Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Is That You, July?

Is anyone else in disbelief that July is here already besides me?!  I'm so not ready to start thinking about back-to-school.  Yes, we start school early here in the Carolinas.  So, next month it'll be back to setting three alarms to make sure we make it out of the house on time for school.  Anyways, since I haven't really been on the blog much this week, I thought I'd stop by for a Random Ramblings post to keep you guys up to speed on what we've been up to.

Thanks to Kokoa Magazine for this awesome free printable that was in their newsletter today!

  • Uniforms:  Speaking of going back to school, I still haven't heard from Moo's school on whether or not they will have to wear uniforms.  They needed at least 70% of the parents to vote in order to get uniforms and last I heard less than 50% had responded.  I'm thinking about making drive over to the school on Friday morning to see if the main office is open because who has time to wait until the last minute to shop for uniforms?
  • Parrot: JJ's speech therapist pointed out that he's getting really good at repeating people.  Oh boy, she has no idea that my little guy is a total parrot.  Seriously, we're at the stage where we are definitely thinking twice about what we say before we say it in front of him.  Moo said not really one and it's been his favorite phrase for the last two weeks.  So, if I say are you hungry his response is "Not really."  He also heard the Mr say shut up and now he's repeating that.  I can't even get started on how much I cringe when he says that.  Needless to say someone has been spending a lot of time in time out.
  • Fitness:  I've been working out on getting in better shape.  I think my trip to Atlanta was the first time I didn't feel I needed to suck everything in.  I actually looked great in my dress from PinkBasis (I'll upload a pic in my official recap because I'm still waiting for Coca-Cola to email them).
  • Fan Girl Moment:  Speaking of Atlanta and the Coca-Cola Art of Entrepreneurship event, I had a total fan girl moment when I got to meet some of my favorite bloggers in person: Brandi from Mama Knows It All, Makeba from MelisaSource, Renee from Cutie Booty Cakes, and Sojourner from Married With Two Boys.  I think it played it cool.  I got to talk to each of these ladies one on one and can say that they are as awesome and sweet in person as they are on their blogs!

A photo posted by K. Elizabeth (@yummommies) on

  • #100Books:   The kids and I have read over 50 books already this summer.  So we're more than halfway finished with our 100 Books Family Summer Reading Challenge!!  I'm super excited.  we've marked a lot of books off our book bucket list too.  And I'm almost caught up on the James Patterson Women's Murder Club series. 

  • Speaking Out:  Last night Awesomely Luvvie went on a Twitter rant specifically calling out Black beauty bloggers on how many of them aren't using their voices and influence to show support/unity or raise awareness about some of  the social injustice happening right now in the Black community.  Her rant ruffled a lot of feathers and to say that many of my majority blog groups were buzzing about this would be an understatement.  I totally get where Luvvie is coming from.   Whether we want to acknowledge it or not, anyone identifying as a Christian needs to remember that we are the keeper of our brother or sister, blood related or not.  The Bible calls us to help/support our brothers and sisters when see them in need or trouble not turn a blind eye or keep on like it's business as usual.  So, I don't think it's asking too much for any Black person period to show support.  It could as simple as posting "I'm praying for the Black community" or "RIP to the #EmanuelNine."  It only takes a moment to show support and unity.   Below are a few of my favorite tweets from her rant.

What's new with you this week?

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Thursday, June 25, 2015

Thankful Thursday

"Gratitude changes everything."
~ Unknown

 Happy Thankful Thursday YUMMs!  This week went by fast for me because I did some traveling.  I'm thankful that the weekend is coming up and we can sleep in a bit.  Earlier this week the family and I traveled to Atlanta, Georgia where I attended the Art of Entrepreneurship event for Coca-Cola.  You guys already know how much I love them as brand mainly because of all of the community and charity work that they do.

I'm thankful that the Mr got to come along.  We've been together for ten years and this was our first trip together besides going to visit my family.  The kids and I have traveled several places without him.  So, it felt great to finally travel as just a family of four.  Also, it gave him a chance to see more of what I do in terms of working hands on with brands.

I think he was kind of amazed and very much impressed.  He asked a lot of questions and we even talked about how I can take YUMMommy to the next level.  Because the kids have traveled with me before for blog related work they were used to seeing me pretty much get the red carpet treatment.  Overall we had an amazing time even though I didn't have a lot of free time during the day.

