Finding a balance with screentime in our home

08192016

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As our summer is nearing its end and we prepare to head back to school and (hopefully) a more scheduled routine, one of our family goals this school year is to spend less time on screen. Raising children in our current technology driven time is like completely charting new territory on unvisited land. While every one of us in our family loves having access to endless options at our fingertips we also have to be careful and aware of how we are spending our time onscreen.

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You’ve all heard the old saying “practice what you preach”, well lately my teenagers are really making me stick to it! We’ve always tried really hard in our family to set good boundaries in all aspects of our lives, including how much time we choose to be on our mobile devices, iPads, laptops, computers…etc. And being in this social media/blogging world it can sure be hard to for me to set boundaries with my own screen time. So while I’m over here monitoring my children’s screen time, I also need to monitor my own. Thankfully about 4 months ago I found an amazing product that helps me with just that, and I firmly believe it needs to be in every family home.

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I’d like to introduce you to Circle. A smart little tool that pairs wirelessly with the wifi in your home to help you manage every single device on your network. Setting it up is simple and then using the Circle app you create a customized internet usage profile for each individual in the family. Circle allows you to set time limits for specific apps and web sites. But it doesn’t end there. You can also set up age appropriate filters for each device as well as overall time limits, a bedtime and an awesome feature called “pause” that we will be using a ton as we head back to school. Pause lets you actually pause all access to the internet. So during scheduled study or homework time I won’t have to worry about them “pausing” to pick up their phones to check their twitter, Instagram or snapchat feeds. Can I get a big ole hands up YES!! I really feel like applying the pause button will help all of us focus on the task at hand and therefore we will be able to concentrate on just getting it done and accomplished without our usual main distraction, our iPhones. Another great feature that Circle offers are Insights. You can view where each member of your family is spending their online time. It can be narrowed down by platform, category or website. Let’s just not look at my Instagram app usage…

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I’m also really excited as we just signed up for another Circle feature called “Circle Go”. Circle Go allows you to implement Circles features while your children are away from home. So whether they’re at school, sports practice, or a friends house you can still manage your children’s devices wherever they go!

Circle has been such a beneficial asset in our home this past bit and has already given us back so much more family time this summer I can’t wait to see how it continues to help us transition back into the school year. And I meant it when I said it earlier, I really do believe that every family home can benefit from having a Circle. If you’re interested in purchasing one for your family now is the time because until August 31, 2016 you can purchase a Circle at a discounted price of $89 at Target, Amazon, Best Buy, and meetcircle.com

 

This post was sponsored by Circle with Disney, all opinions are my own.

A Father’s Day Shave with Gillette Mach3 SE

06292016

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This post is sponsored by Vocalpoint, P&G and Gillette. All opinions are my own.

I’m not really sure when it happened, all I do know is that it IS happening, and it’s happening right now before my eyes…my baby boys are straight becoming men. They’re like man children these days and I guess a part of becoming a full blown man child is learning how to shave all those new hairs that are springing up all over their little baby faces. (insert severe mama crying here).

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So, this Father’s Day, the kids and I decided that it was due time that we get the Dad of our home a new razor. I mean, he’s been super kind to share his razor with his boys (and me) thus far, but I’m pretty sure he deserves his very own at this point. 😉

And thank goodness my one stop shop and favorite store ***COSTCO*** always has my back. We were able to pick up the Gillette Mac 3 Signature Edition Razors, which are only available at Costco, for my husband on one of our 19 trips we make their weekly…okay maybe that’s a bit of an exaggeration. But for real we frequent our local Costco nearly 4-5 days a week, no joke. We also picked up some Gillette Fusion ProGlide 2-in-1 Shave Gel while we were there too. My son Mathew pointed out that it was perfect that the shaving gel comes in a pack of 3, which meant that the boys could each have their own as well as give one to their Dad.

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As usual with this selfless Dad of ours, the new razor was used as a teaching lesson for our son Aden. Watching my oldest son and husband show Aden all the ropes of shaving the proper way about made my heart burst right there on the spot. And when Aden decided he wasn’t quite ready yet to put the razor to his face, his big brother did instead with Aden watching every move and their dad coaching along the way. When Mathew was finished they all checked out the final result. There was truly NO redness, because with Gillette Mach3 Signature Edition Razors, you can declare victory over redness with a smooth shave that’s up to 100% redness-free (it’s possible with Mach3®).

