Confessions of a #momboss with Gigi New York

I'm going to get a little personal here about working from home as a mom, running my own businesses + life as a boy mom, all while trying to stay sane. Ok, trying to stay slightly sane, since I'm being honest. I've worked from home in some capacity for the past 6 1/2 years, since becoming a mom to Breck, my first born. But, #momboss mode has taken on a completely different level for me since acquiring American Gluten Free

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We live in such an amazing time where opportunities can be abundant because of technology. It's incredible! However, just because opportunities are available, it doesn't mean balance automatically comes with it. Just like anything in life, balance has to be sought after, protected, practiced. The more we bring into our lives, the more we have to work to balance out, schedule out, take out, or delegate. Or, set aside until we can get back to it once things settle. All of this takes time + time is so precious, especially when you have three beautiful boys growing up right before your eyes. What balance looks like + feels like for me probably doesn't look the same or feel the same for the other #mombosses. All of our situations are probably quite different. 

I shared here why I purchased American Gluten Free + why I felt like becoming The CEO of American Gluten Free was the right step for me. Let's get really real here. Nothing in life is perfect. It's just not. There's a give + take. Sometimes the give is more than the take. And, sometimes we have to give a little less to feel life a little more. Is this new business opportunity going to change my life? It already has. Is it going to change me? It already has. Will it continue to grow + stretch my family? It already has. I'm not sure where this all will take us, but hopefully somewhere good. 

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Something I'm willing to get really personal about here is the internal struggle that comes with acquiring or starting a new business. This is true to me, but it seems to be true to many that go down this road as well. I mean, we are putting ourselves out in the world in a vulnerable way, so it's no surprise that internal struggles creep in.

Here are some things that I've faced but seem to impact other #mombosses trying to blaze a trail:

Self doubt. Any negative self-talk that swirls in my head on a daily basis, has come out like a ravaged beast. It's like an internal battle raging war on myself day in + day out. (Research tells us that we all have repetitive negative talk going through our minds on a daily basis + the same negative thoughts are on repeat for all of us. Our voices are just different). Something I've really been focusing on to get to the root cause of my negative self-talk. This has honestly been good (though hard) for me to face, as I set out to really rebuild my life + myself after my recent miscarriage + D&C + my son, Bowan's two recent anaphylactic episodes that were both life threatening + traumatic. After facing such painful experiences back to back, I realized my life just wasn't set up to withstand such difficulty. That led me to find a way to better structure my life + a lot of it centers on cultivating deeper personal strength. Running a business really helps to work you down to your core + it helps bring you more to the person you're meant to be. 

Priorities. Let's face it, we have to prioritize. Not just our time, but who we want to be. I want to work, yet I want to be with my kids + that's something I've had to work hard to figure out. Prioritizing things within the business are really important too. What is absolutely most important now, what will we get to next? What has to wait, what do we need to explore to see if there is a better or different way? Another priority of mine is to pay off our medical bills, on average we get about 3 medical bills in the mail each day. They just keep coming + we haven't even had any recent medical appointments. So, when I think about giving up, this priority of paying off our medical bills is set for me, something I'm working toward. 

Passion. It's so important to have some kind of passion project in life. Maybe it's a corporate job, or side hustle, or artwork on the weekend, or personal photography of your kids, or activism in the community. Running a small business surely needs to center around passion. Is the mission of the company central to a core passion of yours in life? I am so passionate about health, finding safe foods for people with food allergies, Celiac + autoimmune diseases. These things have touched my life in such a profound way, I can never go back. I can never un-be who I am because of these things that have changed me. Because I care so much about the central mission of American Gluten Free, it keeps me coming back even after the long days + long nights. 

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Here are 10 tips to help you on your #momboss journey:

1. Write down your why in life. Write down your why in business. How do they cross? How can they compliment each other?

2. Write down your top 10 priorities in life. How can you make sure to include them in your daily + monthly life? If some things have to fall by the wayside for a short time, how will you get them back in?

3. What negative self-talk to you tell yourself? Name it. Work through it. Give that voice a name. Tell her you hear her, but keep moving on + don't give in to her. 

4. What 10 things are you most passionate about in life? How can you work them into your personal life? How can you work them into your business?

5. Remember, how things look on the outside doesn't mean they feel the same way on the inside. How are you going to make things feel right on the inside once you peel back the layers of the business?

6. How do you want your customers + clients to feel?

7. Is there anything you can delegate? Make a list. 

8. Make lists. Find a beautiful journal + make a list of all of your ideas in one place. Business ideas, ideas for your personal life. All the ideas. Come back to them + explore them often. 

9. Find a way to get movement into your day. A focused run or yoga class is ideal. But, since #mombossing it ain't easy, sometimes we've got to get creative. Take the kids on a run, do some yoga with the kids. I love to lie on a yoga block in fish pose. Do some plie's while washing dishes. Find a few ways to move during the day, your thoughts + emotions will thank you for sure. 

10. Make a list of the things you are doing well. It's so easy to feel discouraged even when things are going well, because the to-do list might be longer than the day's accomplishments. Make a list of the things you are doing well + the things you've accomplished recently. 

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This post was sponsored by Gigi New York. Because sometimes #mombosses just need a beautiful purse to help express their creativity + to help them feel confident in the day to day of running a business. I only share things I love + use + I'm happy to share this brand with you. 

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A Fresh Take on Corn on the Cob with Cal-Organic & Watkins

Corn on the cob is a fresh summer staple. Here's a fun way to spice it up with fresh dill. Still with a buttery, rich flavor. Yet, dairy-free + full of goodness. 

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Traditional corn on the cob includes loads of butter. But, this recipe is totally dairy free. So, if you're Vegan, DF + GF, have a dairy allergy, or are focusing on plant-based meals, this recipe is for you. 

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Fresh dill on corn? Yes, totally a match made in Heaven. Try it. Love it. Make it again on a hot summer evening. 

