76 Free Things to Do with Kids

Here is another great (and Free!) e-book for you! This one will come in handy with the up coming school vacations, or for all you moms with kids home all day.

  76 Free Things to Do with Kids: A Real Mom's Guide is free until Sunday, so go and get it now, and pull it out on a rainy day.  Or a not so rainy day.

Sage is getting to the age where going and doing things is fun for all of us, so I am excited about this one!

What are your favorite free things to do with your kids?

Through the eyes of a one year old

Being a mom means that every day I get to see the world from a new point of view.

That rock is really more like a mountain, and it needs to be climbed.

Crayon to paper is a magical thing, and can cause an ear to ear grin.

Food always tastes better when it comes form someone else's bowl.

The vacuum is terrifying. So is the blowdryer.

Books can be read over and over... and over and over, and still be fascinating.

Kisses make everything better.

There is always a beat to dance to, you just have to listen.

It's amazing the things you see everyday that you might not have even noticed without a little one with 'new' eyes to show them to you. I am so gratefl for this amazing perspective.

Sneak a peek into Integrative Nutrition

I've mentioned before how much I love my school, and this weekend I get to let you in on a little peek as to why. 

There is a conference going on this weekend in New York that will be streamed live for us all to see! There are going to be some amazing speakers like Dr. Andrew Weil, Venus Williams and Dr. William Davis.

I love listening to different speakers and hearing their different point of views on health and wellness. I find inspiration in so many lectures that I've listened to though my schooling, and I'm sure that this weekend will do the same.

So, click HERE to get access to this weekends live conference. Even if you just catch part of it, I bet you will be glad you did.

Random things about me

I thought it would be fun to share some random tid bits about myself today, just because it's fun and I like to get to know others like this too.

I sing a lot. Like I turn everyday things into songs. Oh, and I am a terrible singer! I have no idea where I got this from.

My first job was writing names on a grain of rice. Yeah. I know.

I am a Scorpio and full on believe in horoscopes.

When I was little I wanted to be a fashion designer.

I haven't owned a T.V. in 5 years, and I don't miss it!

I HATE when my hands, feet or lips are dry. I can't function until I have slathered them in oil or lotion or chapstick or something! It's bad!

Walking in the dark still scares me a little.

My purse is a giant black hole. You can find just about anything in there, IF you can find it.

I cut my hair once a year... or even longer.

I love planners, but hardly actually use them.

I'm always excited for the new season. Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter... I guess I just like the change.

I use mason jars for everything.

I have a ridiculous fabric/ yarn stash compared to the amount of time I spend sewing/ crocheting.

That being said, I will always buy more fabric and yarn. =)

My favorite color changes all the time. Today it's sea-foam green.

I love reading and can't pass up an interesting looking book, especially at a thrift store!

I am a little OCD and have to do things balanced... chew on the right side, then on the left... crack one knuckle, crack all the rest...

I almost never 'accessorize'... I don't know why, it just doesn't happen.

My husband is my best friend. I know, cliche, but he is.

I feel naked without polish on my toenails.

If I could I just might eat burritos everyday... they are my weakness.

Being a mom is the coolest 'job' I've ever had.

Free book: Natural Birth Stories

I came across Shannon at Growing Slower when I was pregnant with Sage. She was putting together a book that sounded like it would be so awesome. A collection of stories all about natural child birth. How could that not be amazing?!

Now it's been a year since she released Natural Birth Stories: The Real Mom's Guide to an Empowering Natural Childbirth and I just found out that she is giving away the eBook on Amazon for free until Sunday! So of course I wanted to share this with all of you too! 

If you are having, have had, or ever plan on having kids then this book is for you! A free book full of inspiration doesn't come around too often. You can click on the link above and download it instantly!

Thank you Shannon for making this book and for sharing it with so many!