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These moments right here are the ones that I never want to forget. Ones that are simple, but also so special. I am so grateful that my children have such a wonderful man to look up to as a Father. One who will drop anything for any of us at any given moment, and even share his razor with all of us too. xo

Afternoon snack time with Annie’s

01222016

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You know when your in the thick of raising your kids and you feel like its going to last for forever? Well the hard reality is that, it just doesn’t. One day they’re creating dance shows or making up performances for you, using their little brothers as props, and the next they’re graduated and off on their own living in a city hundreds of miles away. If your lucky they eventually make their way back near home and then if your super lucky they occasionally drop by for an after work/school snack to chat.

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And that my friends, is now where we’re at around here. Theres nothing that brings my heart more joy than to hear “Sheila” (our home alarm system named by my 17 yr old Mathew) speak up and say “front mud room door”, followed by “side door” because it means that one of my big kids is dropping by or is home from work or school.

The first thing that’s done after they come in is quickly pair one of their iPhones to the Bluetooth speaker and some sort of music is put on. Most days its like you’ve entered into a European dance club, or sometimes depending on the day and who gets their phone hooked up first you could enter into a hardcore gangsta rap club in downtown LA. And this music that is now playing is not put on just as background noise, it’s put on to straight party.

Next up, they raid the pantry and fridge, usually looking for a quick easy snack. And heres the thing, there comes a time where you’re no longer fixing your children’s meals and snacks and they’re choosing their own. So I like to keep my kitchen stocked up with simple, wholesome snacks, but also ones that are still fun like Annie’s Organic Really Peely Fruit tape!

I love that I know without a doubt when I buy anything that Annie’s makes I can trust what is in their products. No more searching the ingredients for Red40, high fructose corn syrup, artificial flavors…etc. Because heres the thing. I am admittedly one of “those” moms. You know them. The ones who started banning HFCS back in the late 90’s, who buy organic everywhere they can and ultimately just want to feed their kids healthy food. And not only that, one who wants to instill healthy eating habits into them as much as possible when they are young so they carry those habits over on their own when their older. And Really Peely fits that bill. Its a fun snack that is certified organic and free of all of those ingredients like HFCS, artificial flavors and synthetic colors that kids both old and young can enjoy. As you can see, I think my teenagers love playing with it just as much as they enjoy eating it!

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But all too soon the conversation is cut short, the music stops, and one shuffles off to work, another to run errands, another to go grocery shopping for themselves and another to do their homework. And this Mama is left with my cup overflowing usually just enough until the next time I enter into a dance club in my own kitchen.

This post is sponsored by Annie’s, a brand that we have long loved in our home.

 

Photos: Samantha Broderick Photography

 

2015 a New Year + Liam’s Birthday + a little about Faith

01062015

LiamSBP_042life is a funny thing. sometimes we set goals, picture how things will play out and then wham. nothing turns out how we planned. that’s exactly how 2014 went for us. will and i had sat down on the last day of 2013 for a very private dinner and chatted really long and hard about our personal and family goals for 2014. nothing. i repeat, not a single damn thing went as planned or hoped. but that’s okay. 2014 may have been one of our hardest years yet, but also one where i know we grew the most. this year instead of lengthy chats about specific goals we are choosing to continue our life path of simplification. simply put. less stuff (stuff in every form, material, emotional, etc) and more gratitude. we are on a path as a family to simplify our lives and in a perfectly simple way it feels just so right and so, so good.

with the new year also came our sweet baby boy liam’s 8th birthday. he’s been so excited for this birthday because turning eight really signifies growing up in his eyes. it’s the beginning of learning to accept the realities and consequences of your own actions and decisions. and for some silly reason he just couldn’t wait for that. and he couldn’t have been more excited to have all of his family home (a perk having your birthday on a holiday) to celebrate him and witness his choice to be baptized.

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i rarely touch on faith or religion. because i truly feel it is such a personal thing. and quite honestly i don’t really feel it can always be explained. but heres just a smidgen about where i am with it and how i got here.

i grew up attending a japanese methodist church, went to a weekly youth group at a presbyterian church until i got baptized into the lds church at 19, fell in love with buddha when i was teaching and heavily into my yoga practice, and can’t get enough of the dali llama. there have been times in my life that i have been rigid about religion and other times where it took the back burner. what i’ve come to realize and be completely at peace with is that what may work for some may not work so well for others. faith is so beyond incredibly personal on a level that absolutely no one but yourself can understand. and it’s something that i’m not sure anyone can be doing wrong, or for that matter perfectly right. as a parent, at the end of the day my only hope is that my children know that they are unconditionally loved now matter what, that they will be outstanding humans who bring quality and value to society. who are kind to strangers, are willing to serve any and all in need and just maybe will know and love god. because he’s my jam, and i couldn’t do it without my daily chats him. oh and jesus too.