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Ingredients:

1 Cup Fresh Cal Organic Dill
3 Tbsp Olive Oil
Juice of 1/2 a Lemon
1/4 Cup chopped Cal Organic Red Onion
1 tsp Watkins Pepper
1 tsp Watkins garlic powder
1/2 tsp salt

Directions:

In a blender, combine:
1 Cup Fresh Dill
3 Tbsp Olive Oil
Juice of 1/2 a Lemon
1/4 Cup chopped Red Onion
1 tsp pepper
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp salt

Spread on your prepared corn.

Enjoy!

Heck, try in on some roasted potatoes, too. 

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Photography by: // Lindsey Lee & Co. 

 

Mango Cashew Milk Smoothie with Pacific Foods

You may have gotten a bottle of Pacific Foods Cashew Milk in your American Gluten Free subscription box this month. This non-dairy milk is amazing served chilled right out of the bottle. Or, try this smoothie recipe to keep you cool all summer!

Pacific Foods Cashew Milk Mango Smoothie

The ingredients are simple + the taste is refreshing. Serve as a smoothie, or try as popsicles by pouring into popsicle molds. Either way, here is a refreshing recipe for you:

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 Mango Dairy-Free Lassi

Ingredients:

          10oz frozen mango (1 package)

          32oz Unsweetened Cashew NDB

          1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom

          3 Tablespoons Agave

          2 cups ice

Directions:

Combine all ingredients in a blender + blend on medium high. Serve with your favorite paper straw. Enjoy!

This recipe was developed by Pacific Foods.

Pacific Foods Cashew Milk Mango Smoothie

Pacific Foods really aims to give back to the community. Watch this amazing video here

Looking to Subscribe to American Gluten Free? Use the coupon code: 10PERCENTOFF for 10% off your subscription. 

Mango Cashew Smoothie with American Gluten Free and Pacific Foods. Dairy Free Smoothie Recipe

Photography by: // Lindsey Lee & Co. 

Hummus Recipe with American Gluten Free + San Francisco Salt

Looking for a refreshing, plant-based recipe this spring? We've got you covered. Here, I'm sharing a super easy Hummus recipe with American Gluten Free + San Francisco Salt Co. 

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I love that hummus is a nutritions + quick recipe that can feel rich + satisfying as well. The lemon juice + Himalayan Salt sure is a way to top it off. 

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Homemade Hummus Ingredients:

3 Cans of Chick Peas

1 Can of Reserved Water from the Chick Peas

2 Cloves Roasted Garlic

3 Tbsp Hemp Seeds

2 Tbsp Fresh Lemon Juice

2 Tbsp Olive Oil

1 Tbsp Paprika

1/2 Tbsp Himalayan Salt

1/2 Tbsp Black Pepper

Directions:

Drain 2 cans of chick peas. Add to blender. Add addition can of chick peas with reserved water to the blender.

Roast 8 cloves of garlic in a frying pan with 1 Tsp olive oil over medium heat. Continue to turn with a spatula  until toasted. Add garlic cloves to blender.

Juice one lemon. Reserve 2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice. Add to blender.

Add Olive Oil, Paprika, Salt + Black Pepper to the blender. Blend on medium high until a smooth consistency is achieved. Scoop out into a reusable container. Top with a dash of olive oil, paprika, lemon juice + Himalayan Salt

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Looking to try American Gluten Free? Use code 10PERCENTOFF for 10% off your order. 

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Pin this recipe for later!

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Photography by: // Lindsey Lee & Co. 

The Things We Carry with Vilah Bloom

I carry a lot, you carry a lot, we all carry a lot as moms. I mean, we fill our diaper bags + backpacks to the brim. But, we also carry responsibility, emotions, memories + dreams. I recently discovered the Vilah Bloom line, I'm in love with this bag + I'll share with you about it here plus the things I carry.  

Vilah Bloom Diaper Bag

I was born + raised in Michigan. And, Northern Michigan will always have my heart. You know what I mean, if you've ever been Up North. Vilah Bloom is a company that is based Up North in Petoskey, Michigan. All the more for me to love. I recently took a trip to Traverse City, Michigan + Petoskey is nearby, on the beautiful Lake Michigan. 

Vilah Bloom diaper bag

As a mom, I carry wipes. And, I make sure to throw an extra container of wipes in my bag on the way out the door, just incase. So, I'm probably carrying around 3 packages of wipes on any given day. I mean, mom life for sure. I love that the wipes are so easily to grab right in the center of this bag. It lightens my load a little for sure. 

Vilah Bloom Diaper Bag

I carry so much, my hands are normally full + my mind a checklist. Having a backpack helps as I try to be mindful + let things go while I experience the present moment. 

Vilah Bloom diaper bag

In the end, I am the only one who can give my children a happy mother who loves life. 

So, in my bag, I pack a journal, a good book + a nice pen. I try to unpack my feelings, dreams, to-do list, goals + thoughts. I may only have a short time to write or read until I'm interrupted, but at least I'm tending to myself even in a small way, when I can fit it in. 

Vilah Bloom diaper bag

I absolutely love this bag + I know you will too. It's an expression of my style, completely useful + a place for me to pack all of my things, especially those wipes. 

Photography by: // Lindsey Lee & Co. 

Sponsored by: Vilah Bloom

Clothing: Chicory Lane Boutique

Boots: The Walking Company

Vilah Bloom a favorite diaper bag

American Gluten Free + Lindsey Lee

There once was a time when I had to throw away or give away almost everything I had in my pantry + fridge + start completely over. The food I had in my house, that was meant to nourish my family could really harm my son, Bowan. Honestly, some of the food, like the peanut butter or the jar of tahini could be fatal, even. After Bowan was diagnosed with life threatening food allergies, life changed forever. My pantry was already "clean" but, main ingredients that should be safe, had "may contain" warnings, the jars of jelly were cross contaminated by our own use, you name it. I have lived the struggle to find safe food to eat. I realize many others feel the same, that is why I purchased American Gluten Free.

