The Sound of Music {Chicago} @Lyricopera

The Sound of Music #ad
Photo by Todd Rosenberg.

This last weekend my family and I were invited to preview the new production of The Sound of Music performed by the Lyric Opera in Chicago. I was extremely excited to attend the show since The Sound of Music has long been a favorite movie of mine, one that I have sat and watched with my daughter several times throughout her childhood.

The Sound of Music #ad
Production still from Lyric Opera’s production of The Sound of Music. Photo by Todd Rosenberg.

When I received my invitation to the show, I decided that this would be a wonderful thing to share with my daughter. She is at the perfect age to start introducing her to the theatre; her expected behavior and the magic that lies within the stage. So we accepted the invitation and off we headed to the city.

This was my first time visiting the Chicago Civic Opera House. It was lovely! The lobby was luxurious and the seats were comfortable. From our seats we had the perfect view of the production, which in one word was amazing! From the moment the curtains lifted my daughter and I were captivated by the actors talent. Each song rang out in perfect tone and the energy on stage was foot-tapping. Personally, I looked forward to seeing Billy Zane the most, known for his starring role in the movie Titanic. My daughter, on the other hand, was enthralled with Maria and the Von Trapp children; who all played their parts to a tee.

The Sound of Music #ad
Production still from Lyric Opera’s production of The Sound of Music. Photo by Todd Rosenberg.

From time to time during the production I would catch either my daughter or myself quietly singing along with the songs, to which we knew every word. Even since we’ve left, the melodies have returned to my thoughts and have reminded me of what a lovely afternoon we had that day at the opera.

Being a theatre enthusiast and having seen many productions throughout my life, I can honestly say that this production of The Sound of Music was one of my favorites. Bravo, Lyric Opera! Brilliant.

The Sound of Music plays now through May 25th. Get your Tickets Now.

Official Press Release
Lyric Opera of Chicago’s
new production of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s beloved Broadway musical
Performances run April 25 through May 25
(Memorial Day weekend)
At the Civic Opera House, 20 N. Wacker Drive
(Official media opening: Sunday, April 27 at 1:30 p.m.)
All-star cast features
Film star Billy Zane as Captain von Trapp
Broadway star Jenn Gambatese as Maria
TV/Stage veteran Edward Hibbert as Max Detweiler
with international opera stars
Christine Brewer as Mother Abbess and
Elizabeth Futral as Elsa Schraeder
(CHICAGO) Lyric Opera of Chicago presents a stunning new production of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s beloved Broadway musical The Sound of MusicApril 25-May 25, 2014, at the Civic Opera House, 20 N. Wacker Drive. Tickets start at $29 and are available now at lyricopera.org/soundofmusic or at 312-827-5600.
The production’s all-star cast is led by Billy Zane, star of James Cameron’s international blockbuster Titanic and critically acclaimed for his portrayal of Billy Flynn in Broadway’s Chicago, as Captain von Trapp and Broadway star Jenn Gambatese (leading roles in Wicked and Disney’s Tarzan) as Maria. Also featured are Broadway and TV veteran Edward Hibbert as impresario Max Detweiler, renowned operatic sopranos Christine Brewer as the Mother Abbess and Elizabeth Futral as Elsa Schraeder, and local talents Betsy Farrar (Liesl), Brady Tutton, (Friedrich), Julia Schweizer (Louisa), Michael Harp (Kurt), Isabelle Roberts(Brigitta), KyLee Hennes (Marta), Nicole Scimeca (Gretl), and Zach Sorrow (Rolf).
The new production is conducted by Rob Fisher (Lyric debut) and directed by Marc Bruni (Lyric debut), with set designs by Michael Yeargan, costume designs by Alejo Vietti (Lyric debut), lighting design by Duane Schuler, and sound design by Mark Grey.  Denis Jones (Lyric debut) is choreographer, and Michael Black is chorus master.
In addition to the stellar cast, 37 members of the Lyric Opera Orchestra are performing with a 25-member choral ensemble (including 12 members of the Lyric Opera Chorus). This company premiere is the second work in Lyric’s American Musical Theater Initiative, which launched last season with a new production of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Oklahoma!
The new Lyric Opera production of The Sound of Music is generously made possible by Exclusive Corporate Sponsor Northern Trust. Cosponsors: An Anonymous Donor, Brent and Catherine GledhillRobert S. and Susan E. Morrison, Mrs. Herbert A. Vance and Mr. and Mrs. William C. VanceMr. and Mrs. W. James FarrellJim and Vicki Mills/Jon and Lois Mills, and The Neundorf Trusts in Memory of Maynette V. Neundorf and John K. Neundorf.
For more information on Lyric Opera of Chicago’s production of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s The Sound of Music, please visit lyricopera.org/soundofmusic.

