Category Archives: Sponsored

Teachers Change Lives

I bet if you had to think back to your time in school and pick out one teacher that made a lasting impact on your life it wouldn’t be hard to do. I know I could.

You probably already know this, but I happen to be married to a teacher. He teaches middle school and high school in a small, rural school district. For him, teaching is not just a job. He’s in the business of preparing his students for what’s next.

Preparing them for what’s next…that’s not something you hear every day so what does that even mean? Of course it could be college. But among other things it could also be entering a trade, joining the military or going straight into the workforce. Being able to identify a student’s next step is key to helping them succeed in life.

And, while yes, I’m probably bias, I happen to think he’s very good at his business. He’s the kind of teacher that will do almost anything if it’s what’s best for his students. His students, their parents and the community all know this. This means there’s late nights and yes, even spending money out of his own pocket. But it’s just part of the business.

You see, teachers aren’t just in the business of teaching a curriculum. They’re in the business of inspiring, encouraging, listening. They’re in the business of changing lives.

I know this because I see it everyday.

Office Depot knows this too. That’s why they’ve created the Teachers Change Lives campaign. Office Depot and Adopt-A-Classroom have partnered to raise awareness about teachers, and all that they do in the lives of their students. Adopt-A-Classroom is a nonprofit organization that helps connect donors with teachers to enhance the learning environment for students.

Teachers change lives, and these students are proof. Watch as students express how much their teachers mean to them.

Teachers have a lot more on their plates these days than just teaching a curriculum out of a text book. Wouldn’t it be nice to help make their jobs just a little bit easier? Find a teacher, Adopt-A-Classroom (or even register your own classroom) and donate today.

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

Let’s Talk Christmas {Cards} – A Review

When it comes to all things Christmas in my house, I have the following rules:

  1. No Christmas until after Thanksgiving.

Simple rule, right? Now that it’s officially after Thanksgiving I can let you in on a teeny, tiny secret…I broke my own rule. I started looking at Christmas card designs last week. I couldn’t help myself. And to be honest, I’m only a little bit ashamed because when contacts you and asks if you’d be interested in reviewing their site, you say yes. YES! Right then and there. Then you start browsing all of their awesome holiday cards.

If you’re not familiar with Minted, they are an online stationery store powered by a global community of designers. I’ve been lusting over various cards on their website for quite some time and their 2013 Holiday Card Collection does not disappoint.

When it comes to Christmas Cards I have 2 rules {I know I have so many rules}:

  1. Must say Merry Christmas. {what can I say, I’m a traditionalist}
  2. Must contain at least one photo. {I’m apparently also a narcissist}

Here’s what I love about what has to offer:

  • So many to choose from!– I’m not going to tell you how long I looked at all of card designs…1. because I lost track of time and 2. because I may or may not have been at work. At one point I had over 15 tabs open as possible keepers. I’ve since narrowed it down to three, but I never even looked at all of the options. They also have a ton of non-photo holiday cards to choose from…you know, if you’re not the narcissistic type.
  • Truly customizable– From the accent colors and scalloped edges to the paper weight and message options, you can do just about anything you want with each card design. Want to match the accent colors to the clothes you’re wearing in your photo? Totally doable. Want to make it a folded card to include your annual holiday letter inside? Done. You can even move elements around within the design.
  • Easy to use– You can upload multiple photos at once, you can edit them, you can customize every step of the way, previewing every change you make. It’s very straight forward. You can even upload the addresses of your recipients and they will address them for you!

And because I know you’re all nosey like me curious…here’s the three I’ve narrowed it down to…

 Screen shot 2013-11-29 at 4.30.11 PM  Screen shot 2013-11-29 at 4.29.59 PM  Screen shot 2013-11-29 at 4.55.13 PM

So which one did I decide to go with? Well wouldn’t you like to know. I guess you’ll just have to wait until you get yours in the mail to find out!

If you’re still in the market for some holiday cards…go check out the selection!


Disclosure: provided me a credit in exchange for my honest review of their website and holiday cards. All opinions are 100% my own.

Taco Tuesday Remix: Pillsbury Taco Melts

It hasn’t exactly been a secret that our {read: my} transition from summer to school year has been…rough. Things seem to be settling into a groove now. I think. I hope. It gets easier right?

Through this transition, I’ve found that there are just some things that are out of my control. Like how long Reese naps at daycare, for example. But other things, I have complete control over. If you’ve been around these parts for long, you know I’m a huge advocate for meal planning. These last couple of weeks I’ve added another aspect of meal planning to my arsenal: pre-prep. Anything that can be prepped the night before, once the kids are in bed, is automatically at the top of my list of recipes to try.

When I was perusing the different recipes on Pillsbury’s website, I had specific criteria in mind. It had to be easy, quick, something that could be pre-prepped and I wanted to have the ingredients on hand {sponsored post aside, we almost always have a can of Pillsbury biscuits in our fridge}. When I found the recipe for Taco Melts, I knew I’d found the winner. Anything that incorporates Taco Tuesday is a always going to be a hit in my house.