Making My Happy Spot

A while back I read the book Happier at Home, which inspired me to create a spot filled with things to make me smile and inspire me. It also brought to my attention the fact that I over think everything causing me to never get things done. So, I got the nudge to just go for it and not worry if it turns out perfect or not. This is harder than I’d like to admit to, but sometimes inspiration comes and you just go with it.

My inspiration to make myself a happy space came to me from one of my favorite creative gals, Lindsay from Pen & Paint. She makes the cutest prints that have the greatest quotes, and I just love them! I picked two prints that I just had to have and waited patiently for them to arrive. When they got here I was so excited and then quickly fell into my usual ‘oh the possibilities, what am I going to do with them?!’ contemplations. I know, I’m crazy.

I finally decided on making a wall of Happiness and started to gather other prints, pictures and things that make me smile. I picked a wall and laid it all out and just did it! It felt so good to get it up and to finally have a spot for myself, even if it is just a wall.

One of the prints says ‘Do small things with great love.’ This one really speaks to me right now. One of my personal goals is to do everything with love. For all those I am around and especially for myself. I think that we tend to be the hardest on ourselves, when we should love ourselves completely. I am so glad to have this daily reminder to keep me on track!

Some of the other things I added to my Happiness wall:

A painting a friend made for us of the spot that Matt proposed to me. I just love that she did that for us, and love to think of that day!
A vintage needle point of a basket of flowers, because who doesn’t need that!?
A Nikki McClure calendar. She cuts out all of her prints by hand with an exacto knife. Inspiring for sure!
The little owl that my baby sister talked a shopkeeper in Germany into selling her because she knew I would like it. It wasn’t for sale, but she was determined.
The abalone shell is from our yearly camping trip to Albion and I filled it with succulents because it was just begging for it!
And most importantly, pictures of my family. Okay, mostly Sage. They bring a smile to my face no matter what is going on.

All of this above my cozy chaise filled with too many pillows and a bouquet of fresh flowers to boot!

Now I have this space where I can read a book, play with Sage, crochet or just sit and be inspired by where I’ve been and where I am heading. It’s my new happy spot, it’s not perfect, but it’s exactly what it needs to be.

Need some inspiration in your life? Lindsay is so kindly offering a $20 credit to her Pen & Paint shop for one of you lovelies! Pretty awesome right!? She has so many amazing things in her shop, I just know one will speak to you too!

To enter please use the rafflecopter form below. This contest will close on Sunday the 27th at midnight. The winner will be emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. Thank you all so much and good luck! Happy Monday!

PS… Make sure to checkout Pen & Paint on instagram, her posts always brighten my day!

What I'm doing now

I have some big changes going on right now. Big, fun changes.

I have been going to school {in all of my free time} to become a holistic health coach. It has been a little trying to juggle this and an ever growing baby boy, but I am so excited at the possibilities that this will bring me!

Health has been at the forefront of everything we do for so long now that it just feels right to be heading in this direction.

When we first started changing our ways and started our journey to health, I wanted to bring everyone I knew along with me. I was so excited to share everything I was learning with anyone who would listen to me!

You want to know how that worked?... It didn't.

It turns out unsolicited advice isn't wanted. No one wanted to hear it, simply because they weren't seeking it out for themselves. Instead of being this awesome voice of new found clarity, I probably sounded a lot more like the teacher on Charlie Brown...Wahwhahh whahwwaaah. It took me a while to realize this, but when I did, I decided to only give advice when asked directly. I didn't want to be 'that' person!

So, here I am, 8 years later and I'm finally getting to share my passion, but this time with people who actually want to hear it and are looking for a positive change in their lives.

I know what an amazing impact our healthy lifestyle has had on our lives, and am so excited to share it with others. Going through this schooling at Integrative Nutrition has been amazing! I am so happy to have found it, and that it has given me a new ability to share what I love with the world!

I will keep you all updated on my journey into this new part of my life, as I finish school and start up my practice! If you want to checkout why I love this school so much, click on the link below.

My first Mother's Day

Last year for Mother's Day I was very pregnant and halfway considering it my first Mother's Day. I had been carrying around and GROWING a baby inside me for 8 months, it seemed legit at the time. 

