July 21, 2014

3-Night Hotel GIVEAWAY in California!!!

What a fun week! I hope you had an opportunity to get to know the creative, awesome, talented and beautiful contributors in the Contributor Q&A Blog Hop! I know I did. I love getting to know people and learning more about what they love to do, what they love to eat, and how they like to fill their time. If you hopped around, I hope you were able to make new friends, find new ideas, and gather new recipes. Everyone loves new recipes! How many times, in your stressful life, have you dreamed about laying out on the beach with a great book? 'Or so she says...' to the rescue! So, to further expand on our favorites, all of the OSSS contributors got together to give away their favorite books, perfect for summer reading! The coolest part is, one person will win EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THEM. That's right, the whole bundle! That's 15 books, yo. Oh, but it gets better. Get Away Today, the greatest travel agency ever and 'Or so she says...' contributor, offered another winner a 3-night hotel stay in Anaheim or San Diego (winner’s choice) with their choice of two adult theme park tickets... PLUS, they get the 15 book bundle too! Favorite Books Giveaway

Lets go over those prizes again:

Grand Prize Winner: 15 'Contributors' Favorite Books' Bundle PLUS a 3-night hotel stay in Anaheim or San Diego (winner’s choice) with their choice of two adult theme park tickets! Vacation courtesy of Get Away Today. Runner Up: 15 'Contributors' Favorite Books' Bundle (details of books below.) win, win, win3Ready to enter? So, all we ask is for you to follow 'Or so she says...' and the contributors on Pinterest. We are all pin-maniacs and know you'll love the great ideas we send your way. After you enter, be sure to scroll down and check out all the books included in the giveaway. It's so fun to see what each contributor picked as her favorite book!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Want to know which books are included in the bundle?? What are the contributors' favorites?? Check 'em out! . 1. Winter Sea by Susanna Kearsley ~ "This book was not what I expected...it surpassed what I was hoping for. Mystery, romance and intrigue. Great characters and an interesting plot. It was a great read and perfect for summer reading!" Jana of Double the Deliciousness 2. Plate to Pixel by Helene Dujardin - "This book is a favorite because it teaches how to not only how photograph food, but how to do it beautifully!" Gina of Kleinworth and Co. 3. These is My Words by Nancy Turner "While I'm a country/ farm girl at heart, I can't even begin to imagine what the early settlers went through! I love how they worked the land, built their own homes, and made everything from scratch! And I'm always up for a good love story! Jack and Sarah's won't disappoint!" Brooke of Blissful Roots 4. The Greatest Salesman in the World by Og Mandino - "Aw, I love this book! It's a super unique book, in that it's a parable, teaching you how to be a better person, but also an activity book. Each chapter, you read over and over, until you master the character trait. It's a great story with lots of great thoughts. I think I highlighted half the book!" Mariel of 'Or so she says...' 5. Eat Cake by Jeanne Ray "Eat Cake will make it's way into your list of favorite books, it's a quick and enjoyable read. I love this book for more reasons than the fact that the main character shares my name! It'll have you laughing and crying- all at the same time! If you're like me and have a unexplainable urge to bake... you'll totally connect with Eat Cake!" Ruthie of Cooking with Ruthie 6. Wonder by RJ Palacio - "My 9-year-old daughter recommended Wonder to me and I enjoyed it just as much as she did. This is a compelling novel that is fun and easy enough for summer, but also intelligent and thought-provoking. Share it with your family when you are finished!" Allison of Tips for Family Trips 7. The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin - "I love this book because it is getting me to think deeper about what I do to bring happiness upon myself. I am a happy person, but am loving the new outlook and am loving making new goals to make myself really live a happy life." Kiki of Kiki and Company 8. Happier by Tal Ben-Shahar - "It's easy to think that once a certain thing happens, I'll be happy. Well, this book provides little life secrets to be happier each and every day. It is applicable for every life stage. It has changed my way of thinking about happiness." Melissa of So Festive! 9. Blackmoore by Julianne Donaldson - "Sometimes a mom just needs a good, quick, easy summer read to distract her from doing more laundry or to keep her busy during swim lessons. If you love a good Jane Austen romance, you will love this book! Set in Jane Austen's English countryside of 1820, this romance will keep you quickly turning the pages as you watch Kate's struggle to learn to follow her heart!" Veronica of Lolly Lu Designs 10. Leadership and Self- Deception - "Do you want to know the secret to having a happy and successful family and marriage? Want to know how to have successful relationships with anyone you come in contact with? Leadership and Self-deception holds the key to mending, strengthening and flourishing in all of your relationships. This book is a life changer- Promise!" Heather of Family Volley 11. Surprise Inside Cakes by Amanda Rettke - "It's a beautiful book of cakes and it's full of cake decorating tips for the everyday bake. Amazing cakes for every special occasion, all with a little surprise on the inside." Zainab of Blahnik Baker 12. The Child Whisperer by Carol Tuttle - "It taught me how to parent my very determined toddler (at the time) based on her personality type." Amy of The Connection We Share 13. A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaleo Hosseini - "I read this as part of a book club and it has stuck with me ever since. It is a beautifully written, emotionally gripping story of two Afghan women's suffering, strength, and resilience. What I love most about it is the way it celebrates the strength of the human spirit - a beautiful thing!" Cathy of Lemon Tree Dwelling 14. I've Got Your Number by Sophie Kinsella - "A light, charming book by the author of the popular Shopaholic series. This clever romantic comedy makes for a fun and easy summer read, by the pool or on the beach!" Samantha of Five Heart Home 15. Princess Academy by Shannon Hale - "I loved this simple story that has some fun little twists. My favorite part is that my daughter loved this book as much as I did. I love being able to enjoy the same books as my daughter. This is one that was enjoyable for us both!" Holly of Bits of Everything Longest post of your life? Maybe! But, it's worth it. Good luck to you!

