Photo Birth Story with Intel AIO

#spon: I am in a partnership with Intel. Through this partnership I gain access to content, product, or other forms of value.

As many of you know, a few weeks ago we were blessed to welcome a new addition in to our household. It has been a whirlwind filled with lots love and a few tears, but we are so thankful to have this sweet little guy in our home.

I love the new trend of capturing birth stories through photographs. I really wanted to have a photo birth story of my own there’s just one problem, I have c-sections. They only allow one extra person in the room during my sweet little ones birth and that’s my husband. How is that fair? Because my body requires help for the birth of my little angels I don’t get to witness or document the miracle? I tried my best to get them to let me have two so my husband could watch and my sister could take pictures. I got permission from my doctor, but the anesthesiologist whom I will lovingly call “Drill Sergeant” put the kibosh on that. Boo. I handed my big girl camera to my husband and said a silent prayer that somehow I would end up with something besides blur. With this kind of thing you only get one chance.

Everything went smoothly with the surgery and I kept reminding my husband to take more and more pictures. I didn’t get to see the baby for more than a second or two in the first ten minutes so I really wanted some good shots of him brand new. They brought the baby over and “Drill Sergeant” snapped a couple shots of all of us (that and the fact that my spinal worked like a dream being his redeeming qualities). Once back in recovery my sis was able to capture moments of both my husband and I as we got to know our little guy.

A few days later and home from the hospital I picked up my camera to download the photos and see what we had to work with. I popped my sim card straight in to my new Intel AIO and could not believe my eyes. There were some really beautiful shots! I was so thrilled. I got right to work choosing favorites and editing them.

Intel AIO

The Intel AIO made it so simple to put our birth story together. I love that it is a portable touch screen desktop so I can work on it in whatever room I’m needed and choose whether or not to even set up the keyboard and mouse (which by the way just requires plugging a tiny piece in to a USB port, so easy). I set the AIO up right on the kitchen counter so I could be in the middle of the happenings with my family. Then, when I’m done I just fold up the stand and put it away.

The wide screen gives you the ability to view many photos at once even with the extra large icons. It is also perfect for photo editing giving you tons of room to work with so when your tools are up you can still view a large photo and don’t have to adjust the zoom. I got the photos all edited in an evening and the next day put them in to a slideshow. Simple as that and now I have such a neat visual documentation of our special day!

I love my new little guy, my visual birth story, and my Intel AIO!

Strawberry Sorbet Bars

Summer brings heat and being one month out from baby boy’s arrival I am baking in more ways than one. With temperatures reaching the 100′s last week I got my first set of cankles. I took off my shoes and you could see lines in my feet where they used to be! Not pretty. My Dr. told me with temps like these you’ve got to stay inside and drink A LOT of water. Sounds like a lot of fun for me and the kiddos to enjoy the rest of the summer huh. Long days by the lake may be out for this soon to pop mama, but that doesn’t mean we can’t bring the fun to us!

My kiddos are obsessed with frozen treats, but Mom desires something a little more than just colored sugar and water in a tube. I got to try out the new STARBURST™ Brand Sorbet Bars which round out Mars’ ice cream portfolio, with delights including DOVEBAR®, TWIX® and SNICKERS® Ice Cream Bars. STARBURST™ Sorbet Bars give you the taste of a STARBURST™ strawberry fruit chew in a cold and refreshingly tasty bar with, get this, only 70 calories. Seriously! Now that is a number I can celebrate! I am the one who always hoards the strawberry Starbursts so I was thrilled to try the new arctic version of this candy favorite.

Starburst Strawberry Sorbet Bar

I am happy to report they taste and pretty much look just like the candies on a stick. If you like the strawberry Starbursts, you’ll love these. They have a great light texture too. So being the experimenter that I am and while staging the bars for a photo with the berries I got to thinking about berries and my cravings for chocolate and chocolate covered berries. The joys of a pregnant woman’s mind. Then, I got to remembering this recipe for two ingredient freezing chocolate shell and well you can imagine where it went from there.

Starburst Strawberry Sorbet Bar with homemade two ingredient freezing chocolate shell

Mind you I did not even get to finish this one because my three year old stole it out of my hand. No biggie, there were three more in the box in the freezer. I now have the perfect frozen treat to satisfy fruity or chocolate cravings and it’s as simple as opening the freezer door. It’s making life in this oven world that much more bearable.  Bring on the scorchers. I have my handheld fan and strawberry sorbet bars!

Starburst Sorbet Bars

For more info on Starburst products be sure to follow them on Twitter and Facebook.

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

Chest Upgrade – A Sauder Review

With baby boy #3 on the way in just a few more more weeks we’ve been doing some shifting to get the new nursery ready including moving our other two boys in to the same room. Bunk beds from my husbands childhood made this fairly simple, but storage space was an issue. Their room is fairly small and the existing dresser, closet and nightstand were bursting at the seams with clothes, books, and toys. I was thrilled when Sauder contacted me to try out one of their pieces. It could not have come at a better time!