Speaking of Atlanta and Coca-Cola, I'm thankful that I received an invitation to this event because I got to meet some of favorite bloggers whose blogs I have been reading/stalking for years!!  I lectured myself on not acting like total fangirl beforehand and I think that managed to successfully reign in my excitement.  I was honored to find out that some of them actually read my blog and knew who I was in return.  I'm definitely most thankful that I left Atlanta with some new friendships that will go beyond just blogging.

Whoever put together the group of bloggers for this event did a superb job of matching our personalities because everyone was down to earth and we all bonded.  Our dinner conversations got deep.  I can officially say that I am that blogger that cried (happy tears) at a blog event.  That's how emotional and deep our conversations got.  I feel blessed to have had this opportunity to meet these women and reunite with a few familiar faces as well as my favorite brand.

I'm thankful that we had safe travels because there were a few minor wrecks that we passed on the way going and coming back home.  Also, I learned that my husband knows his way around Atlanta because it used to be almost like a second home to him.  At first I thought he was kidding because in the ten years we've been together he's never been out of state with the exception of a two hour drive to South Carolina.  But he proved me wrong and drove us the whole way without any GPS assistance.  I guess when you fall in like with a place you really never forget your way around.

I'm grateful that I came out of my shell a little bit more.  I was definitely more chattier this time around which again is a testament to fact that I felt more comfortable with the bloggers who were present.  I'm thankful for the chance to have met some of the women whose lives Coca-Cola has impacted thanks to their #5by20 community initiative.   Be on the lookout for a full recap post soon.  But in the meanwhile be sure to check out the official #5by20 website to find out more on how they working hard to empower 5 Million female entrepreneurs by 2020 through funding, donation of materials, educational training and more. 

Lastly, I'm thankful that the kids and I have been enjoying our summer break so far.  We've made great progress on our 100 Books Family Summer Reading Challenge.  We've read 38 books so far not counting the three we'll read tonight.  Something tells me we're going to cross that 100 books mark way before August gets here!

What are you giving thanks for this week?

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Saturday, June 20, 2015

Xlear Care Kit

Disclosure:  I received this product for free from the sponsor of the Moms Meet program, May Media Group LLC, who received it directly from the manufacturer.  My opinions are my own and do not necessarily reflect those of May Media Group LLC or Xlear, Inc.

I'm always on the lookout for products made with natural ingredients.  Why?  Well, I believe that products made from and with natural ingredients are better for our bodies than those made from artificial and/or harsh chemicals.  A few years ago I was introduced to Xlear, Inc. through Moms Meet and loved them.  So, I jumped at the chance to try out the products from their Xlear Care Kit.

What Was In My Kit

  • Spry Bamboo Toothbrush
  • Spry Oral Rinse (Spearmint flavor)
  • Two Xlear Nasal Spray
  • Two Spry Gems Mints (Lemon Creme and Berry flavors)
  • Spry Gum (Peppermint flavor)

What I Liked

I've been using my Xlear Care Kit products for a little over a month now and I love them.  As a whole, I love that all of the products are made using natural ingredients, especially xylitol.  As I mentioned before I am very big fan of products with natural ingredients because they are often times better and less harmful for our bodies in my experience.  I also loved that because none of the products I received contained harsh chemicals, my whole family could use them!

The nasal spray is safe for daily use and helps to get rid of congestion, which is really great when you have allergies.  If you follow the dosage instructions on the box, your nasal spray should last you about to 2-3 months.

The toothpaste and oral rinse both had a great taste.  I really loved that the oral rinse had a lot of herbal extracts that I was familiar with like aloe vera, chamomile and even echinacea.  Growing up my mom always kept a few aloe plants on hand not only for personal hygiene, but medical purposes and she swore by echinacea for helping the body to fight off germs.  In comparison to other toothpaste brands, I think Spry is just as good at getting my family's teeth clean.

The gum and gem mints were the kids' favorites.  One of my pet peeve about other breath mints are that they can be too hard or too hot ( or spicy as Moo calls it).  Not the case with the gems, they crunch easily and thanks to the xylitol, a naturally occurring sweetener, they have a nice sweet taste and no burn,   The gum flavoring really lasts a super long time.  I strongly dislike when I chew a piece of gum and after two minutes the flavor gone.  Not a problem with the Spry Gum.

