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The Power of Simply Saline™


While in Chicago this past summer I received a sample of ARM & HAMMER™ Simply Saline™ Children’s Cold Formula plus Moisturizers (that’s a mouthful) and now that cold and flu season has reared its ugly head I wanted to share with you why I think it’s a great product. Please consider that my disclosure statement.

ARM & HAMMER™ Simply Saline™ products offer a drug-free way to moisturize dry, irritated nasal passages while relieving congestion and pressure. Personally I tend to be a bit skeptical of many over the counter medications, especially those for colds. Anytime I’ve taken them I either can’t stay awake or I’m fighting off an anxiety attack because my heart feels as if it’s going to jump out of my chest. Which is why I prefer using neti-pots and the kits in the Simply Saline™ line actually minimize the burning and stinging associated with nasal irrigation. Also ARM & HAMMER™ baking soda from Church & Dwight, Co., Inc. has been a fixture in homes, like my own, for more than 165 years and it’s a name I trust.

ARM & HAMMER™ Simply Saline™ Children's Cold FormulaAs much as I recommend using neti-pots, getting the kids to use one efficiently is nearly impossible which is why I’m so impressed with the ARM & HAMMER™ Simply Saline™ line of products geared towards babies, toddlers, and children (see picture above). Like I said before I personally received a bottle of the Children’s Cold Formula plus Moisturizers. The first time I used it was actually near the end of the summer with my six year old daughter who had a dreaded summer cold. It worked perfectly!

The spray is suitable for kids two years old and up, it’s affordable, you can use it as often as needed, it contains no zinc, and it’s non habit forming. In fact, according to ARM & HAMMER™ “The extra-strength, child-safe formula contains homeopathic ingredients that are established in the HPUS (Homeopathic Pharmacopoeia of United States) to be used for temporary relief of sneezing, runny nose and sinus congestion.” The bottle itself has a child safe nozzle that ensures one way flow, keeping the contents free of contamination and general ickiness.

If you’re looking for a way to battle colds and flus this season, especially when it comes to your kids, I highly recommend trying ARM & HAMMER™ Simply Saline™ products.

@mvemotherErin - My Very Educated MotherErin on Google +MyveryeducatedmotherMy Very Educated MotherImage Map
Erin Sipes
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Recycled Shirt Pillows

#Recycled Shirt Pillows

My living room is very khaki greenish. I hate it. I know I’ve said it before but the whole World Market look we’ve got going on is well past it’s prime and so colorless. Over the last five or six years I’ve been coveting materials, shirts, and even sweaters to one day turn into pillows to liven up our bland furniture.

Last Friday I started rummaging through the stash trying to decide which wool sweaters would become DIY cloth diaper covers and which would be pillows. The kids got in on the fun and started pulling out felt pieces to make their own pillows.

I started off with the ruffled shirt, not shown, by cutting it across the body right below the arms. I pinned it together, making sure the ruffles wouldn’t get caught in the seam. Next up was the sweater; I didn’t want the bottom band to be a part of the pillow so I used a square craft mat along with a ruler as a guide.

Sweater Pillow 4

I flipped the sweater inside out, lined the square up with the cables on the sweater, measured an inch and a half past the mat, and then cut with a rotary cutter. NOTE: Once I was done cutting I carefully pinned the pieces together immediately. Don’t try to pick them up, it will be nearly impossible to line it up again. I know from experience with other sweater projects! Sweat Pillows 4

Sew everything up being sure to leave an opening for stuffing. I know I probably should have made these covers so I could wash them easier but I didn’t. Anyway, we took the filling from some of our older, ugly pillows, gave it a little re-fluff and started stuffing.

Stuffing Pillows

I’m not so great at sewing pillows shut with the machine so I hand stitched them closed.

Sewing up pillows

They look great on the couches! And yes, the irony that the first two pillows I make were beige (i.e. the blahness I was trying to get away from) was not lost on any of us!