Lindsey Lee American Gluten Free Subscription Box

I've been surrounded by food that I couldn't eat. I've cried in the grocery store. There was a point when I couldn't walk down certain aisles in the grocery store, because I may have been able to find just one safe thing there + it was just too sad + overwhelming for me to sort through the labels. With mustard, soy, wheat, garlic, sesame allergies + more, the salad dressing aisle was a difficult place to navigate. The nut butter aisle just made me sad, because as a vegetarian, I of course had loved tree nuts my entire life + then I went to cutting them out completely because I continued to nurse my allergic son. So, I lived as if I could not have trace amounts of allergens, just as Bowan needed to avoid his allergens.  I realize everyone is coming to American Gluten Free for different reasons. We might all need food that is "free from" for different reasons, yet still share the same need. Maybe it's Celiac, IgE mediated food allergies, autoimmune diseases or other medical reasons, but the need is there. Wheat is abundant in America, + the amazing gluten free products are abundant as well, but sometimes difficult to discover. So, I am here to get those to you. 

Lindsey Lee American Gluten Free Subscription Box

I've shared how this opportunity to purchase AGF came up here. It wasn't something I even had on my radar, but the opportunity opened up + here I am. I hope you love receiving this happy mail one a month. I will work hard to bring you excellent products that you may have yet to discover! My years of allergy mom label reading + research will be put to good use to help others discover new foods you will love. 

I went from never running a subscription box company to picking up where the founder, Erika left off, fulfilling the products + learning to ship and complete the orders all in less than thirty days. There still is much on my to-do list + I'm doing my best to keep the quality as expected for the current subscribers, even with the traffic duty I had to do all month at Breck's school. Life sure can be overwhelming at times!

My son, Bowan recently outgrew several allergies. Skin testing + blood work at Children's Hospital Colorado revealed low + negative numbers to multiple foods that Bowan once clearly tested positive to + had previous reactions to. Over the past 6 months we've had many appointments at Children's Hospital Colorado to complete supervised Oral Food Challenges. It felt like true miracles when he passed multiple challenges to: peanut, tree nuts, soy, shellfish + pineapple. Talk about our life opening up again + some huge burdens lifting from my shoulders. Bowan has had two very serious life threatening reactions to kiwi + peach in the past six months that were unknown allergies. None the less, I thought how did I go from living with such restrictions to being almost let off the hook from food allergies? My heart just breaks for other families going through what we face daily. So, here I am finding my way to give back to the food allergy + Celiac community that has so graciously given to me. 

Lindsey Lee American Gluten Free Subscription Box

Here I am, an allergy mom turned food photographer + blogger + recipe developer, turned entrepreneur. Life sure has given me some lemons. Some of them pretty sour + I'm doing the best I can to turn them to lemonade. For now, this business is entirely running out of my home. My two older sons may have helped fold or pack your boxes. My oldest son, Breck calls himself the Head Assistant + he insists on "trying out every job." My mom may have carried your box up the stairs, my husband may have taped your box, my friend Stephanie may have helped pack yours + I absolutely stayed up late finishing each box up. And, another gluten free entrepreneur across the country is doing a happy dance because you got to try their new product that they so tirelessly worked to create. 

Lindsey Lee American Gluten Free subscription box company

I'd love to know why you are here. Please comment below if you have Celiac Disease, food allergies, an autoimmune disease or any other reason that leads you to a gluten free + dairy free lifestyle. I also created a survey that I would love for you to take so I can serve you to the best of my ability. Please take this quick survey here

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Thank you so much for stopping by to learn why I purchased American Gluten Free. Please stop by + say Hi! And, I hope to have a package heading to your mailbox soon. 

Use code 10DOLLARSOFF for $10 off your current or future subscription. 

Photography by: // Lindsey Lee & Co. 

American Gluten Free Subscription Box

Choose Your Own Adventure Family Dinners with Hilary's Eat Well

One thing is certain, day in + day out we need to make dinner for our families. It's a daily task, but not always an easy task. I'm always on the look out for something to make meal time simpler, easier, less stressful + just better all around. I love including Hilary's Eat Well into our family dinners because they have something for everyone. Here, I'm sharing how I love to make a Choose Your Own Adventure Dinner for the whole family with Hilary's

Easy vegan dinner for kids

Simple dinners can often sacrifice nutritious ingredients. I love that Hilary's products include real, minimally processed ingredients that are free from the common allergens. Some of the central ingredients in the Hilary's products are: root veggies, coconut oil + coconut milk, hemp + chia seeds, black rice, millet, leafy greens, Redmond's Real Salt + beans + pulses. 

Easy vegan dinners.

What's a Choose Your Own Adventure Family Dinner? For starters it's genius! But, really, it's building a meal around a wholesome, nutritious, balanced main dish + also offering a variety of sides, toppings + dips that allow everyone in the family to enjoy the meal in the way they'd like to most. You're in charge of what you offer, so as long as you are offering health-giving options, everyone can enjoy the meal + everyone will eat well, even if everyone is eating a little differently. 

Easy vegan dinner for families

Personally, I love making Hilary's Original Veggie Bites or Hilary's World's Best Veggie Burger for my family. These are both the perfect center for a choose your own adventure meal. They are both super easy to pull out of the freezer, heat on the stove top, in the oven, or even in the microwave + then get them right to the table. They are hearty + a great base for an entire meal. 