Now, a year later, I know the difference. THIS was my first Mother's Day. After almost 11 months of late nights, early mornings, dirty diapers, round the clock feedings, kisses, hugs, snuggles, and lots of laughs, it's pretty clear. As much as carrying around a baby in my belly made me feel like a mom, holding Sage in my arms was a whole new feeling. 

Being a mom is the greatest thing I've ever done. It's probably the greatest thing I ever will do. I couldn't ask for more. I love this boy so much, and am so happy to be his mom. 

Happy Easter!

Happy Easter Everyone!

Hope your day is filled with lots of joy, family and friends.
And maybe chocolate too.
Okay, definitely chocolate.

On my mind...

I have a short movie for you all to watch today. The topic has been on my mind a lot lately and I feel like I need to do my part to share this information. It's about bottled water. Yup, bottled water. That's what has me all worked up lately. If you think I'm crazy, watch this movie and then see if you feel the same way.

Now do you see why those little 8oz water bottles make me want to scream?

Now, I completely agree with avoiding bottled water, but where I'm not 100% on board with her is with the whole drinking straight tap water thing. Do you know what they put in tap water?! It varies depending on where you live, but I avoid it. We filter our water at home, and bring it with us in reusable bottles. It really doesn't take much time, and you are really doing something great for the planet! 

So, what do you think? Are you ready to ditch the bottled water?

The road less traveled

When we head out the door we usually only have a vague idea of where we are going, or what we are doing. We call it an adventure, and it usually is. That's exactly what happened this weekend, here's how it went down:

Lets go camping.
Where to?
How about the coast.
Sweet, how long should I pack for?
Uhm, at least three days, maybe a week.

And then we drive.

We always find a place to stay, and it's always awesome! (or we at least get a good story from it!)

So, on this particular adventure, we hit the coast and ended up off the beaten path and found an epic spot! I mean, I don't think it could've got any better. Plus it was so warm! I mean shorts and a tank top until you go to bed kind of warm... in MARCH! So, enjoy the pictures of our amazing spot, and maybe be a little jealous too. Not too much, just enough to go out on your own adventure!

That is the moon setting right before the sun came up. Pretty awesome!So, where have your adventures taken you lately? 


International Day of Happiness

Kind of funny that we need to declare a day to be happy, but it is always good to stop and appreciate the things that make you happy.

So, what is something that makes happy?

My number one thing that always makes me happy is this little man

That little face brightens every part of my day. Just look at that smile... pure happiness.

Today I am going to make sure and capture all the things that make me happy and share them with the world through instagram.  That is the point of the day, to remind others of what really matters in life.

Join me, and help inspire others to find their happiness by sharing your pictures with the world. Make sure to tag your photos with #happinessday so we can all see what makes you happy!

If you want to see what I share today, make sure to follow me on instagram. My username is AmerynMarie. Want us to checkout what you are sharing? Leave your username in the comments.

Now go out and enjoy your day, and remember to capture all the things that bring you joy!


This is probably my favorite time of the year. All the trees around here are full of blooms right now. Everywhere you look there are white and pink and even bright fushia flowers. It's so beautiful! Plus, it always reminds me of when me and Matt first started dating.

The other day it was quite gusty out, and I found myself in a 'snow' storm of blossoms. I full on giggled like a little kid and stuck out my hands like I was catching snowflakes. It was pretty great!

With all the new growth and blooms everywhere, I felt inspired to give the blog a fresh look too! A little spring cleaning and some fun new colors. I may need to do some more tweaking, so don't mind if something looks wonky for a bit. It's just me  moving things around. 

So, what do you think? I'm loving the brighter 'spring' colors right now.  