The Sound of Music #ad
Production still from Lyric Opera’s production of The Sound of Music. Photo by Todd Rosenberg.
What is your favorite song from The Sound of Music. Share with us in the comments!

Disclosure: We attended this production as guests of the Lyric Opera. All opinions are my own. All photos were used with permission from The Silverman Group Chicago and the Lyric Opera. 

Celebrating Mom’s with @Teleflora {Giveaway} #ad

Disclosure: This post was written in partnership with Teleflora. All opinions are my own. 
Teleflora Mothers Day #ad

Today we are celebrating moms by giving each of you the chance to win a flower bouquet from Teleflora to send to a mother in your life. Be sure to enter below! 

One of the greatest things in my life is being a mom. I am sure that any of you that have children of your own can agree. It truly is a blessing. However, the truth be told, children are hard work. From the moment you first lay eyes on them you know that you would do anything in this world to keep them safe. As they become yours, its as if the world you once knew was a blur and all of the scary, hurtful and icky things suddenly come into focus.

You worry as you lay them down to sleep at night and wake up countless times just hear them breathe. You clench your teeth as they take their first steps and wonder why you never realized how pointy the edges on your coffee table were before that day. You hold your breath as they try climbing to the top of the play set, up that tree and over anything and everything in their path. You hug them tight as you send them off to school and pray that the teachers will keep them safe. You cry along with them when their feelings are hurt by the mean kid at school or when they fall and scrape their knee while playing outside. You go without sleep, without food and without a moment to yourself. You change. Your vacations are no longer filled with vineyards and relaxation, but are filled with kiddy pools and pure exhaustion. A nights out now means an early matinee and the movie of choice rarely has real people in it.

However, sometimes change is good. Sometimes change can bring you a joy greater than you could have ever imagined. You give up so much, but gain so much more in return.

I would never sugar coat parenthood to anyone and tell them that it is something they should do as soon as possible. It’s not. It is messy. It is hard work and it will change your life forever. However, when you are ready, it is pretty amazing.

Do you know a mom who deserves a little bit of recognition? Today we are celebrating moms and giving one of our readers the chance to win a bouquet of flowers from Teleflora to send to someone they love. For all that mom’s do everyday, lets do something for them.

Teleflora Mothers Day #ad

This year Teleflora has partnered with SpaFinder to make giving mom a gift she will love even easier. Now through May 11th you can shop online to find the perfect floral arrangement and add a gift card in increments of $25, $50 or $100 to a local spa so mom can enjoy a day of pure relaxation and beauty.

Teleflora Mothers Day #ad

Enter below to win a FREE The Everything Rosy Gift Set, Teleflora’s Pink Bliss, Teleflora’s Butterfly Serenity, or Teleflora’s Enchanted Garden Bouquet.

For more chances to win visit Teleflora’s Facebook page (Facebook.com/teleflora) and put your name in the drawing for a variety of fabulous prizes including a luxurious trip to Hawaii, Teleflora flowers for one year, Spafinder daily prize giveaways, and Teleflora gift cards.

<3 Dick and Jane

My Healthy Home: A Journey Towards a Chemical Free Lifestyle #WalgreensOlogy #shop #cbias

I am a member of the Collective Bias®  Social Fabric® Community. This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper amplification for Collective Bias and its advertiser. #WalgreensOlogy #CollectiveBias
#WalgreensOlogy #shop #cbias

Over the past year I have been working hard towards creating my healthy home. I have been researching and learning about the foods my family eats in order to remove any unneeded chemicals and GMO’s from our diets. I have been researching better feminine care products to find products that are better for me and the environment and now I am looking for new ways to detoxify my daily personal care routine.

Through all of this research and learning I have come up with six basic steps which I am using on a daily basis to help get me closer to my goal of a cleaner, healthier lifestyle. I know that there are many other things I can do, but this is my starting point. Let me know if you have anything else to add to this list in the comments! I’d love to hear your suggestions.