Fine print: Must be U.S. resident and 18 years or older to enter. Vacation package must be booked at least 60 days in advance and is subject to availability and some blackout dates. This post contains affiliate links.

July 17, 2014

Are you an Overly Protective Parent?

Do you constantly monitor your kids every move. Is the day filled with warnings and cautions, "be careful" and "don't touch that"?

Naturally, we worry about our children and don't want anything bad to happen to them. But... being overprotective is not the best route to take. In fact, it actually does more harm than good. When we overprotect our kids we keep them from learning the key skills they need to handle the challenges they will face in life and keep them from becoming self sufficient adults. 

This week I had a chance to talk "Overprotective Parenting" on Studio 5 with Brooke Walker. 

Want to know if you are an overprotective parent? 
Want to know how to stop overprotecting your kids?

Take a few minutes and watch the segment. I share the key to knowing if you are overprotective and some great tips for not being too overprotective. It's a good reminder for all of us. 

July 14, 2014

Getting to Know...

This year I have had the opportunity to regularly contribute over at "Or So She Says.". It has been such a positive experience. If you don't already make the site a daily stop, you should. The contributors are amazing and their ideas are fantastic. Today, all the contributors are participating in a blog hop. We all answered the same 10 questions. You can hop around, meet each of us, and get to know us a little better. I hope you will play along. And stay tune, because coming up is an amazing giveaway. Think family vacation and taking a trip. Stay tuned.

What inspired you to start your blog (or shop?) 
Starting FamilyVolley wasn't my decision. There was a much Higher Power in control. It hit me one day that it was something that I HAD to do. The material I was able to learn in graduate school, and was teaching at BYU was changing lives, and the feeling kept coming that more people needed to hear the message I was sharing in the classroom. I would lay in bed every single night, unable to sleep, and unable to shake the thought that I needed to start blogging. There was hesitation. I didn't know anything about blogging. I knew it would be a time commitment, and with small children, I didn't have free time. The list of "why not's" went on and on. Regardless of the excuses I came up with, I couldn't shake the promptings. Finally after months and months of no sleep, I brought it up to my husband and asked what he thought I should do. He gave me the obvious look.  He said, "You know what you need to do. I can't believe you waited this long to start." He gave me a big hug and that was that. We laid in bed each night trying to come up with a name. You can read about my very first choice for a blog name here. And why I didn't use it. After much thought, FamilyVolley was it. "Family" because it is all about family, and "Volley" because I played lots of tennis in high school and loved to play the net.

Our last formal family picture. Two years ago. We really need to get a new one. 

Our newest edition. Born last December.

What's your favorite and least favorite thing about blogging?
My favorite thing about blogging is getting a comment or email telling me that something they have read on FamilyVolley has helped them, and their family. That makes all the long nights worth it. Making new friends is a very very close second place.

My least favorite thing about blogging is the guilty feeling when I am not blogging regularly. I feel guilty when I don't post, when I don't attend events, pretty much all the time. I used to stay up all night if that is what it took to publish. When it started to take over life, I had to scale back. And now, even though there is still constant guilt and nagging in my head, sometimes a few weeks will go by when I don't post. I have had to get over it. The constant guilt is my least favorite part about blogging. The pressure I put on myself. Yuck.

Tell me with only 20 words, 20 things you love. 
God, Husband, Children, Parents, Brothers, Beaches, Lemon, Tennis, Golf, La Jolla, Sewing, Cooking, Reading, Teaching, Speaking, Laughing, Crossfit, Date Night, Smoothies, Learning


What is the one recipe you are most often asked to share? Please share it with us! 
There are a couple recipes that come to mind, but whenever I take my Lemon Cookies to any get together, I am always asked for the recipe. The easiest cookies you will ever make and perfect for summer. You can find the recipe here.

