Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Road Trip Survival Kit

Summertime road trippin’!  You’ve got places to go and people to see.  Just pack the kids in the car and off you go, right?  Right.  It’s always that easy.  Here’s our Road Trip Survival Kit with a little something for everyone…

First things first.  Let’s not get the kids run over when we stop to get something somewhere.  To that end Parking Pal Magnet is a must-bring in every vehicle.  It’s a handy, cute magnet to stick on your vehicle and get the kids to stand with their hand on it.  Keeps the kids occupied for that nano-second you need to get yourself organized and ready to move.

Anyone’s kids do the “I need to pee” the VERY instant you pass the last exit with a gas station?  Now you’re scrambling, pedal to the metal, to get to the next exit.  Oops! Sheet’s Waterproof Cotton Car Seat Cover will be your new best friend.  An elastic perimeter makes for quick on/off and Velcro openings accommodate the car seat’s harness system.  Best of all, the Oops! Sheet Waterproof Cotton Car Seat Cover is machine washable and reusable - ready for the next road trip.

Travelers get hungry! BPA-free EasyLunchboxes® make meal-time on the road fun and easy. Avoid the drive-thru and unhealthy fare at rest stops. EasyLunchboxes compartmentalized containers have easy-open lids are a great shape for little (and big!) laps. And check out EasyLunchboxes Cooler bags which fit up to 3 containers in one cooler bag, meaning lots of food in a compact space.

Littler travelers will appreciate the Primary Colors sensory tag lovey by Baby Jack Blankets. Silky satin top fabric and plush minky dot backing with ribbon Tab accents will provide entertainment, security and comfort throughout the car ride and road trip making your child feel right at home.  These adorable baby blankets are designed by Moms with babies in mind; handmade in the USA.

Last but not least, something for the grownups.  You may end up with a vehicle full of squabbling kids and here’s something to help you look good while you’re at it. 
Joe Jacket reusable drink sleeves.  Style up that cup of coffee, turn up the radio and enjoy your wild and crazy family road trip adventure!

Safe Travels!

Monday, July 8, 2013

Chai Mommas Indian Inspired Summer Meal

Please welcome this month's guest bloggers. They are one of our favorite group of Mommy Bloggers, the Chai Mommas! These 4 cool Mommas wanted to treat you all to a fabulous summer BBQ dinner with an Indian twist! Enjoy...  and don't forget to connect with them on their blog.

The Chai Mommas are all about healthy and easy meals. And with the summer season here, our minds are busy thinking about light, but satisfyingly fresh recipes that we can enjoy outside.  To give this complete BBQ savory meal a bit more of a twist, we are spicing it up with some Indian inspired fun, including a lil’ kick to the drink, (we’ll leave it up to you to make it either a mocktail or a cocktail!).  Hope you think our summer recipes are as ‘hot’ as we do and enjoy!


Spicy Yogurt Bread
Cubes of organic bread lightly pan-fried in a spice infused yogurt mixture to crisp perfection. The perfect starter to this meal.


  • ·         1 loaf of organic Italian multi grain bread cut into ½ inch cubes
  • ·         1 ½ cups of plain non fat yogurt
  • ·         1 tsp chili pepper
  • ·         1 tsp minced garlic
  • ·         1 tsp ground dhana (coriander)
  • ·         ½ tsp ground jeera (cumin)
  • ·         ½ cup chopped cilantro
  • ·         ½ - ¾ tsp salt (to taste)
  • ·         2 tbsp canola oil
  • ·         2 tsp jeera (cumin) seeds
  • ·         1 tsp mustard seeds
  • ·         ½ tsp turmeric powder


  • ·         Cut bread into ½ inch cubes
  • ·         In a small mixing bowl, mix the following ingredients:
  • ·         yogurt, chili pepper, garlic, dhana (coriander), jeera (cumin), cilantro and salt
  • ·         In a large skillet or frying pan (on medium high heat), add canola oil and cumin seeds
  • ·         When the cumin seeds begin to turn slightly brown, add mustard seeds
  • ·         Once the mustard seeds stop popping, add turmeric and then add the bread
  • ·         Turn heat down to medium. Toss the bread occasionally and cook for about 10 minutes or until slightly crispy
  • ·         Pour the yogurt mixture evenly over the bread and stir until all of the yogurt is absorbed into the bread
  • ·         Reduce heat to low and allow bread to become slightly crispy
  • ·         Serve with your favorite dipping sauce - organic tomato ketchup or a cool cilantro mint chutney

Garlic Pepper Edamame with Lime
Boiled pods of edamame quickly sautéed with minced garlic and green chili.  Topped off with fresh cilantro, sea salt and zesty lime. A delicious and light accompaniment to the meal, which can be nibbled on while the grill is getting fired up.


