20% Off Daffadoot Baby Products!

You all know I have a toddler at home right?  That often means I am busy cleaning up mess after mess.  Because of this, I have been looking for a protector for the seat of my car to go underneath the baby’s carseat.  I am tired of finding food ground into my seats everytime I go to clean it out.  While scrolling around Amazon I spotted this Auto Seat Protector from Daffadoot and I think I am going to try it out.  Have you ever tried anything similar?

While we are on the subject of Daffadoot, you can currently get 20% off of the following Daffadoot products when you use promo code HWBLFYLE:

Auto Seat Protector

Crystal Clear Rear Facing Baby Mirror

SecureLift Baby Crib Wedge Pillow

 

Have you used any of these items yet?  Let me know what you think!  I will keep you posted on my auto seat protector as soon as I get it.

 

 

Top Kid-Friendly Campgrounds in Oregon

 

Spring has arrived here and brought with it some awesome weather.  This weather, of course, has me thinking about summer and all of the fun that it will bring with it.  For us, that means lots and lots of camping. We love camping in this family and as of early May already had 3 different camping trips planned for late spring, early summer.  

Our camping trips tend to be very focused.  As in, though we like to be one with nature, we also like to make sure we actually have something to do while we camp.  Before we had children, my husband and I liked to go camping at OHV campgrounds and ride dirt bikes and atv’s, or boating with friends. Since having kids though, many of our camping trips have been based solely on how kid-friendly the campground is and it has served us well because we have had lots of fun over the years staying at some of the top kid-friendly campgrounds in Oregon.  If you are looking for some good ideas on where to stay, I highly recommend checking out this list of my favorite kid-friendly campgrounds in Oregon:

paintball photo used with permission of Camp Dakota
  1. Camp Dakota – We love to yurt camp with our kids (it means less stuff to pack with us) and Camp Dakota has some awesome yurts to rent!  They also have teepees to rent too which is fun in itself. Other kid-friendly amenities include zip lines, paintball, rock climbing, gold panning, disc golf, pizza delivery, treasure hunting and more.
  2. Loon Lake Resort.  Our family loves Loon Lake, while they don’t have an in-ground swimming pool, they do have a sandy beach along the lake with a roped off area just for swimming.  They actually trucked the sand in for this and it turned out wonderfully. The lake is not too cold and the area roped off for swimming doesn’t get too deep. At the resort, you will also find paddle boat rentals, a volleyball court, a cafe, a store, free wifi, an ice cream stand and more.  You are also quite close to Florence so the beach isn’t too far away.
  3. Astoria / Warrenton / Seaside KOA Resort.  This KOA resort isn’t your typical KOA!  It is located near Fort Clatsop for all of my Lewis and Clark enthusiast friends, it is near the beach and it has so many kid-friendly features that it may be hard to fit them all in a paragraph.  Here you will find 2 pools (1 indoor and 1 outdoor), a mini-golf course, cable tv, free wifi, vike rentals, Jumping Pillow, playgrounds, an activities building which houses movies, an arcade and game room, basketball court and more.
  4. Pacific City RV & Camping Resort.  The Pacific City RV & Camping Resort features awesome, kid-friendly amenities such as a swimming pool, playgrounds, game room, basketball, mini-golf, easy beach access and more.
  5. Bend/Sisters Garden RV Resort.  If you have never been to Sisters before, this is a great way to experience it for the first time!  The Bend/Sisters Garden RV Resort features its own fishing pond, a playground, miniature golf course as well as a pool and spa.  Sisters itself is a very kid-friendly destination in itself (it’s my 14-year-old daughter’s favorite place to visit). Oh, and don’t forget to visit Sister’s Bakery while you are there, it’s totally worth it!
  6. Kah-Nee-Ta Resort.  Kah-Nee-Ta Resort isn’t a typical campground and I don’t believe you can bring a tent, but you can camp in a teepee or bring your RV!  Here you will find some amazing kid-friendly activities such as a swimming pool, arcade, mini-golf, kayaking, bike rentals, horseback riding, basketball, volleyball, and tennis.
  7. Whalers Rest RV & Camping Resort.  If you are camping at the beach, be sure to check out Whalers Rest RV & Camping Resort!  Here you will find fun, kid-friendly amenities such as a pool, clubhouse, game room, disc golf, mini golf, and more!
  8. Beverly Beach Campground.  Just miles from Newport and the Oregon Coast Aquarium, the Beverly Beach Campground is a favorite for many people.  This campground doesn’t feature any swimming pools or other fancy amenities, but there is still plenty for the kids to do and have fun!  You will find a playground, one of my favorite beaches on the Oregon Coast which is perfect for kite flying, sandcastle building, hiking trails, bike trails, visitor information center and more!
  9. Wallowa Lake State Park.  The Wallowa Lake State Park Campground is a great place to stay if you are interested in exploring the Wallowa Mountains.  When you are not out exploring nature’s wonderland all around you, you will find some great kid-friendly amenities at this campground like a playground, an amphitheater, events, and even a junior ranger program.
  10. Silver Falls Campground.  If you feel like visiting one of Oregon’s largest parks, Silver Falls Campground is for you!  Here you will find kid-friendly amenities such as bike paths, miles of hiking trails featuring 7 different waterfalls, a 177-foot wide waterfall that you can walk behind, playground, a swimming area, an amphitheater, horse trails and more!

