Monday, January 30, 2017

LG PuriCare Air Purifier from RC Willey - Product Review

I love living in Provo but I hate the inversion in winter.  Did you know Provo is in the top 5 cities in the nation for having the dirtiest air, and sometimes is ranked as top city for dirtiest air in the nation?
 
A couple years ago I got a really bad case of bronchitis that lasted three months and ever since then I have been very sensitive to getting respiratory infections.  It doesn't take much for my cough to come back and when it does it usually hangs around for a couple weeks.
The picture above is from when my daughter got croup just last month and had to sleep elevated to breathe better.  She gets it a few times a year and has to go to the hospital sometimes to get steroids for her lungs and breathing treatments.  I do what I can to prevent it and check this site periodically to see when we need to limit our time outside but even when we stay inside the bad air can cause problems.
 
I got a new LG PuriCare Air Purifier from RC Willey and even though the air quality is unhealthy for sensitive groups today, the inversion hasn't been bothering me or my daughter at all this week.
The LG PuriCare Air Purifier from RC Willey is easy to use, with a color-coded LED system that shows the current air quality.  It works for pollutants and allergens too to remove 99.97% of airborne particles.
Want to pick up an LG PuriCare Air Purifier for yourself?  LG's new air purifiers are available at RC Willey now!

Mad Greens at Traverse Mountain is now open! (and GIVEAWAY)

GIVEAWAY - Do you want to WIN a $25 gift card so you can try MAD Greens too?!?  Just comment on my posts on Instagram or Facebook for your chance to win!  Giveaway ends February 6 at midnight Utah time.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
We went and checked out the grand opening for Mad Greens at Traverse Mountain last week with some friends and loved it.  The food was great and everything was healthy, which was an added plus!
We chose between wraps, sandwiches and salads.  My favorite was the Edgar Allen Poe salad that I had turned into a wrap.
The most popular menu items in Utah are the Annie Oakley Panini and the Ty Cobb salad.  There is also a Utah-inspired salad to try called the Butch Cassidy.  Can you tell they name their menu items after "mad" characters throughout history?
 
INSIDER TIPS:
Join the MAD MOB email list to get offers!  Also, if you're a mom who wants to eat healthy but not get the kids out of the car, try their curbside pickup by placing an order online or over the phone and then give them a call when you arrive and they'll bring the food out to you!

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Stay-at-home date idea: Sushi from Five Sushi Brothers

Do you want to WIN a date night package of 3 rolls, an order of gyoza and two sodas so you can have the romantic stay-at-home dinner we did?!?  Just comment on my posts on Instagram or Facebook for your chance to win!  Giveaway ends January 26 at midnight Utah time.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------
Our go-to stay-at-home date night idea is ordering sushi in after the kids go to bed.  In the past one of us puts the kids to bed while the other picks up the sushi but I just found out about this amazing place that DELIVERS SUSHI IN PROVO from 9 pm to midnight.  Stay-at-home date night game changer for us.  It was amazing.
It's simple.  Their rolls are $7 $8 or $9.  You order online and they show up at your house with your food.
 BUT GUESS WHAT!!!  Saturdays from 11-12 ALL ROLLS ARE ONLY $5!!!  That's a killer deal!
We got the Cali roll (top left), tiger mom (middle) and bandies (right), an order of gyoza and 2 drinks.  The drinks were so much fun because they had this glass marble that dropped down when you opened the bottle.  Have any of you had a drink like that?!?  It was fun.
 My favorite was the Bandies roll.  In fact, looking at this picture is making me crave another roll right now.  Oh man, this sushi delivery stuff is going to murder my budget for the month, I can already tell.
(...ok...I may have just texted my friend (since my husband is working) and told her to come over after the kids are in bed so we can order sushi.)
 
We usually pair our sushi with a game or puzzle or movie.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Stay at home date idea - Tin Foil Dinners and Doomsday Preppers

We try to have frequent dates to help strengthen our marriage but from time to time we can't get away and do a stay-at-home date instead after the kids go to bed.  (Like today when my little girl called us from school throwing up, which means I'm stuck at the house until she gets better).
Tonight we made tin foil dinners and watched Doomsday Preppers and it was SO MUCH FUN.  Honestly, I was pretty excited about this idea but after we did it then it ended up being even more fun than I had hoped!
We started out by making our tin foil dinners just before we started putting our kids to bed.  We like to put bacon on the bottom and over the top of ours to give it some extra flavor.  I know my brother loves to add cream of mushroom soup to his but we didn't do that this time.  We cut the veggies bite-sized to help it cook faster and stuck it in the oven at 375 for a little over an hour until the potatoes and baby carrots were soft.
I set up a picnic next to the TV and added a camping lantern and some small candles for a little romance (and to go along with the Doomsday Prepper theme) and we were set!
 