  • ·         1 pound frozen edamame pods
  • ·         1 tablespoon organic olive oil
  • ·         1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • ·         1 teaspoon minced Serrano pepper
  • ·         1 tablespoon finely chopped cilantro
  • ·         1 lime – washed, cut into half
  • ·         sea salt


  • ·         Cook frozen edamame in salted boiling water until tender (approximately 5 minutes, drain)
  • ·         Heat 1 tablespoon organic olive oil in skillet over medium heat
  • ·         Add pepper and cook 1 - 2 minutes
  • ·         Add garlic and cook another minute (be careful not to let it brown)
  • ·         Stir in the edamame and cook for another 2 minutes
  • ·         Transfer to serving bowl
  • ·         Squeeze ½ lime juice in and sea salt to desired preference, toss gently
  • ·         Sprinkle cilantro on top

Main Course:

Tandoori Marinade
A delectable yogurt based marinade flavored with fresh garlic, ginger, green chilies, cilantro amongst an array of aromatic spices present in most Indian dishes, (which can be found in any Indian/Middle Eastern food market).  This marinade can be used for poultry, seafood, vegetables and tofu.  Serve with freshly cut lemon wedges to bring out the flavors even more.


  • ·         1 cup of yogurt
  • ·         1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
  • ·         1 tablespoon freshly minced garlic
  • ·         ½ tablespoon freshly minced green chilies
  • ·         ½ handful finely chopped cilantro
  • ·         ½ tablespoon garam masala
  • ·         ½  tablespoon ground ajwain
  • ·         ½  tablespoon ground jeeru (cumin)
  • ·         ½  tablespoon ground dhana (coriander)
  • ·         ½ teaspoon turmeric powder
  • ·         1 tablespoon of freshly squeezed lime juice
  • ·         1 tablespoon of Tandoori paste
  • ·         1 tablespoon of tomato paste


  • ·         Mix all ingredients thoroughly
  • ·         Add to marinade, cut pieces of chicken, fish, vegetables or tofu
  • ·         Cover and marinate for a 3-4 hours in the refrigerator
  • ·         When ready to eat, skewer and grill

Summer Mocktail/Cocktail:

Chai Mommas Coconut Quencher
This drink is not only delicious with its Indian inspired mint plus spicy-sweet flavor, it’s also super hydrating and just perfect for children and adults spending long hours in the sun on those fun BBQ days. The best part is that the juicy pineapple in the drink can be eaten after your glass is empty for an extra after dinner treat. 


  • ·         enough coconut water to fill a large pitcher (young coconut is best
  • ·         ½ part fresh lime juice
  • ·         small spoon of raw organic brown sugar
  • ·         handful of mint leaves
  • ·         3-4 slices of fresh de-seeded jalapeño (optional)
  • ·         medium sized pineapple chunks (about 7-8)
  • ·         rum blanco (for cocktails)  


  • ·         Muddle the lime juice, sugar and mint leaves in a tall glass 
  • ·         In a large pitcher, combine the muddled mixture with the coconut water, pineapple chunks and optional jalapeño slices
  • ·         Let the pitcher chill in the refrigerator for at least half an hour before serving (or even overnight for an extra boost of flavor!)
  • ·         Spike with 2 parts rum blanco for adults, if desired
  • ·         Serve with one pineapple chunk in each glass

ChaiMommas ~ Neesha

Saturday, June 22, 2013

3 Tips for Summer Parenting ~ The Summer Balancing Act

Summer is officially here. Kids are excited to play outdoors, swim, and stay up a little later. But how do you manage them for two to three months without hearing the dreaded “I’m bored” or “I don’t have anything to do”.  I hope you find these three tip very helpful this summer.

Tip #1: Create a Daily Fun Chart: Kids are on a school schedule for 9 months out of the year. Then summer comes and they have no schedule. They don’t have any structure or expectations from their parents. Children don’t realize it but they crave structure and schedules. It helps them to feel safe in their little world.  The solution: Create a Daily Fun Chart and post it on the wall in their room, kitchen, or bathroom. Break it down by 2 hour segments. In each segment of time write several suggestions of things to do and allow for some flexibility.  If your children are a little older they can help you make it and will feel empowered. You will thank yourself for this wonderful parenting tool. 

Tip #2: Reward:  Children love being rewarded for their good deeds and behavior.  At school their teachers are very good about rewarding with stickers, smiley faces, candy or other great treats.  During the summer children still crave positive attention for their good behavior. Think of fun ways to reward your children for helping around the house, doing something without being asked, for saying please and thank you, for picking up after themselves or being proactive. One fun thing to do is a very back to the basics but very effective tool; the good-old sticker chart.  Create and hang up a sticker chart. Tell your children the rules and rewards including how many stickers they need to get a reward and how to get a sticker. You will be amazed at the results – guaranteed!