10 Free (or low cost) Things to Do in Oregon

I love Oregon, don’t you?  Yeah, the rain gets old, but it makes for some really great landscapes.  One of my favorite things about Oregon is how many things there are to do here, many of which are free or very low cost.  My family and I are outdoor enthusiasts who enjoy hiking and time on the water, both of which are pretty cheap activities.  We don’t stop there though, we love experiencing all of the activities that Oregon has to offer.

If you live in Oregon, or if you are planning to visit soon, check out this list of 10 free (or low cost) things to do in Oregon and find yourself something great to do this spring break or summer vacation.

  1. The Beach.  I have lived in Oregon my entire life (save for a couple of years I lived in Texas when I was young), and I just recently learned that in many other states you have to pay to go to the beach?!  Is this true?  I have never in my life paid to go to the ocean, I’ve never even paid for parking to go on to the beach.  If you live in Oregon and haven’t visited the beach, I implore you to do so at the first opportunity.  We have some of the most beautiful beaches in the world here. Bring a sweatshirt though!  It can get windy on these beaches.
  2. Silver Creek Falls.  For just a nominal parking fee, you can check out some of Oregon’s most beautiful waterfalls.  You can complete the 7+ mile hike and view all 10 waterfalls, or you can walk among the shorter, easier trails and view just some of them.  Plus, at the main park, there are plenty of picnic tables available and a great family-friendly swimming hole. This is one of my favorite places in Oregon to visit.
  3. Salem’s Riverfront Carousel.  The Riverfront Carousel in Salem is a non-profit attraction.  It is also very unique to Oregon in that all of the characters on the carousel were handcrafted and made with the theme of symbols important to Oregon.  Additionally, all of the carousel animals have been sponsored by people and companies that are local to the area. The carousel costs just $1.50 per ride.
  4. Mt. Hood.  Yeah, it is going to cost money to ski or snowboard at Mt. Hood, but you can take a drive to visit and see some amazing views of this beautiful mountain.
  5. Water play.  Kayaking, canoeing, and paddleboarding are all wildly popular activities in Oregon.  If you already have the equipment, these activities are super cheap and Oregon is full of awesome lakes that you can park at for free and spend your day on the water.
  6. Jamison Square.  Jamison Square is a park in the Pearl District that is located in the middle of high rise condominiums.  There is a fun tiered fountain that runs non-stop that is a blast for the kids to play in, plus there are tables available for picnics or just to relax for us grown-ups.
  7. First Thursdays of Portland.  If you are in the Portland area, First Thursdays of Portland is a great event to attend if you enjoying visiting local artists and vendors.   At this event you will find booths featuring artwork, food, wine and beer tastings and more.  The vendors charge, of course, but you can see a lot of local flair for free just by walking around.  This event happens monthly, on the first Thursday.
  8. Oregon Zoo.  On the second Tuesday of each month, the Oregon Zoo offers discount days.  On these discount days, it costs just $5 for admission to the zoo.  If you have never been before, the Oregon Zoo is amazing.  On our recent visit with a family member from out of town, they commented on how beautiful our zoo is compared to other zoos throughout the country.
  9. Brewery and distillery tours.  Okay, so this one isn’t exactly child-friendly, but this is a fun way to spend a date night or day out with your spouse or friends.  Oregon is a treasure trove of breweries, distilleries and wineries and most tours are free.
  10. Tillamook Cheese Factory.  Tillamook Cheese is well known throughout the country for being among the best cheese and you can actually watch it being made!  The Tillamook Cheese Factory opens their doors for free tours where you can watch cheese and ice cream being made.  They also offers lots of free samples of their cheese varieties.  As of this date of this post (early 2018), their visitor center is closed because they are building a new one that is scheduled to be opened later this year.