Easy vegan dinner idea for kids

How to Create a Choose Your Own Adventure Meal:

Start with a great base: Hilary's Original Veggie Bites or Hilary's World's Best Veggie Burger

Next Prepare + offer any of the following, place on the table in serving dishes, or place on a counter or separate table to serve buffet style:

Carrot Sticks

Brown Rice

Salad

Sautéed Garlic

Heirloom Cherry tomatoes, sliced or whole

Hilary's Balsamic Thyme Dressing

Seed or Nut Mix

Catsup

Avocado Slices

Roasted Carrots

Dairy Free Cheese, Cashew Cheese or Feta Cheese

Sliced Red Onion

Sautéed Cauliflower

Roasted Potatoes

Strained Canned Chickpeas

Vegan Refried Black Beans

Corn Tortillas

Vegan dinner for the whole family

The great thing about a choose your own adventure meal is that it's supposed to be easy + to bring your stress level down at dinner time. The Hilary's products are frozen, so just grab those out + cook. Then, include some things that are fresh, frozen, canned or bagged + you have a great variety of things to include in your meal. Plus, if you have left overs, they can be made into a great salad! Don't forget to include the dips for the kids, it's a great way to get them to try new things! Sending you all the good vibes for a less stressful dinner!

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This post was created in partnership with Hilary's Eat Well. I only share products that I genuinely love + use. I love that Hilary's is allergy friendly, gluten free, vegan + made with the health of customers + employees in mind. They also center their company around being mindful of our ecosystem. These are all things I value/ Thank you for supporting brands that bring posts like this to you. 

 

Photography by: // © Lindsey Lee & Co. 

gluten free family dinner ideas

5 Reasons Why You Should Be Printing your Digital Photos with Parabo Press

Photos are a treasure. Honestly, my digital photos are often buried treasure. My photos can easily get lost in my unorganized digital world. I like to take a lot of photos of my kids, so we are talking serious buried treasure. Here, I'm sharing 5 reasons why you should be printing your digital photos with Parabo Press

Where to print photos
Where to print photos with Parabo Press

Memories both big + small are such a gift. I often look back + it's the small, silly memories of my kids that I love to see most in pictures. Printing our photos helps us seal those memories so we can travel back to them.

Printing iphone photos

I love using Parabo Press because the quality is excellent, you can print from your phone or computer + You can even have framed photos like these delivered right to your door step. 

The best place to print photos

5 Reasons Why You Should Be Printing Your Digital Photos:

1. To get organized in your digital space. We take a lot of photos! The more we take, the further we can get behind on organizing, printing + storing them. To help me stay organized, I connect my phone to my computer + upload some of my photos. This also helps me free up space on my phone- because I fill it up really quickly. I upload my photos to the Parabo Press website + I print squares that I hang + I also store in my kids individual photo boxes. I also print books for each of my kids, because books feel so organized! Plus, my kids truly looking through books that are completely their own with their memories in them.  After I upload my photos to print, I organize my photos into files on my External Hard Drive. I organize by month, events like holidays, some photos go in individualized files per child + some photos get saved under favorite photos. Because, you want the special files in an easy place to find when you might be looking for them. 

2. It's great to have printed photos on hand. I've had multiple times when Breck has needed photos for a project for school + the turn-around time for the project is quick. I try to not rush around like a chaotic woman, so the last thing I want to do is run to the drug store in a mad dash for photos. 

3. The square prints are really fun to use as cards. The photos are printed on very thick paper, so they feel like card quality. You can write a personalized note on the back + mail it off! A super easy way to create personalized cards.

Home decor printed photos
Diy digital printed photos

4. It feels great to have a large family photo in the house. Sometimes a really special moment is captured that transcends other moments for us. Those moments deserve a special place in the house. Plus, if you get all the kids or the whole family in one photo, that is absolutely a treasured moment that needs to be printed. 

5. Things can get lost. Digital files can get lost or corrupted. We may forget to back up files. Or, we may simply forget about the precious moments sitting in the digital space. Printing the photos gives us a "second copy" of the file or event. Plus, there really is something special about holding a printed photo + not looking through a screen. 

Keep reading for excellent coupon codes so you can get printing!

Where to print photos with Parabo Press

I'm great at printing or making a card with someone in mind, but writing it + mailing it off is where I struggle. I really need to keep more stamps on hand + keep working on this!

Where to print digital photos with Parabo Press

Another thing that I love about Parabo Press is that if you create + order a photo book, it is only $5 to print additional copies! I love this for my 3 kids, because I can create a book that includes all of them + print one for each of them: Breck, Bowan + Bridger. So, one day when they are all grown up, taller than me + move out of the house, they can each have their own books of memories. This is also a great way to print multiple books for grandparents!

Home decor with printed photos

Here are some excellent coupon codes that you will love:

The engineer prints are a great statement piece to have. They are also printed so clearly even at the large size.

50% off Engineer Prints (first time customers), now expiring on 3/15/18: EPLEE

I love that framed prints can be shipped right to our doorsteps. Goodbye empty frames on the wall. 

30% off Framed Prints (first time customers), now expiring on 3/15/18: 30LEE     

Free Set of 25 Square Photos. Just chip in for shipping. 

Where to print digital photos and Christmas Cards

This post was created in partnership with Parabo Press. I honestly do print my photos here, I even ordered my Christmas Cards through Parabo Press. I love the quality + I really do have Parabo Press hanging up on the walls in my house. Thank you for supporting brands that bring you posts like this.

Photography by: // © Lindsey Lee & Co. 

 

Photography in the printed photos by: // © Kathleen Peachey Photography

Love the photography in the photos in this post? You can book Kathleen Peachey worldwide. Just mention Lindsey10 for 10% off any package when booking. 

Gallery wall with printed family photos
Easy printed photo books with Parabo Press
Easy printed Photo Books
Sometimes the bravest _ most important thing you can do is just show up. -Brene Brown

Loaded Vegan Baked Potato Recipe

Where are all my busy moms at?! *Me raising both of my hands!* I have some baked potatoes here to help save the day. Sometimes I forget about the convenience of baked potatoes. Incase you've forgotten too, I have a loaded vegan baked potato recipe for you.

Loaded vegan baked potato recipe with Lindsey Lee & Co.

I love baked potatoes because they are naturally gluten-free + they can easily be made dairy-free with olive oil or avocado oil. I also love baked potatoes because they can be made ahead + keep well as a left-over. 