6 Easy Ways I am Reducing Household Chemicals in My Home

Keep live plants inside the house. Plants are known for helping to clean the air we breathe. Plus, they are nice to look at.

#WalgreensOlogy #shop #cbias

Take your shoes off at the door. This is one of my biggest pet peeves. My family and my kids know that shoes always come off at the door. This helps to cut back on the amount of dirt and maybe even pesticides being brought into our home.

Read labels. This goes for both food, cleaning products and personal care products. Know what you are buying, don’t just assume that its safe. I like to use Ology products from Walgreens. The label is easy to read and doesn’t hide anything!

#WalgreensOlogy #shop #cbias

Familiarize yourself with the “Dirty Dozen”. This is a list complied of the produce sold in stores that has the highest levels of chemicals used on them. I may often buy other produce that is non-organic, but I at least always try to buy the items on this list from organic companies to avoid the high doses of pesticides.

Clean your hands with soap and water. 

Store leftover foods in glass containers instead of plastics. I think it makes them taste better anyways.

Easy, right? Well. . maybe. I think the hardest one on that list is “Read Labels”. Sure, I can do that, but what am I looking for? That’s a veiled question. I am not a scientist nor a doctor, so I really don’t know what affects chemicals can have on my body, but I do know that there are products available that don’t have them. It just makes sense to me to look for those.

#WalgreensOlogy #shop #cbias

Ology products are a good example of this. The price point is great and the products are free from chemicals such as Ammonia, Chlorine bleach, DEA (diethanolamine), TEA (triethanolamine), Parabens, Phthalates, Formaldehyde, Nonylphenol ethoxylates, Triclosan, SLS, SLES. Ology also does not use artificial dyes or fragrances. All good things, right? I thought so.

I bought a few of the products from the Ology line and I am trying them out. So far, I really like them. Did you know that Ology also carries paper products?


Has anyone else tried this brand before? What did you think? Share your thoughts.

For more information about Ology products check out their website or visit your local Walgreens store.


<3 Raising Dick and Jane

Today’s post is #kindawesome {Plus a New Recipe for Baked PB Apple Crisp}


Disclosure: While I was not paid for this post I was provided with free product from the KIND company in order to create a recipe for this post. All opinions of this company are my own. 

#ad #Kindawesome Baked Granola Apple Crisp

Don’t you love it when you find a product that you really love and then research the company and fall even more in love with them? That is what happened to me with this company.

A few months back my mother offered me a new granola style bar that she found at the market. She said “Mary, you have got to try this new bar that I found. I think you will really love it.” My mother and I have similar tastes and preferences in food, so I did. One bite and I was like “Oh, my goodness. This is amazing.” I immediately flipped the bar over to see what the ingredients used were. The label read All-natural, non-GMO and gluten free. I read through the ingredients. The ingredients were all things I could recognize and pronounce. These are all things that I like to see in my food, plus the taste was right on. They were soft, decadent and filling. I was smitten.

Over the next few months I experimented with different products and flavors all within the KIND product family. Every single one of them was amazing. My kids even started eating them and asking for them on a regular basis.  As I purchased more and more, I found that each product and each bite was quality.

#ad #Kindawesome Baked Granola Apple Crisp

After a few months of courtship with my new found indulgence, I decided to see what the company was really all about. Who was behind this brand and what did they stand for? What I found out from my research really seeded my endearment for the brand.

As many of you know I have a deep spot in my heart for helping others and being kind. I believe in loving everyone and doing my part to make the world a better place. When I looked into the KIND campaign, I found that we both shared this precept. The KIND company’s motto is “Do the KIND thing”. Reading through their blog you can find story after story of how KIND is sending people out into the world to do random acts of kindness. They are giving out product to people who are hungry, they are supporting fan chosen charities and missions with their own money and doing their part to make the world more KIND. Don’t you just love that? I do. I absolutely love it when companies do more than just make and sell products. Bravo KIND!

So today, in honor of “Doing the KIND thing”. I am going to share with you a little recipe I made up for my family as we are trying to do the KIND thing for our bodies and cut back on our sugar intake. This little diddy is my version of a healthier dessert made with KIND granola, apples and peanut butter.

