Disclosure: I was not financially compensated for this post. I received a sample of the product for review purposes. The opinions are my own, based on my personal experience with the product.

Packing a lunchbox can be a daunting task.  Kids get tired of the things that are easy to pack.  Schools have rules about what you can, or cannot, send.  There are a myriad of things that can make creating a simple packed lunch for your kids ANYTHING but simple.  If you want to pack healthy lunches for your kiddos…this task gets even more complicated. Luckily, brands like Stonyfield and Annie’s are up to this challenge and are helping parents all over to rock the lunchbox!
My husband decided to throw the kids a special picnic lunch the other day.  He was thrilled with the variety of healthy items he found.  He put out water and Honest Kids juice for the drink options.  Annie’s carries their crackers an their fruit snacks in individual sized bags, so he pulled out some of those as well.  For some protein he got the Stonyfield pouches.  He did all this on his own.  However, if you are looking for some really amazing ideas then you need check out Rockthelunchbox.com !  They have AMAZING ideas for fun and healthy lunches for you and your kids to enjoy.  There is a section on there for you to snag coupons for these healthy items as well.  Plus, if you pack these healthier lunches for your kids, they will avoid the post lunch slump.  Healthy foods keep them fueled and give them energy for plenty of play time!
What are your favorite tips for rocking the lunchbox?
Disclosure: I was not financially compensated for this post. I received a sample of the product for review purposes. The opinions are my own, based on my personal experience with the product.
Kristen: Kristen is a wife, mom, blogger and Brand Ambassador. She has four children; 2 boys and 2 girls. Kristen enjoys her role as a stay-at-home mother. Her oldest children are home-schooled. Her interests include gardening, coffee, reading, cooking and finding new ways to be eco-friendly. You may contact Kristen at mudpiesandtiaras at gmail dot com. Click here to meet Kristen

Disclosure: I was not financially compensated for this post. Experience Grand Rapids provided me with lodging, free passes and a gift card to facilitate this review. The opinions are my own, based on my personal experience with the places/products mentioned.

When we first got married, my husband and I made a commitment to each other.  We agreed that each year, for our anniversary, we would not give gifts, but instead go away for at least one night..no matter what.  Over 13 years we have held true to this.  We have gone when we were not feeling well, gone when I was very pregnant and gone when we were struggling financially.  It has been SO worth it!  We have made so many memories and it really helps us stay connected.  For our first anniversary we came up to Grand Rapids to stay at the Amway Grand Plaza.  Our 13th anniversary brought us back to the Amway Grand Plaza!  Our friends at Experience Grand Rapids helped us secure our lodging.  If you want to truly experience Grand Rapids….then you MUST stay at the Amway Grand Plaza!  Here was the view just a short walk from our room….
Our room was so nicely appointed!
Much to our delight, Experience Grand Rapids had left us a gift bag as well.  Inside was an amazing assortment of goodies that all come from local businesses!
Our room at the hotel was very nice and very comfortable.  *TIP* when you book your room make sure you request one with the view of the river. Each night we were able to gaze out at the light on the river and during the day we could watch the birds and see the city!
The Amway Grand Plaza is right in the heart of downtown and we were able to walk to many different museums, restaurants and coffee shops.
The hotel itself is also a sight to behold.
Part of the fun of staying at the Amway Grand Plaza is taking time to explore all the nooks and crannies of this beautiful place.
You will also find several wonderful places to eat inside the hotel.  The Amway Grand Plaza offers room service as well.  Upon the advice of local friends, we ordered Pietro’s Pizza while we were there.
They offered free delivery to the hotel and it was some of the best pizza we’ve had!  It was wonderful to relax in our room, watch a movie and enjoy this pizza.
We thoroughly enjoyed our stay at the Amway Grand Plaza hotel.  Make sure you check them out for your next visit to Grand Rapids!
Disclosure: I was not financially compensated for this post. Experience Grand Rapids provided me with lodging, free passes and a gift card to facilitate this review. The opinions are my own, based on my personal experience with the places/products mentioned.
Kristen: Kristen is a wife, mom, blogger and Brand Ambassador. She has four children; 2 boys and 2 girls. Kristen enjoys her role as a stay-at-home mother. Her oldest children are home-schooled. Her interests include gardening, coffee, reading, cooking and finding new ways to be eco-friendly. You may contact Kristen at mudpiesandtiaras at gmail dot com. Click here to meet Kristen

Disclosure: I was not financially compensated for this post. I received a sample of the product for review purposes. The opinions are my own, based on my personal experience with the product.

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When I think of idol worship, I tend to picture statues or other stone creations.  I’ve heard many stories of people bowing down to these types of idols in hopes of a better life.  However, after reading No Other Gods, by Kelly Minter, I have an entirely different perspective.

Kelly talks about how an idol is not just a statue made of wood or metal.  If that were the case, it would be much easier to identify and therefore avoid.  Idol worship can be much more subtle.  An idol is anything that takes up room in our hearts and lives in place of God.  These can be things like alcohol, money, fame or even good things like a spouse or children.  God desires to be first in our lives and when we put other things before him, even unintentionally, we edge Him out.  This really made me think about my own idols and how they can distract me from what’s truly important. Like Kelly, I realized that at times I worshiped God but gave my time and energy to idols.

