giveaway!!! custom blog design by Danielle Burkleo (Take Heart Blog)

GIVEAWAY

For those who are already part of the blogging community you understand when I say that blogging can be a type of therapy. Like I previously mentioned Sincerely Mama was initially launched back in 2011. But with the demands of starting a new business and having my second child 14-months after my first I had to manage my priorities differently. Fast forward 3 1/2 years and here we are again. I feel so honored to have the opportunity to blog again. It was something I missed terribly and couldn’t wait till the time was right to relaunch.

This time with the design of Sincerely Mama I wanted something different. I wanted a sleek and minimalistic design. I wanted my pictures to do all the color talking. I searched high and low for the right designer. I reviewed multiple portfolios until I came across Danielle Burkleo (Take Heart). Immediately I was thrilled to find a designer who also blogged, had tons of designs under her belt and surprisingly was a reasonable price.

Danielle from the beginning was amazing. I am your typical Virgo! So that means tons of request, changes, attention to minor details, extremely meticulous and probably overbearing. Yes… I’m ok with admitting it. Danielle was always patient, kind and so willing to listen and help. She quickly started designing and to my surprise was finished before I even knew what topic I’d write for my first post. Even after the launch I’ve contacted Danielle with minor changes (Virgo again) and she was willing to help out. Danielle will forever be my go-to for any blog design work. You can check out her portfolio here, her work is beyond beautiful.

With all that said I am over the moon to bring you all an amazing opportunity and giveaway. Many of you have thought about the idea of blogging but do not know where to start. Or some of you want to relaunch your current blog. Well thanks to Danielle we are offering you a chance to win a custom blog design for blogger. Here’s your chance to work with a great designer to either start or relaunch your blog.

Giveaway details & rulesBlogger blogs only. $170 value. Custom blog design includes header, navigation bar, social media set, about photo + text, blog button with scroll box, layout update and installation. Policies here, portfolio here. 

To enter, follow the steps in the Rafflecopter widget below. Good luck! 

 

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learning to love reading… our local public library

“The more that you read, the more places you’ll go. The more that you learn, the more things that you’ll know.” -Dr.Seuss

 

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Unfortunately, my children have never been the ones that get lost in books. We have bookcases filled with the most memorable children books some even from my own childhood. But nonetheless they have never really desired to sit still and read and/or listen to mommy or daddy read. It’s been an ongoing struggle in our home. Recently while researching local toddler activities I came across some great toddler programs at our local library. Everything from story time to arts and crafts all geared to the toddler age. BRILLIANT!!! Since my kids have never been to school or even in a daycare type environment I thought this would be a perfect way to further their social skills with other children while allowing them to pick and choose their own books and participate in some fun arts and crafts. Another huge perk is it’s local and free!! I remember multiple weekly visits to my local library as a child. How did I forget about the wonders and imagination you create in a library?

This past week was out first visit to our local library and let me start off saying it was everything I could imagine and more. The kids were so excited to be apart of the group of kids sitting and listening to the librarian read. They looked around with eyes of wonder at all the toys and books in the children’s nook. After story time they participated in arts & crafts. It was a fun coloring, pasting and cutting activity. The kids loved it. One thing I also noticed was how I need to start focusing on having them color in the lines. Nothing too serious but taking them here allowed me to also see where as a mama I need to focus on as far as their learning and growth. It was a win/win for all of us. Lastly, after arts and crafts I took the kids back to the children’s nook and allowed them to pick two books each. Wow was I amazed at their excitement. Just by allowing them to pick their own books in a new environment it totally opened them up to the idea of having fun reading. Since then we have read at least 4 books a day. It’s been awesome and I’m stoked for our newest weekly activity, our local library visits.

