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...]

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...]

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...]

The One Thing That Saved Us During Our Summer Adventures

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Hyland’s Earache Drops.  The uses for Hyland’s products are based on traditional homeopathic practice. They have not been reviewed by the Food and Drug Administration. When you take a look at our New York City life, it’s pretty easy to tell that we live in this busy, concrete jungle. But often, people overlook the fact that we’re near huge bodies of water and just a quick 45-minute drive from quite a few beaches. This past weekend, we set out to visit one of our favorites, but two things were different this summer: it would be Blake’s first trip to the beach and because of private swim lessons that Branden took during the year, he was much more independent in the water. Both kids loved the water and Branden swam constantly the whole trip there. We even had one “incident” where he swam out a little bit too far and a lifeguard pulled him in. He wasn’t drowning, but just swimming too far. Whenever the lifeguard pulled him in, he was so confused because to him, he was just having fun. He casually replied to me, “Mom, I don’t know what was going on - I was just having the time of my life.” All was good in the land of Branden Cooper - until we got home, that is. I think that he didn't want to say anything right away, because he didn't want me to keep him out of the water, but our little guy got a bad case of swimmer's ear. Thankfully, I had Hyland's Earache Drops waiting at home. I gave him his first set of … [Read more...]

I Finally Ran For The First Time Since Giving Birth

I finally did it. I hit the pavement for the first time in an entire year since giving birth and it was one emotional journey, let me tell you. If you know me in real life or have followed along on social media, you know that I've been a pretty avid runner since high school. I struggled running all the way through finally having a breast reduction at age seventeen, have never quite worked up the courage to run a marathon, but have always made it a part of my life. Before Blake was born or I was even pregnant, I would drop Branden off at the bus stop and start my runs from there, three days a week. I would log anywhere from 9-12 miles per week and really improved my pace using the Runkeeper app (it's addicting!). I ran and continued to do yoga throughout my entire pregnancy up until I was 30 weeks pregnant and then stopped. A lot of it was due to the hot summer heat but mostly I just didn't have the energy to do it anymore. While I have shared how I started at 6 weeks postpartum working out, I just hadn't been able to get back to running - something was always stopping me. It's no secret that I'm still struggling with accepting my postpartum body and I think that to some extent we always kind of are. Our bodies change so much after giving birth and it can take a long time for our organs to shift back to where they are supposed to be, let alone to drop that extra weight. I've been really hard on myself and am still determined to drop this last pant size. In all … [Read more...]

Cultivating Adventure

This is a sponsored post. Thanks for supporting Project Motherhood.  You guys, this past year has honestly been a whirl-wind. I feel like I've blinked my eyes and I have an almost 9-year-old on my hands and I'm starting to plan little Blake's first birthday party. This school year has been a challenging one with Branden in third grade and some of the ups and downs we've dealt with in terms of the school, bus and bus driver issues, so when summer rolled around, I really wanted us all to just chill out. But at the same time, I didn't want to sit behind the t.v. al summer with the AC blasting, I wanted us to get out there and create adventures and memories together. So mid-May, when an opportunity came my way to go to Orlando for a conference, without much planning I said "yes" and turned it into a big family vacation. This is the summer of fun in my eyes and I want to cultivate as much adventure as possible with my crew. But, with that being said, we do have young children and need to keep them safe and healthy - so I have SingleCare in my back pocket to ease my mind. So we started our adventure by going to the place where adventures are made: Universal Studios Island of Adventure. I'm not typically one for theme parks (I know, I know) and doing it with a 10 month old didn't make it that much more appealing, but I said "let's do it" and we totally did. In the spirit of the day, I even went on some rides and decided not to stand on the sidelines, trying to show my kids … [Read more...]

Sunscreen For Children: How To Develop a Healthy Routine

This post is sponsored by Neutrogena. Thanks for supporting Project Motherhood! I will admit it, I really wasn't good to my skin growing up. I was always focused on whatever might in the moment make me tan or get rid of pesky acne. I never really thought of the longer term health of my skin until I got older. Becoming a parent is really humbling in that way because we start teaching these lessons that were passed onto us by our parents, but we thought we were too cool to hear. So here I am, focusing on sunscreen for children and developing healthy routines for making it a priority to them. Spoiler alert: I found a really great, easy way that will make your moments beach or poolside this summer way less stressful. Despite everything that we know about sun safety and care, skin cancer is still a very real and scary thing - but can be avoided if we take proper precautions. In the United States, 350 people are diagnosed with this terrible disease every hour, so even more reason to choose the right sunscreen for children and your entire family in the sun, all year long. Because we turn to Neutrogena in our home for all our skin care needs, of course we turn to them when it comes to their fantastic sunscreen. And to add a little bit extra amazingness to what they do, Neutrogena is launching the MimicMommy MOVEment, to rally moms to help change skin cancer statistics and raise the first generation of sun-safe children. Neutrogena teamed up YouTube stars the Holderness … [Read more...]

5 Reasons To Do The Color Run

This is not a sponsored post. My family and I received free tickets to attend The Color Run.  If you recall, last July when I was 8 months pregnant, me, Chris and Branden completed The Glow Run together. We try to do one of these races together each year and while I barely finished last year's I was so excited to do The Color Run together this year as a family - this time, pushing a stroller instead of ready to pop made the whole thing much better. I can't recommend The Color Run enough and if it's about to hit your city (here's the full upcoming list), here's why you should attend with your entire family. Spoiler alert: we had a blast! 1. It's family- friendly. The word "family-friendly" means so much to us because we really don't have any babysitters close by and spending $20 an hour on one to go out is something we rarely do. Which means that we're always seeking family-friendly things that are actually enjoyable for all of us (like really enjoyable not just the "I'll watch my kids have fun" kind) and this was a great experience that appealed to just that. 2. It's not timed. After having Blake, I've been having a little runner's phobia and haven't gotten back out there quite yet, so this non-timed, 5k is a great way to get a little workout without feeling pressured to beat a certain. It's really relaxed and just fun right from start to finish. 3. It's a great way to do something outdoors. My boys are BIG movie-buffs. Me? Not so much. I try to plan activities … [Read more...]

Healthy Meals to Lose Weight

**This is a sponsored post for heSpeaks/Rubbermaid®. Thanks for supporting Project Motherhood!** Not gonna lie - I'm still struggling to lose the pesky baby weight over here. There's a few pounds that just don't want to come off and I've been seeking healthy meals to lose weight every single time I grocery shop, because I get bored with what I eat quickly and need to mix things up. After trying a few different things out, I feel like I finally found the secret to making sure that I always make healthy choices: through meal planning. So whether you're trying to lose weight like me, or searching for healthy meals during pregnancy and breastfeeding, I'm sharing my best tips with Rubbermaid BRILLIANCE (and a giveaway!) - plus a new recipe that's perfect for summer! Healthy Meals to Lose Weight The Rubbermaid BRILLIANCE 10 piece set has allowed me to meal prep and make some of my absolute favorite make-ahead meals, which has been the key to always reaching for healthy foods instead of something that I'll regret later. They allow me to portion foods out, eat on the go, and keep things organized in both my refrigerator and kitchen cabinets.  Breakfast For a good two years now, I've been all about those overnight oats, which are also great when you're breastfeeding to help with milk production. I make these in huge batches, and store them in my largest Rubbermaid container and scoop out breakfast portions for a good week. My favorites are chia see and … [Read more...]