#ad #Kindawesome Baked Granola Apple Crisp

Baked PB Apple Crisp

Ingredients: 
2-3 large apples, skinned and cut
1 & 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 TBS. brown sugar
1 cup KIND peanut butter granola
2 TBS peanut butter

#ad #Kindawesome Baked Granola Apple Crisp

Directions: 
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl mix together your sliced apples, cinnamon and brown sugar until apples are well coated. Pour mixture into a 8×8 glass baking dish. Top with granola, cover with aluminum foil and bake 15 minutes or until the apples are tender. Remove foil and cook 5 additional minutes to brown the top.

In a separate, microwave safe, bowl heat your peanut butter for 30 second intervals until melted. Stir between each interval.

Once the apple mixture is done, remove from oven and pour the peanut butter drizzle over the top. Serve warm.

#ad #Kindawesome Baked Granola Apple Crisp

 I would like to know, what was the last KIND thing that you have done for someone else or someone else has done for you? Share YOUR stories today in the comments. 
<3 Dick and Jane

Everyday Victories #StonyfieldSuperFan

This post was created in partnership with Stonyfield. All opinions are my own.
#ad #StonyfieldSuperFan

Today is the Boston Marathon and while I have never ran in a real marathon, I did enter a kids “race” one time as a kid just to get a free t-shirt.

I can still remember that day; my best friend had invited me to go downtown with her to see the races. It was a hot summer day and I had nothing better to do. I went along for the ride. When we got downtown, we came across a booth that was signing kids up to run in the teddy bear trot. The teddy bear trot was a race designed specifically for young runners. When you signed up to run you were given a free t-shirt with paper numbers to pin to it, just like the professional runners had. We were also told that once the race was over, popsicles and treats would be waiting at the end for those who had participated. How could we say no? We both willingly signed up and headed over to the starting line with our new swag.

So there I was, a scrawny six year old with no prior training or experience, standing at the front of the marathon line. I was wearing jean shorts, a tank top and high top shoes. My free t-shirt with paper numbers pinned to it was hanging over my clothes and reached all the way down to my knees. As I waited for the race to begin all of the bigger, taller and more experienced runners started to crowd in around me. As they pushed their way in I could no longer see the finish line or my best friend. We had been separated. I was being bumped back and forth as everyone wanted to get as close to the front of the line as possible. I looked down at my high top shoes. What had I gotten myself into? In my head I had pictured a fun frolic through the streets of the city, holding hands with my friend, wearing cool numbers on our shirts and a slow motion breaking of the ribbon at the end of the race with our hands held high in glory. Where I was now was nothing like I had imagined.

With a loud POP of the starting gun everyone around me began to run towards the finish line. I stood there, not moving. As the other runners pushed by me in a whirl, I felt frozen. I didn’t want to run this race anymore. I had my cool new t-shirt and I was ready to go home. I looked around for my friends support, but she was gone. I stood there, alone and scared.

Then, off in the distance I spotted her, my best friend. She was several feet in front of me, keeping pace with the crowd. I started to run as fast as I could to catch up to her, but I was too slow. Having never ran before, my body wasn’t conditioned or prepared. The harder I pushed to keep up with her the more my side hurt, but I kept on running. After a while I could no longer see her in front of me. At that moment I could have stopped, but I didn’t. I kept on running even though I was running alone.

By the time I reached the end, everyone else had already finished the race and had gone on to get their victory treats. I was tired and exhausted, but beneath my obviously red and sweaty face I was beaming. I had done something that I had never done before. At first I was scared. I was thrown into a situation that I had never been in before, but I didn’t give up and I had made it to the end all on my own. I was a champion. Scratch that. I was a champion in pain. I stopped and crouched over. My side and my legs were throbbing in pain, but I wasn’t focusing on that. All I could think about was how proud I was of my accomplishment and how I couldn’t wait to tell my mom the good news when I arrived back home. As I looked up from trying to catch my breath I could see my best friend running towards me with two victory popsicles in her hands.  I stood up, ready to greet her with a victors high-five. However, as I quickly sprang up, the remains in my stomach had the same great idea. I threw up all over myself.