Tip #3: BOND:  Use this fabulous summer time to really bond and connect with your children. Don’t let the 3 summer months go to waste. Find one on one activities to do with your children. Try cooking or baking together, read each other books, go swimming and make up fun games together instead of laying by the poolside.  Summer may seem long but it’s really rather a short time that you get to be with your child 24/7. Take advantage of it and you will be so happy.

owner | i like book

Friday, December 14, 2012

Achieving Creative 'Christmas' Order

Achieving Creative 'Christmas' Order

Hi friends! I'm Susan over at {Achieving} Creative Order and Meredith has so kindly asked me to share a little something with you today!

And with the holidays fast approaching, I thought I'd share how I like to organize my Christmas wrapping gear. (And I say gear because there is a lot more than just wrapping paper when it comes to making our holiday packages fun and festive.:)

So here it is. I bought a large, clear under-bed storage box from Ikea (although you can find similar versions all over). I knew it would be perfect for those long roles of wrapping paper, along with my other goodies. 

Container Store actually has a kit that comes with these smaller boxes to divide the space. Although it was a little pricier than mine, 
it is super cool if I do say so myself. :)

In my storage box, along with my paper rolls, I also keep ribbon,

 gift boxes and bags, and tissue paper.
And although it isn't picture in there (gotta get me some more), I usually keep a roll or two of Scotch's Pop-Up Tape. Seriously makes wrapping so much easier.

I also keep my folder full of Christmas card supplies

(see my post about that here)

as well as a small box of little goodies I find at the end of season the year prior (when they are half off) for super easy gifts. 

**Note, the candy canes are not from last year. :) 
Just thought they'd be fun tied to packages. 

Last but not least is a gift wrap and mail checklist I found at: Organized Christmas.
I slipped it into a clear sheet protector and used packaging tape to tape it on the inside of my storage box for easy reference. That way I can tell super quick what I need to replenish before the wrapping frenzy begins.

On the other side, seeing that all of our family is out of town,  I slipped in an information sheet about the post office services and dates, etc. So that I'm on top of when to get things sent out.

So there you have it folks: 

All of my wrapping supplies in one central location. 
Here is why I like this particular method over others I have tried in the past:

  • The box is clear which makes it easy to see what is inside.
  • The size makes it easy to store--whether under a bed or stacked with my other holiday storage bins.
  • It is large enough to fit those long rolls of paper.
  • It is compact enough to move around to a table or wherever you like to wrap your gifts. 

Stop on over at my blog {Achieving} Creative Order to see what organizing/ diy home project we are tackling next. It's never a dull moment over here I promise.

You can also follow me on Facebook and Pinterest here. :)

100,000 i like book celebration

100,000 i like book celebration

We couldn't have done it without YOU! Join i like book in celebrating 100,000 book sales! The party begins NOW! 55 winners over the next 10 days. 1 winner today, 2 winners tomorrow, 3 winners next & so forth!

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Each day there will be new ways to get bonus entries. Check in everyday through 12/24/12.  www.facebook.com/theilikebook

Need i like books for Christmas? Enjoy 40% of plus FREE Priority shipping through 12/17/12 *can only guarantee shipping in USA* with code:  SHIP40   i like books make the perfect teacher’s gift too!

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Are you a winner? Please email us at contest@theilikebook.com to claim your prize.

Monday, October 15, 2012

RX Pets by Ali French

Rx Pets
 By Ali French
 of Paws & Read magazine
Dogs with the healing touch
Every year, Children’s Hospital Colorado has thousands of kids passing through its doors. For these brave children, the award-winning Prescription Pet Program (Rx Pets) brings love and comfort of the furry four-legged kind. These specially trained volunteer dogs of the Rx Pets have an incredible effect on their young friends. Sara Mark, a volunteer veterinarian who has served with the program for over 20 years, shared some heartwarming stories with Paws & Read.
A little girl who wasn’t able to walk amazed everyone by getting up and walking with 'her' therapy dog to the elevator—she was determined to accompany the dog so he could soothe other kids like her. A determined father pleaded for a therapy dog to comfort his son in a coma. The dog visited every day for six weeks. Initially the boy’s arm was put on the dog; after two weeks the little boy was reaching for the dog and after six weeks, defying all odds, the boy was trying to walk to the dog.
“These pets have an amazing, uplifting effect on the patients, parents, and staff,” states Darby Kelly, the Chapter President. “The dogs come in and the atmosphere immediately brightens! It’s an instant break from routine for everyone.”
The visits can last from a few minutes to up to an hour, depending on the child's response. Some patients want to play and pat the dogs and some just want to snuggle. A patient’s emotional needs can be draining on a dog, especially larger breeds. The dogs’ comfort must be considered, as it is vital that these special canines are not stressed or tired when interacting with patients.
The first beneficiary of compassion is oneself
A sense of calm filled the room as Maggie, a doe-eyed Golden Retriever, padded over to say 'hi' to the kids with her glossy coal nose. Maggie’s grown-up, Michelle, lights up as she explains what she enjoys most about working with Rx Pets, "The first beneficiary of compassion is always oneself. When compassion, or warm-heartedness, arises in us and our focus shifts away from our own narrow self-interest, it is as if we open an inner door. It reduces fear, boosts confidence and brings us inner strength. By reducing distrust, it opens us to others and brings us a sense of connection—a sense of purpose and meaning in life."
A skilled business
Every dog has his own business card, complete with photo and bio. The cards are given to the children they visit. "The kids just love to collect these,” Michelle laughs.
Maggie will soon be assisting the medical staff in the physical rehabilitation department. The physiotherapy dogs have a developed skill
set: to pick up an object and
 bring it to the patient, who will reach out and take it. In this instance, the dogs are part of the treatment plan.
These special pups are all committed to the cause of comforting and helping young patients to heal. The program takes dedicated dog owners away from their stresses for a while and reminds them of the selfless joy that an animal can bring, using their wonderful gifts for the benefit of others.