Using Essential Oils: Lavender

I recently have found the wonderful world of essential oils. I had used them before, but thought only to sprinkle a few drops in my bath to make it smell good. I had no idea what they really could do for you.
When Sage was born my mom brought some oils for me to try, since then I have been hooked! I want to start sharing them with everyone, because they really work!
I want to start with the oil that I thought I wouldn't like at all, and was very hesitant to try it... Lavender oil. Yeah, I didn't want to try lavender oil. I never liked the smell of anything lavender and thought that using it would leave me with nothing but a headache. Well, I was wrong... very wrong!

It turns out Lavender oil is awesome! I've used it for tons of things like:

Headaches! Yes, what I thought would give me a headache actually made it go away! I rubbed one drop of lavender with one drop of peppermint on my forehead and neck and my headache was gone in ten minutes!

Skin irritation. I have used it both for myself when my face is not so happy, and on Sage when his bum gets a bit red.

To calm and help sleep. A few drops in your bath or on your pillow or even rub some on the bottom of your feet before bed, seems to help you drift to sleep. I have even used some on Sage when he was having a rough time getting to sleep.

Some other uses that I haven't tried yet:
Calming a bee sting or bug bite
Easing motion sickness
Sooth a sunburn
To help a restless or agitated child calm down
It works to calm dogs too!

So, those are some of the great benefits of lavender oil. I'm sure there are many more, and I look forward to discovering them all.

Want to give it a try? Click here to get a bottle for yourself. Yes, it is my site, and I do benefit if you buy some, but I wouldn't be sharing this if I didn't think it was awesome!

So, which oils have you tried? Or are curious about?

The Vintage Honey Teething Necklace

I've got to tell you guys about the greatest thing I've found in a while.
Teething necklaces! And I'm not talking about the ones you see all the babies wearing now (although, those are pretty great too) I'm talking about super cute ones that YOU get to wear, and your baby gets to chomp on, without worry of it breaking or scratching them.

The Vintage Honey Shop sent me a ridiculously cute necklace to test out, and I just LOVE it! First off they chose the perfect color for me, I'm not sure if they are mind readers or what, but it's exactly what I would've picked myself! It's a grey, cream and yellow damask... perfection.

After admiring the perfect print for a while, I tied it on and Sage instantly grabbed a hold and gave it a thorough inspection. He then chewed on it for a few minutes... it worked. He was chomping on something other than the straps of the carrier or my hair! Woot!

So, he liked it, which was important, but was I going to like wearing it? I already had on of those silicone teething necklaces, which I did like, but it was sometimes a pain to wear... literally, it would stick to my hair and that really isn't much fun. But, The Vintage Honey teething necklace ties on with a soft ribbon, so no hair pulling at all. Plus, because it tied on I could adjust the length to fit perfectly. I also really like how light weight it is. I hardly notice that I'm wearing it most of the time. (unless there is a 21 pound baby pulling at the other end of it)

The other great thing about the necklace is it doesn't necessarily look like a 'teething' necklace. I've had people tell me how cute my necklace is, and then a few minutes later (when Sage is chomping away) go 'OH! Is that made for him to chew?! That's so awesome!' So, I guess it could just be a necklace, but it's great that it's both!

Did I mention that they package it up so stinking cute?! I felt like I was opening a birthday present or something. This would be such a sweet thing to have sent to an expecting or new mom as a gift. It would make her day, and everyday after that, because she will probably wear it all the time!... I do!

So, if you are a mom, or know someone that is I highly recommend checking out The Vintage Honey Shop. They have tons of necklaces on their site, and some of them are even organic! Plus they make bracelets and nursing scarfs (which really you could wear anytime too) that are just as cute as the necklaces.

Cloth Diaper LOVE Giveaway

Today I have a really fun giveaway that all you fellow crunchy (and even not so crunchy) moms (or dads) are going to love! BabyKicks is giving away a Valentines themed cloth diaper bundle right now. Check out the goodies and how you can enter below. Also, if you want to see what I think about my BabyKicks diapers checkout my review here. Good luck!