That summer day as a child taught me something. Not only did it teach me that I was not a runner and when you throw up on yourself nobody will stand next to you, but it also taught me that I can do things even when I’m not fully prepared ahead of time to do them. It might not be easy at the time and it might be scary, but with one foot in front of the other I will eventually make it to the end. I just have to start moving in the right direction.

Throughout the years this lesson has come true in so many aspects of my life. Even now as I work to create a better lifestyle and diet for my family I am reminded that it just takes one step at a time. One foot in front of the other. I may have no idea what I am doing at first, but as long as I am moving in the right direction than I will eventually reach my goal.

One of the ways I am working to reach my goal is by supporting better food brands. One of my favorite brands is Stonyfield yogurt. Stonyfield is helping to fuel my everyday marathon to eat better foods by producing nutritious, organic yogurt in amazing flavors like cafe latte, chocolate, and blueberry that I can indulge in when my cravings strike. I eat their yogurt plain and also use it in my cooking to reduce calories. Here are a few of my past favorite Stonyfield yogurt recipes that I have created:

#ad #StonyfieldSuperFan
#ad #StonyfieldSuperFan
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#ad #StonyfieldSuperFan

If you are headed to the Boston Marathon today, be on the look out for Stonyfield reps! They will be there cheering on and supporting the runners and their families. So if you go and you see them, be sure to get yourself a free sample or coupon and tell them Raising Dick and Jane says Hi.

If you can’t make it to the race (like me) Stonyfield still wants to try and help you reach your every day marathon goals. You can go to their website today (before 11:59 PM on Monday) and sign up to win a gym membership, healthy living prizes and a years worth of Stonyfield yogurt! They will be raffling off prizes all day throughout the marathon, so be sure to enter.

Have you ever done something you were scared to do, but once it was over you were happy that you did it? Tell us about your everyday victories in the comments below.

My thoughts are with all of the runners and their families today. Be strong.
<3 Dick and Jane

My Sugar Detox Experiment

The other day I read the most interesting article about a family who gave up sugar in their diets for an entire year. I had never really thought about it before and I’m not sure why, but we really do eat way to much sugar in my family (me especially). I absolutely LOVE sugar. If you’ve ever been on my Instagram feed you have more than likely seen a photo of a sugar filled treat that was freshly coming out of my kitchen. This happens at least a couple of times a week. Like I said. . love me some sugar!

Despite our infatuation with sugar, I would consider my family as having a pretty good and healthy diet. We eat our fruits and veggies and have a well rounded diet. However, much like the author of this article, I too find myself without any energy on most days. My family, as you may have noticed, gets sick quite often too. After reading this article I was extremely intrigued and curious about what effects added sugar could really be having on MY family. So guess what? I have decided that I am going to give this sugar detox a try too.

To start my little experiment, I began looking through my cupboards to see exactly what we were consuming. As the author suggested, many items that I never would have thought to have added sugar in it did. I suppose I was under the impression that as long as we didn’t eat cookies everyday than we would be fine. 🙂 I guess that’s not the case. . sugar is everywhere and in most of the products that we consume. So really, what little sugar I thought we were consuming in our treats was actually just adding on to what else we were eating in the day and it turns out that it was a lot.

I started with my sugar detox just a few days ago. Over the next month I will be swapping out my sweet tea for water with lemon and my snacks for fruits and veggies. I will still be eating things with natural sugar in it, just not anything with added sugar. I am also allowing myself to have one sweet treat per month to help with the cravings and there are a few things that I will still be eating that contain small amounts of sugar, but my overall goal is to keep my intake minimal. I can’t wait to see what happens and if I can see any changes in the way I feel after one month. Do you think there will be a difference?

View the article I read that sparked this idea here.

Have you cut back on or cut out sugar from your diet? Tell us about it in the comments section.

<3 Dick and Jane

Spring Savings Ideas with LED Power #LEDSavings #shop

I am a member of the Collective Bias®  Social Fabric® Community. This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper amplification for Collective Bias and its advertiser.#LEDSavings #CollectiveBias
Spring Savings Ideas #LEDSavings #shop #Cbias

This year, along with spring cleaning my home, I have decided to “spring clean” my bills as well. Over the last few years it just seems like our family is over-spending. Where does all of our money go? We should be further ahead than we are. . all of these questions have been building up in my head over the last few months. So last week I sat down to really take a look at our spending.

To get started, I asked myself a few simple questions.