What are your favorite things to do in Oregon when you are on a budget?

 

French Fries: Gluten-Free? Or a A Big Gluten-Free No-No?

So, do you remember how I told you all about my decision to go gluten-free and how I am now migraine-free because of it?  Overall, it has gone well and it hasn’t been too hard to go gluten free (except for the occasional sandwich craving…but that’s what gluten-free bread is for, right?).

My main problem was how busy we have been.  Both of my kids were in competitive basketball, which meant for the last 3 months, we have been on the road every single weekend for tournaments.  Some days we would be gone from sun up til sundown and some days we would have to rent a hotel and be gone the entire weekend.  This doesn’t leave much time for healthy eating, which meant a lot of trips through the drive-through.

Honestly, I’m still fairly new at this gluten-thing.  I thought as long as I avoided breads, buns and breaded meats I would be doing ok.  I drove through McDonald’s one day and got a chicken breast with guacamole and lettuce and some french fries.  I woke up the next day with an awful migraine.  The kind of migraine that keeps you in bed the entire day and I was so upset. I mean, I have been doing great with my diet have been migraine free for over 3 months.  Once my migraine began to subside a little bit I wrote down everything that I had eaten the day before and knew that it had to have been McDonald’s because the rest of my diet that day consisted of eggs, veggies, fruits and cheese, all of which I have had before with no issues.  So, I started doing a little bit of researched and discovered that, the McDonald’s fries were the culprit.  Yes, that is right.  McDonald’s uses gluten in their fries. 🙁  Some of the things I have read say that they use a coating that is designed to make their fries crunchier, some say that it is in the beef flavoring that they use on their fries (I didn’t even know this was a thing).

I have since learned that many other restaurants use a coating on their fries as well, so it is always important to request gluten free fries when ordering at any restaurant.

Good luck to you my gluten-free friends!  I would love to hear about any other sneaky gluten inclusive foods you have found.

An Exercise for Dealing with “What-If” Anxieties

I know I don’t talk much (or at all) about it, but my daughter suffers from terrible anxiety.  She was diagnosed officially with Anxiety at the age of 11, but the truth is, I have known that she deals with this since she was 6 years old.  She was that student in the 1st grade.  She screamed, cried, kicked, hit and ran every morning when I took her to school.  Every.  Single. Morning.  I know you have all seen kids act like that at school drop off time because I’ve seen them too.  I remember when I was a kid and seeing a girl in my class do it.  I also volunteered with the elementary students my senior year of high school and I witnessed it with a couple of kids.  I also know that you may think that these kids are just being bratty, or misbehaving, but what you may not realize is that these kids are not just misbehaving, they are having full-on anxiety attacks.  They need your support, not your judgment.

