Monthly Archives: July 2016

GIVEAWAY! Era Organics Facial Line

Skincare. I’m really bad at it. I was blessed with really nice skin for a lot of years. I never had serious acne problems in my teen years, never needed face makeup, and I needed very little to keep up on my skin. People would say “I love your skin! Whats your facial routine?” and I would say, “Target brand face wash and a pump of store brand lotion for moisturizer.” But in the last year, my skin has aged noticeably. I guess turning 30 really does make you an oldie. I’ve begun wearing face makeup, and the store brand face wash and lotion, just hasn’t been cutting it.

If you’ve been around here a while, you know how much I love Era Organics. I featured their baby line, Honeybuns, a while back. Its a fantastic brand with amazing products that mix organic, natural ingredients with science backed formulas that WORK. After becoming totally sold on their baby products, I decided to try out their Cleanse + Restore face wash. Instantly sold. It was in the shower, so Milkman started using it too, and even he was impressed by how much better his skin felt after using it compared to the Neutrogena face wash we had been using. I mentioned to Tyler at Era Organics how much I loved the Cleanse + Restore and he had me try out their Revive+ scrub/mask and Complete moisturizer.

 

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Now, I already told you, I suck at taking care of my skin. Both my sisters have kept to skin care routines with makeup removers, washes, scrubs, moisturizers, wrinkle cream, eye cream, and who knows what else. I am notoriously lazy, so less products in the regimen means I’m more likely to use it. Plus, between my biological kiddos and foster children, I have FIVE little ones in the house right now. I don’t have a whole lot of time to myself. Three products was pushing it, but I saw that the Revive+ scrub (that doubles as a mask) was a few times a week, rather than a daily requirement. This seemed doable for me.

 

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The first time I used the full line in succession, it was love at first wash. The Cleanse + Restore face wash is the best because it takes off my makeup– and I wear A LOT of makeup. I wear long wear eyeliner and mascara, and I wear bright red lip stain that doesn’t kiss off or wipe off. When I have makeup on, my face is jackhammer proof.  I have used coconut oil in the past to take off my makeup and its a many cotton pad and gobs of oil process. One wash with Cleanse + Restore and it is OFF. I swear the stuff is magical. As for the Revive scrub, I LOVE me a good exfoliant. In fact, the face washes I have used in the past have been daily scrubs normally, because I love the way it feels. This microdermabrasion scrub is made with walnut shells, and manuka honey (you’ll find manuka honey in a lot of Era Organics’ products!) and it smells like orange heaven once it’s on your face. There is something that puts you in an instantly good mood when you mix that scrubby feeling with the fresh citrus scent. Really wakes you up, and well… REVIVES you! Its true to it’s name. Lastly, Complete. Holy cow, guys. You need like the TINIEST little smidgen, and it covers your whole face with a satiny, light (yet substantial) moisturizer. It doesn’t make your skin feel greasy, but it feels hydrated. I do my skin care routine at night, and the next morning when I wake up after having used these 3 products, my skin feels dreamy, and it’s ready for my to destroy with loads of makeup again!

 

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So, because I love you, and because I wanted to show that this line really freakin’ works, I had Milkman take pictures of me doing my skincare routine, including me, makeup-free, which is something I really don’t show to many people, because it’s scary, y’all. But I’m doing this for you, and for science, and for… I don’t know, I’ll shut up now, enjoy the awful lighting in my bathroom, and my paint-free face.

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So! There ya have it, that’s how I use these products. You should, too, because they are freaking rad. Best of all, you can find them on Amazon, and they are on Prime, baby! Click of a button, and the show up on your doorstep 2 days later. Here’s a coupon code to use on Amazon to get 25% off Era Organics products in your shopping cart: ERA15OFF #TeamNeverLeaveTheHouseAgain

 

But WAIT! There’s more! Head over to my Facebook page for a chance to win this line for FREE.

 

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Hush, Little Mama, Don’t You Cry…

After 6 years of discussing it, 4 years of deciding to do it, 1 year of going through classes, background checks, paperwork, and fingerprints, Milkman and I got the call to become Foster parents. The last week and a half of my life has been so exhausting and such a learning process. It brings more emotions each day than I normally experience in a month. 

Thankfully, we expected uncertainty, we expected to work through a lot of emotions, we expected to be exhausted having 5 children aged 4 and younger… But one thing I didn’t know I would feel is intense love and compassion for the mother of our Foster children.

There are so many horror stories of biological parents who get their children taken away and put into foster care. There are parents who truly don’t care about their kids, parents who abuse their kids, and parents who grossly neglect their children. Many of those stories are sad and real. These are the stories that made me want to become a foster mom as a teenager, so I could help remove a child from a scary situation.

However, in my VERY short time as a foster parent, I’ve come to the realization that some (hopefully many!) mothers whose children get placed in foster care are not so far gone that they are not in shambles at the thought of their precious babies being handed over to complete strangers. I don’t know the parents of our placements. I don’t know their ages, what they do for work, or what kind of struggles they are going through. What I do know of most parents whose children end up in foster care is that things got tough enough in their lives that someone needed to step in to help out while they get the right things into place.