Baked potato recipe with roasted veggies and walnuts. Vegan baked potato

Loaded Vegan Baked Potato Recipe

Ingredients:

5 lb Bag of Russet Potatoes

2 Bunches of Radishes

1 lb of Brussel Sprouts

2 Cups of Walnuts

1 Bunch Rainbow Carrots

1 Cup of Crinkle Cut Carrots

Olive Oil or Avocado Oil

Truffle Salt to Taste

Aluminum Foil

Directions:

Wash + scrub all of the potatoes. Carefully pierce around the potato with a fork or sharp knife. Tear sheets of aluminum foil + place in a pile. Brush oil on the skins of the potatoes + lightly sprinkle with truffle salt. Place the aluminum covers potatoes on a baking sheet. Preheat over to 395. Bake at 380 for 50 minutes. Check on the potatoes + bake for an extra 10 minutes if needed. Let cool. 

Wash the vegetables. Lightly toss with oil + truffle salt. Place in a glass baking dish. Add the walnuts + mix in with the vegetables. Bake on the bottom rack at 380 for 20 minutes. Broil on low for 5 minutes if you would like the vegetables extra crispy. 

Top your potato with the roasted vegetables + walnuts. Mix up your toppings throughout the week to freshen up your left-overs. Cheers!

baked potato recipe with roasted veggies and walnuts. Loaded baked potato recipe. Vegan baked potato.

The roasted walnuts really bring something special to this meal. I've spent the past 3 1/2 years strictly avoiding nuts due to my son, Bowan's life threatening allergies to tree nuts + peanuts. We truly were shocked to learn through skin + blood testing as well as through hospitalized Oral Food Challenges that Bowan has outgrown tree nuts + peanuts that once gave him hives just from coming in contact with a granola bar wrapper or playground equipment. As a vegetarian, nuts used to be a big part of my diet. So, now we are working them back into our lives. I am still focusing on allergy friendly recipes while also honestly including some new foods that we can safely have in our home + in our bodies. 

Plant based diet ideas with Lindsey Lee & Co.

Photography by: // © Lindsey Lee & Co. 

Vegan loaded baked potato recipe. Roasted Veggie Baked Potato
Your soul is drawn to the things that will help you unfold your most glorious expression. -Cynthia Occelli.png

Confessions of a Co-sleeping Mom with Denver Mattress

I confess, I like to co-sleep + so do my 3 kids. Call me an attached parent, or maybe just trying to get by on survival mode. Probably a little of both. My older two kids sleep in their beds most nights. But, I have fallen asleep in their beds, many nights, too. Of the 4 beds in our house our Organic Crib Mattress by Denver Mattress is by far the most comfortable bed to sleep in. I'm sharing my confessions of a co-sleeping mom + why an organic mattress is important to me with Denver Mattress.

Organic crib Mattress. Best baby products. Best baby sleep products.

Honestly, my youngest, Bridger, never slept a night in his crib his first year of life. When I tried, he cried + I just gave up. We were all happier peacefully sleeping in the same room. He spent his first year of life in our bedroom. I realize there are lots of factors that go into infant + children's sleep. But, I started trying to get Bridger to sleep in his crib once we got our new Organic Denver Mattress Crib Mattress + Bridger really does sleep like a baby on it!

The best organic crib mattress with Denver Mattress

I've slept on this mattress on the floor in my older two boy's bunk bed + I crashed right away! It is honestly so comfortable. And, I really value organic materials so close to my children all night. Healthy sleep is an area of our health that we shouldn't ignore. Did you know that non-organic mattresses have chemicals that babies + children will breathe in all night?

best organic crib mattress with Denver Mattress

Confessions of a Co-Sleeping Mom:

I nurse my babies to sleep.

I've fallen asleep in my kid's car beds many nights.

I've slept in my kid's bunk bed.

I love a sleeping baby in my arms.

Sometimes, I still rock my 4 + 6 year olds to sleep. 

Sometimes, all 5 of us squeeze into a Queen bed. 

organic mattress. best baby products.

The American Academy of Pediatrics supports childhood sleep guidelines.  Read the full article here to see how much sleep your child should be getting daily. 

organic mattress. best baby products

I'm always trying to educate myself on ways to create a healthier environment for my kids. Here are some studies to help you learn more about why an organic mattress is a healthy choice for your child:

Sleep Health: Can We Define It? Does It Matter?

Infant Sleeping Environment and Asthma at 7 Years: A Prospective Cohort Study

Organic mattress. Best baby products
Organic crib mattress. Best baby sleep products.

This post was created in partnership with Denver Mattress. I only share products + brands that I truly love + use in my house + with my kids. Thank you for supporting Denver Mattress

Best organic crib mattress with Denver Mattress

Photography by: // © Lindsey Lee & Co. 

organic crib mattress. best baby sleep products

Sources:

Organic Crib Mattress: Denver Mattress, Furniture Row

Chamois Fitted Crib Sheet: Pottery Barn Kids

Adorable Cookie PJ's: Kickee Pants

Lovie Blanket: Hudson Baby Company

Lindsey's Dress: Pink Blush

Bridger's Bodysuit: Old Navy

Bridger's Shorts: Salted Sidewalks

 

 

A Clean Kitchen Floor, My Ultimate Goal with bObi

A clean kitchen seems to be the most elusive thing I've ever encountered. I mean, I clean it to only get destroyed again. Now, to truly have a clean kitchen, I think I need a magical unicorn to live with us. But, until then, I'm sharing my tips here for a clean kitchen with bObi.

Tips for a clean kitchen with bObi

Here are my favorite tips for a clean kitchen if you have kids:

1. Never cook anything. I mean nothing. No cooking = no mess, right? If only possible. I start one thing, have to stop, before I know it I can't put things away. And, the tornado already hit. 

2. Don't let your kids eat in the kitchen. I mean, eating = crumbs, spills, total disaster areas. I say, let's just eat outside, even in the middle of winter. Hey kids, snow suit time so we can go eat lunch. 

