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Counter Blindness. It’s a Real Thing.

2015 June 7
by Emily Hill

I could not for the life of me figure out why my girls consistently forgot to wipe down the counters when it was their week to do dishes. I would remind them time and time again, usually after setting down an important paper only to find it speckled with grease spots or damp with what might have been the morning’s cereal milk.

Then it occurred to me. They’re not your typical forgetful teenagers. They’re victims…victims suffering from a very serious disease: counter blindness. It’s a real thing, my friends, for I’ve seen it happen over and over and over again. And guess what? Counter blindness doesn’t just affect chore-ridden kids. It also prevalent among homeowners who have kitchens with granite counter tops in styles that expertly camouflage food particles.

You know, something along the lines of the counters pictured in a few of my layered pesto dip photos.

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Counter Blindness - it is a real thing.

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Counter blindness is a serious problem—so serious, in fact, it probably warrants a GoFundMe campaign.

Expect a donation invitation to hit the Facebook within the week.

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If you’re looking for a bit more humor, you should browse my humor & funnies Pinterest board.

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Follow Emily Hill’s board humor & funnies on Pinterest.

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ps post script

Feel free to “like” is this REALLY my life? on Facebook. It won’t always earn you an extra entry in a giveaway but it will give you warm fuzzies.

Don’t forget to sign up for free is this REALLY my life? updates via RSS or email so you don’t miss a single awesome post.
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Chocolate Chip Pretzel Cookies

2015 June 4
by Emily Hill

Believe it or not, these chocolate chip pretzel cookies aren’t a variation on my pudding cookie recipe. Though those still remain one of my favorite cookie doughs, I branched out and tried something a bit different. And these salty, sweet, slightly crunchy cookies didn’t disappoint.

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Chocolate Chip Pretzel Cookies

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With a healthy (and by healthy I mean loaded) mix of crunchy, salty pretzel pieces and semisweet chocolate chips, these chocolate chip pretzel cookies are perfect for those like myself who find the salt-sweet combo extremely irresistible.

Sometimes my late-night snack consists of goldfish crackers followed by bite-size Twix.

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Chocolate Chip Pretzel Cookies

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If your cookies tend to spread a bit too much while baking, try chilling the dough for a half hour or so. It was about 80 degrees in my kitchen when I baked these so they needed a little chilling before each batch.

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Chocolate Chip Pretzel Cookies

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You know what would make these even better? Caramel. I’m going to hav eto figure out how to incorporate some ooey, gooey caramel into the mix next time.

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Chocolate Chip Pretzel Cookies

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Printable recipe for chocolate chip pretzel cookies below. Enjoy!
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Chocolate Chip Pretzel Cookies
Author: 
Recipe type: Dessert
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 12
 
These chocolate chip pretzel cookies combine salty and sweet (and a bit of crunch) for the perfect cookie! Makes 3 to 4 dozen.
Ingredients
  • 1 cup plus 2 T unsalted butter, softened
  • ½ cup plus 2 T sugar
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 T water
  • 1½ tsp vanilla
  • 2½ cups flour
  • ¾ tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 2 cups broken pretzel pieces
  • 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Cream butter and sugars in a medium bowl until well mixed. Add eggs, water and vanilla and beat until fluffy.
  3. Add flour, baking soda and salt and mix until thoroughly combined. Fold in pretzels and chocolate chips.
  4. Drop by tablespoonful onto ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until edges start turning a light golden brown. Let sit 2 minutes on cookie sheet before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.

 

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If you’re looking for more yummy cookies, you should browse my desserts {cookies} Pinterest board.

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Follow Emily Hill’s board desserts {cookies} on Pinterest.

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ps post script

Feel free to “like” is this REALLY my life? on Facebook. It won’t always earn you an extra entry in a giveaway but it will give you warm fuzzies.

Don’t forget to sign up for free is this REALLY my life? updates via RSS or email so you don’t miss a single awesome post.
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20 Lip-Smackin’ Homemade Lemonade Recipes

2015 June 2
by Emily Hill

I’ll admit it, I rarely make lemonade from scratch.

