How We Keep Our Kids Entertained Without Technology

Thank you CLIF Kid for sponsoring this post. Be sure to check out the new CLIF Kid Zbar Filled and encourage your kids to get outside and play! Summer is completely flying by and the next time I blink my eyes, Branden will be starting 4th grade and Blake and I will we be easing back into our bus stop morning and then running at the park (in the jogging stroller) routine. The one and only rule that I made going into this summer (other than bed time and chores, of course), was that we were majorly limiting our screen time - to only one hour a day. But, living in NYC means that in order to have all those adventurous days that I've yearned for, I needed to be really involved in planning and getting the kids outdoors, so that's exactly what I've been up to. First things first, I had to shift my schedule around. Instead of working all day long and being free in the evenings, I started working mornings then taking a huge break in the late morning/afternoons for our adventures and then would come home and work more after the kids went to sleep. And during our busy days, we've always had CLIF Kid Zbar Filled packed in the diaper bag for easy access to keep Branden fueled. The new CLIF Kid bars come in 3 yummy flavors that moms can feel good about giving their kids. They make snacking more fun and much easier, especially when we're on the go. They are the first and only organic, soft-baked snack bar with smooth, creamy nut butter filling to surprise and delight … [Read more...]

3 Major Ways I’ve Learned to Eat Smarter

This post was sponsored by Eat Smart as part of an Influencer Activation for Influence Central and all opinions expressed in my post are my own. I feel like "eating smart" has been my motto lately. Obviously, I'm over here still tying to slim down after having Blake almost a year ago and finally have fit back into my pre-pregnancy size (hooray!), which definitely came from shifting my mindset a bit about the way that I eat. I've always been a salad lover and for as long as I can remember, I've had a salad almost every single day for lunch. But, my salads were bare because I was thinking about cutting back on calories constantly, and not thinking about the big picture. Eat Smart salads have taught me to focus on clean ingredients and include things that not only satisfy me, but keep me full for long period of time. So how am I eating smarter? I've made some changes to the way I eat that have made a tremendous impact on my health goals! Batch cooking breakfast ahead of time. This has been one of the biggest life savers for me and I have no clue why I never considered doing it until a few months ago. I make a high protein egg bake every 6 days because it makes 6 servings and add tons of veggies. My mornings are so busy (and I can only assume that yours are, too) so having something prepared that I can quickly throw into the microwave in a rush is life changing. Bringing salads back into my life. Honestly, I got so bored with my salads that I started veering away … [Read more...]

A Little Life Update

  As I write this, it's been one week almost to the hour that Chris has left for a whole month of army training. It's the longest we've ever been apart since we've been married and had kids, and I'm holding things together the very best that I can over here. The morning he left, he got up and watched Moana with Blake, her favorite movie that has been admittedly acting as her babysitter for almost two hours each day - because mama's gotta work. And then walked out the door for a month of grueling training. I feel bad that I've been turning to technology to keep these kids occupied each day, but I'm in survival mode right now and I'm just trying to accept thats way its going to be this week, until we travel to see my family in Pittsburgh this upcoming weekend. We're sort of in transition mode over here, and as couple, still very much wanting to get out of the city so the kids can have a back yard (and not to mention, a dishwasher and garage would be nice, too), but working on figuring out the right path to make that happen. It's not easy when you're locked in an expensive lease. I love New York City and will cry my eyes out the day that we do eventually leave, but our whole family is ready for this change. So Chris is busy progressing further in his military career and I couldn't be more proud of his hard work and dedication. As you all know, Blake is about to turn one this month and before Chris left we had plans for a big party in Pittsburgh. But he … [Read more...]

