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Five Ways to Stay Healthy This Winter (Doctor Recommended Tips)

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stay healthy this winter insync probiotics #shopWith yet another Polar Vortex bearing down on us and the flu showing up in more and more communities, staying healthy is definitely on the forefront of many people’s minds right now.  Getting sick means not only the discomfort of the illness’s symptoms, but missed work or school, childcare issues, and sometimes a somewhat minor  illness can progress into a more serious condition.  There are a number of doctor recommended steps you can take to build up your immune system to try and fight off any of the nasty bugs circulating around.  (Thanks to #CollectiveBias for allowing me to share these tips including a #NaturalProbiotic.)



Wash your hands often.  While this seems like something that should go without saying, based on what goes on in many of the public restrooms I’ve been in, it apparently DOES need to be said.  (I know my kiddo in particular needs frequent reminders – especially before snacks or when he first comes home from school.)  Doctors agree that warm water and soap are still the best way to combat illness.  Hand sanitizer is great for when you are in a pinch, but should not replace good old fashioned hand washing!

stay healthy this winter #shop

Get plenty of sleep.  I know that I am often guilty of not taking my own advice on this one – there’s always so much to do! I do notice that most of the time when I come down with a cold or other bug, it is when I am already run down and definitely not getting enough sleep.  I am trying really hard this year to make sure that I am in bed at a decent hour and getting the most restful sleep possible.

stay healthy this winter sleep #shop

Eat a balanced diet.  I’m convinced that part of the reason why I almost always get sick right after the holidays is a combination of that last tip and this one.  I definitely feel better when I am making sure that I am not loading up on sweets and am getting lots of natural vitamins through fruits and vegetables.  I also supplement with a vitamin D capsule as I tested deficient and I have noticed improved immunity since I started taking it.  Heaven knows I’m not getting any vitamin D from the sun right right now – the few times I am outside, I barely have any skin showing lest it freeze!

stay healthy this winter food #shop

Relax.  Stress can compromise your immune system and make you more likely to catch whatever is making the rounds.  Seriously – I’m not kidding!  One study found that people who has just experienced a major stressful event were twice as likely to come down with the common cold.  I’m sure you can think of some anecdotal examples of this as well.  Maybe that has something to do with my post holiday illnesses as well….hmmmm.

Keep your gut healthy.  I’m a HUGE believer in the power of probiotics not just in digestive health, but in immunity as well.  I started investigating probiotics after LJ had some health issues following a long period on antibiotics.  He was experiencing not only digestive issues, but heartburn as well.  When the doctor wanted him to start taking an antacid at age four, I looked for another solution.

My research led me to begin taking probiotics along with LJ and I’ve been thrilled with the results for both of us.  While foods like yogurt and kefir are great sources of these healthy bugs, I like to take a supplement myself as I know that not all probiotics can survive the acidic trip through my stomach.  Right now, I am using insync™ Probiotic which contains  GI Guard™, a gradual release caplet that protects those helpful probiotics from heat, moisture and stomach acids.  I also love that insync™ Probiotic  contains six strains of  probiotics to provide the maximum benefit, including the gastroenterologist-recommended B. infantis strain.  Since I am on the go a lot, I love the fact that it does not have to be refrigerated.

stay healthy this winter probiotics #shop

I was able to find insync™ at my local Hy-Vee Grocery store. (Quick tip – I was searching for it in the vitamin aisle with no luck when one of their friendly employees directed me over to the digestive health aisle and there it was!) You can find more information by connecting with them via their Facebook page or on Twitter.

insync probiotics at hy-vee #shop



What are your tips for staying healthy during this extremely long winter??


Good Food Made Simple Makes It Easier to #EatClean

good food made simpleYou hear a lot of people taking about clean eating these days.  Based on the amount of buzz around these words lately, you would think that mainstream America was being pretty careful about what we are putting in our mouths on a daily basis.  Sadly, not so much.

A recent survey revealed that only about 35% of the people asked even look at the labels of the food they are consuming.  Despite 87% of respondents stating that clean food products are important to them, 57% of these same respondents report having purchased a leading macaroni and cheese product in the past 2 years, which is filled with preservatives and additives.   The fact is that a lot of labels are just downright confusing!  Add in the fact that the reason so many of us are reaching for convenience foods is that we are already crazy busy, and you have the perfect recipe (I know, bad pun!) for unintentionally feeding our families food with some pretty funky stuff in it.  (Oh – and add in a picky eater like my boy!  I swear he would only eat hot dogs and mac & cheese if I let him!)

So what is a mom to do if she really wants to make an effort to eat clean?

I was asking myself that very question when I was asked to participate in the Eat Simple, Eat Clean campaign.  I immediately agreed, not because I am an expert on the subject, but because I am a busy mom who wants to learn more about it – just like you.  I was thrilled to learn that the whole campaign would be sponsored by Good Food Made Simple (which means they sent me some wholesome convenient food to try and compensated me for my time and effort).  Here is what what I have identified as the most important steps in moving toward a cleaner. healthier 2014:

1. Read the labels.  Yes, I know this is tedious and not even a little fun.  But it is a tiny bit easier if you go grocery shopping by yourself.

2. Avoid ingredients you can’t pronounce, identify, or have more than six syllables. My experience is that most natural ingredients have pretty easy names, like eggs or milk. (Okay, Quinoa did throw me for a while!)

3. Stock up on foods that are convenient but still healthy. Good Food Made Simple sent me a variety of their easy-to-prepare-yet-good-for-you frozen selections to try.  Everything from their breakfast burritos, to their steal cut oatmeal, to my new favorite – jack mac ‘n cheese, were easy to make in minutes, but did not containing any funky chemicals or preservatives.  Best of all, they were delicious!