Love the toothbrush.  How awesome is it that I have a bamboo toothbrush now?!  Moo was a bit jealous when she found out there was only one of them in our box and that Mommy was not sharing it with her.

What I Didn't Like

The one complaint that I would have about my Xlear Care Kit is that the oral rinse is a little spicy according to Moo.  I'm not sure what they could to do to tone down the burn a little bit.  But as I said earlier, we love this kit.

How To Get Your Own Kit

Interested in trying out any of these Xlear/Spry products for yourself?  Well click here and use code SAVE50 to get your $65 Xlear Care Kit for only $25!  Talk about a great deal.

Also, don't forget to check out Xlear on Facebook, Twitter and Xlear.com to stay updated on new products as well as to find out where Spry products are sold in your area. 

Do you prefer products with all natural ingredients?

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Thursday, June 18, 2015

Thankful Thursday

"Let your hope make you glad.  Be patient in a time of trouble and never stop praying."
~ Romans 12:12

Today my heart is heavy.  I woke this morning to a news feed filled the hashtag #CharlestonShooting.  Last night a domestic terrorist took it upon himself to enter Emanuel A.M.E. Church in Charleston, South Carolina where he sat with churchgoers for an hour in a Bible study class before then getting up and opening fire on them.  Nine people were killed in total.  Why did he open fire on these people?  According to him, the Black community is a threat.

It's not as if this incident is anything new.  We've seen innocent Black lives taken time and time again just because others feel like we are a threat or danger.  Black churches have been the targets of domestic terrorism here in America before as well.  There have been and still are many individuals out here in the world who believe that being Black is a crime and it's their responsibility to correct/solve this problem.  Many want to point the finger at us and say that we are what's wrong with the world and therefore must be eliminated by any means necessary.

I can't even begin to express how outraged, brokenhearted and angry I am right now.  It's not fair for anyone of any race, gender or religious background to attempt to play God and decide that a specific group of people don't deserve to exist just because those people are different from you.  We ALL have a right to life.  The Charleston Shooting really hit close to home for me because Charleston is one of my favorite places to visit in my home state.  I have both family and friends who live there.  

The fear and frustration that they must be feeling over this senseless act of violence is unimaginable.  To once again be reminded that none of us are safe anywhere including the House of God leaves me at a loss of words.  I have to admit I was on pins and needles earlier when this terrorist was still at large.  And to have him found less than an hour from my home shook me up even more. 

YUMMs this is not the Thankful Thursday post I thought I'd be writing to y'all today.  While my heart is in mourning like so many others, I am grateful that the person responsible for these killings has been caught.  Who knows what else he might have done had he not been taken into custody?  I'm grateful for everyone who had a hand in helping the authorities catch him.

Lastly, I'm thankful for my faith and having this space as an outlet to help me get through times like this.  I will not let dark times or evil deeds diminish my hope or harden my heart.  I greatly value the community that I have here and I do try to be as sensitive and responsible with my words as I can when discussing and venting about emotional issues.  In closing I urge everyone reading this to just send up a word a prayer and then make the effort to find ways that you can be proactive in helping to fight help the injustices that are happening right in our own backyards.  There is no such thing as perfection, but with everyone making the effort to do their part we can make our communities better than what they are!

What you are thankful for this week?  How do you remain hopeful during times of darkness?

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Wednesday, June 17, 2015

NoGii: Healthy Gluten-Free Snacks For Families On The Go

Disclosure:  I received this product for free from the sponsor of the Moms Meet program, May Media Group LLC, who received it directly from the manufacturer.  My opinions are my own and do not necessarily reflect those of May Media Group LLC or NoGii.

Whether you're a family of one or four snacking healthy while on the go can be challenging.  As a wife, mommy of two and blogger I stay on the go quite a bit.  When hunger strikes while out and about it can be tempting to just settle for a junk food run at the gas station.  Thankfully, the lovely folks at Moms Meet have introduced me and the Mr to our new favorite healthy and gluten-free on-the-go snack brand- NoGii (noh-jee).