Back to School Bonding

Thank you JCPenney Optical for sponsoring this post. Visit your local JCPenney Optical to find your perfect frames! We have been soaking in so much summer these days that I can hardly believe that the back to school countdown has begun. This year, with Chris away doing training this month, I'll be on the back to school train by myself, scrambling to get everything crossed off his supply list and new uniforms ordered. It can be overwhelming to say the least, (thanks to online shopping I've got most things under control) so before Chris left, I set out to do some good old fashioned bonding with my firstborn child to get us excited for back to school, elevate some of the stress and most importantly - have a little fun.  But with "busy" being pretty much all of our middle names these days, this mother/son bonding that I was dreaming about did come with a purpose. Both Branden and I were in desperate need of new glasses before the school year started. His prescription pretty much remained the same, but my eyes on the other hand had gotten worse after this last pregnancy and my specs were a little outdated, too. So this little guy and I had a day date over at JCPenney Optical and bonded over our search for the perfect frames. As silly as it sounds, I felt like a kid again. This little guy and I spent the whole time running back and forth across the room showing each other the different frames that we had tried on and asking each other what we thought. It's fun to get … [Read more...]

Defying Gender Stereotypes #MomStyleMonday

This post contains affiliate links.  I never thought that the words "defying gender stereotypes" would ever cross my lips, but here we are in 2017, with a little girl who I want to know every single day that she can do everything that her older brother can in this world. As far as we've come, women are still at a disadvantage when it comes to equal pay and the way we are under a microscope for everything that we do. I think that as parents of this upcoming generation, we hold a lot of the changing power in the palms of our hands and that a little bit of daily affirmations and encouragement can go along way - for both genders. These kids live in their tees year round and to be honest, I've done away with onesies for Blake for a while (anyone else hate snapping those a much as me?). I love pulling a cute tee over their heads and taking on whatever the day brings. These tees, that I strongly feel are helping us defy gender stereotypes are from our friends at Scout & Indiana where you can shop all kinds of cute products with awesome messages. You probably saw Branden's "bomb like mom tee" featured last week when I worked with Hefty and I couldn't help but feel it expressed the message of that campaign to the fullest extent: moms are strong, just like dads and it's totally okay for boys to want to grow up and be tough in life just like their mamas. You can shop Branden's tee here (c/o Scout & Indiana). This little one has been on the move since … [Read more...]

Outdoor Eats For Fun in the Sun

This post is sponsored by BabbleBoxx.com on behalf of Single Edition Media. Summer is in full swing and every chance that we get, you'll find the Cooper family outdoors. I love to entertain, but close quarters in our NYC living doesn't make that possible too often, so we cram in as much as we can during the summer months - especially when healthy eating (for me), grilling (for my husband) and frozen treats (for the kiddos) are involved! I'm so excited to share with you all 4 different products that are totally rocking our summer. 1. FROOZER These treats have become a favorite of both kiddos this summer! Froozer is made with 100% fruit, so I feel good about Blake eating them to cool off, too. They are natural and made with no preservatives, non-gmo, gluten-free, dairy-free and super convenient - making them the perfect healthy snack. I'm super conscious about everything that my kids eat, even when it comes to frozen treats and Frozen is totally a brand that I trust.  Get your treats here and a coupon code here! 2.  OPRAH COOKBOOK: Food, Health, and Happiness You guys: whatever Oprah Winfrey says, I'll do. This personal cookbook of her's is packed with so many healthy recipes that even Branden will eat. But beyond that, it really takes you into the life of our beloved Oprah and is filled with personal essays and her favorite chefs, as well as all her on-point recipes. Food, Health, and Happiness features 115 pages of great meals for living your best life. Get your … [Read more...]

Strong Moms Raise Strong Kids

This is a sponsored post. Thanks for supporting Project Motherhood. I never considered myself a “strong” person until I got married and had kids. There’s something about the experience that changes you right down to your very core. Growing up, I wasn’t the most confident girl, veering away from raising my hand in class (even if I knew the answer) and never stuck up for myself the way that I should have. But fast forward to almost nine years of motherhood and I’m much more assertive and will stick up for my whole crew if need be. Motherhood has morphed me into the strong person that I am today. Truth be told, it really surprised me how much becoming a mom strengthened me right down to my bones. It was like it washed over me as soon as I gave birth to Branden and happened yet again when Blake was born. Kids humble you and at the same time make you realize that you have these precious lives that you’re in charge of protecting, and you need to be the rock that’s always there to support them when they need it most. Strength comes in many different forms, and while I probably turn blue in the face most days repeating myself, I know that my kids pick up on the actions that I put out into the world more than anything. I’m kind, I’m fair, I’m a hard worker and if my kids want to see my strength in a more physical form, they can meet me at our local track a few mornings a week where I run really intense sprints. I hope that my kids see what I do for them, myself and … [Read more...]

