My Top 5 Favorite Grilling Recipes {with the Char-Broil Kettleman Charcoal Grill}


This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Char-Broil for IZEA. All opinions are 100% mine.

The weather is getting warmer and summer is nearing.. which makes me think about grilling.  Oh, how I love this time of year.  Brats, burgers, pineapple, peaches, pork chops.. you name it, I like it grilled.  We own both a gas and charcoal grill.. but we have a love for the charcoal.

Char-Broil brought the first charcoal grill to the market over 65 years ago.  Their latest is the new Kettleman 22.5" Charcoal Grill (retailing at $129), which is and updated and improved.. and more efficient and easier to use!  Click here to learn more about the Kettleman grill.  It has some great features including:

  • Temp Control- Vents around the body allow air to fuel the fire from all sides, providing even heat for cooking.
  • Flare-Up Control- A porcelain coated grate allows charcoal flavor while keeping flames away from the food.
  • Charcoal Control- Designed to grill twice as many burgers with the same 50 briquettes as the leading kettle.
  • Ash Control- A slide-in, porcelain-coated ashtray is tight against the grill making cleanup easier than ever.
  • Stability Control- Wide and heavy steel legs add stability and easy mobility.


This Char-Broil Kettleman Grill can be purchased at Lowe's or online at  If you're looking for some tasty grilled recipes, here are a few of my favorites!

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Safe Sleeping Tips {& the HALO Bassinest Swivel Sleeper}


Disclosure:  I was provided with product for review, however all opinions are my own.  I seriously love this thing.

One of the baby items I was more excited to use with Sam, was this HALO® Bassinest™ Swivel Sleeper Essentia Series.  I was kind of panicking towards the end of my pregnancy because a bassinet was one of the last things we needed to get - and since we planned on having him sleep in our room for the first few months, it was pretty essential.  But everything I looked at just didn't seem good enough.  We have a high bed and our room is kind of small, so we didn't have much space to work with.  It was proving to be a challenge.

But then I heard about this new Bassinest.  I hadn't seen anything like it before, and after looking into it further it seemed to be the answer for us!

It's very sturdy.  My husband put this together and it didn't take him long at all, however once you have it where you need it.. hopefully you won't need to move it.  It's heavy!  It has a sleek design and isn't bulky.. it fits nicely in the small space on my side of the bed.  The height is adjustable and it has a 360 degree swivel, so you can put it up next to you on the bed if you wish.  The mesh sides are safe and nice so you can be face-to-face with your baby while you're sleeping.  There's one storage pocket on the end - perfect for storing a few diapers and wipes for those midnight changes.  And one of my favorite things about this - the retractable side wall.  The side wall easily pushes down so you can get your baby out with ease while you're still in bed.  It's recommended for babies up to 5 months or 20 lbs (maximum of 30 lbs), so I know Sam will be getting some use out of it for a while!

I've also been loving their SleepSacks.  Sam won't sleep unless he is swaddled, and the SleepSack helps me get a nice and snug wrap on him.. which helps him to sleep longer.  Longer sleep for him equals longer sleep for Mama.. longer sleep for Mama equals happiness all around!

As a friendly reminder, here are some tips for a safe sleeping environment...

  • Always use a crib or bassinet that meets the current safety standards - with a firm mattress and is covered with a tight-fitting sheet.  
  • Remove all toys, loose blankets, bumpers, pillows, etc, from the sleep area.  Use a wearable blanket if needed.  
  • Always place a baby to bed on his or her back.
  • Offer a pacifier when putting baby to bed.
  • Never dress your baby too warmly for sleep.
  • Never allow baby around any smoking or smoky area.
  • Never put baby to sleep on any soft surface such as a sofa, plush blanket/surface, etc.

You can find and follow HALO via Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Google+, and YouTube.

Taking Care of Delicate Skin with Weleda


“I participated in an Influencer Activation on behalf of Influence Central for Weleda. I received product samples to facilitate my review as well as a promotional item to thank me for my participation. All opinions and reviews are my own.”