 

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current favorites: what’s in mama’s vanity (body & skincare)

 

Mama's Vanity

I am forever searching for new body & skincare products. Some may even call it partially obsessive. When I started on my quest to live a more green and natural lifestyle I started with products for my kids. Later I began to switch out products for my husband and I. These are my favorites and in another post i’ll touch on what my man loves. Switching his products was actually a little more difficult than my own.We get tons of inquiries through Mothers Organic from moms that are curious as to what my picks are for natural body and skincare products. Well the ones listed here have been my go-to for about two years and for me that is noteworthy. Like I mentioned earlier I am FOREVER searching for that right product.

YestoCarrots Daily Cream Facial Cleanser. I really love YestoCarrots brand and I’m a big fan of cream facial washes. Typically I don’t have oily or dry skin, it’s pretty much in the middle so this cleanser works great for me. Also, I don’t always take my makeup off at night. I know.. I know. But this cleanser doubles as a great makeup remover. I’ve tried with a few cleansers to remove the eyeliner from underneath my eyes and sometimes it just smears but not with this one, it completely removes. It’s 96% natural. Petroleum, SLS, Paraben & cruelty free!

Humprey’s Homeopathic Remedy Organic Witch Hazel. From everything from reducing puffy eyes to reducing acne & inflammation, Witch Hazel is my go-to for natural astringent.

YestoCarrots Daily Facial Moisturizer with SPF 15Finding the right daily moisturizer was one of the most difficult searches when switching my products to natural skincare. For some reason I felt natural moisturizers tended to be more heavy. With my skin not being too dry I needed something light but something that also contained SPF. This is the perfect mix of both worlds. I LOVE my YestoCarrots Daily Moisturizer.

Alba Botanica Hawaiian Passion Fruit Body Wash. Alba Botanica is one of my favorite natural brands. It smells amazing and never dries out your skin. Also a little goes a long way. Alba has tons of different body washes that are probably just as amazing but their Hawaiian line is my favorite. It’s has 100% vegetarian ingredients. NO Animal Testing, Artificial Colors, Synthetic Fragrances, Parabens, Phthalates, SLS or SMS.

Alba Botanica Hawaiian Hand & Body Lotion Cocoa Butter. Hands down best body moisturizer. Last forever, smells amazing and again natural.

Organic Coconut Oil. I use this for everything. Literally, everything from cooking to healing diaper rashes. Umm, maybe that order was not the best description. Anyhow, coconut oil has many benefits. It’s AMAZING!! For skincare I use this as an additional moisturizer for my skin. I have this routine of  putting a quarter size amount of lotion in my hand mixed with a dime size amount of coconut oil. Mix it together and lather up. It’s my routine after the shower.

Tom’s of Maine Natural Deodorant. I always aim to “keep it real”. Currently this is my go-to for deodorant. Am I 100% happy with it. Absolutely not. Does it work better than any other natural deodorant I’ve tried thus far, Yes. So this is my current deodorant. Tom’s is a trusted brand and it keeps me fresh throughout my day. Summertime may be a little sketchy, LOL. But I’m determined to keep it aluminum-free in the deodorant department. If you guys have any suggestions on other natural deodorants please send them my way.

DoTerra onGuard Toothpaste. Being that I love all things DoTerra essential oils it was only right that I stick to their toothpaste. My husband and I swear by this toothpaste. We believe it helps with keeping viruses away with it’s OnGuard essential oil properties.The On Guard blend of wild orange, clove, cinnamon, eucalyptus, and rosemary essential oils provides a first line of defense against germs and other pathogens that can infect the mouth and throat. It’s also fluoride- and harsh abrasive-free.

Alba Botanica Lip Balm. I only use this lip balm. For whatever reason other lip balms break me out. This one never fails and has an amazing scent. Also it’s reasonably priced.

What are my beauty goals and things I want to try? Oil pulling, making my own natural facial mask, making my own toothpaste and heavy metal bath detox. I’ll keep you all updated on these and will make sure to document and post my results. 

Have you tried any of these? Do you have any suggestions? Please share!!! 