And by “rarely” I mean maybe once in my lifetime.

But this summer I’m determined to try my hand at homemade lemonade, and I’m pretty sure I can’t go wrong trying one of these 20 homemade lemonade recipes.

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20 Lip-Smackin Homemade Lemonade Recipes

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Frosted & frozen lemonade
Frosted & frozen lemonade from Atta Girl Says

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Pineapple pink lemonade soda
Pineapple pink lemonade soda from Lil’ Luna

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Quick and easy lemonade
Quick & easy lemonade from Yummy – Healthy – Easy

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Mango lemonade
Mango lemonade from The Marvelous Misadventures of a Foodie

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Coconut water lemonade
Coconut water lemonade from Rasa Malaysia

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Cherry lemonade
Cherry lemonade from Budget Savvy Diva

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Blackberry lemonade
Blackberry lemonade from Pastry Affair

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Vanilla berry lemonade
Vanilla berry lemonade from Baked Bree

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Sparkling pineapple lemonade
Sparkling pineapple lemonade from Create Craft Love

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Peach lemonade
Peach lemonade from The Cookie Rookie

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Sparkling watermelon lemonade
Sparkling watermelon lemonade from The Bold Abode

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Brazilian lemonade
Brazilian lemonade from The Recipe Critic

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Blueberry lemonade
Blueberry lemonade from Damn Delicious

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Homemade blue lemonade
Homemade blue lemonade from I Save A to Z

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Cherry pineapple lemonade
Cherry pineapple lemonade from The Kitchen McCabe

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Coconut lavender lemonade
Coconut lavender lemonade from Confectionalism

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Raspberry lemonade
Raspberry lemonade from Deliciously Sprinkled

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Strawberry lemonade
Strawberry lemonade from Laylita’s Recipes

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Copycat Chick-fil-A lemonade recipe
Copycat Chick-fil-A lemonade from Cincy Shopper

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Perfect homemade fresh squeezed lemonade
Perfect homemade fresh-squeezed lemonade from My Frugal Adventures

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If you’re looking for more delicious drink recipes, check out my drink recipes Pinterest board.

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Follow Emily Hill’s board drink recipes on Pinterest.

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ps post script

Feel free to “like” is this REALLY my life? on Facebook. It won’t always earn you an extra entry in a giveaway but it will give you warm fuzzies.

Don’t forget to sign up for free is this REALLY my life? updates via RSS or email so you don’t miss a single awesome post.
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10 Gifts to Avoid Giving Dad for Father’s Day

2015 May 31
by Emily Hill

Apparently dads are people too and as such, love it when Father’s Day gifts show you (and the kids) have put some thought into the purchase. While they appreciate every gift—including the paper tie with self portrait from the 7-year-old—it’s the gifts that show genuine sincerity they enjoy most.

Because you can find a bazillion Father’s Day gift guides, I thought it might be fun to put together a list sharing 10 gifts you might want to avoid giving Dad this Father’s Day. Remember, this is me being funny (and highly caffeinated); please don’t take offense if you’ve already purchased an item (or two) on this list. I’m sure it’s exactly what he wanted.

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10 Gifts to Avoid Giving Dad for Fathers Day

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10 Gifts to Avoid Giving Dad for Father’s Day

Gag gifts or crazy gadgets from SkyMall catalog. Gag gifts and crazy gadget have such a short shelf life—we’re talking like 90 seconds max. After that, they end up in a junk drawer or on a forgotten garage shelf. It’s just not worth it…unless it’s your husband giving his brother a gag gift. In that case, it’s totally okay.

Classic Old Spice anything. I don’t care how handsome that Old Spice guy is in the commercials—and he’s pretty handsome—Old Spice will always remind me of old men. Of course, if Old Spice is something your dad has worn for a good 20 years, I’ll let it slide.

Funyuns, Combos, teriyaki beef jerky or any other “fragrant” snack. Yes, they’re mighty delicious but they’ll remain on his breath for days. And if he’s gettin’ lucky for Father’s Day, you’ll live to regret this gift for sure.