– What are we spending our money on?
– Is what we are spending our money on a necessity?
– How can we cut back on our spending?

After going through our outgoing payments I came to the realization that I could easily make some changes. Here are a few ways I have decided to cut back on my families spending and the savings I am expecting in return.

Bills.

Spring Savings Ideas #LEDSavings #shop #Cbias

Cell Phone Payment: One really big expense each month is our cell phones. My husband and I both have i-phones that we are not yet ready to part with, so giving up this bill was not an option. However, I was able to remove $30 from my bill each month simply by just visiting my cell phone provider’s store and asking for help. Together with a service provider we were able to take a look at our monthly bill and find a better plan that was cheaper but still gave us the amount of minutes to cover what we were using. Turns out we were paying extra for minutes we weren’t event using!

Television Service: Making this large payment each month really bothered me. I didn’t like the kids watching tv during the day and it was always a battle to get them to turn it off and go play. I was tired of paying for something that I didn’t use, didn’t want my kids to use and was actually causing conflict in our home. What it really came down to for me was that we didn’t NEED to spend money on television service each month. When trying to save money, this was undoubtedly the first thing to go in my mind. We did, however, keep the tv for movie nights and bought an antenna for local news channels. To tell you the truth, not only am I excited about having a summer without the distraction of television shows, but I am also excited about saving my $118 a month!

Spring Savings Ideas #LEDSavings #shop #Cbias

Grocery Bill: A few months back I found a way to save my family money by switching to a grocery delivery service. However, you do not have to switch to a delivery service to use the core idea of my savings plan. The main idea is to cut out buying excess food. When I use the delivery service I am able to plan out my meals, buy only the ingredients I need for my week of meals and cut out all of the excess. It turns out, cutting out the excess “stuff” really makes a difference. I had to change to a delivery service to keep myself from being tempted at the store, but if you are strong-willed then you might be able to fight the urge in your local grocery store. By not buying extra “snacks” I am saving on average $30 per week. Plus, we are eating better too!

Electricity: This one I had to think about for a moment, how could our family cut back on our electricity bills? One thing that I came up with that we could easily do to cut back on energy costs was to switch to a more energy efficient light bulb. It turns out, GE now makes a super bright LED light bulb which not only lasts longer than other light bulbs but can also cut down my energy bill by using it! Using the energy savings calculator provided by GE I was able to calculate my savings of changing out my old light bulbs to new LED light bulbs. By changing out all 16 light bulbs in my home to the new higher efficiency LED light bulbs my savings will be approximately $94.43 per year. Plus, the new LED light bulbs outlast the older light bulbs which means less replacement costs too!

Spring Savings Ideas #LEDSavings #shop #Cbias

So all together, with just a little bit of planning and effort, I was able to save my family approximately $185.86 per month and $2,230.32 per year*. While I cannot guarantee your own savings, these ideas have simply worked for my family and I am excited to see what else we can do with all of our money saved.

What other suggestions can you think of for saving money off our bills this year? Share your ideas with me in the comments.  I’d LOVE to hear them.

<3 Dick and Jane

 Even More Savings: 
#LEDSavings #shop #cbias
Find your GE LED light bulbs at Walmart. 
More Info on GE LED light bulbs can be found here:

Spring Essentials with @PGeveryday #PGBestForMe #ad

Disclosure: This post was created in partnership with SheSpeaks and sponsored by P&G.
#ad #PGBestForMe Springtime Essentials

It’s spring!! Yeah! Yesterday we went outside (get this) without our coats, hats or gloves! Can you believe it? It feels fabulous. . at least for now. However apparently tonight we are supposed to get 1-3 inches of snow again. (ptthhh!) But that terrible forecast is not going to keep me down. I am already in the springtime mindset, my boots and coat are put away, and I am not getting them back out now.

In honor of spring and the warmer weather, I have put together a little list of a few springtime essentials. Stay tuned because at the end of this post you will get a chance to win them all!

Getting into the springtime mindset for me means opening up the windows and kicking out the dust and dirt left behind from old man winter. There is nothing like the push of spring to get me in the mood for some deep cleaning. Part of my spring cleaning is scrubbing all of the crayon markings from my walls and tables, brought on by the desperate attempt at keeping a toddler busy during the cold winter months. What have I found to get the cave drawings to come off without straining my elbow? My all time favorite tool for removing these mysterious markings is the Mr. Clean Magic Eraser. One swipe and the unwanted color is gone, leaving behind the purposeful color that already fills my home.