Beige Pillows

Erin Sipes
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Bestowed Box Review

Bestowed Box Review
Disclosure: I received a Bestowed Box for review, the opinions expressed are my own.
Earlier last week the kids and I found a surprise on our front step in the form of a Bestowed Box. I bet you’re thinking, didn’t she just review a box service? Yes, but trust me, the Bestowed box is a completely different system and I really love it!

Bestowed boxes feature an assortment of FULL-sized healthy snacks, beverages, and more – such as magazine subscriptions. Once you decide to take the plunge and join for either $19/month or $209/year you’ll get a box on or near the 15th of the every month. (Right now shipping is free but it is limited to the US only.) Sounds like any other box right? Here’s what sets this one apart.

013The Bestowed box contains detailed info about the products, see the picture. Normally I wouldn’t give this a second glance except that it’s nice to know where you can get the chips you kids end up falling in love with…quinoa and all. The recipes and tips are nice too. Plus, you can read why they were chosen for the box. Note, everything is picked by nutritionist and author Heather Bauer for a reason. I received the October box which was filled with non-GMO items in support of non-GMO month. In the pamphlet Bauer gives info about non-GMOs and includes info on the Non-GMO Project, a great resource I hadn’t known about.

The products themselves really are seriously good, I completely didn’t share the UnReal peanut butter cups with anyone! I know I already mentioned it but I can’t say enough about how great it is to be about to try it out and find it in the store, and if it’s not at a store near you just visit the Bestowed website and you can buy it there. That’s a benefit not every box service can say they offer.

If you’ve been on the fence about joining a box service I would highly recommend Bestowed. Sometimes we all need a reminder to be healthy and having that reminder show up on your front step is one of the best ways to introduce both yourself and your family to good-for-you foods he won’t regret getting hooked on! In addition to their website you can keep up with Bestowed via Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.

DISCOUNT NOTICE! You can get your first Bestowed box for almost 50% off ($10 instead of $19) if you use the code HELLOTEN103 at checkout.

***This code will be active through 11/20 but if you sign up after 10/31 you'll get the November box not the October one I show above.****

Erin Sipes
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What’s On My Mind Wednesday

I have officially entered the nesting phase of this pregnancy and there is so much on my mind. I thought I’d share a glimpse.

Going natural. Once upon a time our family was well on the way to being undeniable crunchy then I went back to work and old habits returned. With the new baby on it’s way I feel an even bigger push to put our health first and reduce our footprint in this world.

Names. This poor baby will be known as “He Who Was Hard to Name.” The names I love, my husband only tolerates and the names he’s suggesting, well let’s just say I can’t imagine calling any child of mine Winter or Ptolemy. Still I’m not that worried, I’m sure when he’s born it’ll all work out and if not I’ll start crying until I get my way.


Renovations. When we decided to take the plunge and add-on to the house we made a promise not to go crazy into debt over it. Which means it’s been very slow going and trying to work the cash flow to make it happen quicker is stressful.

Love this prefold t-shirt pattern from

Sewing. I want to sew pre-fold diapers. I want to sew new curtains. I need to felt several old sweaters, so I can sew them into wool diaper covers. I want to sew new duvet covers for the kid’s soon to be new bedrooms. I need to sew myself maternity pants or skirts since all the ones at the stores are too short.

Cleaning. Remember…nesting.
@mvemotherErin - My Very Educated MotherErin on Google +MyveryeducatedmotherMy Very Educated MotherImage Map
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Kindle Fire HD Giveaway

YouTube Kindle Fire Giveaway

Christmas is right around the corner and wouldn’t it be great to win a Kindle Fire HD for someone on your list? Or, maybe for yourself? Heck yeah it would be and that’s why I’m so excited to share this giveaway with you today! I've partnered up with some blogging pals who all have fun YouTube channels! Did you know you can find me on YouTube? In addition to some of the crafting madness that happens around here I share the occasional family bit, such as telling the kids about the soon-to-be little brother. I hope you'll subscribe to my YouTube channel, as well as the other bloggers who are joining in... if you do, you could win a brand new Kindle Fire 7"!