Neckties. I know we all love giving Dad a tie but at some point his tie collection will reach critical mass. Now bow ties, those things are cool. I’m all for a snazzy bow tie…if your dad can pull it off, that is.

A really awesome bathroom book. It’s already hard enough to get Dad out of the bathroom. This makes it nearly impossible.

New golf clubs, fishing pole or other sporting goods. Hey, if you’re cool with Dad spending hours with his golfing buddies, then by all means get him a new set of clubs. But don’t combine new clubs with a really awesome bathroom book; you’ll never see Dad again.

Socks. — Socks? Really? Unless they’re a super fun pair from Happy Socks (and you’re sure Dad will wear ’em), don’t bother.

“World’s Greatest Dad” anything. “World’s Greatest” kind of loses its awesomeness if tens of thousands of other dads are sporting the same phrase. Way to give Dad an identity crisis.

Body hair trimmers. Want to make Dad feel super unattractive? give him a gift that implies he needs better personal hygiene.

Any sort of tool that implies a project to go with it. This would be like my husband giving me a vacuum for Mother’s Day. Thanks, babe. I was hoping you’d find a way for me to do more housework!

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Get this. I had soap-on-a-rope on the list because I was certain this classic gift had gone out of existence in the early 90s but a little googling proved me wrong. Soap-on-a-rope is alive and well. But I still suggest avoiding gifting it unless you’re looking for a subtle way to tell Dad he needs to bathe more often.

Of course there are things I think you should give dad for Father’s Day. This is my favorite DIY Father’s Day gift I’ve seen this year. I know Nathan would love it because it’s not only handmade but also the perfect gift for a true Star Wars fan like Nathan.
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DIY Fathers Day t-shirt - I Am Your Father
“I Am Your Father” DIY Father’s Day T-shirt via Crafting Chicks

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If you’re looking for more fun DIY Father’s Day gift ideas (DIY shows you care, so no matter the cheese factor, it works), check out my Father’s Day Pinterest board.

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Follow Emily Hill’s board father’s day on Pinterest.

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ps post script

Feel free to “like” is this REALLY my life? on Facebook. It won’t always earn you an extra entry in a giveaway but it will give you warm fuzzies.

Don’t forget to sign up for free is this REALLY my life? updates via RSS or email so you don’t miss a single awesome post.
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Love My Girls With All Their Curls

2015 May 28
by Emily Hill

There was a little girl,
Who had a little curl,
Right in the middle of her forehead.
When she was good,
She was very good indeed,
But when she was bad she was horrid.

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My girls have curls, and while they’re not in the middle of their forehead (curly bangs aren’t really in style), they are everywhere else.

My girls are rarely horrid but let’s be honest, teenage girls have their moments.

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Dove Hair Love Your Curls campaign
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Lauren somehow ended up with the lion’s share of curly hair and it keeps getting curlier as she continues to mature. I love all the curliness going on with those two, but I haven’t quite figured out how they feel about it. Sometimes they point out extra curly strands of hair and how cool they are when they spring back like a coil, but other times they complain about the frizzies and the wispies and all the craziness that goes along with a head full of thick, curly hair.

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Dove Hair Love Your Curls campaign
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Some of us should be so lucky.

I asked Madison what she thought of her curly hair: “Oh, I love it curly. I used to not, but I like how much it bounces and has so much more life in it than straight hair. Plus it can hold a curl or hold it straight real well. And I like how my boyfriend likes to play with my hair, and also likes my flippies.”

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Dove Hair Love Your Curls campaign
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And then I asked Lauren: “I have a love/hate relationship with my hair. Sometimes I love it…when the curls are totally un-frizzy and beautiful and frame my face. And sometimes it’s just frizz and I look like a lion on a bad hair day.”

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Dove Hair Love Your Curls campaign
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I think we all have love/hate relationships with our hair but it’s a lot more common among women and girls with curly hair. And Dove Hair wants to change that. Through their #LoveYourCurls campaign, Dove Hair is on a mission to teach the curly-haired female population to embrace and celebrate their curls.