 

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our summer bucketList

 

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As summer is rapidly coming to an end and my mind is quickly planning for cooler days including the holiday seasons. I remind myself of how blessed we’ve been this year, particularly this summer. From finding out we were expecting our third child to many quick getaways either to Disneyland or local CA travel spots, we’ve truly been fortunate to create new memories together as a family. One thing i’ve found is that making a bucket list helps to remember to plan for fun, non-working times with the family. With both my husband and I running businesses we tend to get side tracked and caught up in work. A fun way to plan for small getaways or family memories is making a bucket list of things you’d love to experience for the season. I’m usually realistic about what I add to our bucket list but never forget to dream a little. Typically we complete at least 70% of our bucket list and whatever we haven’t done I save for the next season if the weather permits. This year our list included:

+ Beach with Fam

+ El Capitan Canyon

+ Movies with Kids

+ Sea World San Diego

+ San Diego Zoo

+ OC Fair

+ Kite Flying

+ Kids Photos

+ Famers Market

+ Dodger Game

+ Lake Tahoe

+ Dinosaur World

I’m super stoked to revisit this list and see we’ve done at least 80% of our list and have a few more things in the plans for Sept/Oct. With baby number 3 coming this December it was extremely important to have made some memories with just the four of us. Below are some pictures of our #mcknightsummer14. Also my organized bucket list wouldn’t be complete without using my ever so trusty Emily Ley Simplified Planner. She seriously made sure not to miss any details. From the inspirational daily quotes to the yearly bucket list section; The Emily Ley Simplified Planner is my #1 go-to for being an organized mama. Stay tuned and sign up to be notified of my latest post. I’ll  make sure to complete a detailed review and maybe a giveaway later this year!

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Photos captured by the ever so lovely and talented Kristin Eldridge. Check out her site and if your in the LA/OC area make sure to reach out for your next family photo session.

 

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benefits of elderberry syrup

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I always want to share my favorite finds with you guys. Things that my family has grown to love and see make a difference in our lives. With cold and flu season approaching one of the “must have’s” in our medicine cabinet/refrigerator is Elderberry Syrup. As soon as I feel or see a cold or flu coming I make sure to start adding or have the kids add Elderberry Syrup to their daily routine. Elderberries have been used for centuries and are known to help naturally boost the immune system, decrease mucous production and treat upper respiratory infections. I usually just purchase our Elderberry Syrup but for those that like a good DIY/Recipe here is a great one I found over at WellnessMama.

Have you ever made your own Elderberry Syrup? If so share your recipe with us in the comments below.

 

Please keep in mind the information on this website is designed for educational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for informed medical advice or care. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat any health problems or illnesses without consulting your pediatrician or family doctor. Please consult a doctor with any questions or concerns you might have regarding your or your child’s condition.

 

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sincerely mama + freshly picked giveaway

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One of my goals on Sincerely Mama is to share and introduce great brands and companies that hold a special place in my heart. One company that needs no introduction is Freshly Picked. I’ve personally been a fan since early 2011. When JJ, my first kiddo was born. I looked everywhere for that perfect shoe. I wanted something that was extra comfy, would grow with his feet, stylish and a shoe that could potentially be passed down to any other kids we planned on having. Well two and a half kids later we are still rockin’ with Susan and her Freshly Picked brand. I am beyond thrilled for Susan and the success of her business. I’ve watched as an adoring customer for the last four years as Susan built her brand from the bottom up. I admire everything from the quality of these shoes to the woman and employees behind it. Read more about Susan and her company here.

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I am over the moon to announce that Freshly Picked is offering one Sincerely Mama reader a chance to win a pair of Freshly Picked Moccs (winner picks the color & size). To enter, follow the steps in the Rafflecopter widget below, also do not forget to leave a comment telling me what your favorite color of Freshly Picked Moccasins are. The contest is open to U.S. residents only and will run from Friday, August 22nd, 2014 through Wednesday, August 28th, 2014 at 12:01PST. Good luck! And remember you can enter once a day! 