I jumped right in searching for a piece that would fit our needs. I love the wish list feature that allows you to keep track of pieces that you love when you fall in love with a whole slew like I did. I decided to to visit the style lab and take the “find Your Furniture Style” quiz to help me narrow things down and end up with a piece that really fit. My style was “transitional” and it recommended the Shoal Creek Collection. They were totally right. I love the clean lines with the fun hardware that comes with this collection. I ultimately chose the Shoal Creek 4 Drawer Chest in the Oiled Oak Finish. The vertical design was perfect to fit in the boys small room. Here’s a sneak peek…

When the box arrived I was impressed at the packaging. It had extra reinforcement on the corners to ensure the contents would not be damaged which I love. There’s nothing worse than having to send it back before you even get started!

We pulled out all the pieces and got to work. My husband loved the clarity of the instructions. He was an English major and is usually pained with the horrendous explanations inside instruction booklets, but this time he kept commenting on how well things were written and laid out. We never had questions or hesitations on how things should go. They were very clear and even comical (in a good way) as shown in the picture below.

Something that was a great help to us with so many tiny parts to keep track of was to take them all out and separate them into muffin tins. This made them easy to spot and grab without sifting through and possibly losing any.

We actually built this for family night one evening. It was really cute to see my oldest work together with his Dad to create something for his room. He loves learning to use tools and many of the steps were simple enough for him to help with while closely supervised of course. Even preggo mom got in on some of the action assembling a few drawers while Daddy read to the boys at bedtime.

The next morning we moved the chest in to their room and I could not wait to style it up to fit their paleontologist theme. With the simple addition of a plastic dinosaur, dinosaur book, oil lantern, and a piece of authentic dino poop (as found in the desert of Utah by a neighbors dino bone hunting grandpa) it was all set as the perfect addition and storage solution.

Now everyone’s clothes have a place and there’s even room for sizes transitioning from one boy to another!

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Sauder. The opinions and text are all mine.

10 Things to Love About the Cricut Explore

So, if you follow me on Instagram, you may have heard a little bit about the new Cricut Explore. I am so thrilled to be able to try it out and share my thoughts with you. My three year was quite curious about this new tool and through his discovery gives quite a nice intro to the new cutting machine.

While that does a good job giving you some of the basics straight out of the box, now that I have had the chance to play with a bit more I have discovered so many great things. Here are my top 10 things to love about the Cricut Explore.

  • Eliminates a lot of the work (adjusting pressures, depths, etc) with a simple dial that can easily alternate between cutting paper, vinyl, iron on, cardstock, fabric  and more.
  • Cuts over 50 different mediums from wrapping paper to craft metal to leather with a single blade. No really, I’ve seen it!
  • It cuts the smallest details (1/4 inch) with precision like no other machine I’ve seen and can also cut images up to 23 1/2 inches.
  • It’s quiet, like a whisper so you can craft late at night or during naptime without concern.
  • It has Cut Smart™ dual carriage technology that cuts, writes, or scores a variety of materials like the card project below that writes and cuts without changing out the mat, pen, or blade!
  • The design is so sleek and they really thought things out including places to store tools and blades right in the machine and a space under the machine to slide the mat under for storage. Convenience at it’s finest.
  • I love the new design space software (which is up and running for you to try out!) and the fact that I can upload my own images and fonts. It opens up a whole new avenue of creativity and personalization options.
  • No Cartridges! Single images from $0.99 or a  no-commitment $9.99 monthly subscription that gives you access to 25,000 images and over 200 fonts. Of course if you already have cartridges, they can be uploaded to the new design space software.
  • Canvas Templates for t-shirts, iPad cases, banners and more so there’s no guessing game on sizing or placement of images on your projects. You can see just what it will look like.
  • Make It Now™ pre-designed home decor, party and holiday projects  you can make with just the click of a button for those days when you want to just click and create.

    “A new generation of DIY crafters want the satisfaction of handmade along with the convenience and immediate gratification of digital. They want to make that beautiful project they find on Pinterest, without needing a PhD in crafting,” said Ashish Arora, president and CEO of Cricut. “With Cricut Explore, users can go from inspiration to creation in just a few clicks, easily creating handmade projects that are both polished and personal.”

      I can’t wait to share some of the fun projects I have in the works! I think they’ve hit the nail on the head with this one. Snag yours starting March 15th. If it’s anything like the HSN launch they will go quick!

Disclaimer: I received a Cricut Explore for review and dang it’s cool! All opinions are my own.

We have decided to truncate our feed to help protect against stolen content. I apologize for any inconvenience. Please love us anyway. :)