My goodies

A line of certified gluten-free protein bars, paleo bars and protein powders, NoGii has a variety of options and flavors for active families like mine to enjoy.  I was lucky enough to get try out their full product line with the exception of their Cocoa Chocolate Whey & Quinoa Protein and Cookies & Creme D'Lites.  They even sent me a copy of The G-Free Diet: A Gluten-Free Survival Guide by Elisabeth Hasselbeck and a Live Gluten-Free tee.

What I Loved

  • Gluten-Free:  For thousands of people eating foods with gluten can be life-threatening or cause severe illness.  Some of you may know that my children, Moo and JJ, are allergic to gluten.  Therefore, it's very important that anything they consume food that are gluten-free.  My husband and I have made the choice to also eat gluten-free 95% of the time as well.  (I'm still working on giving up Twizzlers and biscuits.)
  • Family Friendly:  NoGii's products are safe for kids and can be enjoyed by the whole family.  No harmful chemicals or steroids to worry about.  Remember a family that snacks healthy together stays healthy together!
  • Variety:  While NoGii offers only bars and Whey & Quinoa Protein, they have a good variety when it comes to flavors.  The Mr. YUMMommy's favorite was the Rocky Road Super Protein Bar.  I'm pretty sure he 80% of the box.  My favorites were the Nuts About Nuts Paleo Bar, Cookies & Creme Super Protein Bar and the Chocolate Caramel Bliss Protein D'Lites.  I'm also a fan of their Vanilla Whey & Quinoa Protein Powder.  I usually have it in the form of a smoothie for breakfast and after my evening workouts.  You can check out the other flavors below.

  • Mom Made/Created:  NoGii is the brainchild of Elisabeth Hasselbeck.  So of you may remember her a former host of the award winning talk show The View.  She was also a contestant on Survivor. Elisabeth is also a wife, mom and New York Times best-selling author.  Diagnosed with celiac disease, she became committed to not only raising awareness about the illness, but to creating products that were gluten-free for others who are allergic to gluten or suffer from celiac disease as well.  I have to say that she did a great job and it's great to be supporting a fellow mompreneur.
  • Packaging: I love that the packaging is sleek and the color schemes are kept simple.  The flavors and brand logo are easily identifiable.  The bars are easy to open which is important because who has time to struggle with opening up packaging?

What I Didn't Like

  • Nuts & Dairy:  While the paleo bars are peanut free, they still contained nuts.  And the protein bars contained peanuts (some) and diary.  Unfortunately the kids weren't able to try any of the bars due to their dairy and nut allergies.  Additionally, JJ has an allergy to soy.  In the future I would love to see NoGii offer a nut and dairy free bar as well as soy free option.

Overall, I am very impressed with NoGii and have already added them to our regular grocery shopping list for myself and the Mr.  If you'd like to try out NoGii, check out your local Harris Teeter, Walgreens or use their store locator  to find out what store near you sells their products.

Don't forget to follow them on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to stay up to date on new product offerings and more.   Also, be sure to enter the NoGii Tablesetters Contest.  You could win a trip to New York City with an opportunity to meet and have lunch with Elisabeth Hasselbeck.  Enter here before the contest ends on July 31, 2015.  Good luck and happy snacking!

What is your favorite on-the-go healthy snack?

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Monday, June 15, 2015

Firework: From Kindergarten To First Grade

Dear Moo,

You did it!  Congratulations, you have officially graduated Kindergarten and will be advancing to First Grade this August.  I'm so proud of you and all the hard work you put in.  Your first year of school did not get off to a great start, but you hung in there.  You were such the determined little trooper.

This past school year you overcame so much including the Mean Girls, adjusting to having three different teachers in one school year and coming out of your shell.  Speaking of coming out of your shell, you blossomed into quite the social butterfly this year.  It was great to see making friends with kids your class.  I think that was hands down the highlight of your school year.

The second highlight of your school year were the fieldtrips!  You got to go to a farm to pick pumpkins and visit the petting zoo.  And you had your first trip to Discovery Place Kids.  You really enjoyed Discovery Place Kids and have been asking to go back.  I can't say that blame you because there was so much to see and do there.  I'm sure we'll fit it into our summer plans.

Your favorite elective class was art.  I wasn't surprised because you're my little firework.  You have tons of artwork and I can't for to look back on some of the pictures you made when you're older.   Gym was your least favorite elective.  You were not a fan of all the running and walking they made you all do on the track.