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DIY laundry detergent

DIY Laundry Detergent

 

One of the best decisions I’ve made for my family was recently saving money by making our own laundry detergent. It’s seriously so quick and easy and another way to rid my family of potential toxic chemicals that can be found in everyday laundry detergent. Do you know what’s in your current laundry detergent? Below i’ve included a chart from motherearthliving.com on what harmful ingredients to avoid along with my quick and easy recipe for DIY Laundry Detergent.

 

Ingredients:

+ 1 Cup Baking Soda

+ 1 Cup Citric Acid

+ 1 Cup Castile Soap Bar

+ 1 Cup Arm+Hammer Washing Soda

 

Directions:

+ Shred entire bar of castile soap into jar.

+ Add all ingredients and mix.

+ Optional but you can 1 cup of distilled vinegar to fabric softener tray; this helps to brighten clothes.

+ Optional you can add a few drops of an essential oil to the load to add additional natural scents.

 

And thanks all, super easy and takes less than 15 minutes!!! Let me know how you like it or if you have any suggestions or other recipes for DIY laundry detergent.

 

 

DIY Laundry @

 

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Ingredient to Avoid Found In Potential Health Risks
Benzaldehyde Laundry bleach, perfumes Irritation to mouth, throat, eyes and skin
Ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid Fabric softener Reproductive and developmental effects in animal studies
Artificial fragrances Laundry detergent, dryer sheets, fabric softener Irritation to skin and eyes; many are toxic and are
suspected carcinogens
Diethanolamine Detergent Irritation to skin and eyes; linked to liver and kidney tumors
and developmental and reproductive toxicity in animal studies
Quaternium-15 Detergent Releases formaldehyde, a known carcinogen that causes
rashes and skin inflammation
2-Butoxyethanol Dry cleaning chemical, stain removers Birth defects and reproductive and developmental effects
in animal studies; carcinogen
Chlorine Laundry bleach Potent irritant to eyes, upper respiratory tract and lungs
Perchlorethylene (Perc) Dry cleaning chemical Liver and kidney damage; irritant; possible carcinogen
Ethyl acetate Fabric softener Neurotoxin; irritant
Nonylphenol ethoxylate Laundry detergent, dry cleaning aids Hormone disruptor
ER, KSN, OB, OB-1 Common trade names for optical brighteners Possible developmental and reproductive effects
Linear alkyl sodium sulfonates
(LAS)
Detergent Skin and eye irritant; can be toxic to aquatic life; can
produce toxic fumes during production
Petroleum distillates
(also called naphthas)
Detergent Chemicals linked to cancer and lung damage

 

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vaccinations… my most dreaded mama decision

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Days like this I sit in bed with tons of anxiety dreading that long ride to the doctors office. I have such a love/hate relationship with vaccinations. Actually more of an anxiety stricken, sick to my stomach, am I a bad mama type relationship. I pride myself in research and trying my hardest to provide my kids with the safest, purest and non-toxic lifestyle as possible. I’m far from perfect and my kids aren’t completely raised in a 100% eco-friendly & organic home but we do believe in balance and trying our best. With balance comes understanding. The understanding that I cannot completely rid their lives of the “unhealthy stuff” always.

One decision that weighed heavy on my heart since I first became pregnant was the choice we’d have to make regarding vaccinations. I went back and fourth for months. Looking into ways to avoid them, researching on the benefits, the side-effects and the dangers of our decision to vaccinate or not to vaccinate.What a challenging decision! Well long story short we decided as parents to vaccinate. I believe I don’t know enough to make the decision to not vaccinate. I wish there was a course to take or a conference to visit to learn more about the pros and cons. I wish this conference had a panel of parents, some who believed in vaccinations and ones that didn’t. That way I could hear both sides and not the literature side as much as the parental side. If any of you know about this “magical” conference please let me know, I’ll be the first to buy the ticket and fly to the location!!!