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*that probably could have used it’s own separate post…but meh. happy new year friends xo

 

ixchel triangle // giveaway

10022014

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Hello there! It’s been a minute (or months) since I’ve blogged and figured it was time to come back with an amazing little giveaway for you all!

I absolutely love it when I find a company that produces lovely products with a genuine story and passion. And that’s exactly what I found when I happened upon Tory and her company Ixchel Triangle. When I was first introduced to Tory I asked her if she would share a bit with me about her company and how it came about. The following is what she shared, and why I’m so excited to share her products with you!

“My grandma moved to Guatemala when i was a little girl and i have been in love with the Mayan culture, including the amazing weavings she would send me, for years. Once i started going to Guatemala i saw not only the beauty of this country and the Mayan people but also a great need to educate the indigenous people and preserve their heritage. The idea to start a business working with indigenous men and woman came a few years ago but at that time i still had my “day job”. I taught bakery occupations to inmates in county prison, in the hopes of rehabilitation and reduced recidivism. I absolutely loved this job and the work the Lord was doing in my life and the inmates lives at this time. But we ultimately decided the best thing for our family was to have me stay home with our girls. once i “retired” to stay home with my three daughters (9, 5, & 3)  i was finally able to start Ixchel Triangle ( pronounced E-Shell).

I work with a co-op of woman weavers, these 10 woman are now able to send ALL of their children to school and teach their traditional style of weaving, using a back-strap loom to the younger generations. This is particularly important because traditional attire of huipil (blouse) and corte (skirt) is becoming less popular and therefore this style of weaving is also. By working with and paying fair wages to the weavers we are insuring the academic education of their children as well as carrying on the Mayan tradition of weaving on a back-strap loom. In the future i would like to multiply the support i am able to give but so far i am currently supporting the education of three children. three might not sound like much but Jose Mario, Emily, and Allen have my heart. I have been blessed to know them and am now happy to aid their future.

The huipil’s themselves take about 3-4 weeks to weave, then it takes our team of 5 men working together, 2 hrs to complete a bag! Everything is done by hand, the only time we use a sewing machine is to sew the leather trim and weaving together. I just had a short video done, which I filmed a few months ago while I was in Guatemala. It shows the weaving and sewing process and just how much skill and time it takes to create every bag we make. The video will be up on my site in the next day or so. I hope it will give people a greater understanding and love for our products and the culture they represent.” ~Tory

I really love her story and passion behind her products. The video she made is now on her site and is a must watch. Every one of her bags are one of a kind, no factories or mass productions are ever used. That means when you get your bag, you know no one will ever have one just like it. Also, with the release of her latest fall line, which now includes diaper bags and a mini bag, every bag is now signed by one of the artisan “finishers” so you can be sure that its authentically handmade. It is Tory’s hope that people will feel more connected to the individuals who have made their bag with love.

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Did you know that there are over 20 different mayan languages? I didn’t, but Tory informed me that one of the most common is quiche. So to incorporate Mayan culture in the language of Ixchel Triangles bags, Tory simply named them Nich, which is small, Nim is larger or large, and Qas Nim, which means largest.

Lately, I’ve been adorning my Nich bag and I couldn’t be more in love! It’s the perfect size for everyday use but still has plenty of room for me to stash a sweater or two in it for these cooler fall days. If you follow me on Instagram you’ve most likely seen my beautiful Ixchel Triangle bags in some of my posts. I’ve had my bags for a couple of months now and they just keep getting better and better! The quality and craftsmanship is incredible and I couldn’t be more thrilled to have found the perfect bags. And that’s why I’m giving away a Nich bag (of your choice) to one lucky reader. Here’s how you enter:

~Head to Instagram and make sure that follow button is green on both Ixchel Triangle and my profiles, then follow the instructions on the giveaway post on my feed. (please, don’t forget to do that or we will miss your entry!)

~For an additional entry, (because you want as many as possible, right!) follow both Ixchel Triangle and me too on Pinterest, once you’ve done so come back here and leave me a little comment on this post letting me know you did!

Super easy, right! Also, if you just can’t wait and need to get your hands on an Ixchel Triangle bag right now I’ve got you covered. Use code “miko10” at checkout to receive 10% off your entire purchase now through Monday Oct. 6th at midnight PST, which is also when this contest will end. Winner will be announced on Tuesday Oct. 7th. Good luck friends, and it’s good to be back! xx

Photos: Samantha Broderick Photography 

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