As a mom to six kids I realize that there can be a stigma about large families.  I realized that sometimes I worry too much about what others think when my relationship with God and what He thinks are most important.  When I put too much of my energy and thought into getting approval from others, I leave less room for Him.

I really enjoyed Kelly’s writing style.  Her mix of insightful thoughts and ideas along with her personal anecdotes and stories really allowed me to identify with her.  One story in particular, summed up the idea of the book for me.  She describes watching a young child pray as a tempting breakfast sat in front of her.  She watched as the little girl kept one hand in the praying position while the other hand grabbed bites of bacon.  The story made me smile but it also painted a very clear picture of how we sometimes split our affection between God and worldly desires.

Kelly talks about what drives up to idols.  One big factor is the desire to be loved.  She uses the story of Rachel and Leah to illustrate her point.  I have read the story of these two sisters many times but Kelly put a new twist on it for me.  I realized that I have been both Rachel and Leah at times in my life.  Sometimes desperately wanting to be loved and other times not being satisfied with all that I had. Both of these can push us to take our eyes off my true God and pursue false Gods.

I really enjoyed Kelly’s writing style.  I appreciated her honesty and her use of humor made her very relate-able.  She really helped open to my eyes to the idols that are taking up space in my life that belongs to God. I underlined great points and things that spoke to me throughout the entire book.  It can be painful to give up and turn away from idols but as Kelly reminded me, God will always provide so much more than what we give up.

You can purchase No Other Gods at Family Christian Stores. I also encourage you to check out the reviews of two of Kelly Minter’s other books, The Fitting Room at Living on Love and Cents and Wherever the River Runs over at Heavenly Savings.

Four lucky readers will each receive a copy of Kelly’s book, Wherever the River Runs!

 

Belinda is a wife, mom, blogger, and Brand Ambassador. She has six children including 5 boys and 1 girl. Belinda enjoys reading, photography, crafts and DIY projects, and watching her boys play soccer. You may contact Belinda at mudpiesand tiaras at gmail dot com. Click here to meet Belinda

*Disclosure- I am a “The Fault in Our Stars” Ambassador.  I received no compensation for sharing this contest.  I just wanted to spread the word so our readers can enter!

Have you seen The Fault in Our Stars yet?  This acclaimed movie will be released on Blu-ray and DVD next week and I for one can’t wait to see it!  Right now, Fox Home Entertainment is running a special Twitter giveaway asking for their followers to share what TFiOS means to them with #FaultFeelsSweepstakes. Three winners will be awarded a prize pack of a Blu-ray, soundtrack and book!  You can enter this great giveaway on Twitter!

Belinda is a wife, mom, blogger, and Brand Ambassador. She has six children including 5 boys and 1 girl. Belinda enjoys reading, photography, crafts and DIY projects, and watching her boys play soccer. You may contact Belinda at mudpiesand tiaras at gmail dot com. Click here to meet Belinda

Disclosure: I was not financially compensated for this post. I received a sample of the product for review purposes. The opinions are my own, based on my personal experience with the product.

My boys love toy cars.  They will each get one and race them around the house or outside.  They even get Little Miss in on the action.  It’s pretty fun to watch them and listen to the sound effects and commentary. Toy Sate offers as great selection of fun toy cars, trucks, and other vehicles.  We were recently sent the Road Rippers Hatchback VW.

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This free-wheeling car features custom designed lights and speakers.  When you pop the hatch on the back of the car, it plays 3 different songs with coordinating light displays.  My 4-year-old couldn’t wait to get his hands on it.  thankfully it didn’t take long thanks to the super easy packaging.  I get SO frustrated with how most toys are secured into their boxes.  You practically need an engineering degree to get some toys untangled from their packaging!  The VW only had two plastic discs that simply needed to be rotated to release the car from the cardboard.  It took about 3 seconds.

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I didn’t tell my son much about the car.  I wanted him to discover it’s features on his own so I just gave it to him and told him to have fun.  At first he just rolled it along the floor.  He loved how easily it rolled and told me it was “super fast!”.  Then he lifted the hatch and discovered the neat sounds and lights.

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He thought it was awesome and kept closing and lifting the hatch to hear which song would be played next.  The sounds soon attracted Little Miss and they took turns pushing the car to each other.  K couldn’t wait to show the car to his brothers when they got home from school.

This toy would make a great gift for any little car enthusiast!  The Road Rippers VW requires 2 AA batteries (included) and can be purchased on Amazon or at WalMart, Target, Toys R Us, and Kmart.

 

 

Belinda is a wife, mom, blogger, and Brand Ambassador. She has six children including 5 boys and 1 girl. Belinda enjoys reading, photography, crafts and DIY projects, and watching her boys play soccer. You may contact Belinda at mudpiesand tiaras at gmail dot com. Click here to meet Belinda