At the very end of my pregnancy I started gathering all the last minute necessities that I was missing... you know.. paci's (which he actually doesn't care for.. unfortunately), newborn hair brush, wash cloths, another pack of diapers & wipes, breastfeeding essentials, baby wash, lotion, and diaper cream.  Remembering from when Clara was little.. she had a bit of eczema and some seriously sensitive skin.. so even though I love all the frou-frou smell-good baby lotion, I wanted to find something that would be beneficial to newborn skin in case he was like his big sis.

I heard about Weleda and took some time to look into it a little more.  Their products are natural and fragrance-free and were awarded the National Eczema Association Seal of Acceptance.  Perfect for that sensitive skin I was so sure he was going to have.

And wouldn't you know it, I was right.  ;)  His skin was very flaky on his hands and feet, as well as on his face and around his eyebrows.  He also had a little bit of baby acne on his chest, and the lotion didn't irritate that at all.  The diaper cream is great also.  It is made with pharmaceutical-grade since oxide and extracts of white mallow which is specifically known for being soothing/healing.  

I've been using these products on Sam since he was about 1.5 weeks old or so.  He's now 5 weeks old and his skin is looking great.  After bath time.. because that tends to dry the skin out.. I lather him up in some lotion, and he's ready to go.  I truly love these products and am happy they have worked so well for my little guy!  These products don't leave him feeling greasy at all, and they rub into the skin nicely.

You can find their products on their website, BuyBuyBaby, or at Whole Foods Market and other natural health food stores.  And good news!  Through June 30th, 2015 you can score 20% off your purchase on their website using the code WELEDABABY.

A Thankful Heart is a Happy Heart {VeggieTales}


"This shop is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Weave Made Media® and DreamWorks, but all my opinions are my own. #weavemade #VeggieTalesfun

We are huge fans of VeggieTales in this house.  Clara's movie collection is pretty impressive, and at one point she was so obsessed that her Sweetpea Beauty went with her everywhere.  We were at Walmart the other week, and spotted some of their new plush toys - we just had to grab up Bob & Larry!  Clara likes that Bob has blue eyes like she does.  ;)

The things about VeggieTales that I love, is the messages behind the stories.  Not only is it a cute cartoon.. and let's face it.. you will be singing those songs when you're trying to fall asleep at night.. but every movie has a specific lesson/message.  I've even used some of the phrases from the movies to help teach Clara in our every day life.. because it's something familiar to her and she can relate to.

The phrase I've been using lately is "a thankful heart is a happy heart".. which is from the Madame Blueberry movie (a lesson in.. can you guess... thankfulness).  She's at the point where she wants everything, and thinks it's the end of the world if she doesn't get what she wants.  Teaching toddler these little life lessons isn't easy, but it sure does help when you can use something they like and relate to as a learning tool.

Even little man is starting to love the VeggieTales ;)
Do you watch VeggieTales in your house?  If so, what are you favorite movies?  Does your kiddo have a favorite character?  You can visit VeggieTales here:  Website, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest.  Send them some love and tell them how awesome they are!

Go Out & PLAY {with Gymboree}


One of our favorite things to do on a beautiful day, is head to the park.  Lucky for us we have a few different ones close by to choose from.  We all love to get some sun and breathe some fresh air... but another benefit is that Clara gets to run all her energy off and ends up going to bed early - and then she sleeps like a rock!  ;)  And while at the park, it's important to be dressed properly - enter Gymboree's new Hop 'N' Roll collection.  This line of clothing was made with outdoor fun in mind, and cute mix & match styles.

Clara is wearing the Geo Print Romper from the Hop 'n' Play line.
This new line launched last week and is available for babies and kids (both boys and girls) sizes 6 months through size 10.  The absolute best part about this line.. other than the super cute clothes.. is that Gymboree is partnering with KaBOOM! to raise money to help 10,000 kids get active play every day in 2015.