I am not the hero. The parents of these children are not villains. We are not fighting some war on opposite sides of the battle field. We are, in fact, on the same team. We are on the same team as their children. We all want the same thing: for their children to be healthy, happy, and safe. 
When I hold these sweet children close to my heart and sing them bed time songs, I think of how their mother must be wondering who is tucking her babies into bed. When I push one of these children on the swings and hear them giggle, I think of how their mother must miss that sound. When I look into their eyes, I wonder if they look like their mom or dad did as children, and think of how I’m staring at a piece of this mother I’ve never met. 

How her heart must ache. How empty her arms must feel. How many tears must her eyes have shed… 

When I put myself in her shoes, I imagine her desperation, fear, love, and yearning to feel complete again. 

There may come a day when we have children in our care who have been in truly deplorable circumstances, and whose parents I struggle to love. But for now, I’m so glad that God is teaching me to practice empathy for these people I have never met. 

I wish I could tell the mother of these children that her treasures are safe, and hug her when she cries. But for now, I’ll just keep holding these little ones close for safe keeping, until she’s ready to hold them safely again herself.

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GIVEAWAY! Our Fun Day at Simi Valley Saplings!

Summer is in FULL swing.  I put out the word locally and asked if there were any mom-owned businesses that catered to families.  One of the first invitations to visit her business was Leah of Saplings in Simi Valley.  I hadn’t heard of Saplings, but after a quick perusal of her website, I knew I had to come visit.

 

Simi Saplings is an indoor play area unlike anything we have in Ventura county.  Most of us think of an indoor play place as being focused on gross motor skill play, and while those places are awesome, Saplings is on a different scale.  

 

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From the moment you walk in (entrance is on the side of the building!), you are transported into a calm and cool (hello! Escape the Summer heat!) atmosphere.  The theme of Saplings is woodsy and outdoorsy!  Leah told me that her family loves to be outdoors, to hike, and go camping.  Since she knew she would be spending a considerable amount of time indoors at Saplings, she brought the outdoors inside.  Calming sky blue walls with painted trees (and a SUPER cool tree Leah constructed!) give the place a sweet and charming woodland vibe.

 

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There are LOADS of imaginative play stations around the room. Your little one can be a Doctor, Vet, Store Keeper, or Hair Stylist.  For the little performer there is a band and music area (complete with a drum set, which Captain LOVED) and a Puppet Show stage.  Your child can race their cars with a friend, have a camp out next to the felt campfire and roast pretend marshmallows while they sit on a cushiony tree stump.  If your little one wants to climb and slide, there is a playground right in the center of the room.  It’s just the right size for your preschooler!  There is a reading corner, complete with a soft rug, fluffy pillows, and kid-sized lounge furniture next to a window with lots of natural light pouring in, which Mamitas liked especially since there was a book with her hero (Minnie Mouse!) to be read! 

 

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The Seedling Meadow is a safe and cozy play area for little ones from 0-2.  It has a half-wall protecting it from the rest of the main play areas and from older playmates who may not see little ones underfoot.  Peach had such a blast crawling, playing, and sitting on the little riding toys in the enclosed area.

 

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Have a budding artist?  The art area is INSANE.  Fully stocked with various artistic mediums, easels, tables, and a chalk wall.  In fact, Leah goes the extra mile and on Tuesdays and Fridays, at no extra cost but your general admission, there is a special craft lined up for your child to do, and bring their craft home with them!  Saplings also occasionally teams up with Color Me Vino for the kid and alcohol-free version of a wine painting party for a Paint N Play party!  Your little one can come in, and for $25 they can create a work of art taught by an instructor on a canvas, and then play all day!

 

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Which brings me to my next favorite feature: ALL DAY PLAY.  It really means all day.  That means ins and outs for the whole day once you pay your admission!  You can come first thing, play with your little one, eat your packed lunch in the food area, go home for naps, and come right back after naps until closing without paying any extra.  That is SUCH a plus if you have littles who need to get their midday siesta in!

 

Another great thing is you only pay for your kiddos to play.  So while parents are encouraged to play with their little ones (and the space is made to facilitate just that!), adults do not pay admission costs.  For those of us with multiple children, Saplings offers a sibling discount!  Leah has 3 little ones herself and appreciates that it costs families with multiple children more to do fun things.

 

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They also offer two different party packages for birthday parties.  One is semi-private and the other is offered on Sunday’s and it totally private.  You can either do all the decorating yourself, or talk to Leah about having her plan your fuss-free party with the various add-on items.  Just show up with your party after booking and she’ll do all the shopping and decorating for you.

 

While I loved how much my 3 kiddos enjoyed playing at Saplings, I also really enjoyed getting to talk with Leah and hear about her life and her passion for bringing parents and children together to play.  Her husband has been a huge support to her as she has seen her dream realized since she hung up her teacher hat and went into mom and business owner mode.  She made a place where she could bring her children to work with her, and invites you to come and play with yours there, too!

 

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Head over to my Facebook page for a chance to win a day of play!

 

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