Thursday, February 20, 2014

Penelope's Story

Do you remember my post about Penelope Davis?   
If you missed it, we've gotten to know an amazing family from Des Moines, Iowa.  They have a sweet little baby girl who is turning one year old tomorrow.  Penelope is fighting Stage 4 High Risk Neuroblastoma.

The family is having a really rough time.  Penelope also has 2 big brothers, both with special medical needs and their family is not only struggling emotionally but financially as well.  I'm hoping to help spread the word about Penelope's journey and hope that we can get a little help for the Davis family.

Penelope's parents put together a heart wrenching video of Penelope's story.  I hope you'll all share it and help get the word out.  We all spend so many minutes of our lives each day, checking our social media pages, surfing the internet, reading blogs and entering giveaways.  But what every one of us traded just one of those minutes to share Penelope's video instead of doing something else.  Imagine how many people could see Penelope's story and her family's struggle.  Imagine how much that could do for them! They need a lot of support right now, not just emotionally, but financially as well.  They have a donation page set up to help with medical bills and expenses.  I really hope you consider helping this wonderful family by donating and sharing the page!  Even if its only a small amount, every little bit of love sent their way will go a long way!

Please share Penelope's Story
And follow her journey on Facebook!





Click the photo below to donate!

https://www.giveforward.com/fundraiser/gsw3/penelope-davis-neuroblastoma-fund?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=fb_share_stream.share&utm_campaign=BA_FBshare&og_action=hug&t=3&fb_ref=1819452

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Making Memories Last With Kodak Digital Cameras - Review

The past year has been simply unforgettable!  So much has happened and so much has changed.  There have been so many amazing moments that I wish could last a lifetime.  Moments in life that I want to be sure to capture and keep close to our hearts.

Our world is changing every second and one thing that seems to be constantly changing, is the way we document our lives.  Especially through photography.  These days, so many of life's moments are being captured on smart phones and devices that seem to hold onto our lives like a tiny fragile time capsule.  But how often do we unexpectedly lose those captured moments when our devices fail us?   We seem to be developing less photos these days and when our computers or our phones fail, those images are lost forever.

That's why our digital cameras are with us at all times!  There is nothing like capturing a real photo, printing it out and keeping it safe in our memory books and on our walls in our home.  I love coming home and being surrounded by the faces of the people I love more than anything.   There are so many amazing moments were sharing as a family and not only do I want to be able to open that photo album years and years from now when I'm an old grandmother and look back on these memories of my baby girl's first steps, but I want Emma to be able to look back on these memories too.  And who knows, maybe someday, a long time after I'm gone, my great great grandchildren might be sitting together with their momma, looking at that same photo album, enjoying those special moments I shared with my baby.  Its so important not to miss out on these moments. We can't get them back once they're gone.


I remember Kodak from when I was little.  My first memories of Kodak are from 1988.  I actually have a VHS tape that my mother taped off of the television that has an old Kodak commercial on it.  For some reason I always liked that commercial.  And to this day, we still pop in that VHS tape (yes we still have a VCR hooked up) and watch that video and I'm amused at how much cameras have changed over the years and how film has changed.  Film seems to be a somewhat lost art form and digital cameras have allowed us to do so much with photography at the same time.  My husband studied photography as his emphasis in college.  He still takes all of his photos with his 35mm film camera.  And yes, its Kodak film. 

Today, JK Imaging Ltd. is the worldwide licensee for Kodak PIXPRO Digital Cameras and devices.  I had the opportunity to try 2 of Kodak's PIXPRO Digital Cameras and I have to say, I'm equally impressed with both!  They have similar features but are still very different and unique.  Each has its own benefits!


The first is the Kodak PIXPRO AZ251 Digital Camera.  This camera has some great features for a great price!  Plus, even with its high tech features, its not overly complicated.  Its very user friendly and if you're not too camera savvy, its easy to just pick up this camera and start shooting!  It got great zoom capabilities with 25x optical zoom and 16mp.  The view screen on the back of the camera is large so you can go back and easily view your photos.   


Plus, its very comfortable in your hands.  The shape of the camera is contoured to fit perfectly in your hands while you're taking your photos and featured a textured grip around the side and front near the shutter button and a textured thumb rest on the back right hand side.  I'm not a fan of digital cameras that look like a deck of playing cards.  They uncomfortable to hold and I've found myself dropping those constantly. 


This camera does operate on 4 AA batteries but I got a lot of use out of this camera by the time the batteries died.  I would recommend using rechargeable AA batteries as it will save you some money in the long run.


My favorite extra feature is the HD video!  This camera is great to quickly grab at a moments notice to capture something on video.  Its simple to start and the video quality is great!