Have you ever seen Doomsday Preppers?!?!?  It's a show about people who are getting ready for end-of-the-world type stuff and go to great lengths to protect themselves from whatever they think might happen.  This is way past the average food storage standards and show people making assault vehicles, underground bunkers and elaborate family escape plans.  We love it.  Then at the end the experts tell them how well their family is prepare and what they need to change to survive.  They also tell us what the statistics are that something like whatever that family is scared of will happen.
 
Want to watch it?  Full episodes of Doomsday Preppers are on YouTube for free or you can rent episodes off of Amazon.
 
Seriously though, you should try this stay-at-home date night idea.  It was one of the best stay-at-home dates we have had so far.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Making our marriage stronger through frequent dating

I was a little surprise by the overwhelmingly positive response to my post on the moment we saved my marriage and the six words that started it all.  After several private messages and emails from both readers and friends asking what types of things I have done to strengthen (and save) my marriage, I have decided to post a few ideas intermittently on this blog.
 
The first (of many) things we implemented was frequent dating.  I have talked to so many friends who don't go on frequent dates with their spouse.  I get it.  We used to be the same way.  Life gets busy and expensive, especially with young kids, and it's hard to align schedules and find sitters.  I have talked to several friends who tell me they want to go on dates but sometimes it's hard to convince their spouse it's a priority.  I get it.
 
Let me stress again that I am not a marriage or personal therapist.  I do not pretend to know the answer to everyone's marriage struggles.  However, for my marriage, planning frequent (weekly) dates was a big part of helping us grow (and stay) close and strong.
 
It sets aside time during the week where we can connect again.  It's different with the kids (or even big groups of family or friends) around.  We get interrupted or distracted and it's not the same.  By prioritizing a date night, we are prioritizing our marriage, keeping it a focus and in the front of our minds instead of an afterthought we don't really worry about.
 
For me, as a stay-at-home mom with young kids, date night is sometimes the only time during the week I get a break and feel like an adult.  I take the diapers and wipes out of my purse and have a real conversation with an adult and eat my food while it's still hot and take a breath.  I need this break to be a kind, patient wife.  If I'm too overwhelmed, overworked and stressed it's really hard for me to be a nice wife and overall pleasant person to be around.  These breaks help me reset.
 
I know I could leave the kids with my husband one night he's home and go out by myself or with friends to reset and get that break.  Although I definitely think that's a necessity too in it's own way, by looking forward to something fun with my husband I am turning to him for happiness.  I look at him as a source of joy.  I am looking forward to something with him.  I want him to be part of my fun.  It really does help us feel closer.
 
It allows us to create these happy memories that keep us strong when something gets hard.
 
Although we try to go out at least once a week (partially so I get that break from the kids), sometimes kids are sick or we can't find a sitter or the budget is tight or schedules are crazy.  We never sacrifice date night (part of keeping our marriage our highest priority) so occasionally we do stay-at-home date nights.  It still puts our marriage as a priority.  It still gives us time to connect.  It still lets us create happy memories that make us strong when something gets hard.
 
All week long this week I am going to post some of these stay-at-home date night ideas.  Stay-at-home dates are a good way to make your marriage a priority if you don't feel comfortable getting a sitter, have a tight budget, or even if your spouse is hesitant to make frequent dates a priority.  "I planned this fun thing for us to do after the kids go to bed tomorrow night" might be easier for them to commit to than "I want you to start taking me out on dates every week."
This picture is from of one of our first stay-at-home date nights.  We just did a puzzle by the fire but it was so much fun.
 
Three things we like to keep in mind for a successful date night at home:
 
1.  Movies are probably the easiest stay-at-home date night (and we love to watch movies or shows together) but we don't only watch a movie every time because it's not as social and doesn't allow us to talk and connect as much.  Although, it does allow us to cuddle, which is important too.  My suggestion is to pair it with dinner or some time where the TV is off (a game or something) so you can still have a conversation and feel connected.
 