Play is important for all children.  Playing is how they learn, how they grow... it's not only good for the physical exercise, but for their mind and overall well-being too.  There's nothing I love more than watching my girl run around at the park, playing in the sandboxes and climbing on the jungle gym.



KaBOOM! is a national non-profit organization that is dedicated to bringing all kids the childhood they deserve - full of active play.  Especially those growing up in poverty here in America.  Did you know that only one in four children gets 60 minutes of active play every day?  That makes this Mama's heart pretty sad.  I'm so thankful that KaBOOM! is taking action to build a place to play for kids across the country, and I think it's pretty awesome that Gymboree is there to support them!

Through May 31st, a portion of the proceeds from all in-store and online sales from the Hop 'n' Roll line will go directly to KaBOOM!  To help make this dream a reality, purchase Hop 'n' Roll clothes online, in a Gymboree store, or you can contribute directly to their campaign.  And currently, the new line is 50% off... which means you can find your kids some comfortable clothes at a price you can be comfortable with!


Gymboree provided me with a gift card for Clara's outfit - however, all wording and opinions are my own.  I think this is a FABULOUS cause they making a partnership with!

Just Born for Baby {review}


Clara was my difficult baby for the first month or so of her life.  And she hated to be swaddled.  She hated being contained.  After I figured that out, I never tried very hard to swaddle her again - honestly, I wasn't very good at it to begin with.

As a second-time mama.. I prayed and hoped my child would enjoy being swaddled.  Having a toddler who no longer naps.. and a newborn who I desperately need to take good naps.. I would try just about anything for him to take a nice long snooze.  I got smart and looked into the Deluxe Swaddle by Just Born, already knowing I wasn't the greatest at swaddling.   I still have a hard time getting a good enough swaddle with a regular muslin blanket, he always seems to houdini his way out.  This particular swaddle blanket is perfect for those mama's who aren't the greatest at swaddling - there's no shame in that.. we can't all be good at everything!  But Sam instantly stops crying when I wrap him up in this.  It's practically houdini-proof.  ;)

Just Born Deluxe Swaddle

Just Born Deluxe Swaddle

A few things I love about the Deluxe Swaddle?

It's easy to use!!  It comes with instructions on both arms-in-swaddling and arms-out-swaddling, and though it may look a little intimidating.. I promise you it's not.  It comes with cradle support for the baby's head and neck, provides tummy support, and allows for healthy hip movement while swaddled.  It's a good feeling to know that my baby boy is not only comfortable while he's wrapped up in the Deluxe Swaddle.. but he's also safe.

The thing is kind of like magic.  He really does stop fussing once I put him in it.. it gives me at least a few minutes of peace and quiet.  ;)  And I mean really.. look how cute he is in it...

Just Born Deluxe Swaddle

Week 3: Meeting Nana & Papa


I love it when my parents come visit.  We only get to see them a 2-3 times a year, so I really cherish the time.  They were here all last week.. and I was so anxious for them to get here and be able to snuggle little Sam.  And of course Clara was more than excited to see her Nana & Papa.  She soaks up all the play time she can get with them.

We did a lot of just hanging out, went to the park and out to eat a couple of times.  The majority of the time they were here, it was so beautiful outside.. so we spent quite a bit of time enjoying the sunshine and fresh air.  Clara threw around some water balloons and teased the dog with her water gun.. Sam.. well, when he wasn't crying, eating, or poo'ing.. he was snoozing the day away.  ;)

My parents didn't get to meet Clara in person until she was almost 3 months old, so I loved that they were able to be here to enjoy Sam's newborn sweetness.  At the start of week 3, Sam left behind his newborn diapers and clothes.  My sweet boy is already growing so fast.  He is still eating every couple of hours.  The longest he has gone between feedings is 3.5 hours.  I really hope that changes soon, ha!  And I'm happy to say that he's a breastfeeding champ, with no signs of a milk protein allergy (yet - fingers crossed), like his big sis had.  His cheeks are getting chubbier, and he's getting so long - and my favorite part.. he's SO close to a first real smile.  So so close.. I'm anxiously awaiting the day he smiles at me.  I remember when Clara first did, and it just melts me!