To enter the giveaway wait for the Rafflecopter widget to load, then follow the instructions to follow the participating channels. The giveaway ends on October 26th at 11:59pm, PST.

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Erin Sipes
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#NUO2013 – Christmas Vignette Ornaments

#NUO2013 #Christmasornaments
And so it begins…

For the past two Novembers I’ve dedicated myself and this blog to sharing homemade ornaments that aren’t UGLY! The first year I went on this journey with just one other blogger; last year I recruited an entire month’s worth of guest crafters; and this year I’m switching it up again.

The first week of November I’ll be sharing an ornament every morning and in the evening I’ll recap the works of other creative bloggers taking part in the series! In other words, I’m condensing what would normally take place over a month into one week! Giving you plenty of time to gather supplies, set aside an afternoon, and get crafty well before it’s time to set up your Christmas tree!

 photo NUO2013_zps3547e5dd.png

Here’s a sneak peek project!
Erin Sipes
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Wordless Wednesday




Here are a few pictures from the yard before the chill set in. Hope you are all enjoying your week. –Erin

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The Beatrix Girls Review and Giveaway


Disclosure: I received a doll in exchange for this review and giveaway. All opinions expressed are my own.

“They're musicians, they're dolls, they're role models for a new generation of empowered young girls. Sure, they're adorable with great clothes and fabulous hair, but there's so much more to them than that!” The Beatrix Girls are more than a new set of dolls on the market, they’re an honest to goodness pop band with original music to back them up.

I first learned about The Beatrix Girls while in Chicago this summer and when I got home I took some time to visit and explore their website with the kids. There are a lot of girls toys, dolls in particular, that I sometimes find questionable. Watching the videos-of which there are many, listening the music, looking at the pictures, and reading about all the girls I was impressed. (There is also a fan club to join!) These are characters that come across as real kids and not just stereotypes.

I was so excited to be able to receive a doll for my daughter. We choose Lark, the bass playing, green eyed, redhead of the group, as a green eyed girl Essie is always on the lookout for dolls with eyes like hers, you’d be surprised how few there are. When we took Lark out of her box I was immediately impressed with the amount of hair on this doll’s head! But before we started playing with her too much we had to get a picture and that ended up turning into a little photo shoot. (I think we might watch too much America’s Next Top Model because Es kept saying, “Tilt your chin!” or “I can’t see your neck.”)  

I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the music. I know my first reaction when I heard about a ‘doll’ band was yay, music to drive me crazy. But I have to admit, their music isn’t annoying, it sounds exactly like something you’d hear on the radio with a couple of exceptions, it’s NOT sexualized and their message is admirable. According to The Beatrix Girls creator and CEO Sherry Gunther Shugerman, a two-time Emmy winner, the music is written and produced by an unnamed artist responsible for some of radio’s top hits. You can download their five song album Meet the Beatrix via iTunes or Amazon and I’m sure there will be more music to come.

Starting this week you can pick up your own doll at Toys-R-Us nationwide or if you’re feeling lucky you can win one, more about that is below! The dolls are recommended for girls ages 5+up and will retail for $24.99.

I’m happy to announce, in partnership with The Beatrix Girls I will be giving away a doll of your choice! The giveaway starts today and ends at midnight on Sunday, October 20th. I’ll be getting in touch with the winner on the 21st and they’ll have 24 hours to get back with me before a new winner is chosen. Good Luck!
 Disclosure: I received a doll in exchange for this review and giveaway. All opinions expressed are my own.
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Erin Sipes
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Washi Tape Frame –Washi Tape Fun!