5 favorite beauty products, right now... what are they?
Bare Minerals Makeup: Anything and everything from this company is perfection. It is all I use.

Hair Spray: I have tried ALL of them. Expensive and cheap, and this is my favorite. You will love it.

Big Sexy-Big Sexy Hair Powder Play Volumizing and Texturing Powder: This will not only volumize your hair, but it will give you a perfect day two AND three, when washing your hair is out of the question.

Sensationail-Best manicure EVER. Will last for weeks and weeks, and weeks. And you can do it yourself.

Nail Nippers: Can't live without these. The link is to a really fancy pair, but I get mine at the local drug store.
What's your personal mantra(s)? 
Always take the high road and treat others the way you would want to be treated.

Something you tell yourself on a regular basis?
Have Faith, it will always work out. 

What movie made you laugh more than any other? 
I am going to have to pass on this one. Nothing is coming to mind.

Our family at the La Jolla Beach and Tennis Club a few years ago. 

If you could recommend one family vacation, what would it be? 
Hands down, the best place to vacation as a family is The La Jolla Beach and Tennis Club in La Jolla California. Our family has been going there for years. You can read more about the resort and our vacations there. If you need the best place to go if you want to take a Family Ski Vacation, you MUST go to Deer Valley, in Park City, Utah. You will not be disappointed. 

What goals are you currently working on? 
1. Get Control of the Laundry: After adding our 5th child, 6 months ago, the laundry has officially taken over my life. I am always behind and have set a major goal to stop the invasion.

2. More Speaking Engagements.

3. Sew More. I love to sew. Love every single thing about it. Plus it is rejuvenating and my favorite way to create. I have goals to make coordinating dresses for our four girls this summer and shorts for our son.

Please share links to 3 blog posts (or items from your shop) that are special to you (or favorites of yours), and explain why.
The Day I Got My Groove Back: Reading this post still makes me cry every. single. time. And women and mothers who are lost, still email me about its message on a weekly basis. It describes the day I found myself again, and I am most grateful for it. Plus, the pictures are awesome.

How to be a Happy Mom and How To Be Fun Mom. These two posts still bring in the most comments, Pins, and emails. I love them. I know they are true, and I have both of them printed and posted above my desk where I see them and read them every single day.

A True Valentine: The story of the first Valentines Day my husband and I spent together. My husband is air for my soul. He was then, still is, and always will be.

Family Fun Friday's Game and Activity Book: A labor of love, the book is filled with the very best games for families and friends. The games are fun, original, and will take all the guess work out of what you and your family can do together. Promise, you will love it. Just click on the red "Buy the Book" button on the top right of the screen. 

Help me out here. What is your favorite funny movie?

Get to know my fellow contributor friends too! They have fantastic blogs that will keep you pinning all day. (There are just a couple that couldn't participate in the blog hop, but pay them a visit anyway. You'll be glad you did! :))
  Packed with Fun
  What's Cooking with Ruthie?
  Blissful Roots
  Darling Darleen
  Prepared Housewives
  Lemon Tree Dwelling
  Tips for Family Trips
  Five Heart Home
  Double the Deliciousness
  Nine a Plenty
  Kleinworth & Co.
  Creative Carmella
  So Festive
  Blahnik Baker
  The Connection We Share
  Bits of Everything
  Kiki and Company
  Or so she says...

May 14, 2014

Bed Time Snacks with Brummel and Brown

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Brummel and Brown. 

Does anyone in your family ever want a little bedtime snack? My husband has taught our kids that toast with butter makes for a great snack before bed. :)

The kids don't worry about what they are eating, they just know it tastes good, but as a mom, I worry about too much butter, too much sugar, you know, the usual unhealthy stuff. We have tried different sugar substitutes and even a few substitutes for butter, but I can't ever get my hubby and the kids to give up the butter.

Our kids love yogurt, so when I recently learned that Brummel and Brown was a butter substitute, made with nonfat yogurt, I hoped I had a good shot at getting the kids to give it try on their toast.

I did my research. The spread has 50% less fat than butter, zero cholesterol and 0 grams of trans fat per serving. Plus, you can use the spread alone, or cook with it in recipes.

Instead of telling the family that I was going to make the switch, I loaded up their toast with Brummel and Brown spread and stood back to see what they said. "Yum, can I have more", was all I heard. No complaints, no concerns, no questions about where the butter went. They loved it. Hubby included.