4. Educate yourself.  Hey, knowledge is power.  Learn as much as you can about how to make the best choices you are able.  One great place to go is  There you will find:

  • An unacceptable Ingredient glossary – a resource for you as you read those labels
  • Eat Clean, Eat Simple food myth of the week
  • An ingredient quiz
  • Coupons and a chance to win a “Clean Supermarket Sweep” – a grocery-shopping spree with a food expert to guide label reading and clean food purchasing.


Good Food Made Simple Breakfast Burrito

Good Food Made Simple Breakfast Burrito

Little Remedies Pledge to “Say Yes to Less” #sponsored #MC #SayYes2Less

I participated in a campaign on behalf of Mom Central Consulting (#MC) for Little Remedies. I received a product sample to facilitate my review and a promotional item as a thank you for participating.

I feel like the last few years especially has been a journey for my family to make do with less.  I’m not talking about cutting budgets or getting rid of stuff (although we have actually done both of those things as well) but more about what we put into our bodies.  I’m sure you’ve seen me post about my attempt at growing a vegetable garden as well as my ever growing education about how additives and GMO’s affect our bodies.

I absolutely do NOT claim to be an expert at any of this nor our we perfect about avoiding all the things that are bad for us.  But we are learning and taking baby steps to eliminate them where we can for now.  Even way back when LJ was first born, I was uncomfortable with giving him things with artificial colors and the like in them.  I tried to avoid giving him medications unless it was absolutely necessary, and even then wanted choices without red-dye-number-whatever. (Beyond the possible concerns about additives, who on earth thought it was a good idea to give nauseous babies something red? Can we say cleaning nightmare?)

When LJ was little, I discovered Little Remedies while hunting around for something effective but free of unnecessarily additives. I love that their infant fever medication (for instance) is free of artificial flavors and colors, free of saccharin and alcohol, and doesn’t have parabens, dyes, or even gluten!  What is does contain is the stuff you child needs to make them feel better – and nothing more.

The Little Remedies line has products to help with colds, stuffy noses (LOVE their stuffy nose kits!), fevers, and tummys.  You can connect with Little Remedies on their website (be sure to check out their flu tracker) or on their Facebook page .  And if you are free, be sure to pop into the #SayYes2Less Twitter Party on Wednesday, December 11th from 1:00-2:00PM EST!

As part of this campaign, I am sharing a quick snippet on what I am pledging to “Say Yes to Less” of.  You might be a little surprised by what it is…or if you know me well, maybe not!  You can make your own pledge on the Say Yes to Less page.

Holiday Gift Guide – Nail Cones Make DIY Manicures Effortless

Photo-of-Nail-Cones-appliedI like having neat, professional looking nails but cringe at spending the money it takes to have a professional manicure every two weeks. (I know, I’m cheap like that!)  When the ability to perform a DIY shellac manicure at home came out, I thought I had found my perfect answer.

Little did I realize that part of my challenge is that I am very right-handed!  This means that using my left hand to paint my right nails can be a bit tricky…and messy.  When I learned about Nail Cones, I thought “Finally!!” and then “Why did it take so long for this to become available outside of salons???”.

Nail Cones are super easy to use and ensure that your nail polish only goes where it is suppose to, resulting in a much more professional looking result than when polish slops everywhere.  Check out this quick demonstration of how easy they are to use!

Nail Cones make the perfect stocking stuffer for anyone who likes pretty nails, but hates making a mess!

Fighting Fall Allergies with Kleenex

This post is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Pollinate Media Group® and Kleenex but all my opinions are my own. #KleenexAllergy #pmedia

You know how it is when you have a child and you spend hours trying to figure out which features he or she got from which parent?  When LJ was first born, he was the spitting image of Jay.  I’ve never seen a newborn resemble one parent so much – we even referred to him as Jay’s “mini-me”.  As he’s gotten older, we’ve heard more and more that he looks just like me (isn’t that funny how resemblances can change like that?).

Unfortunately, as he’s grown, it has also become apparent that he has inherited some of my not so desirable characteristics too – like allergies.  I suffered from allergies for about as long as I can remember.  Some years, they start in the early spring and continue full force right through first frost.  Right around the time LJ turned five, we started noticing allergy symptoms in him as well.  While I mainly suffer the most in the Fall, he seems to have a full blown case from Spring right through Fall.

kleenex tissues allergy

Because we both are spending so much time sneezing and blowing our noses, having tissues around all the time is a must.  And we also insist that they be high quality tissues – there’s nothing worse than having a red, sore nose because your tissues were rough and left your already tender nose raw and chapped.  We’ve definitely become a Kleenex household here!  We’ve got boxes in just about every room as well as in my purse AND both cars.

kleenex on the table

I love that Kleenex makes tissues in so many different kinds of boxes and dispensers so that you always have the perfect size for what you need.

The Pocket Packs are perfect for backpacks and purses!

The Pocket Packs are perfect for backpacks and purses!

If you are like us, and need to stock up on Kleenex, you’ll want to head to Target where they have a special deal going with this printable coupon while supplies last.  You can get a free wallet pack (2 pack) or pocket pack (3 pack) with the purchase of a Kleenex four pack.   I absolutely love the pocket packs and have one in every purse I own so that I never accidentally go out without one.  It only takes seeing your kiddo standing there sneezing all kinds of gunk into their hands and then looking to you to wipe it off before you stock all of your bags with pocket packs!!

I love that these have the "Sneeze Shield"!!

I love that these have the “Sneeze Shield”!!