Disclaimer: I am a BabyKicks Ambassador. I receive products and compensation in exchange for promoting their wonderful products. All opinions, ideas and cute little fluffy bums are property of Sunshine Praises and can not be altered in any manner. This giveaway is not affiliated with Instagram, Facebook or any other social media outlet.
Welcome to the #BabyKicksLOVE Valentine's Instagram Giveaway
This fun and unique giveaway is designed to let us show how hot our passion burns for fluffy cloth diapered buns on Instagram. Help us spread the cloth diaper love in photos!
Entries are fun and simple! All you have to do is add a daily picture of your favorite cloth diaper or accessory based on that days theme, then come back here and put the link in the daily entry option. Make sure you use the hashtag #BabyKicksLOVE and tag @BabyKicksOrganic in the description.
The Details
  • Your Instagram profile must be public for us to verify your picture.
  • You DO NOT have to own a BabyKicks diaper or purchase one to participate.
  • You can post one picture or ten. Whatever your heart desires.
  • We would love you to follow @SunshinePraises & @Shull2319 and tag us in your photos.
  • Spread the love farther by using the hashtag #clothdiapers
Pictures can be posted daily using the following themes! Feel free to get creative. Use digital stickers, text and clip art. I love the apps Instacollage, A Beautiful Mess and Photogrid. (Have other suggestions? Leave them in the comments.) Do whatever you want to show your #BabyKicksLOVE
The Prize
One lucky reader will win a Valentine's themed prize pack from BabyKicks. You will recieve the super rare (they only made these for one month) PINK Fitted Diaper, a RED Basic Pocket Diaper and a Multi Pack of Red/Pink/Ivory Washies.
Enter Here
We can't wait to see all your #BabyKicksLOVE photos!

Read it! The Balanced Plate

This morning I perused my bookcase looking for a book to flip through while watching Sage play with his favorite toys and things he likes to think are toys. I landed on The Balanced Plate by The Balanced Plate by Renée Loux It's been a while sine I've picked it up, and I had forgot what a great book it is. Her book is filled not only with great recipes, but lots of good information on food in general.  She gets into the benefits of whole food and why eating organic is so important. One of my favorite parts of this book is the in depth look at the kitchen and everything in it, from spices to composting and even how to clean your kitchen naturally. Then after all that you get into all of her amazing recipes!

I don't think you could go wrong with this book, and I would recommend it to anyone looking to better their eating or even just their life. Which is why I am sharing it with you today, just because I think you should know about it! I linked it up to Amazon so you can order it now if you want, or go find it at your local bookstore, if you are lucky enough to have one near you still.


Okay, have you been wondering what I've been up to? 
Maybe not, but I'll tell you anyway! Or show you rather, via instagram pictures.

So, we moved a while ago and are still getting settled in. (hence the lack of posts) We are close to family now, which is awesome for Sage, and us too of course! No more 6 hour drives to see the grandparents. They are LOVING that!

Sage is getting SO big! He's seriously growing way too fast! He's pretty mobile now too, he's not quite crawling, but he can get where he wants to be! And somehow he keeps getting cuter! I'm not sure how that works, but everyday he's cuter than the last!

Here are some of the photos that I've snapped lately.

His first time eating dirt... I'm sure there will be plenty more of this to come.
"styling" moms hair... he's got the knotted look down!
Playing in the laundry basket. This was his favorite for days!
fun crochet project in the window between baby bedtime and moms bedtime
getting Sage's first Christmas tree
enjoying some of the best vegan sugar cookies ever!...or breakfast.
chocolate sourdough muffins, so tasty
we've had some epic sunsets lately
this kid... he thought he'd just hang upside-down off the couch or a bit
he's a happy boy!
see this!!! he's getting too big!
figuring this whole hat thing out
really pretty beets, sliced thin and ready to ferment kraut style
So that's a little of what's been going on here. Now that we are getting settled we are getting some fun projects going. It's pretty exciting. I'll be sure to keep you in the loop.

Speaking of projects, I've got the crafty bug biting me right now, any great projects I should try?

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