2.  Most of the time, I still get ready to go on a stay-at-home date as if I were going out.  I figure if I'm going to do my hair and makeup to go to a business meeting or family party, date nights (even when at home) are just as important.  It's not necessary but something I do to show him that I care and that it's an event I take seriously and look forward to.
 
3.  Plan ahead.  By deciding ahead of time when you're going to have a date, it keeps your schedule open and doesn't get it pushed off with other things.  Commit to a night before you fill your schedule with other things.  If I don't plan ahead it doesn't happen.  Also, it allows me to look forward to it all week, which creates these positive feelings about our relationship and the memories we make together.
 
What are your favorite stay-at-home date night ideas?

Monday, January 16, 2017

"Reisens I Love You" Missionary Care Package

Just in time for Valentines Day!  Send your missionary a box full of "Reisens" you love them!

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

The Baked Bear (and GIVEAWAY)

Do you want to WIN a gift certificate to Baked Bear so you can try it out for yourself?!?  Just check out my posts on Instagram or Facebook to enter.  Giveaway ends January 18.
--------------------------------------------------------------------
We went and tried out the Baked Bear for family night this week.  It's the stuff ice cream sandwich dreams are made of.
 
Why, yes that IS a HOT CHOCOLATE FLOAT with hot chocolate and a scoop of delicious ice cream topped with whipped cream, hot fudge and oreos.  We liked the ice cream sandwiches best though - this one sandwiched between a freshly-baked cookie and a brownie.
 
My favorite ice cream was the blue kind - bear batter.  I'm not usually a fan of blue ice cream but this one was really good.

They bake several times a day and even heat up your cookie and brownie when you order so it's perfect.
 
They were super nice and cut my kids' ice cream sandwich in half, which ended up being plenty for both of them.  It was so good I have plans to go back with my sisters this weekend.  Give it a try!

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Bowl of Heaven (and GIVEAWAY)

Do you want to WIN a $15 gift card to Bowl of Heaven so you can try the acai bowls for yourself?  Just comment on Instagram or Facebook for your chance to win!  2 winners will win!  Giveaway ends January 14 at midnight Utah time.
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
WHY has nobody told me about how good these acai bowls are before now?!?  One of the things I love most about blogging is trying new things all the time but let me tell you - these bowls were life changing.
 
The idea behind this post was that a lot of people have health-related New Years resolutions to either eat healthier or lose weight or be fit.  I wanted to show that you could eat healthy but still go out.  We were blown away and kind of surprised with how good it tasted.
 
Before going to Bowl of Heaven, I had heard of an acai bowl but didn't know what it was.  Basically they use just super fruits (like acai) to make a thick smoothie-like base and top it with fresh fruit, granola, honey, sometimes coconut...it's delicious.
 
We tried the chocolate peanut butter one which was my fav (in the picture above it's the one covered in bananas) followed closely by the Brazil bowl which had an acai base and strawberries and coconut over the top.  The Brazil bowl was my husband's favorite.  Honestly, all three were amazing.
 
My husband and I throughout the day after we left kept bringing it up saying things like "that was so fun!"  "I can't believe those are so healthy!"  "Those acai bowls were good!"  We will definitely be going back for more.
 
Okay, more about the bowls....
 
First of all, they are super healthy.  I know everybody is trying to be healthy and eat well and get fit at the starting of the New Year and this is a great way to do that.  It's filled with super foods with no dairy, no added sugars, no artificial flavors, no gluten.  Most are paleo.  Some are vegan.  YOU GUYS.
 
Honestly, as a healthy meal replacement it seems too good to be true because it's so healthy and tastes so good.  It has a lot of protein so it keeps you full longer.
It would be an awesome date night treat in lieu of ice cream or a delicious breakfast or lunch.
DE-LIC-OUS.  Seriously you guys have to try one.

Friday, January 6, 2017

Ice Castles in Midway (and GIVEAWAY)

Do you want to WIN 2 PASSES TO THE ICE CASTLES so you can have the fun we did?!?!  Just enter by commenting on Instagram and/or Facebook.  It couldn't be easier!  Giveaway ends January 9 at midnight Utah time.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
We love going to see the ice castles!  My 3-year-old is obsessed with everything Frozen and Elsa/Anna and is convinced that this is Elsa's real castle.  It was like taking her to Disneyland!  The picture above is of her sliding down one of the ice tunnel slides.  Everything is made of ice!
This place is awesome but make sure you dress warm.  I put my kids in leggings and jeans, snow pants, winter socks and boots, hats, scarves and gloves.  They'll likely want to crawl through the tunnels and slide down the slides so dress them as if they'll be playing in the snow.  We saw a couple people in jeans who wish they had dressed warmer.
 It's beautiful.  It would be a fun date night too!  Hurry and go before they close - as soon as it melts they close it down!