Back in the 1st grade, my daughter was having full-on “what-if” anxiety.  Her big thing then was “What if my mommy got in a car crash while I am at school?”  You guys.  She literally fought me to go to school every day because she was afraid I would get in a car crash and die while she was gone.  Can you imagine the anguish that would put on a child every day?  Before I developed postpartum depression, I have never dealt with anxiety from myself, and I am ashamed to admit that I honestly didn’t know how extreme it was.  I was frustrated with her.  I wanted her to just go to school, enjoy learning and have fun with her friends.  “How hard could that be?”  It was only 1st grade after all.  I did not have the right mindset to deal with an anxious child.  I had never dealt with it and didn’t understand how debilitating it could be.  In time though, we learned to get through.  It’s worth noting that for the first several years (through 5th grade for our daughter and through 2nd for our son) our kids went to a small Charter School.  Their school had 200 students with only k-8 in attendance and this school was relatively close to home.  That meant fewer kids and mom could be there to get her in an instant when she was having a hard time.  And let’s be honest here, I picked her up all the time.  It has always been important to me that she knew I was there to support her always.  I may not have understood her feelings, I did know that she needed her mom.  I did let her miss way too much school though.

When she approached middle school we began discussing transferring her to the nearby larger, public school.  We knew that if we waiting until high school, it would be virtually impossible because of her nerves.  Plus, where we live, there are several elementary schools with just one middle school and one high school.  That meant that 6th grade is where all kids come together.  There would be plenty of “new” kids to the school and we figured that this would be a great time to send her and it was.  The change was great.  She discovered new friends and amazing new classes that she fell in love with, but she also discovered that going from 200 students throughout 9 grades to 1000 students in 3 grades was definitely overwhelming.  While she didn’t fight and scream and kick, she often teared up and begged me to let her stay home.  Throughout the 6th grade, I found myself giving in to that over and over again, so I decided it was time to put a stop to it.  At this point, it was time to go to the doctor and get help, which is when she received her officially diagnosis.

With various treatments over the last couple of years, her anxiety symptoms have gotten much better but she still has her good days and her bad days and she still needs help.  She has recently been doing a lot of worrying about whether or not her friends like her still.  No reason for her to feel this way other her “what-if” anxieties that she faces (What if they stopped liking me over the weekend?  What if they never liked me to begin with and have just been pretending? These are the kinds of questions she asks herself).  At a recent follow-up visit with her doctor, we learned an amazing trick to dealing with those what-if anxieties that has helped her already!

In this world of non-stop mental illness news, I think we could all use a little bit of help in dealing with our anxieties and panic attack symptoms.  I feel like if the things we have learned can help someone else, I would really, really like to share them.

Okay, so here is a good anxiety exercise that we learned recently for dealing with “what-if” anxieties that has helped tremendously.  I highly suggest doing this activity every single day, even when your anxiety symptoms aren’t that high:

Get out a piece of paper to write on, and think about your “What-If” anxiety trigger.  Now, on your piece of paper, write down 3 reasons why this trigger may not be true.

Here is the example that we used to help my daughter on that first day:

Anxiety trigger: What if my friends don’t like me?

Why this anxiety trigger may not be true (her answers):

  1. They have never said they don’t like me.
  2. They smile and wave at me in the hallways and talk to me in class.
  3. Nothing has happened that would have changed our friendships.

It seems so simple really, but as it was explained to us, when you start doing this every single day and writing it down, you will eventually start to retrain your brain, so that when you start having those anxiety symptoms and “what-if” worries, your initial thoughts will be the reasons why these anxieties may not be true, as opposed to your anxious mind convincing you that they are.

How to Step Away from “Work Mode” When You Work from Home

Do you work from home?  Do you find it hard to stop being in “work mode” while you are at home?  I started working as a Blogger and Virtual Assistant way back in 2012 and for a long time worked all the time, without ever stepping out of work mode.  I would wake up early and work, I would work on road trips, I would work while sitting down watching a movie with my family.  While it is handy to have the ability to work like that, it really is unfair to your family to never really be there with them.  Additionally, you need to be able to create time for yourself in order to be your most productive self.  It took me a long time, but it eventually clicked that I needed to do differently and I am much happier (and more successful) now!

If you want to learn how to step away from “work mode” when you work from home, check out these tips and see how much they can help you!