I already knew you were very bright for your age, but we discovered that you're quite the math whiz!   You won the Excellence in Mathematics award all four school quarters.  I'm hoping this continues to be the case as math only gets more complex the higher you advance.  You aced all of your end-of-year goals and tests.

My highlight of your first year of school was becoming the class mom.  It was fun getting to hang out with you in your class and accompany you on fieldtrips.  We were able to get in lots of mommy-daughter bonding time.  I got to watch you in action interacting with your friends.  I have to say that I'm very proud of the friends you've made.  You've aligned yourself with other kids who are passionate about learning and who believe in showing compassion to others.

Partners in crime forever after Moo's kindergarten graduation

We both disliked that your school had uniform policy and were super excited when you finally got to pick out an outfit that showed off your personality for your kindergarten graduation.   You'll be going to a new school this upcoming school year.  We'll be keeping our fingers crossed that some of your friends will be joining you at the new school.  I can't wait to see all of the new memories you will make.

I'm beyond proud of you.  Keep showing 'em what you're worth my little firework!

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Thursday, June 11, 2015

Thankful Thursday

"In happy moments, praise God.  In difficult moments, seek God.  In quiet moments, trust God.  In every moment, thank God."
~ Unknown

Everyday that I wake up I am always grateful and in awe to be among the living.  The first thing that I usually do in the morning, after I hit snooze on the first of my four alarms, is say a morning prayer of thanks.  I've come to truly appreciate the blessing that life is.  Life is made up of a series of moments- some good, some bad.  It may have taken me a while, but I feel like I am finally in a place where I can give God thanks for ALL of my moments.

This was NOT something that I was always able to do.  For a long time, when bad moments happened, I would look at as a personal attack from God as punishment for some past sin or transgression.  I'd crank up my woe-is-me pity party of one and sulk.  I'd ask God why He was bringing so much rain into my life.  Like wouldn't He prefer that I was happy instead?  

It was like Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 had become foreign to me.  I'm so thankful that I can now find comfort in that scripture.  It's kept me sane plenty of days since.  I'll explain in more detail in an upcoming post next week.

This week I am giving thanks school is over and we finally get back down to the business of having daytime adventures!  Moo was not happy that she was missing out on all of the morning trips to the park, Target, the Dollar Tree and anywhere else JJ and I would go after we dropped her off to school.  Plus, I can sleep-in more and turn off my four alarms until August gets here.

JJ is officially a chatterbox.  We converse here and there throughout the day, but with Moo home it's nonstop talking.  Yes, it drives me crazy sometimes like when I'm trying to write and keep my train of thought.  However, I'm learning to better tolerate it because there was a time when my little guy didn't talk.  To see how far he's come from being nonverbal to being able to communicate using full sentences and being able to say everyone's name just melts my heart.

It sounds cliche, but I don't really know any other way to describe the warm sensation I get when I truly reflect on his progress.  And I know that Moo has really played a big part in that.  She talked and still talks nonstop with him.  Even in the early stages when we couldn't understand what he was trying to say, she'd still spend hours talking to him and breaking things down to a level that he could understand.

The park is her favorite place to be with her favorite people- our family!

When it comes to compassion it's definitely clear that Moo is the most compassionate of my two children.  It just comes naturally for her.  And that makes me so much more protective of her because I don't want anyone to ever come along and break that part of her spirit.  I'm not sure what she'll end up being when she grows up.  For now her list of careers includes being a:
  • Singer/Pop Star
  • Chef
  • Writer/Future Blogger of YUMMommy
  • Mommy
  • Something related to animals and nature.
What I do know for sure is that she's going to change someone's life and possibly even the world!  I wish the same for JJ and my future children.  No doubt with Moo as their Big Sister, her compassionate spirit will rub off on them more and more.

Lastly, I'm thankful for patience and peace.  I feel like God has been sending me signs/clues that there's about to be a very positive shift in my life, but I have to be patient and stay calm while I wait for Him to unveil His blessings and plans.  All last night I kept hearing Bishop T.D. Jake's voice saying, "Get ready, get ready, get ready" and Joel Olsteen's "God is bringing you a shift into your life" has been marinating in my head for a while.  So patient and peaceful is exactly what I'll be!

What are you giving thanks for today?

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