Never miss a moment with the Lumix G7 lightweight and compact DSLM camera

I participated in an Ambassador Program on behalf of Influence Central for Panasonic. I received product samples as well as a promotional item to thank me for my participation.” Lumix sunsetAs someone who has a camera with me at all times, the struggle is always between whether I want quality pictures or I want lightweight options, because up until now there was no real compromise in my eyes. That means I typically end up going the DSLR route because I need to have good pictures for blog posts and for capturing all those important milestones with the kids, but I hate that I end up carting around bags of gear as well as all the stuff we need on our adventures.

In my never-ending search for a lighter weight camera, I earmarked the Panasonic Lumix G7 because it has interchangeable lenses as well as being mirrorless {which is quite possibly my favorite advance in cameras in the recent years}. The fact that it has a touch-enabled screen so it is really user-friendly was the tipping point. But it wasn’t until I tried it that I truly fell in love.

The Lumix totally blew me away in the DSLM (M= Mirrorless) category and it has proven to be the perfect compromise of losing the bulk and weight of traditional DSLRs without sacrificing image quality. In fact, it has so many features that I adore that it’s now my most-used camera. This is because it can do basically everything I need but can fit easily in my purse or diaper bag for days out so I can capture gems like this one I snapped last night while berry picking. Lumix kisses

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Diapering advice from an experienced mom – Diaper Genie Essentials

Sponsored post Diaper Genie diaper changing stationThis is what my current diaper changing station looks like. Clearly, a lot has changed since I became a mom 7 years ago. Sleeping in is now the finest of luxuries, my purse currently houses a combination first aid kit and toy box, coffee has become my best friend, and I’m so over the so-called must-haves. I know what works for me {coffee} and I know what doesn’t {the picturesque nursery}.

Hey, I’m not saying you never should design that dream nursery. I did for my first child and I enjoyed every second of planning, shopping, and seeing it all come together. What I’m saying is that, for me, it’s not a must-have. I hated the fact that my beautiful nursery was very under-utilized and became obsolete so fast. I was stuck trying to redesign the room multiple times as my daughter transitioned from baby to toddler and I vowed to do it differently the next time around.

Now that I’m a mom of three, I’ve learned a thing or two {or six} about diapering that I wish I could tell my younger self

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Peripop: the perfect blanket, play mat, and cushion for baby and beyond

Sponsored post Oribel Foxey babyAs someone who is always on the go with kids, I feel like I am constantly shuttling belongings from point A to point B, then to point C, and back again. It used to be that I would arrive at my destination and unload bags and toys and gear just for a few hours and then would cart it all back home again when I was done. But, my years of doing that are over now that I have three darlings who all need gear and I still only have two hands.

Since baby items are traditionally big and bulky, they were the first things to get abandoned for the sake of not feeling like a pack mule. But, then the problem arises of where I can set baby safely once we get to our destination so that I can actually use both those hands every once in a while.

That's why I love Oribel, a brand that completely understand that parenting often happens on the go. Their new line of baby gear is not only lightweight and portable, but also multi-purpose so that it solves numerous problems at the same time. Introducing Peripop, the coolest baby mat, ever.

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Taking the scenic route with the Mitsubishi Lancer

Sponsored postBy Tyler, editor and reviewerMitsubishi Lancer in drivewayMy wife says I can’t buy a race car. Something about how it’s not practical and we have three kids, blah blah blah. But after spending time in the 2015 Mitsubishi Lancer, I think I might just be able to sneak this one by her.

It may not have a roll cage or nitrous, but the Mitsubishi Lancer with the optional 2.4L engine does satisfy my desire for a compact car to cruise in that really feels like I’m driving. Anyone out there that has ever wanted to race knows what I’m talking about. There’s driving, and then there’s really feeling like you’re driving. Mitsubishi Lancer at hotelSo, how does the Mitsubishi Lancer enhance the driving experience? For me it was through the steering and suspension set up that was unlike the other family mobiles that are “practical” and “kid-friendly”. The funny thing is, the Lancer is actually both of those as well. It may not scream “family”, but you wouldn’t believe how much fun we all had zipping up and down hills along the Oregon and Washington coast as we hugged each curve in the road.

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A teddy bear that is changing the world: Bears for Humanity

Sponsored post Can a teddy bear change the worldOn my 30th birthday I got hit by a drunk driver on my way home from renewing my driver’s license with my two small children. While the driver who hit us sped off, our car bounced around the freeway, sliding across loose gravel, and straight into a guard rail, narrowly missing a 30 foot drop.

Eventually, our car ended up in oncoming traffic where kind passersby helped push our car off to the side while we waited for the emergency responders to check us over and assist us. My husband arrived in just minutes to escort us off the freeway and together we got the car to the state patrol’s office to get the accident paperwork.

We were met by two officers upon our arrival at the office parking lot, each holding a teddy bear for our young children. Even just the sight of them standing there holding those bears brought me to tears, and it was in that moment that I understood that teddy bears sometimes are much more than a simple toy. Sometimes they remind you just how much good there is in the world just when you need it most. Our interaction that night with the troopers took just minutes, but I will never forget their kindness to me and my kids that evening.