How To Create The Ultimate (Keto-Friendly) Charcuterie Board

This post was sponsored by Heluva Good! Cheese as part of an Influence Central campaign and all opinions expressed in my post are my own. About a week ago I officially started the keto diet that so many people are talking about. I'll be telling you all more about that later on, but wanted to share a recipe today that's not only keto friendly, but something that your whole family will love - a Charcuterie board. They are so easy to put together, are great for entertaining (while sticking with your diet), and make a great meal if you don't want to to turn on the oven. Our Charcuterie boards are always made complete with our favorite Heluva Good!® Block Cheese! A Charcuterie board is basically a mix of cheeses, meats, and things like nuts, olives and pickles that make up an assortment of grab and go type foods. If you aren't doing a keto diet, feel free to add things like jams, dips, hummus and crackers for loading - it's totally up to you! For my Charcuterie board, we started with Heluva Good cheese. I chose Colby Jack, Extra Sharp Cheddar and White Extra Sharp Cheddar because that's what my family loves best, but they have so many endless, mouth watering options to choose from at Walmart. They are really easy to find in the dairy aisle. So easy, that my husband found them before I did, which almost never happens. Charcuterie boards are all perfect for any occasion (can be used in recipes, shredded - whatever works best for you!) and a great source of calcium and … [Read more...]

My Everyday Go-To’s During The Summer #MomStyleMonday

This post is sponsored by Groupon. Thanks for supporting Project Motherhood. I can't even begin to stress enough how much comfort is a key factor in my summer style. I wish that I could be that mom who dresses perfectly put together day in and day out, but its not my reality right now chasing after this two crazy kids. In fact, (if we're being really, really real here) these jean shorts are one of the only two pairs that fit me right now. Yup, I'm just a girl, standing in front of her closet wishing that I could magically fit into everything again. It's cool though, I'll get there. But I LOVE these jean shorts, they give me life. They are so comfortable and from my go-to when shopping for pants, American Eagle. Their sales are pretty epic and I scored this entire outfit for under $65 - shoes included! (Get 15% off your American Eagle purchase here by shopping at Groupon!) I had been wanting a pair of gladiator sandals this year, but knew they needed to be flats because of all the walking I do and these are so comfortable. I will admit, they take  a little bit to get on, but once they're on I feel like they're the perfect outfit accessory and I wear them with long maxi dresses, too. I recommend wearing them around the house a teeny bit first because there was a little initial rubbing that your feet will need to get used to. And this tee - omg! I tried going back to order more and they were sold out in my size. I'm wearing a medium here and it's so soft … [Read more...]

Something Magical #MomStyleMonday

This post contains affiliate links.  You know how sometimes you dress your little one and you feel like you popped it over their head and something magical just happened? Sometimes baby clothes just do that to you. And sometimes its that happy smile they give you whenever they know they're finished getting dressed. Either way, it kinda makes your heart grow a few sizes. That's how I felt when dressing Blake in these aden + anais pieces. c/o aden + anais flutter sleeve top // aden + anas bubble short You all have known my obsessions with aden + anais from my pregnancy days! If you don't remember, I not only rounded up all my newborn favorites (swaddles, nursing pillows and more), but I kept swaddle blankets that I had bought and stashed in my closet before I was even pregnant. I mean, talk about obsession. It's just that all these sweet pieces are so soft and pretty that they're really hard to keep your hands off. And to me, she's the perfect little baby model for all of them. And did I mention that she's almost fully walking? I really shocks me everyday when I see her walk from one piece of furniture to the next. At 10 months I feel like she's growing way too fast, but each milestone is a blessing and I can't wait to see what she does next. And if you're curious to see what our everyday is like, I share all the behind the scenes on our Instagram stories - so follow me! As you can see, I had a really hard time choosing which pictures to share … [Read more...]