Monday, January 2, 2017

Gnome hunting at Thanksgiving Point Museum of Ancient Life

Have you guys ever looked for the 13 hidden gnomes at the Museum of Ancient Life at Thanksgiving Point?  We tried to do it once with kids but our kids wanted to go faster than finding these gnomes required so we came back for date night last week.  The idea is that paleontologists have to search really hard for things that everyone else misses to find fossils.  The gnomes are hidden all over the museum, in various nooks, crannies, and fossils!
Let me tell you - these things are tricky to find!  We were there for just over an hour and only found TWO.  Have any of you actually found all of them before?!?!?
 
Sometimes when I take my kids to the museum I see people walking around with flashlights and binoculars.  THIS IS WHY!  I have to admit, I thought the flashlights and binoculars were a little over-the-top so we didn't bring anything but I will tell you one of the two gnomes we found, my husband ended up using his phone light to find.  Next time we'll be taking flashlights.  I don't know if binoculars are necessary because obviously we haven't even come close to finding them all yet.
 
  Don't you worry though, I talked to the staff and got some "insider tips" you should know before you go.
The gnomes are hidden throughout the museum - starting through the doors after the iguana and ending with the doors leading from the sand digging quarry to the lobby.  No gnomes are hidden in the lobby, gift shop, cafĂ©, bathrooms or geometry playground.
 
8 gnomes are figurines like the one pictured above and 5 are painted.
 
The gnomes are hidden twice per year, usually around October and April.
 
There are no gnomes hidden behind the glass of any exhibit.
 
The Head of Paleontology at Thanksgiving Point is in charge of hiding the gnomes.  Very few of the staff know where they all are!
 
I have seen people with flashlights and binoculars looking for these before.  I don't know about the binoculars but I would recommend bringing a small flashlight.
 
According to the staff "it is a pretty rare feat to find them all in one visit, but not impossible."
 
On average it takes at least three hours to find them all.
 
Going for date night was a ton of fun but when we go back we are going to double (or group) date so we have a lot more eyes looking.
 
Once you find them all your picture goes on the wall in the lobby!
 
Honestly, this activity helped me appreciate the museum on a whole different level.  I never noticed all of the detail that goes into every single exhibit.  I really did love it and can't wait to go back!

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Ice Skating at Peaks Ice Arena

GIVEAWAY:  Do you want to WIN 4 SKATING PASSES (INCLUDING SKATE RENTAL) to Peaks Ice Arena so your family can have as much fun as we did yesterday?!?  Enter on Facebook or Instagram.  Giveaway ends January 7.
------------------------------------------------------------------------
We went ice skating as a family yesterday at Peaks Ice Arena.  It was a ton of fun and my girls didn't want to get off the ice!  We will definitely be going back again soon.
My girls had never skated before so we made sure to get there early so we could rent these blue walkers.  They made all the difference!  These things are a hot commodity!  There aren't very many and once they are gone, Peaks Ice Arena keeps a waiting list for those who still want them but I don't think there is a very quick turnover because all sorts of people were asking us if they could have ours and some even offered cash!  Granted, we went on a busy day (a Saturday during Christmas break) but if you have new skaters, I recommend getting there early.
I spoke with some of the staff and these are the insider tips I learned:
 
If you want a walker, get there early.  People start lining up to skate 15 minutes before the session so if you're too late, you'll find yourself on the waiting list.
 
Leave the baby at home.  They don't allow strollers on the ice and don't allow you to hold children while you skate.
 
Be sure to check the calendar online to make sure you know when the public skating times are before you go.  The schedule changes a lot and you don't want to show up to find out you can't skate.
 
Dress warm.  It's inside but it's an ice skating rink and they have to keep the ice frozen.  My girls wore coats, gloves and a hat and were fine.
 
Consider wearing thick socks or double-layering your socks for comfort and to avoid getting blisters.
 
Honestly, my girls loved it so much we signed them up for skating lessons.  My 6-year-old skated for 2 hours and even then didn't want to go!  If you're interested in skating lessons, make sure to use the ValPak coupon here.  ($30 for 6 skating lessons is a STEAL of a deal!)