#ad #PGBestForMe Springtime Essentials

The start of spring also energizes me to freshen up my look. I’ve already headed out to get some highlights and color put in my hair. Like?

#ad #PGBestForMe Springtime Essentials
(I added pink! Cool huh? via Instagram)

I also decided to give Crest 3D White a try. I wanted to brighten up my smile for the fun summer months that are coming up next.

#ad #PGBestForMe Springtime Essentials

One of my other favorite spring time finds is this adorable light pink Covergirl nailpolish in Blush. The soft pink color is perfect to accompany Easter, which is right around the corner.

#ad #PGBestForMe Springtime Essentials

My other “must have” for this summer is liquid eye liner. At first I was a bit intimidated to give it a try, but after working at applying it a few times I don’t know how I ever lived without it!

Here’s a little secret. I learned how to apply my make-up and liquid eye liner by watching this YouTube video. 

#ad #PGBestForMe Springtime Essentials

Finally, for the men, my spring time pick is simple. Old Spice body wash. The smell is super fresh and clean. There is nothing worse than being stinky when the heat sets in.

#ad #PGBestForMe Springtime Essentials

There they are, my top picks for spring. I’m ready, are you?

Frozen Yogurt Dots and a New Product from @Stonyfield #ad

This post was created in partnership with Stonyfield. All opinions are my own.

@Stonyfield #ad #Yo-Getters pouches

 As many of you know, this was not the spring break I had hoped for. I last talked about on the blog how sick my entire family has been. However, the good news is that we are all on the mend, feeling better, and spending today outside! I cannot even begin to tell you how wonderful the sun feels to me right now as I sit writing this on my back terrace.

When the kids got sick I did my best to feed them foods that would help them get over this bug as quickly as possible. There is nothing worse than having sick kids. One food that I know of that is good for keeping our bodies healthy is yogurt. Yogurt is full of probiotics which help the good bacteria in our tummies thrive. My kids needed this, especially now that they are on antibiotics.

I decided to head to the store and pick up some kid yummy yogurt that also had good cultures in it. If you’ve ever shopped for kids yogurt you will find that many of them are just chalked full of sugar and are missing the point on the probiotics. That is why my go to brand has always been Stonyfield, they are always right on mark!

(If you didn’t know it, I am a Stonyfield #yogetter blogger! Check out my bio on their site.)

While I was browsing which flavors the kids might like, I noticed a new product: Stonyfield kids pouches!  Not sure if you’ve seen them in your local stores yet, but they are amazing! They turned out to be perfect for the kids to eat while laying on the couch resting. There were no messy dropping of the spoons and flinging yogurt all over the place. (You smile because you know exactly what I am talking about don’t you?)

@Stonyfield #ad #Yo-Getters pouches

The kids (and mom) loved the taste of these new kid friendly flavors. My kids sucked them down. With their throats swollen it was hard for them to eat anything, so I was happy to have something that they would eat AND that was putting nutrition into their little bodies.

In an extra effort to make my kids comfortable I decided to make some frozen yogurt dots with the new Stonyfield pouches. It turned out to be a fun way for them to eat their yogurt and it also gave them the cooling effect that they wanted on their throats.

Making these frozen dots was super easy.

@Stonyfield #ad #Yo-Getters pouches

Directions:

Line the bottom of a pan with parchment paper.
Open the Stonyfield yo-baby pouches and squeeze small dots of the yogurt onto the parchment paper.
Cover the pan with aluminum foil and place it in the freezer.
Freeze for about 1 hour, then pick the dots off the paper and eat.

@Stonyfield #ad #Yo-Getters pouches

@Stonyfield #ad #Yo-Getters pouches

Check your local grocery for these great new flavors and packaging from Stonyfield! We’ve tested them out and we approve!

Why do we choose Stonyfield?
– Stonyfield pouches are flavored by REAL fruit and veggies.
– Stonyfield pouches contain calcium, vitamin D, protein and live active cultures.
– All are made with pure organic ingredients and never high corn syrup or artificial flavors.

Why do YOU choose Stonyfield?