Why is this so important? Because:

  • One in 3 women in the U.S. have curly hair.
  • Women and girls with curly hair tend to feel less confident.
  • Only 4 in 10 little girls with curly hair think their hair is beautiful.
  • Only 10% of women in the U.S. with curly hair feel proud of their hair.

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I’m all about doing whatever I can to ensure my girls have as much self-confidence as possible, so I’m way on board with Love Your Curls.

One part of the campaign includes the new Quench Absolute hair care line designed specifically for curly hair (more on that in a bit), and the other part includes the Love Your Curls book, a “poetic tribute to curly hair inspired by real women.”

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Dove Hair Love Your Curls book and Dove Quench Absolute Hair Care

Dove Hair Love Your Curls book
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Written by best-selling author Taiye Selasi and illustrated by Annick Poirier, my girls enjoyed reading the honest words written by other curly-haired women. Madison’s favorite was “Once Upon a Time,” the perfect story for those who may have a much younger daughter fighting unruly locks. Lauren really liked “To My Younger Self” and though perhaps she’ll end up writing something similar when she gets older.

Oh, the things I wish I could tell my younger self.

The really cool thing about Love Your Curls is the ability to create a personalized e-book complete with dedication AND a custom poem with an illustration designed from your uploaded photo.

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Dove Love Your Curls book

Dove Love Your Curls book

Dove Love Your Curls book
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If you want to do the same for your daughter/friend/neighbor, head over to Dove.com/LoveYourCurls to download your free custom e-book.

While the Love Your Curls book empowers girls and women, the new line of Dove Quench Absolute hair care products empowers their curls. It provides four times the defined, natural curls and a nourished, smooth finish due to formulas infused with protein, nutrients and Buriti oil.

That buriti oil is a new one for me. Apparently it’s amazing like argan oil but even better for curly hair.

The Dove Quench Absolute system includes:

  • Ultra Nourishing Shampoo: cleanses curly hair, leaving it feeling soft and smooth; nourishing formula leaves hair strengthened from the core
  • Ultra Nourishing Conditioner: absorbs effortlessly into the hair, strengthening it from the core; increases manageability of curls for a smooth finish
  • Intensive Restoration Mask: envelopes each curl to deliver intense nourishment for ultimate smoothness and hydration
  • Supreme Crème Serum: contains high levels of glycerine to penetrate and nourish wet or dry hair

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Both girls tried their hair—er, hand—at the new Dove Quench Absolute system and both loved how much softer their hair felt after using the products. That’s pretty impressive considering how dry Madison’s hair always feels (especially the ends) due to swimming and how “tired” Lauren’s feels due to her constantly pulling it into buns day after day.

I may have run my fingers through their curls to double check about the softness. They weren’t lying.

Those products may have improved the health of their gorgeous curls, but would it have any effect on their ability to whip their hair back and forth?

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Dove Hair Love Your Curls campaign

Dove Hair Love Your Curls campaign

Dove Hair Love Your Curls campaign

Dove Hair Love Your Curls campaign
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Apparently the hair whip is still intact if not more a bit more whippy. Man, I love those girls of mine.

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I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

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ps post script

Feel free to “like” is this REALLY my life? on Facebook. It won’t always earn you an extra entry in a giveaway but it will give you warm fuzzies.

Don’t forget to sign up for free is this REALLY my life? updates via RSS or email so you don’t miss a single awesome post.
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Father’s Day Playdate + an Amazing GIVEAWAY from Quaker Chewy Granola Bars

2015 May 27
by Emily Hill

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Quaker® Chewy® Granola Bars. All opinions are 100% mine.

Memorial Day seemed like the perfect day for a family playdate. We’d finished all the weekend chores getting ready for our Memorial Day barbecue Saturday night, so what better way to enjoy a school- and work-free Monday than inviting a couple friends and their moms over for some fun in the sun and a little Father’s Day crafting.

Dads were left at home because having them there would have ruined the Father’s Day surprise!