Anytime Rylee gets to use the rolling pin she’s all about helping with dinner prep! Plus it frees up my arms to hold a certain fussy one-year-old.DSC_0717

Since we eat dinner as a family 99% of the time, Ry & I were able to prep this meal as soon as we got home and then wait until Andy was close before we put them in the oven. Then we were sitting down for dinner just minutes after he walked in the door!


In addition to the taco melts, I also warmed up some refried beans and opened up a bag of pre-made salad mix. Doesn’t get much easier than that!


While I didn’t follow the recipe to a T {get it? T for taco!?}, I didn’t make many changes. The main thing I did was melt the cheese in with the meat and seasoning instead of sprinkling it on top of the meat before crimping them closed. I’ve found the melty cheese works well as a binder and makes them less messy for me to assemble. I also set aside some of the meat without the salsa to make melts for the girls since they aren’t so much into spicy things.

Overall, this recipe was great. Like I said, it was easy to prepare, it got Rylee involved and the whole family loved it {I totally ate the leftovers for breakfast the next morning}. Win-win-win.

I’m already thinking of ways I can incorporate this style of recipe into more of my meals…next up? Ham & Egg melts. Who doesn’t love brinner? YUMM! For more ideas, they’ve even put together a free downloadable recipe book!

Thanks to Pillsbury for helping make my transition back to school a little bit easier!

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective. The content and opinions expressed here are all my own and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of General Mills. Compensation was provided by General Mills via Clever Girls Collective.

You know…Rockin’ & Rollin’

This post is brought to you by The New Santa Fe from Hyundai. Think your family rocks? Show us by uploading a photo of your family rocking out. Enter now for a chance to win great prizes.


{Automatic 10 points if you can name the movie the post title came from!}

We are not a family that you would consider…musical. Whatsoever. As in, none of us can hold a tune. We don’t play instruments. We can’t even read music. {I even took a whole music reading course in college…I barely passed}

However, we do love music. More often than not, you’ll come into our house and our stereo will be on over our TV. And not just on, but cranked. Rylee is always constantly demanding requesting we TURN IT UP!!

{Thank goodness we at least have rhythm.}

Right now? Ry’s favorite band is the Beach Boys. No joke. She looooooves the Beach Boys. I’d say at least once a week we have Beach Boys living-room-surfing dance parties. And it’s not just her. On no. We get the whole family involved. Even the baby.

The same goes for in the car. We love to rock out. Car dancing, awful singing and all.

{Maybe Rylee will have a future in rapping? Nevermind. Forget I even said that.}

Would I say our family rocks? Well, in a somewhat lame, non musical sense, yes, absolutely!

Right now Hyundai & Rolling Stone Magazine are looking for families who rock!

By sharing with Rolling Stone and Hyundai a photo and short explanation of how your family rocks, you could win prizes that include a photo shoot in Rolling Stone featuring the winning family shot by an industry photographer. Airfare, hotel and transportation to the 55th Grammy Awards. AND!? A fully tricked-out Hyundai Santa Fe custom rock ‘n’ roller.

To enter, or find our more about the contest, simply click HERE. The contest ends tomorrow, December 14 2012 so don’t wait to enter!!

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective, and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

The human body is “so TOOL!”

Thank you to LeapFrog for sponsoring this review. For more information about the LeapFrog Tag Human Body Discovery Pack, please visit their website #LeapFrogTag #spon

{Where tool = cool}

That was Rylee’s reaction after spending some time with LeapFrog’s Tag Human Body Discovery Pack.

The Human Body Discovery pack was sent along with the “Getting Ready for Kindergarten” book. And like that one, Rylee loves it!

This one is a little bit different format…a fold out board as opposed to a book…and each panel teaches concepts about the human body like the digestive system, respiratory & circulatory systems, the nervous system and more, then uses a game to reinforce each concept.

While I think this particular set is still a little bit too advanced for Rylee right now, we were able to use the time to play/learn together. For example, for the skeletal system game, when it asked her to point out where on the body certain bones were, I gave her hints on her own body and she then pointed to the correct bone on the board.

She was obsessed with the “poop noises” the digestive system panel played when she used the Tag Reader to point to an organ. {No, it doesn’t actually make poop noises, Rylee just thinks poop is hilarious and uses any excuse to actually say poop. FUN.}

LeapFrog Human Body Discovery Pack

The set even comes with a growth chart and interactive stickers, like organs and glow in the dark bones. The growth chart also has fun songs about hand washing, teeth brushing and staying active.

Her favorite part of the whole set is the “Making Healthy Choices” game…where you go through your day and along the way you are asked questions about staying healthy, {questions about healthy eating, teeth brushing and exercise}. If you answer the questions correctly, you get to go again. The first person to make it to the end of their day wins!

LeapFrog Human Body Discovery Pack_Making Healthy Choices Game

{For the record, I totally won the first time we played!}

For more info, you can check out this video:

I was selected for this opportunity as a compensated member of Clever Girls Collective and received free product from LeapFrog to review. The content and opinions expressed here are all my own. #LeapFrogTag #spon