3. Don't bother sweeping, you're just going to have to do it again in a few minutes anyway. Seriously. I think I've spent 50% of the last six years of my life sweeping my kitchen floor. 

4. Lock the pantry. If they can't get in, they can't destroy the kitchen. #momhack

5. Walk through your kitchen with a blindfold on everyday so you can't see the mess. Hey, out of sight, out of mind, right?

Tips for a clean kitchen with Bobi vacuum

Ok, those tips sound like a good idea, but they don't really solve many problems. Though, I should try the blindfold trick! Honestly, I've tried about every idea out there + my lifesaver is the bObi.

Tips for w clean kitchen with kids. Best vacuum for kids
Tips for a clean kitchen with Bobi vacuum

Here are the mess makers themselves. Good thing I found a solution to our kitchen floor problem. Because, we need to eat to survive. And, messes are inevetable because cooking + eating are involved with daily life, no getting around it.  

Tips for a clean kitchen with kids. The best vacuum for kids.

When Breck was a baby, I tried a robotic vacuum because I thought it was a genius idea. However, I returned it. Breck screamed, cried, ran away from it. He was so scared of it. Like, truly frightened. Also, it wouldn't hold a charge long enough to clean my space + it was so loud I couldn't run it while he was napping. Also, I couldn't think while it was running. It was loud enough that it bothered me as well. So, I gave up on that great idea. But, I've been using the bObi for the past two months, and none of that applies to the bObi. I'm in love. 

Tips for a clean kitchen with Bobi vacuum
Tips for a clean kitchen with kids

The bObi is quiet. It can run it while the kids watch a movie + they can still watch it no problem - in the same room even. bObi is part of our family, her name is Tilly the Trash Picker-Upper. Well, because my kids are obsessed with trash trucks, so her name had to center around that. See those finger prints on Tilly below? Well, Bridger has touched it while it has been running + has never been hurt or scared by Tilly. 

Tips for a clean kitchen with kids and Bobi vacuum

If I can recommend anything to help you with your kitchen tornado disaster problem, the bObi is surely the way to go. 

Tips for a clean kitchen with kids

This post was sponsored by bObi. I only share products I absolutely love + truly use in my home. I am so glad I found bObi because it is a total game-changer. 

Photography by: // © Lindsey Lee & Co. 

Tips for a clean kitchen with kids with bObi and LL & Co..png

Sources:

Vacuum: bObi

Bridger's Moccasins: Bird Rock Baby

PJ's: Stuck on You

Sippy Cup: MAM

Tooth Fairy Door: Funny Fable Productions

Square Photos on the Wall: Parabo Press

Photgraphy in the Photos: Kathleen Peachey Photography

Woodland Nesting Dolls: Wee Gallery

Valentine's Day Chocolate Covered Apples with Enjoy Life

What's the best way to celebrate Valentine's Day as a family? With chocolate, of course! Chocolate covered apples + watermelon is a fun + cheery way to enjoy enjoy a treat + to have a fun activity as a family. I'm sharing this easy + tasty DIY activity with Enjoy Life Foods.

Chocolate Covered apples. Valentine's Dessert. Vegan Dessert. Enjoy Life A Valentine's Chocolate Apples LL & Co. -2.jpg

When you think of chocolate covered fruit, what do you think of? Strawberries? Me, too. Chocolate covered apples sure don't get enough time in the limelight as one of the best fruits to pair with chocolate. Especially with a hint of lemon, these treats are the perfect indulgence that still feel like a healthy treat!

Enjoy life Valentine's Chocolate Apples LL & Co. -5.jpg

Did you know that Enjoy Life Mini Chips are dairy-free, nut-free + soy-free? It's hard to find dairy free chocolate. And, even harder to find soy-free chocolate! This chocolate is also Non-GMO. Actually, the entire line of Enjoy Life Foods is Non-GMO!

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This treat can be enjoyed as a finger food. Or, you can use wooden or red + white plastic tooth picks to make little apple heart pops. Either way, these tasty treats go fast!

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This treat is so simple to make because this chocolate melts perfectly in the microwave. No baking or combining ingredients required. Top with your favorite, creative toppings + enjoy for a family Valentine's Day party!

Chocolate covered apples. Valentine's treat. Enjoy life Valentine's Chocolate Apples LL & Co. -7.jpg
Chocolate covered Apples. Valentine's treat. Easy Vegan Dessert. Enjoy Life A Valentine's Chocolate Apples LL & Co.

Valentine's Day Chocolate Covered Apples with Enjoy Life

Ingredients:

2-5 Apples

1 Bag Enjoy Life Mini Chips

1 Small Watermelon

1 Lemon

Sugars + Sprinkles of your choice

 

Parchment Paper

Mini heart-shaped cookie cutters

Optional: Plastic red + white tooth picks

 

Directions:

Wash + dry 2-5 apples. Cut into thin slices working from the outside, in. Cutting from four sides, like a cube. Wash + cut the lemon into slices. Squeeze the lemon juice into a medium bowl. Place the apple slices in the bowl of lemon juice, stir to coat all of the apple slices. The lemon juice helps to keep the apples from browning!

Place the apple slices flat on a cutting board. Press heart shaped mini-cookie cutters into the apples. Snack on the excess apple pieces! I wont tell! Place the heart cut-outs flat onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. 

Wash the mini watermelon. Cut in 1/2. Then, cut into slices. place the watermelon slices flat on a cutting board + cut into heart shapes. Place the heart cut-outs flat onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. 

Pour 1/2 a bag of Enjoy Life Mini Chips into a microwave safe bowl. Microwave at 30 second increments + stir. Continue to heat + stir until the chocolate is completely melted. 

With a spoon or butter knife, drizzle chocolate onto the apple + watermelon hearts. Top with your favorite sprinkles + sugars. 

Enjoy!

Enjoy life Valentine's Chocolate Apples LL & Co. -14.jpg

What's better than delicious chocolate covered apples? Enjoy Life chocolate that is 15% off! Order by February 9th to guarantee delivery for Valentine's Day. Use code: CHOCOLOVE15 at checkout.