Kodak PIXPRO AZ251 Digital Camera Product Features:
  • 25x Optical Zoom
  • 24mm Wide Angle
  • 16MP
  • 3 Inch Viewing Screen
  • HD Video
  • Panorama Capture
  • 1 Year Limited Warranty
Includes:
  • Kodak PIXPRO AZ251 Digital Camera
  • 4 AA Batteries
  • Lens Cap with Strap
  • Neck Strap
  • USB Cable
  • CD-ROM
  • Quick Start Guide
  • Warranty Card
  • Service Card


The other Kodak camera we tried was the Kodak PIXPRO AZ521.  This one has a few more bells and whistles but it was still very user friendly.  I didn't have to take much time going through the manual and learning how to use the camera.   


The AZ521 has a significantly larger lens than the AZ251 but its still not overly bulky.  Again, this camera is also contoured for hand comfort with textured grip on the side and front near the shutter button and textured thumb rest.   The view screen is also large on this camera is well for detail viewing of your photos.


The AZ521 however, has 52x optical zoom which is amazing!  The zoom on the AZ251 was great but the AZ521 is just spectacular.  You can capture some amazing long distance shots with this one!   This camera also has video capabilities with great video quality. 


My favorite extra feature of the AZ521 is the Image Stabilization feature!  This enables the camera to fixate on the subject of your photo and stabilize so that you don't end up with a blurred image if you have shaky hands.  I don't have very steady hands so for me, this is a must-have feature!  This digital camera functions on a rechargable Li-Ion battery which is great because you dont have to keep purchasing batteries or have a stock of rechargable AAs on hand.  The camera comes with a battery charger that is compact and you can just plug it right into the camera to charge the battery.


Kodak PIXPRO AZ521 Digital Camera Product Features:
  • 52x Optical Zoom
  • 24mm Wide Angle
  • 16mp CMOS
  • 360 Degree Panorama Capture
  • Continuous Shooting Mode
  • Optical Image Stabilization
Includes:
  • Kodak PIXPRO AZ521 Digital Camera
  • Rechargeable LI-ion Battery
  • Lens Cap with Strap
  • Neck Strap
  • USB Cable
  • AC Adapter
  • CD-ROM
  • Quick Start Guide
  • Warranty Card
  • Service Card

So between the two, I cant say one or the other is my favorite because I loved them both.  If you're looking for a lower priced camera that you can learn to use in minutes and is more compact, with great features and great video potential, then the AZ251 is perfect!  If you're looking for something with superb zoom capabilities, amazing video quality and a rechargeable battery included, then the AZ521 would be the way to go.   Either way, which ever you choose, well always be fans of Kodak and Ill always recommend Kodak products to my friends and family.  We've used Kodak products since as long as I can remember.  And they've had a reputation for quality.  They've been around for over 120 years!

People always say, "if these walls could talk...."  Well our walls are covered with Kodak images and they always will be.   So if our walls could talk, they'd tell some pretty amazing stories!

Let Kodak help you capture your family's life and memories.  Check out Kodak online to learn more about their cameras and devices.  You can also LIKE Kodak on Facebook and follow them on Twitter!



Disclosure:
I was provided samples free of charge to facilitate this review.    I was not compensated for this review. 
All of the photos taken for this post, were taken with Kodak PIXPRO Digital Cameras.  All opinions expressed in this review are my true and honest opinions.  Cross my heart!

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Beautiful is Easy With BeautyEncounter.com

I'm a girly girl!  I love makeup.  I love doing my hair.  And I love pampering myself!  But we live in a small town and we have to travel a ways to shop.  My skin is also very particular when it comes to the cosmetics and the products I use and I usually have to travel almost an hour one way, just to get to the nearest store that carries my favorite brands.  But not anymore! 
I've had a beautiful encounter with BeautyEncounter.com!
BeautyEncounter.com carries so many great brands!   And its not just cosmetics.  They have hair care products, skin care, perfumes, products for men, bath and body products as well as products for your home.  They also offer great prices, discounts, rewards, free samples and some super special deals!



My go-to makeup brand is Clinique but I drive a ways to get it and normally pay quite a bit.  But BeautyEncounter.com carries all of my favorite Clinique products and the prices are amazing! Much less expensive than the in store cost I've been paying for years now.  And to make shopping easier, you can search the site by your favorite brand. 


Another huge plus for me is the free shipping!  Everyday, shipping is free on orders of $60 or more!  So I can buy all of my favorite products at a great price.  I don't have to waste a couple of hours driving to get it all.  AND I can get free shipping if I spend more than $60!  You really can't beat that!

One of my favorite discoveries on BeautyEncounter.com is their "BE Steals & Deals" page that features current super sales and offers!  The prices on this page are fabulous so check this page frequent because there is always a different, amazing offer to snatch up.   BE also lets you earn rewards on every purchase.  They're called BE Perks and you can earn points with purchases and product reviews! 

And you can rest assured when you order from BeautyEncounter.com because they sell only 100% genuine products.  All products are authentic and they never sell imitations, replicas or "knock offs."  That's what I like to hear!