PAWS & READ is a popular magazine for pet lovers, sharing stories and information on pet nutrition and health, and shining a light on special animals and groups that help those in need. Already established in Denver, CO, Paws & Read is now going national and will be available on the NOOK by the end of October 2012. The printed version of Paws & Read will still be available bimonthly, for FREE in any King Soopers, local pet store, book store or coffee shop in the Denver south metro area.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Life Is A Vapor: How To Slow Down Time

Life Is A Vapor:
How To Slow Down Time

My friend posted about her daughter’s fifth birthday the other day and wrote this in her facebook status: “Time is a vapor, friends. Enjoy it. It's flying by”.  As I read her words, I listened to my almost three year old son chattering away with his big sister in full sentences and thought about how often these days he says, “I do myself, mommy!

Then, I saw my just-turned-four-years-old-going-on-fourteen daughter dancing through the living room singing to the beat of her own drum.  She is learning to write her ABC’s, knows how to pick out the perfect outfit for the day, and surprises me with how well she can carry on a conversation with me or my husband.  

And wasn’t it just yesterday that I first held them in my arms?

I call them my babies, but, really, they are far from the helpless newborn babes I cradled in my arms and rocked to sleep night after night.  As my facebook wall is flooded with back to school photos, I realize that this time next year we will be sending our oldest off to kindergarten...and before we know it her daddy will be walking her down the aisle into the arms of a man she will one day call husband.  

I find myself stumbling through another busy day when all I want to do is plead with time to slow down for just one moment more.  How do you slow down the vapor of time and take captive every single moment before it’s gone?  

We are each given a mission, a purpose, a calling in life.  Children are a gift and moms are called to love, cherish, nurture, and provide for these little ones while gently nudging them to spread their wings and one day soar on their own.  Embrace this calling, because it is beautiful and to be treasured.  

The dishes may be piled high, the laundry may be cycling through the wash for the third time in a row, and five o’clock may roll around with absolutely no dinner plans already in place, but if your children are content in your love that is what matters.  

And, really, the dishes, laundry, and endless to do lists will be there tomorrow, but your children may not.  Time keeps moving forward and one day the little one tugging on your pants while you attempt to fold the same shirt for the tenth time this morning will be an adult.  The house will be quiet again, but you will miss the noise and chaos of a childhood gone by too soon.  

The sound of my son’s sweet little voice singing Jesus Loves Me drifts my way.  I’ve sung this song to him since birth and still I am amazed at how well he knows every single word so clearly.  I still picture him in my dreams as the son who arrived three weeks early with lungs that weren’t quite ready to breathe in this world.  And yet, there he is, singing loud and clear a song that melts my heart.  

In just one month, our littlest peanut is due to arrive.  Newborn onesies, sleepers, hats, booties, and swaddle blankets are gently washed and carefully folding waiting for his arrival.  I find myself reminiscing about how quickly my oldest two swept through the newborn stages right into childhood.

This time I want to slow down time more, to embrace each little moment, captured not just in photos and blog posts and facebook statuses, but in my memory of moments disconnected from technology where I am fully present in the here and now.  When his hunger cries force me to stop what I’m doing immediately, I will scoop him up with a smile and watch every smile and study every wrinkle and roll in his tiny little body.  

Because time really is a vapor and one year really does fly by.  So embrace it, enjoy it, cherish it, treasure it.  Babies really don’t keep, so rock that little one to sleep a little longer, laugh and sing along with just one more silly song, hug him a little tighter, hold her a little closer, and give every single moment all you’ve got.  



Stephanie blogs at Girl of Grace, a blog about family, marriage, motherhood, and grace.  To read more of her story and follow along as she continues learning to embrace her calling, check out her blog or join her facebook page.