And as for me, I've got about 10 lbs to go until I'm where I was before Sam.  But I'm in no rush. 

We all went out for breakfast at a local diner before they left last Saturday and after we were done eating, we said our see ya later's and went our separate ways.  When we pulled back into our drive way, Clara realized Nana & Papa weren't behind us and had a little 5 minute breakdown.  I have to admit, it hurt my heart a little bit.  The whole being away from family part of military life never gets easier for me, especially being so close with them - but I am so thankful for technology.. FaceTime, Skype.. that I can see their faces at any time.  

And thankfully, after a couple minutes, Clara was distracted by a bird in a tree or something.. made me giggle a little.  She's always going from one extreme emotion to the next.. but I guess that's what us girls do.  ;)

Free to Be with all free clear


Ok.. so now I have 2 kids.  Two.  It's been three weeks and that still hasn't quite sunk in yet, probably because my husband is still off of work until next week so I've had quite a bit of help around here.  Next week will be a whole new ball game for me.  You know what comes with two kids?  Twice as much laundry.. possibly even three times as much.. because we all know newborns like to spit up, poo, and pee all over the place.  I'm thankful for my all free clear laundry detergent.  I've been using this detergent since Clara was born - mainly because she had some eczema when she was younger.  Our whole family tends to have sensitive skin like that and the all free clear products have received the National Eczema Association (NEA) Seal of Acceptance.. so it avoids all those awful chemicals, dyes, and perfumes that irritate the skin.

I'm all about the products that are free of anything harsh for my littles skin.  On top of that, this detergent is affordable and it leaves our clothes feeling clean - and it's safe for all washing machines.

So if you have children with sensitive skin.. or just children that like to make a mess (and if you have a kid, then I have no doubt they like to make a mess.. what kid doesn't).. then you need this detergent.  It's conquered every stain I sent it's way, and was gentle enough for my babies skin.

Ju-Ju-Be Bags {review}


Ju Ju Be

So Ju-Ju-Be has some pretty awesome diaper bags, but they have other cute bags as well!  I received The Legacy Starlet (in the Duchess pattern) and the Legacy Be Set (also in the Duchess pattern) from them a few weeks ago and I was so excited when they arrived!  I chose the Legacy Starlet, which is similar to a small duffle bag, because I wanted to use it as my hospital bag for when I had to head out for baby boy's arrival.  I'm happy to say that when I had it all packed up, everything fit in there so nicely!  It's just the right size - it would also be perfect to pack for a weekend getaway.  It has an Agion treatment, which protects the bag and inhibits odor-causing bacteria, mold, and mildew.. so it would also be great for a gym bag!

Also.. can I just say.. as a mom, I LOVE that these are machine washable.  It makes life so easy.  Not only that, but it's made with a Teflon fabric protector that helps repel stains - so it's tough and durable.  It has an outside zip pocket that makes it easy to grab the most important things quickly (phone, wallet, etc).  Plus, it's cute - and who doesn't like to be cute?  It's easy to carry and I received a lot of compliments on it while I was in the hospital!

I also received the Legacy Be Set, which is a set of three different sized bags/wristlets.  I love these because I can use these as my "purse" and throw them into my diaper bag so I can easily find my things vs. the baby things.  And again, these are machine washable - yes please!  They're also easy to just grab and go, if you're heading out for a night with friends.  I love that Ju-Ju-Be's bags are so versatile.

Clara had to jump in the photo with me.. and how could I say no?  She's just too cute.  :)

Have any of you owned a Ju-Ju-Be bag?  What one do you have, and what do you think of it?

I received two Ju-Ju-Be products in exchange for my review & opinion.