Washi Tape Frame

Have you ever received a promotional item that you like but you’d actually use if it wasn’t plastered with a brand name? I found myself in that position with a picture frame that I really liked the shape of but I hated the logo right in the middle of it. SO, I brought out the washi tape and had a little fun!

#washitape #frame via My Very Educated Mother

I used an X-acto knife to trim the edges and after I finished the frame I let the kids play with the washi to make a picture to fill it!

#pictureframe #washitape via My Very Educated Mother

#washitape #fun #kidscrafts via My Very Educated Mother

I’m considering using the frame as a dry erase board the kids can use to write the date on during our lessons. Or I could put a picture in it…eventually!

#washitape via My Very Educated Mother

@mvemotherErin - My Very Educated MotherErin on Google +MyveryeducatedmotherMy Very Educated MotherImage Map
Erin Sipes
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SMILING IT FORWARD™ with TYLENOL® and Alyson Hannigan

Disclosure: I have received information and products from McNeil Consumer Healthcare Division of McNEIL-PPC, Inc., the makers of TYLENOL® as part of a sponsored post for SheSpeaks. The opinions stated are my own.

Today I’m SMILING IT FORWARD™ because in the midst of my everyday worries and concerns a smile from any of my children is a ray of hope. There is something special about the power of the genuine smile of a child. As parents we anxiously wait for the ‘gas’ grins to pass and our little chubby newborns to look up at us with a sincere smile. Even out in public there’s something endearing and magical that happens when a toddler looks over his mother’s shoulder, or the booth at a restaurant, and flashes a little smirk. 

For over 50 years the makers of TYLENOL® have been easing the pain of both mothers and children by bringing “feel better” smiles to homes around the country. In fact this year TYLENOL® conducted an online survey of 300 U.S. moms, aged 18+, with children 3 years old and younger. Through it they discovered that 89% agreed that, “…there is nothing better than their child’s smile to let them know they are feeling better after a fever, cold or flu.”

Acknowledging this the makers of TYLENOL® developed the SMILING IT FORWARD program that aims to gather 100,000 smiles to help the 85,000 low-income urban and rural children served by the Children’s Health Fund (CHF) each year. The Children’s Health Fund is an organization known for its mobile medical clinics that provide healthcare to under served children in the United States. From now until mid-January Tylenol will donate $1 to the CHF, up to 100,000, for each smile shared via the SMILING IT FORWARD™ website. 

Actress and mother Alyson Hannigan, star of How I Met Your Mother, got the ball rolling by being the first to share the smile of her two daughters. Here is what she had to say about being a part of the program, “Being an mom has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life and being the first mom of many to participate in SMILING IT FORWARD™ warms my heart because it will help other children receive high-quality medical care like my daughters do.”


I’ve taken a quick moment to share the picture above and I encourage you to do the same. If you need a push of motivation visit the SMILING IT FORWARD™ gallery and take a look at those amazing smiling faces. Remember all you have to do to help children in this country receive the medical care they deserve is upload a photo of a smile that warms your heart! 

Disclosure: I have received information and products from McNeil Consumer Healthcare Division of McNEIL-PPC, Inc., the makers of TYLENOL® as part of a sponsored post for SheSpeaks. The opinions stated are my own.

Erin Sipes
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A Wise Recipe: Campbell’s Tomato Soup and a Pepper Twist Grilled Cheese

Potatoes, mashed in particular, tend to be the one thing you can depend on your kids eating when the time comes for family holiday dinners, well at least most kids! For years my kids have hated potatoes of all varieties but lately they’ve started warming up to roasted red potatoes and they’ll even eat French fries at restaurants. Kids’ pallets really are finicky as they develop and it can be a mystery what will be acceptable from one day to the next. But picky eaters may have finally met their match!

For more than 144 years Campbell Soup Company has been making deliciously fun meals and by visiting you can find a world of recipes that can be made using their pantry stable soups. And now with the help of The Wisest Kid in the Whole World™ they’re also sharing recipes for even the pickiest of kids!