However, since we’ve decided to vaccinate and both my kids have been through these type of shots multiple times being that they are ages 3 & 2 I use a tip chart complied by The Texas Oil Mama of helpful before/after steps to help their little bodies prepare for these shots. DoTerra Essential Oils have been such a great investment for my family. We use them for everything from burns to avoiding/treating common colds.

Suggested Oils to use before/after vaccinations:  


Lavender on injection site pain.
OnGuard starting one month before vaccines to build immune system.
Lemon in water to help protect the brain from neurotoxins. 
DigestZen to ease “tummy trouble” following vaccines.
Breathe Essential Oil Blend to open airways following vaccines. 
Cilantro Essential Oil* to rid the body of heavy metal toxins contained in vaccines. 1 time a day for 7 days.
 (scroll down for Heavy Metal Cleanse)
Zendocrine essential oil blend and DDR Prime diluted in fractionated coconut oil on the abdomen over the area where the liver is located to help with detoxification and cellular healing.

Heavy Metal Cleanse

Dr. Susan Lawton offered this advice for chelating (whisking away) HEAVY METALS: Put these drops in a roller bottle and apply to Eustacian Tubes and neck in downward motion:
  1. Frankincense (4 drops) — breaks down alien matter and helps body remember to be whole/perfect
  2. Helichrysum (5 drops) — facilitators for fluid balance
  3. Cypress (3 drops) — clears it all away
  4. Lavender (3 drops) — soother

* Make sure to rid your child’s exposure to toxic chemicals found in everyday common household cleaning supplies, processed foods and synthetic products found in lotions and soaps.

* Lastly, I’m not sure if this helps based on reading conflicting reports but we choose to space our children’s vaccinations out. So instead of them receiving four shots in one day they get two and the remaining two on a future visit. We also avoid the flu shot. Most doctors understand and support the parent’s decision.

Please keep in mind the information on this website is designed for educational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for informed medical advice or care. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat any health problems or illnesses without consulting your pediatrician or family doctor. Please consult a doctor with any questions or concerns you might have regarding your or your child’s condition.

 

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benefits of grapefruit seed extract

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One of the many benefits of being a member of the blogging community is learning new things through other mamas & parents. You seem to have a direct insight into their family choices and what has or hasn’t worked for them. This applies to medicines, parenting styles, clothing choices, recipes and much more. It’s so fun to learn and try out products based on another mama’s review. One of my favorite areas of research is natural living. I’m constantly on the search for natural products that help reduce the use of traditional medicines and products.

Recently I was introduced to Grapefruit Seed Extract. Grapefruit Seed Extract is a natural compound derived from the seed and pulp of grapefruit. The great thing about GSE is that it’s a natural antibiotic and acts against a variety of bacterial infections. It’s known to heal and treat everything from sore throats, flus, colds, vaginal yeast infections, gastrointestinal infections and tooth/gum infections. GSE can also be used topically to treat acne and infected cuts while also serving as a disinfectant that can be used to clean fruits, veggies, meats and even cleaning your kitchen cutting boards.

Being that it is not recommended for daily use we typically use it to fight common infections. Basically at a point in which we would need an antibiotic we first grab GSE. Now don’t get me wrong, I still believe in traditional western medicine but believe it’s best to try the natural route first. I use my mama instincts and gauge if it’s something we can handle or if it’s something that needs immediate attention. You can follow the directions on the bottle by adding 10 drops into a glass of water or juice (5 oz. or more), 1-3 times daily, with or without meals.  One thing that I have not really looked totally into but I’m definitely interested is, is it’s ability to help with IBS. I’ve read that it helps to kill off yeast build-up or bad bacteria in the colon. Being that I am very familiar with gastrointestinal issues this is a very important issue to me and will be a direct topic I revisit soon with my personal experience of treating gastro issues with GSE.

Please keep in mind the information on this website is designed for educational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for informed medical advice or care. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat any health problems or illnesses without consulting your pediatrician or family doctor. Please consult a doctor with any questions or concerns you might have regarding your or your child’s condition.

 

 

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