What is your favorite way to top chocolate covered apples? What creative ideas do your kids come up with?

Chocolate covered apples. Valentine's Day dessert. Vegan chocolate covered apples. 2.png

This post was sponsored by Enjoy Life Foods. I only share products + brands that I love + use. Enjoy Life Foods really are in our bellies + pantry + I hope you will love this chocolate, too. Thank you for supporting brands that bring you fun recipes like this Valentine's Day Chocolate Covered Apple recipe. 

 

Eat Freely!

 

Photography by: // © Lindsey Lee & Co. 

Chocolate covered apples. Valentine's Day dessert. Vegan chocolate covered apples. (1).png

Visiting Colorado with kids: 7 awesome kid friendly adventures with Toyota

Let's just face it, I'm in the carpooling soccer mom mini van stage of life right now. A Toyota Sienna mini van sure seems like a hot rod to me. I'm sharing what I love about a Toyota Sienna for busy moms like me. Plus, 7 awesome kid friendly adventures in Colorado with Toyota. Let's Go Places.

Toyota Sienna

First, can I say space? I mean, when hauling kids around, it's so nice to have space for the kids, the gear plus some breathing room. The sliding doors are genius, as I can use the remote to open them, or the kids can open them with a press of a button from the inside. Honestly, our favorite thing about the Sienna? The DVD player + headphones. The kids absolutely love it. And, the adults love it, too because everyone is happy + it makes traveling a breeze!

Family travel tips with Toyota
family travel tips with Toyota

The Toyota Sienna is the perfect family car for day-to-day adventures. Or, an excellent option for road trips to make the most out of the beautiful state of Colorado. So, load up the family + hit these must see places in a Toyota Sienna!

Toyota Sienna
Explore Colorado. Colorado Bucket List.

7 Awesome Kid Friendly Adventures in Colorado with Toyota

1. Tiny Town, Morrison, Colorado.

Tiny town is absolutely adorable. I wish I could be a kid here. It is an entire village of tiny houses, miniture stores + more. Tiny Town has a train for the kids to ride + a park, too. This is a must see + very affordable.

2. Westlands Park, Greenwood Village, Colorado. 

I always love a free attraction! Can you believe this park is 25.3 acres? This park is huge! It has something for the babies up to the big kids! There is even a lookout for both kids + adults. Plus, a fun, long slide + huge soccer fields, so don't forget to bring your soccer ball or other sports equipment. 

What to do in Colorado with kids with Toyota

3. Old Town Hot Springs, Steamboat Springs, Colorado.

Colorado is lucky to boast many hot springs. And, Steamboat Springs has a great, family friendly hot springs. There is an amazing kids splash area, that my kids absolutely love. A lap pool, a shallow kids pool + multiple hot pools that vary in temperature. So, there is something for everyone. Plus, A waterslide + climbing wall to jump off into the water. 

4. Bluffs Regional Trail, Lone Tree, Colorado.

Another free activity with beautiful views. This loop takes you up to the top of the bluffs to see the entire Front Range. The loop is 2.7 miles or, 3.5 miles if you also hike the feeder trails + overlooks. Stunning views, yet a doable hike for a visitor that is not quite ready for a 14er. The dirt trail is also perfect for bikes + strollers. Plus, you can head to a great park for the kids afterwards.  

Explore Colorado with Toyota

5. Dinosaur Ridge, Morrison, Colorado.

Dinosaur fossils?! Yes, totally cool! This is also a free attraction. Dinosaur fossils were found here in Morrison + preserved. This is a fun activity for both adults + kids as there is also hiking nearby with beautiful views + a fun, interactive Visitor's Center as well. Dinosaur Ridge is the #1 ranked dinosaur track site in the world. 

6. Pikes Peak Cog Railway, Colorado Springs, Colorado. 

Pikes Peak is one of the highest mountains in the U.S. It stands at 14,114' tall + is known as a 14er. There are 58 mountains in Colorado that are 14ers + Pikes Peak is the only mountain with a train to the top. It's a ton of fun for both the kids + adults to take a train up this beautiful mountain. Make sure to book your tickets online ahead of time!

7. Ouray, Colorado.

This beautiful small mountain town is my favorite town in Colorado. It is known as the Switzerland of Colorado. The mountains shoot right up surrounding this quaint town. There is a stunning waterfall, Box Springs Falls, at the end of the town + you can take a trip down the Million Dollar Highway just outside of town, too. There are tons of awesome off roading trails + roads + lots of outdoorsy activities. Plus, don't miss the Ouray Hot Springs, either!

Things to do in Colorado with kids with Toyota
Rocky Mountains of Colorado

All Wheel Drive is a must have for all the places we go in Colorado. Did you know Toyota is the only make of car that offers all wheel drive on a mini van? I just can't say enough about how the Sienna fits our needs as an active family traveling around Colorado.

Toyota Sienna, Ultimate mom car

One of my other favorite features on the Sienna? The in-vehicle camera. This is a true luxury to me! P24 combines an in-vehicle camera and front-grill mounted millimeter-wave radar for enhanced performance and more functionality. In addition to the three active safety technologies featured in the TSS-C24 package, TSS-P enhances the Pre-Collision System23 by adding a Pedestrian Detection function22, enhances LDA21 by adding a Steering Assist function20 on certain models, and adds Dynamic Radar Cruise Control19. I need an in-vehichle camera for how busy + loud it gets in my car sometimes!

family travel tips with Toyota
family travel tips with toyota
Things to do in Colorado with kids with Toyota
7 must see places in Colorado with kids. Vacationing in Colorado with kids. Things to do in Colorado with kids.

This post was sponsored by Toyota. All honest opinions here are my own. I only share products that my family + I use + love. Thank you for supporting Toyota

Best places to visit in Colorado

Photography by: // © Lindsey Lee & Co. 