Quaker Chewy sent us a super fun playdate kit for some added inspiration—and help—when planning our family playdate. I came up with an idea for a fun and easy Father’s Day project and thought I’d combine it with a bit of outdoor play so there weren’t quite as many wiggles to control while crafting.

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Quaker Chewy Granola Bars KeepPlaying 1
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We started outdoors on the kids’ favorite backyard accessory (and Mom’s worst nightmare), our trampoline.

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Kids jumping on the trampoline
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Then we cranked up the bubble machine because, let’s be honest, bubbles always make everything better.

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Kids jumping on the trampoline with bubbles
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Our friends brought over their mini bounce house, which of course the boys took over and claimed as their own.

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Boys in the bounce house
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After some jumping, popping, hopping, bouncing, more jumping and some good ol’ ball throwing (that Nerf Bash Ball is George’s new favorite toy), the kids took a break to refuel. I brought out a selection of Quaker® Chewy® Granola Bars and juice boxes and they inhaled them like it was their last meal.

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Kids taking a snack break on the trampoline
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Did you know granola bars are the perfect snack to eat while playing a game of “guess the shape of the cloud”? I love easily contained snacks!

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Kids taking a snack break on the trampoline
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Once they were done with snack time, we headed inside so the kids could make Sharpie mugs. It was my first time making them and so I did a bit of research. I found this tutorial the most helpful and then learned a couple other things along the way. (I’ll be sharing our project in a post next week—don’t miss it!)

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Sharpie mugs with kids

Sharpie mugs with kids
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Not pictured: The kids having a second Quaker Chewy Granola Bar while working on their mugs.

It’s not hard to believe they had seconds when these granola bars come in classically yummy flavors like Chocolate Chip, S’mores and Oatmeal Raisin. And because they’re made with the goodness of 8 grams of whole grains in every bar, they’re the perfect hassle-free snack for fueling families no matter the activity—playdate, reunion, road trip…even yard work.

Because Quaker is all about inspiring families to play together (family play is great for memory making!), the company is inviting parents to participate in its Keep Playing! With Chewy promotion (#KeepPlaying). Now through June 13, 2015, parents can visit www.ChewyKeepPlaying.com to enter for a chance to win a $25,000 grand prize to make over their family’s favorite play space PLUS weekly chances to win a $500 gift card.*

* No purchase necessary. See www.ChewyKeepPlaying.com for official rules.

And now for the amazing giveaway!
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One lucky ITRML reader will win a Quaker Chewy Playdate Kit valued at approximately $100!

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The Quaker Chewy Playdate Kit includes:

  • Chewy Playdate invitation pack to plan a fun family playdate
  • Classic Bocce Ball set for endless hours of outdoor summer play
  • Gazillion Bubble Monsoon bubble machine for the whole family to enjoy
  • Sidewalk chalk set to get creative outdoors
  • Puzzle perfect for indoor or outdoor play
  • NERF Bash Ball for easy family fun
  • Variety of Chewy Granola Bars* to help fuel family play
  • Red storage bin for storing your family’s favorite toys

*Chewy Granola Bars may contain traces of peanuts and tree nuts. As a playdate host, please be sure to inform your guests in case of food allergies.

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You can enter using the Rafflecopter widget below. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Quaker is providing the prizes for this program at no cost to me. This program is not administered or sponsored by Quaker or its affiliates, but solely by Is This Really My Life.
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Visit Sponsors Site

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ps post script

Feel free to “like” is this REALLY my life? on Facebook. It won’t always earn you an extra entry in a giveaway but it will give you warm fuzzies.

Don’t forget to sign up for free is this REALLY my life? updates via RSS or email so you don’t miss a single awesome post.
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Filtered Water on the Go + the Best Way to Get Your RDA of H2O if You’re a Diet Coke Drinker

2015 May 26
by Emily Hill

This post is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Pollinate Media Group® and Brita, but all my opinions are my own. #pmedia #BritaOnTheGo http://my-disclosur.es/OBsstV

I’ll admit it. I am a total failure when it comes to drinking the recommended 64+ ounces of water a day. I probably get a good 20 ounces thanks to the gym but that’s only three times a week (spin class and Zumba) because yoga rarely requires hydration. Other than Monday, Wednesday and Friday, my main source of hydration is Diet Coke, and I’m pretty sure that doesn’t count.