When you visit The Wisest Kid you’ll find quick meal ideas, soup toppings, and sandwich ideas to pair with the ever growing variety of soups including those featuring your kids’ favorite characters like Super Mario and Phineas and Ferb!  Personally my kids love Tomato soup! But again, things didn’t start out that way! The mere mention of tomato would usually send them running but thankfully for Scooby Doo’s most recent vampire movie and my husband’s quick thinking Tomato soup became Blood Soup. Crackers become bones and cheese becomes, well everything else…ugh, you get the picture! I know normally this would make it unappetizing but we are talking about kids here!

In addition you can share and read some of the ‘wisdom’ from not just The Wisest Kid in the Whole World™, the ultimate expert on what makes kids happy, but other children from around the country! How is the kid in your life like The Wisest Kid in the Whole World™? I encourage you to visit The Wisest Kid and share one of the “wise” things your kids have said or just use the widget below!

Sometimes the Blood Soup we’d usually reserve for lunch becomes dinner and so I ramp things up with a Pepper Twist Grilled Cheese! It’s a quick and easy way to add a new dimension to this Campbell’s classic meal!

Pepper Twist Grilled Cheese

  • one red pepper
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • Provolone cheese
  • pesto (optional)
  • 2 slices of bread (I used regular sliced white bread in the pictures but actually prefer a crusty French loaf.)
  • butter
Start out by very thinly slicing the pepper. Next heat the olive oil in a pan and give the peppers a nice sauté until they are softened and twisted up (hence the name of the sandwich). Set to the side.

Prepare your grilled cheese as you normally would but if you decide to add pesto you can either spread it on the bread or add a dollop or two on top of the cheese and spread it around before it melts. Don’t forget to add the peppers either!

Slice in half and serve with a hot bowl of Campbell’s Tomato Soup. The pesto and peppers work perfectly with the soup making this a sandwich that begs to be dipped!

Erin Sipes
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25 Must Try Cookie Recipes

#cookie #recipes via My Very Educated Mother

Tis the season of cookie exchanges, school parties, potlucks, and chilly nights that beg for a glass of milk and a cookie. Here are 25 recipes for bars, brownies, and cookies for any occasion!

#cookie #recipes via My Very Educated Mother Group 1
  1. Peanut Butter No Bake Cookies
  2. Gluten Free Peanut Butter Cookies
  3. Chocolate Peanut Butter Cracker Cookies
  4. Sweet and Salty Peanut Butter Balls
  5. Candy Stuffed Chocolate Cookies#cookie #recipes via My Very Educated Mother Group 2
  6. Cookie Dough Fudge
  7. S’more Brownies
  8. Cocoa Haystack No-Bake Cookies
  9. Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars
  10. Lemon Meringue Pie Bars#cookie #recipes via My Very Educated Mother Group 3
  11. Pumpkin, Cinnamon, Chocolate Chip Cookies
  12. Pumpkin Sandwich Cookies
  13. Salted Nutella Chocolate Chip Cookies
  14. Twix Cookies
  15. Oatmeal Thumbprint Cookies#cookie #recipes via My Very Educated Mother Group 4
  16. Mint Chocolate Chip Pudding Cookies
  17. Double Chocolate Marshmallow Cookies
  18. Quick and Easy 6 Ingredient Sugar Cookies
  19. White Chocolate Cheesecake Cookies
  20. Oreo Pudding Cookies #cookie #recipes via My Very Educated Mother Group 5
  21. M&Ms, Candy Corn, White Chocolate, Macadamia Nut Cookies
  22. Hazelnut Meringue Cookies
  23. Swirled Sugar Cookies
  24. Bumble Bee Sugar Cookies
  25. Orange Blossoms
@mvemotherErin - My Very Educated MotherErin on Google +MyveryeducatedmotherMy Very Educated MotherImage Map
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