Sure, there are 30th birthdays ruined by someone having too much fun drinking and not enough sense to utilize public transportation or taxi services. But, there are also passersby who put their lives in danger to save people they don’t even know, and sometimes there are state patrols who hear of young children involved in a serious car accident and take the time out of their busy day to surprise those kids with teddy bears when they need a little comfort. 

Partners-6Bears for Humanity understands that a teddy bear can make all the difference in the world to a child in difficult circumstances. That’s why when you buy one of their gorgeous bears they will send an identical bear to a child who needs it through a number of reputable charitable organizations that you can select from as you buy.

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Our KIA Sedona camping adventure

Sponsored postI need to preface this review by stating that I am NOT a minivan person. When I think minivan, I think "grandma mobile", complete with character-emblazoned steering wheel and cross stitch caddy just waiting for a long drive. I know I'm not alone in this because there are legit sites proclaiming their distaste for the minivan movement. I had always firmly believed that minivans were not what the cool kids drove, no matter how practical they may be.

My husband, however, has been trying to convince me how awesome minivans are since well before we had kids. Quite frankly, I thought he was crazy. I'm all about small cars, and compact sedans are where my heart has always been.

BUT I CHANGED MY MIND! It turns out I do think minivans can be pretty darn cool, and after riding in the Kia Sedona last week and taking a fun road trip with the family to go camping, I will admit that I fully get it. I get why they are awesome, and I get why parents {and grandparents} love them.

You hear me, hubby? I get it.  Not your Grandmas minivan

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A whole new way to have fun while building with Geomag Toys

Sponsored postIf I was describing the differences between my toys growing up and the toys my kids love, the biggest differences wouldn't be what you would probably expect. It isn’t technology, computers, or gadgets that set them apart. No, the biggest difference I see is the intelligence in the design of toys these days that takes learning toys to a whole new level.

Instead of basic blocks like I used to play with, now children's building tools are more advanced and so much cooler. Just look at Geomag, the maker of awesome magnetic construction toys that have been huge in Europe for years and are just now re-entering the US market. Geomag constructionUsing super strong magnets within magnetic rods and non-magnetic spheres as well as accessories, the Geomag sets allow you to build not just up, but also out, around, and within so you can build so much more than ever before. Because the magnets hold your design in place, you don’t have to worry about a strong gust of wind knocking everything down and can build in all directions until you have created your masterpiece. Geomag magnets in action

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Embrace the curve with the LG G Flex 2 smartphone from AT&T

Sponsored postAre you looking for your next phone? Look no further, because I have the perfect phone for you. Introducing the LG G Flex 2 smartphone from AT&T. Read all about this amazing phone and then enter to win one of these bad boys below!

By now I’m sure you’ve heard all about how the new iPhone can bend and how it really scared people the first few weeks. Well, it turns out that the curve isn’t exactly a defect. In fact, some people would argue that the curved design is preferred over a standard rectangle phone, which is why the new LG G Flex 2 was created with a curve. LG perfect curve

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Adventure approved gear for little travelers from Wildkin

Sponsored post Wildkin off to see the worldIt’s a big day in our house – our oldest has made the transition from kid suitcase to real-deal “luggage”. This has been on my list to do for years now as her tiny going to grandma’s style suitcase has proven to be too tiny for all her clothing and gear as well as accommodating her natural ability to collect treasures wherever we go.

Her beat up old suitcase has been all over the world with us, but it was time to retire it for something that can hold more than a few changes of clothing and a book. Ideally the replacement would be wheeled so she wasn’t stuck carrying it across airports, colorful and fun so it would be fun to take with us, and it would grow with her so we won’t have to buy yet another suitcase in just a few years.

Our solution? Wildkin bags, backpacks and suitcases that have all the fun designs I love while still being uber practical and easy to travel with. Wildkin portrait

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Less is more with natural options to help children feel better from Little Remedies

Sponsored postMy grandma used to have one present she always got for every new baby in the family: Gripe Water. As the mom of 7 kids, grandmother to 12, and great-grandma to 13 {and counting}, she knows a thing or two about babies. Specifically, she knows that if baby ain’t happy, no one’s happy. She knows that at 1am that Gripe Water is going to be worth its weight in gold. Little Remedies gripe waterAs the mom of a new baby, I can definitely agree. And, while my baby is admittedly very easy going and has a naturally relaxed demeanor and a crazy amount of patience for her older siblings’ shenanigans, when she has an upset stomach, watch out.

That’s where Little Remedies products come in. Made to support the health and well-being of infants and children, Little Remedies believes that "less is more" and they make each of their products with the fewest and most natural ingredients. They do this without sacrificing the product’s effectiveness, so you get the best for your baby to help them feel better fast. No artificial flavors, no artificial colors, and no alcohol, saccharin or preservatives. Little Remedies helps them feel better fastThat is why they say Everything they need. Nothing they don't.® Created by a father who struggled to find an effective product for his kids that contained ingredients he could feel good about, Little Remedies® products were designed to soothe and comfort your precious little ones without having to sacrifice.

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