My problem with drinking water on the go is I’m either filling a reusable water bottle with drinking fountain water (yuck!) or doing the environmentally unfriendly thing and drinking bottled water. I want to love the environment but I also want to love the taste of my water. That’s why I’m super excited about the new Brita water bottles AND my new rule for making sure Diet Coke drinkers like myself get their RDA of H2O.

First, the bottles…because we’re talking great-tasting filtered water on the go. I checked out three of Brita’s new water bottles in the hardware section at my local Walmart.

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Brita Water Bottles -- filtered water on the go thanks to Brita!

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Though the Brita Hard-Sided Water Bottle (center) seemed durable and came in a lovely shade of pink, and the Brita Sport Water Bottle (right) seemed a good fit for the gym, I went with the Brita Soft Squeeze Water Bottle (left) because of its slimmer shape (easier for fitting into our pool tote bag) and squeezier design (easier for little hands to use).

I couldn’t wait to get it home and check out how Brita incorporated their awesome filters into a water bottle. I shouldn’t have been surprised it was done easily and seamlessly.

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Brita Soft Squeeze Water Filter Bottle -- awesome for filtered water on the go!

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Let’s get a closer look at the nifty little Brita filter.

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Brita Soft Squeeze Water Filter Bottle -- awesome for filtered water on the go!

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I gave my new Brita Soft Squeeze Water Bottle a good test run by taking it to spin class.

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Brita Soft Squeeze Water Filter Bottle -- awesome for filtered water on the go!

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Bringing it to yoga (just in case).

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Brita Soft Squeeze Water Filter Bottle -- awesome for filtered water on the go!

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And toting it around with me on all my errands.

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Brita Soft Squeeze Water Filter Bottle -- awesome for filtered water on the go!

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I loved the fresh taste of filtered water, though I was disappointed with how quickly the water came to room temperature. I either need more ice or I need to drink that filtered water faster. Perhaps Brita can come up with an insulated version of their new water bottles (hint, hint).

I will say this…the new Brita water bottles couldn’t come any sooner. Summer is just around the corner along with crazy hot days spent at the water park, soccer games, local zoo—all those places where refilling your water is a must for survival. You don’t want to be caught sans water filter when the only way to refill your water bottle is via the community drinking fountain (or bathroom sink).

And now for the best way to get your RDA of H2O if you’re a Diet Coke drinker like myself. Are you ready? Here goes.
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No Diet Coke until you’ve filled—and finished—your water bottle at least three times.

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It sounds simple enough but I’m telling you, this is nearly impossible for me but I know I need to do it so my body is healthier (and I can better thin out the Diet Coke running in my veins).

This may be hard for you early-morning Diet Coke drinkers. If you’re caffeinating before 9:00 a.m., I’m going to assume you’re also caffeinating throughout the day. I’m willing to change the rule slightly for you. You may have that early-morning beverage but you can NOT have another one until you’ve followed the above rule. Deal?

I’m going to assume you answered, “Deal!” because you need a bazillion ounces more water in your life like I do.

This new rule/goal/mission/ultimatum means you’ll see this Brita water bottle with cold, filtered water on my desk long before you’ll see a Sonic Route 44 Diet Coke with vanilla and pebble ice.

At least that’s the plan.

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Brita Soft Squeeze Water Filter Bottle -- awesome for filtered water on the go!

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You can find Brita water bottles in the hardware section at your local Walmart, and you can engage with Brita online via Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
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If you’re looking for more reviews of super cool products, check out my ITRML reviews Pinterest board.

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Follow Emily Hill’s board ITRML reviews on Pinterest.

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ps post script

Feel free to “like” is this REALLY my life? on Facebook. It won’t always earn you an extra entry in a giveaway but it will give you warm fuzzies.

Don’t forget to sign up for free is this REALLY my life? updates via RSS or email so you don’t miss a single awesome post.
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