storms of life.

If you’d like to grab one of these shirts for yourself, Cents of Style is running a promotion from 11/4/16 to 11/6/16 where you can get either shirt (or both!) for FREE with any $25 purchase using the coupon code THANKFUL1.  And, as always, they offer free shipping!

As we develop an attitude of gratitude, we are better able to weather the storms of life.

Click HERE to go to their website and see what great stuff you can find.  (And I promise you that finding $25 worth of clothing and/or accessories is not hard.)  Did you see the Remi Swing Dress I wore a couple of weeks ago?  Or the ‘uplift’ bracelet from their tribe jewelry collection?  The ‘Thankful, Grateful, Blessed’ shirt normally sells for $29.95 so you could even grab one in one color and then get the other one free with the coupon code.

As we develop an attitude of gratitude, we are better able to weather the storms of life.

Before you leave today, share a comment below about something you are thankful for, grateful for, or blessed to have.  I’d love to hear from you!

Have a great weekend!

I received this shirt in exchange for my review and promotion but all thoughts and opinions are 100% mine.

This post contains affiliate links, which if you click on them and make a purchase, I will receive a small commission at no additional cost to you.

Fall 2016 Walmart Beauty Box Review

Fall 2016 Walmart Beauty Box Review--Is it worth $5?

*I am reviewing this box by choice and have not received it for free, nor have I received any other compensation from Walmart.  All opinions are my own.*

I still can’t believe that we are already into our second full week of Fall.  The weather here in Utah has definitely taken on a cooler feel with highs in the 60s last week.  Thankfully it’s supposed to be in the 70s this week because I’m not quite ready to let go of the warmer weather.  Last week I received my Fall 2016 Walmart Beauty Box.  When I did a review of the Summer 2016 Beauty Box, I got a lot of interest in the post, so I thought I’d do a review of the Fall beauty box.

What is the Walmart Beauty Box?

For $5, you receive one beauty box every three months filled with various beauty items ranging from full size to travel size to sample size.  You can cancel the subscription at any time.

I’ve had my subscription for a little over a year and a half and I’ve enjoyed the items enough not to cancel.  Some boxes are better than others, but the items that I’ve received have been worth more than the $5 it costs for the box itself.  It’s fun to get a little surprise in the mail every few months and I can totally see the appeal of monthly/quarterly subscriptions.

Here’s what I got this time around:

Fall 2016 Walmart Beauty Box Review--Is it worth $5?

  • Village Naturals Therapy Aches + Pains Muscle Relief Concentrated Mineral Bath Soak (single use)
  • Dove Nutrium Moisture Body Wash (travel size)
  • Nature’s Bounty Hair, Skin and Nails Gummies with Biotin (sample size)
  • Biore Deep Cleaning Charcoal Pore Strips (single use)
  • EcoTools Single Pack Makeup Brush Cleansing Cloths (single use)
  • Batiste Dry Shampoo (travel size)
  • Cetaphil Moisturizing Body Cream (sample size)
  • Hello Pure Mint Toothpaste (travel size)
  • Clean & Clear Deep Action 60 Second Shower Mask (travel size)

My Review:

  • Village Naturals Therapy Aches + Pains Muscle Relief Concentrated Mineral Bath Soak–I’ve never tried a mineral bath soak, so I’m not sure what to expect but it does smell good  (mint, eucalyptus, spearmint).  I want to try it out when I have some aches and pains that need soothing, so I will update this once I’ve used it.
    • Would I recommend it: UNDECIDED
  • Dove Nutrium Moisture Body Wash–I’ve used this body wash before in a different scent.  The scent is very subtle and nice but I like more of the fruity or clean scents rather than flowery for my body wash.  I don’t think it necessarily does any better at moisturizing my skin than what I’m currently using (Olay) but it would be a good alternative if it happens to be on sale.  I’m not loyal to any one brand when it comes to body wash as long as it doesn’t dry my skin out.
    • Would I recommend it: YES
  • Nature’s Bounty Hair, Skin and Nails Gummies with Biotin–I’ve wondered about the supplements for hair, skin and nails but not enough to go out and buy any.  This came in a single sample size pack, which was 2 gummies and obviously not enough to actually tell a difference.  So I’m guessing they were hoping to sell me on the texture and flavor, which the package says was Strawberry.  I didn’t think they tasted like strawberry but it wasn’t an unpleasant flavor.  The texture was soft and not too chewy or sticky.
    • Would I recommend it: NO, because I would rather pay less for the same supplement that I could just swallow with the rest of my vitamins.
  • Biore Deep Cleaning Charcoal Pore Strips–I actually saw these in the store the other day and almost bought a pack.  (Instead I bought the regular pore cleansing strips.)  I’ve been hearing a lot about charcoal masks and wondered if a charcoal strip would do anything different than their regular cleansing strip.  To be honest, I didn’t think it was any different/better than their regular ones.  Because of the dark color, I could see the stuff it pulled out of my skin easier, but I don’t think it was more than other strips.
    • Would I recommend it:  NO, because it appears to work the same as the regular pore strips.
  • EcoTools Single Pack Makeup Brush Cleansing Cloths–I don’t have any special makeup brushes that I use so this sample was useless to me.
    • Would I recommend it: UNDECIDED
  • Batiste Dry Shampoo–I’ve been really wanting to try out some dry shampoo and I’ve heard a lot of people really like Batiste so I was pretty excited to see this little travel size can in my box.  It didn’t include any directions for use on the can so I had to look it up online to make sure I used it correctly.  Maybe they figure that if you’re buying the travel size, you already know you like the product…?  Either way, I loved it!  I’m definitely going to buy a bigger can and maybe try out some of their other scents.
    • Would I recommend it:  YES
  • Cetaphil Moisturizing Body Cream–To see if this lotion was any better than what I’m currently using (Aveeno), I took a shower at night and put the Aveeno on one leg and the Cetaphil on the other leg and checked how they felt in the morning.  The Cetaphil was thicker than the Aveeno but still soaked in without a residue.  I couldn’t tell a difference in how they felt the next morning though.
    • Would I recommend it: YES
  • Hello Pure Mint Toothpaste–According to the box, this toothpaste uses natural ingredients and is free from dyes, artificial sweeteners/flavors, preservatives, etc.  I haven’t tried it out yet, but will probably just put it with my travel size stuff to take with me when I need some toothpaste.
    • Would I recommend it:  UNDECIDED
  • Clean & Clear Deep Action 60 Second Shower Mask–I really love Clean & Clear products.  I’ve used them for years, so I was super happy to see this brand in my beauty box.  I was thinking the other day about how nice it would be to have a mask that I could put on in the shower and then rinse off before I got out.  So when I got this, it was like Clean & Clear read my mind!  I’ve used the mask a couple of times now and I love the tingly feeling I get while it does its thing.  My face does feel cleaner after using it.
    • Would I recommend it: YES

Well there you have it!  I hope my little review was helpful to you.  If you want to find out more about the Walmart Beauty box, go HERE.  You can sign up and check out the FAQ.  Since the Fall Beauty Box has already shipped out, you would receive the Winter Beauty Box next if you choose to sign up.

Have you signed up for other beauty boxes?  What is your favorite/least favorite?