  • Schedule it.  Honestly, if I don’t put something on my schedule to make it happen, it simply won’t happen.  This goes for everything I do, so that means I schedule my working hours and my non-working hours.  This is beneficial for productivity as well.  Schedule your day as though were driving into a regular job and you are likely to accomplish more.
  • Have a dedicated workspace.  Even if you work on your laptop, make an effort to create a workspace within your home for workspace.  If you make a habit of plopping down on the sofa to work, you are never really out of your workspace, so it becomes harder to step away from work mode.
  • Put your phone down.  This day in age, we are so lucky to have the technical advantages that we do.  We can get an order notification right on our phone via email, phone call or text message.  But in order to be out of work mode, you can’t have your phone going off all the time.  Choose several time blocks throughout the day that you set your phone down.
  • Remember your reasons.  I am willing to bet that one of the reasons you wanted to work from home, to begin with, was because of the flexibility and freedom that comes from being your own boss.  Never allow yourself to forget this, because if you are too focused on work, that freedom really isn’t there, is it?

Do you work from home?  I would love to hear any tips and tricks that you have found useful in your work/life balance.

 

Do you want to learn how to make money from home?  Check out this post I did a while back to get some ideas:

Online Side Hustles, Surveys and Other Money Making Ideas!

 

 

 

Easy Ways to Workout When You are Short on Time & Money

Alright fellow moms, I know what it is like to be short on time and on a budget, it is hard to do anything, let alone work on your fitness.  Even though we know it is important to take care of ourselves, we all know that self-care is one of the first things to go when we are crunched for time and cash. You still need to focus on yourself though, because when mom doesn’t take care of herself, it is hard for her to take care of everyone else (and what would everyone do if mom couldn’t take care of them?).

So, if you are like me and you are finally taking time for yourself and your health, you don’t need a lot of time or money to get a good workout in.  Check out these easy ways to workout when you are short on time and money:

  • Daily Burn – Groupon is currently offering 60 days of Daily Burn for free!  You can make a huge difference in your body and your health in 60 days.  There are lots of levels of workouts starting from easy to difficult and some are just 15 minutes long.  You can spare 15 minutes, right? Once your trial is up, you can cancel it or, you can continue on if your budget is looking better.
  • Workout DVDs.  Workout DVDs can be done in the comfort of your home and they are very cost effective.  Plus, you can buy workouts according to what you want to do and how much time you can spare each day.  This DVD, for example, features 10-minute workouts.  Be sure and scroll down to the middle of the page to see other similar DVDs.
  • Walk around the block.  Grab your kiddos and take a quick stroll around your neighborhood.  As we mentioned, even a few minutes of exercise each day will help you move toward your goal and it’s free to do!
  • Join a gym.  Most gyms offer a free 7 or 14 day trial, why not head in to a couple of your local gyms and sign up for those free trials (one at a time of course)?  Depending on your location, you can likely get several months of working out for free, while figuring out which one you want to to actually sign up for.  Additionally, Groupon has lately been offering significantly reduced gym memberships, so be sure to check that out too!  If you have little kids, many gyms offer daycare for a reasonable price.
  • Local B/S/T or Buy Nothing Challenge groups.  If you are on Facebook, join your local FB For Sale, B/S/T groups as well as Buy Nothing Challenge Groups.  I have joined all of my local groups such as these and I often see workout equipment being given away for free or super cheap.

What has been your favorite budget-friendly workout?

Gluten Free Review: The Essential Baking Company Super Seeded Multi-Grain Gluten Free bread

Since I am fairly new to the gluten-free world, I have decided to go ahead and review some of the GF products on the market.  For the most part, I am trying to go gluten-free by simply taking those types of foods out of my diet, however sometimes you really want a sandwich, am I right?  Since I have little to no room in my kitchen I have no desire to try baking my own gluten-free bread at this point.  So when the family requested sandwich night for dinner the other night, I decided to join them.  I knew that I would need to make sure that I had gluten free bread, so I headed out to my local Safeway store and found this The Essential Baking Company Super Seeded Multi-Grain Gluten Free bread and decided to give it a try.