I did a little more testing and tried the stir fry recipe on their facebook page. Delicious! After a week of using the spread, the kids have decided their favorite is to have it on waffles in the morning before school.

The family enjoyed the taste the most. I loved the texture and how easy it was to spread. Much easier than a cold stick of butter out of the fridge.

It has been a long time since I have found a product that does what it says, but our entire family was really impressed with the Brummel and Brown spread. Given how much my husband loves butter, that is saying a lot. Want to learn more ways to use the spread, be sure you visit the Brummel and Brown facebook page. Not only will your food taste good, but it will be good for your family too.

Do you have any food substitutes that have been successful in your house? What do you switch out to help your family stay healthy?

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf or Brummel and Brown. 

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April 21, 2014

6 Tips For Helping Your Children Make Healthier Food Choices.

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of the Facts Up Front program.

My husband and I are always trying to make healthy food choices for our family. As the primary cook in our home, I feel like it is my responsibility to help our children develop healthy food habits and positive feelings towards food. But, it can be really hard.

After my daughter asked why I was “reading the back of the box” while grocery shopping not too long ago. I showed her how to read labels. She thought it was fun, but had a hard time with all the info and the small print. While reading a cereal box during breakfast, she pointed out that the box nutrition info on the front that was much easier for her to understand.

And that was the first I heard about Facts Up Front. Facts Up Front aims to help families (consumers) make informed choices about food, by putting the nutrition information on the front of the packages where it is much quicker and easier to read.

I have noticed that since our kids have started paying attention to nutrition labels and especially the Facts Up Front, they are much more conscious about the food choices they make. I have loved the quick reference it provides me as I am working to make wise choices for our family. 

Here are 6 tips for helping your kids make healthier food choices. I hope they help your and your family.

 1. Stop restricting Food. Restricting food, leads to a higher chance of eating disorders and negative feelings towards food. It can also promote binge eating and sneaky eating. When kids do get their hands on the restricted food, they tend to overeat it, and even sneak around to get it. We are friends with a family that doesn’t allow one drop of sugar in their home. No candy, cookies, not a single sweet of any kind. Recently, their 6 year old has been stealing candy from his friends, and hiding it under his pillow to eat at night when no one is around. This can be a result of banning, or restricting food. Instead, talk about healthy food choices and don’t loose site of moderation. Teach kids to look for the Facts Up Front label on food for a quick look at what foods are healthy for their bodies.

 2. Don’t use food as a reward. Argh, this one can be so hard as parents. It seems to make things so much easier to be able to bribe with a lollipop, or promise a treat if our daughter does well on her spelling test. But, using food as reward often leads to weight problems, as our children get older. Instead of using food as a reward, reward with fun active things like going for a bike ride, or having a play date outside with friends.

 3. Don’t label food as “good” and “bad”. Labeling food as good or bad teaches our kids to feel guilty as they get older about the choices they make with food. Stop labeling and start teaching. Teach your children how food affects their participation in the activities they like and how it makes their bodies function and feel. This will teach them to make decisions based on what is best for their own bodies. And use words like healthy and unhealthy instead of good and bad.

 4. Stop constantly pointing out unhealthy food choices our children make. Instead of always pointing out the unhealthy choices our kids are making, praise the healthy choices. And don’t hesitate to suggest healthier choices like pretzels over potato chips and fruit over candy. Need help figuring out what food choices are best for your family? Take the Interactive Nutrition Quiz.

 5. Let kids choose. It is empowering when we get to make our own choices. It lets us feel like we are in control. We make so many of the daily choices for our children. When they sleep, what they get to do, what they get to put in their mouths. It can be stifling to them. So, let them make some of their own choices. Before a meal, explain that you are going to have a vegetable, and then let them choose between carrots and green beans. Simply letting them choose will make them more likely to eat the veggie. We tend to own our choices and follow through with things when we are the ones deciding. When your children choose healthy foods they like, serve those more often.

 6. Eat dinner together as a family. This one is really important. Children who eat dinner with their parents are less likely to make unhealthy food choices and are also less likely to engage in delinquent behavior. If you want to read more about the power of family dinners, check out this post. You can also use the Shopping and Meal Planning Tips on the Facts Up Front website to help your family overcome common obstacles for getting from the grocery store to the family dinner table. If you are not eating dinner together now, this can seem overwhelming. Start slow with twice a week and then increase until you are sitting down together as many nights as possible. Utilize resources like the Facts Up Front recipe section for help with what to cook your family.

 The Facts Up Front label is becoming much more prevalent in grocery stores around the country. Go on a little scavenger hunt and have your kids see how many products they can find with the new labels. Couple that with the six tips above and start talking about good nutrition with your kids today.

 This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of the Facts Up Front program.
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