Be sure to check out BeautyEncounter.com for some great deals!  Who knows, maybe you'll discover something new and perfect for you.   Don't forget to sign up for their newsletter to get 20% off your first order!   You can also LIKE BeautyEncounter.com on Facebook, follow them on Twitter and follow them on Pinterest! 



Disclosure:
This is a sponsored post written on behalf of BeautyEncounter.com.
All opinions are my own!

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Penelope's Fight Against Neuroblastoma

I recently met a local momma through one of the cloth diaper groups I follow on Facebook.  She was asking for advice about cloth diaper liners.  My heart immediately broke for her.  Her sweet baby girl, Penelope, is battling cancer.  Shes just about Emma's age, almost one year old.  While little Miss Penelope is undergoing her chemo treatments, Shannon, Penelope's momma, is unable to use cloth diapers for her and this poor little baby has such bad diaper rash.  Shannon really wanted to continue to use cloth on Penelope in between rounds of chemo but needed a solution for liners while they are using a very heavy duty diaper rash cream.  So of course, I put in my 2 cents since we've had great experience with fleece liners as well as flushable liners.

After that, Shannon and I talked a bit on Facebook and she told me about her family and a support page the family has created for Penelope.  The cancer this little beauty has been faced with is stage 4 Neuroblastoma.   I would love for all of you to take a look at miss Penelope's Facebook page and support her journey through this tough time for her and for her family.  Mommas need to stick together and support each other and this little lady needs all of the love, support and prayers she can get!

Also, some family members have set up The Penelope Davis Neuroblastoma Fund on GiveForward.com to help raise money to support Penelope's treatments and medical bills.  Please consider helping Penelope and her family.  If you're unable to donate, please share the link to her fundraising page so we can get the word out there.  Penelope has an amazing family and they need lots of extra love right now!


https://www.giveforward.com/fundraiser/gsw3/penelope-davis-neuroblastoma-fund?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=fb_share_stream.share&utm_campaign=BA_FBshare&og_action=hug&t=3&fb_ref=1819452

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Cooking For Your Baby





I make all of Emma Bee's food from scratch.  I love to cook and when I found out I was pregnant, I was so excited to make my baby's food from scratch!  This past summer we planted a big garden and everything I planted was planned just for her.  I wanted a garden full of veggies that I could feed to my baby.

Making baby food purees is so much simpler than you may think and it doesn't take a lot of time! Simply steam your veggies, cut into small chunks and process to a smooth puree.  I have found that a Magic Bullet Food Processor or NutriBullet works great and gets veggies and fruits super smooth and creamy!  For thicker purees just add a little bottle water, breast milk or formula to thin them down for first foods.  For veggies that contain a lot of moisture, you can add a little rice cereal or baby oatmeal cereal to thicken them up for 2nd foods.  

Fruits are also very easy!  I simply cut them up or leave whole if they are berries such as blueberries.  I put them in a sauce pan with a little bit of baby water if needed and slowly cook down to a smooth sauce stirring often.  Peaches and nectarines work great and cook down smooth without any extra water.  Strawberries and blueberries need a little moisture.  Depending on the fruit I may still put it through the bullet to puree smooth.

To store them, I have found that the easiest way to store homemade fruit and veggies purees in bulk is to freeze them in ice cube trays and store in freezer bags.  Simply fill up an ice cube tray with your puree and freeze.  Once they are frozen solid, pop out the cubes and put them in freezer bags.  You'll be able to pull out perfect portions as you need them.  I started with just a cube per meal and then as Emma Bee got bigger and her appetite grew, I would pull out a few at a time.  This is a great way to cook in large batches that will last for months!  You're always giving baby a home cooked meal without ever hardly having to cook.

Plus if you are pregnant or if baby is too young for purees during the summer and you're harvesting yummy foods from your garden, you can make home cooked garden veggies in the fall and save them for later in the year when baby is ready for them!

Here are some of Emma Bee's favorites.  
Everything on this list are veggies and fruits that I've been able to make at home for her from fresh produce!

Avocado 
Beets
Broccoli
Butternut Squash
Carrots
Eggplant
Green Beans
Lentils
Purple String Beans
Red Potatoes  
Spaghetti Squash
Sweet Peas
Sweet Potatoes
Swiss Chard
Turnips
Yellow Squash
Yellow Wax Beans
Zucchini 


Apple Sauce
Banana Puree
Blueberry Sauce 
Nectarine Puree 
Peach Puree 
Pear Sauce
Strawberry Puree


Now that Emma Bee is eating meats, Ive also given her beef roast and chicken.   Shes not quite used to the whole food textures yet so I've pureed them for her or cut it up in super small bits.   I've made a beef roast and chicken (separate, not together) slow cooked in the crock pot and pureed these with a veggie.  I've also done this in big batches and froze it in the ice cube trays just like my plain veggies.  Store in freezer bags and grab them as you need them!

I think making home made food for my baby is a lot easier than most people think AND it makes me feel good when she likes momma's cooking, its healthy for my baby girl and saves us a lot of money!