It was a quite expensive as are most Gluten Free products, but I figured since I rarely eat bread these days, I was willing to spring for the $5.99 loaf.  I was pleasantly surprised by the taste of this bread.  It’s almost like regular bread, the only difference being that it tastes a little dry, but your condiments can make up for that.  I also tried it as toast the next day during breakfast and discovered that one cycle through the toaster was not enough.  It needs to be almost to the burnt level and then you cannot tell that you are eating GF bread at all.

Overall, I am a fan and will buy it again for those sandwich cravings and splurges.  I’m not a fan of the price, but it’s not so bad if it is an occasional treat.

*This is my own personal view, I was not paid or compensated in any way.  I simply wanted to share with others who are learning their own gluten-free ways.

DIY All Natural Relaxing, Lavendar Massage Oil

 

Are you looking for a nice, DIY gift to get for your significant other for Valentine’s day? How about a massage?  Massages are hands down my favorite gifts to receive, whether it’s a massage from my loved ones or if they buy me a gift certificate, I am equally thankful.  Let’s not kid ourselves either, massages can also be quite romantic which makes them perfect for Valentine’s Day.  The romantic part only comes when you provide the massage though…a gift card just isn’t the same. 🙂

There is no need though to go out and spend a bunch of money on massage oils that have God-knows-what chemicals in them. All you have to do is create this 2 ingredient massage oil to save money and not have to guess what ingredients you will find in the oil.

 

Here’s how I created this All Natural Massage Oil:

I mix them together into a paste and that’s it.  It’s time to massage.

My husband had a muscle injury last year that I like to massage for him so I figured who better to check out the new massage oil on.  The verdict?  It’s a hit.  Because it is oil based, it helps make it easier to massage.  Plus, it is all organic so I don’t have to worry about the chemicals that are seeping into our bodies.   Lavender is known for its relaxation qualities so we used that to help relax the muscles and ourselves (I find it useful for sleep).

I have also given this massage oil as gifts as part of a spa gift basket to my family members and it was a hit!  If you want to present it as a gift, I used these containers to put them in.

 

 

While it does depend on personal experience, I always end up with 2-3 uses with this amount.

 

A Mom’s Take on Fortnite

Do you ever play video games with your kids?  I have a 10-year-old son that loves to play video games and while I don’t mind that he plays them, I am not a big fan myself.  I just don’t enjoy sitting down and playing a game and my preference was that my son play them in his room or when I was busy with other things and didn’t need to be in the living room.  But I’ve got to be honest with you, I have changed my stance a little bit when it comes to Fornite.  Epic’s wildly popular Battle Royale game.

Until very recently, my son was all about playing Minecraft and Roblox.  Yes, he has plenty of other games, but those were the ones he loved.  I have been relatively strict on the games he plays. Here were my rules for his games:

  • No sexual content whatsoever
  • No bloody violence or gore
  • Shooting games may be allowed depending on the game (I let him play hunting games, for instead and he could play a Navy Seals game, but only with my husband present)

Fortnite is a Battle Royale game where you hop online with 100 other people on a server and battle your way toward number 1.  You sneak through landscapes and into houses, barns and businesses hoping to find “loot” (guns, ammo, med kits, shield juice, wood for building and more).

I am totally and 100% ok with him playing Fornite even though the game does involve shooting people.  The game itself is very animated, there is no blood and the people you shoot disappear instantly, so it’s not as though you see dead bodies.

My husband and my teenaged daughter have gotten in on the fun too and they all take turns playing it.  I will fess up and acknowledge that I have played it a couple of times too.  It’s a lot of fun and the excitement of getting into the top 10 (I’ve done so twice if I may add) or winning the game is incredibly exciting.  My son won his first battle the other day and I could’ve sworn I saw tears of joy.  It’s a huge feat, especially since so many people are playing it right now (last estimate was 45 million players have signed up for it).

I have found this to be a fun, family-friendly game that I am more than happy to have my kids play.  We have had several nights of Fornite battles and it is so much fun!  We look forward to it.