Do you want to give the new Stonyfield pouches a try? We’re giving away 10 free coupons to one lucky winner. Enter below, its easy.


<3 Dick and Jane

Scarlet Fever – Not the Spring Break I Had Planned

This week the kids and I are on spring break. While we did not plan any big trips this year, we were all looking forward to spending the week exploring our own city. We had planned to spend a day at the local park, a day at our favorite zoo and end the week off with a hunt for fairies downtown. Personally, I was just excited to get outside and do something again. After the long winter that we had, the forecast was showing a big warm up for this week (like 56 degrees!) It was going to be glorious! However, as they usually do, plans changed.

Monday, our first real day of spring break, my daughter started complaining of a sore throat. Sure, I thought, she must have the little bug that her brother had the week before. . no big deal. I made her some warm honey and lemon water and put her to bed. Next, a high fever hit and she began throwing up. Ok, maybe she has a cold AND the stomach flu, poor baby. I told her she would just have to wait it out. It should be gone within a few days and we would still have the end of spring break to get outdoors and enjoy the fun things we had planned, at least one or two of them. When Tuesday morning arrived I immediately knew that this was NOT a cold and it was NOT the flu. My pale skinned beauty was now transformed into a little red Oompa Lumpa. A tiny red rash was covering her body. One look at her and I knew what we were dealing with. . scarlet fever. (Don’t ask me how I knew.  I really know nothing about the virus at all. It just hit me like “That’s what she has”. I’ll chalk it up to weird mommy intuition.)

I immediately phoned the doctor and we made a quick trip into town to confirm my mom-intuition. I was right. Scarlet Fever. Dang. Who get’s scarlet fever anymore? Isn’t that some ancient sickness? Just the name itself sounded scary. I began to break down into tears right in front of the doctor. I was worried sick. If you are yet to become a mother let me warn you, the stress that comes with motherhood is crazy. Ask any mother and she will tell you. It’s crippling. As I sat in the small examination room, all of the small things that I deal with everyday as a mom along with the new stress of sickness began to pile up. I am actually quite embarrassed now thinking back to the way I acted, but I was just plain worn out and beaten down that day. The doctor, who I think was a bit startled at my reaction to his prognosis, did his best to calm me down. He tried to re-assure me that she would be ok. We would put her on some antibiotics and they should take away the illness and the rash with little to no lasting harm.

 When we arrived back home I slumped into my chair and wondered how I was going to make it through the rest of the day, let alone the rest of the week. My fun filled week with my kids was now going to be a week stuck in the house with my kids. A sick six year old and a rambunctious three year old who wants nothing more than to go outside, how fun. How was I going to find the strength to be the mom I wanted and needed to be? I decided to grab a cup of coffee to help keep my eyes from closing (as they so desperately wanted to do) and I walked over to the big window in my living room which overlooks the mighty maple tree standing just to the other side of the glass. The closed up air inside my home was suffocating, yet outside I could hear the muffled sound of birds chirping. Maybe a little bit of fresh air would help me come out of this stressed out slump I was in. I cracked open the window and was touched by the most gentle spring breeze and scent of life renewed.

If you think us Michiganders are absolutely crazy for choosing to live in a state where the cold outweighs the warmth, than you have never experienced a Michigan spring. Michigan spring is the reason we stay around and battle through the winters. There is nothing more amazing than the smell of fresh air after the long winter months. I am not sure what the smell is that flows through the breeze those first few days of warmth, but it is a drug.

I stood in front of the window for the longest time, closing my eyes and breathing in the fresh air deep into my lungs. I felt renewed. I can do this, I thought.

Even though right now I am feeling like a big ball of chaos and my mind is completely muddled, I once again feel ok. Motherhood is one of the hardest jobs I have ever had, but it is not impossible. I just need to remember to take it one day at a time.

When I woke up this morning my daughter was almost back to her old self. How do I know she is feeling better? I know this because she is back to fighting with her brother. The two of them have been bickering all morning back and forth. It’s funny. The sound of them fighting just days before would have sent me into a big ball of tension, however today it made me smile. While she still has a few more days of sitting around the house, she is getting better and that is a blessing. Now, to figure out how to handle this fighting?!

Thank you to everyone who prayed for my sweet baby (and prayed for me). I think we’re going to be ok. 🙂

<3 Dick and Jane