Easy Dill Sauce Recipe with a Quinoa & Brown Rice Family Dinner with Path of Life

I'm always looking to make dinner prep time a little easier. One of my life savers is the brand Path of Life. I love short-cuts, but I still want to eat "clean," natural + simple. Here, I'm sharing how this brand can help make your meal prep simpler. Plus, keep reading for a really delicious Fresh Dill Sauce to round out a full dinner for your family .

Easy family dinner with a fresh dill sauce recipe

Path of Life offers 6 organic + natural microwavable side dishes. I used the Brown Rice & Quinoa variety here. But, there are some other really delicious dishes, like: Southwest Quinoa, Mediterranean Quinoa, Superfood Pilaf + more. They are all ready in 4 minutes. Just pop in the microwave, chop some veggies or throw your sauce ingredients in the blender + multi-task while this dinner side is cooking. 

Dill sauce recipe with quinoa and path of life

I have grown to love cooking. But, I do not love all the dirty pots + pans. Honestly, I often need to clean my stock pot from the night before just so it's ready to make dinner again. I love that the Path of Life microwavable pouches help me have less dirty dishes. Sometimes my dirty pots + pans are my biggest pains. The struggle is real with the dirty dishes in my house day in + day out. 

Easy family dinner recipe. Microwave dinner with fresh dill sauce.

My baby Bridger loved this Quinoa & Brown Rice Blend so much, he was eating it as I took the photos!

easy dill sauce recipe and family dinner with quinoa and brown rice

Fresh Dill Sauce

Ingredients:

1 Cup Fresh Dill

1/2 Cup Chopped Leeks

1/2 Cup Macadamia Nut Oil

Juice of 1/2 a Lemon

2 Tablespoons Hemp Seeds

2 Tablespoons Brown Rice Syrup

1/2 Teaspoon Truffle Salt

Modifications: For a tree nut allergy substitute Macadamia Nut Oil for Avocado, Grapeseed or Olive Oil

Fresh Dill Sauce Directions:

Wash + rince 1 cup of fresh dill. Hey, grab it from your windowsill if this is a herb you grow! Place the dill in your blender. Chop 1/2 cup of leeks, rinse + add to blender. Measure + pour 1/2 cup of macadamia nut oil into the blender. Squeeze the juice of 1/2 a lemon into the blender. Measure + pour into blender: hemp seeds, brown rice syrup + truffle salt. Blend on medium for 30-60 seconds, then pour into a small serving dish. 

Easy family dinner. vegan gluten free dinner idea. Quinoa and rice recipe with dill sauce

Easy Dill Sauce with Quinoa & Brown Rice Family Dinner

Ingredients:

1 - 2 bags of Path of Life Organic Quinoa & Brown Rice

1 batch of Fresh Dill Sauce

1 can of Garbanzo beans, strained

1/2 head of cabbage, chopped

Optional: sliced almonds, pumpkin seeds, walnuts or sunflower seeds for topping

Optional: dairy or non-dairy cheese for topping

Directions:

Microwave the Path of Life Organic Quinoa & Brown Rice pouch, while blending the Fresh Dill Sauce in the blender. Open + strain 1 can of garbanzo beans. Chop 1/2 head of cabbage. After the pouches are microwaved, let stand. Then, place in a sauce pan with 2 tablespoons of the fresh dill sauce + lightly sauté. Or, just stir the sauce in and forget that dirty pan! Plate your dish with the quinoa & rice blend, topped with chopped cabbage, garbanzo beans tossed in the fresh dill sauce + a side of the fresh dill sauce. Top with optional toppings such as: sliced almonds, pumpkin seeds, walnuts, sunflower seeds, parmesan cheese or cashew cheese. 

Enjoy!

Easy family dinner. Quinoa and rice with dill sauce

If your kids are still learning about some of these foods, present the foods in small quantities at first. Allow them to dip the cabbage, garbanzo beans + Quinoa & Brown Rice into the Dill Sauce as they explore the foods. 

Easy dill sauce with quinoa and rice.png

This post was sponsored by Path of Life. I only share products that I truly use + that are in our fridge + in our bellies. Thank you for supporting the companies the support this blog + bring you easy new recipes. 

Easy family dinner with fresh dill sauce and quinoa and brown rice

 

Photography by: //  © Lindsey Lee & Co. 

A Great Ski Day at Loveland Valley, Plus 7 Tips for Skiing with Kids

We had a great family ski day this weekend! We left our problems at home + headed to the mountains for some fun. Now, don't let these photos fool you, packing for skiing is borderline torture, but it was so worth it this time! Here are some photos of all 3 kids skiing. Plus, I'm sharing 7 tips for skiing with kids, if you're up for the challenge!

Kids skiing in Colorado at Loveland Ski Area
kids skiing in colorado
kids skiing in Colorado at Loveland Ski Area
Teaching kids to ski in Colorado

7 Tips for Skiing with Kids:

1. Bring a sled. It's a ton of work hauling the kids around the ski hill. Plus, you don't want to tire them out from hiking around the mountain. You want them to use their energy on skiing! Carrying 3 kids, the skis + gear it a lot of work, so the sled does the work for you!

2. Find a ski area that has close parking + a lodge close by. Better yet, scope out the place before you go so you can plan on how you will get the kids + the gear from Point A to Point B. We love having the kids ski at Loveland Valley; the parking is close + the lodge is right at the base of the kids area. 

3. Get the kids dressed + ready in the lodge. When my husband + I ski, we get all our gear on at the car, then take the shuttle to the lift. Get the kids ready in the lodge, even the best days are a little cold, wet + even muddy in the parking lot. We want those kids starting the day out happy, not cold + sad. 

4. Bring extra gloves + hats. We've had to use our extras so many times! We haven't always lost our gloves, but we've misplaced one in the car + it's way easier to use the extras rather than looking around or running back to the car. 

5. Bring lots of snacks!

6. Bring your snow boots + skis. Sometimes it's best to ski with the kids to help them out. And, sometimes its best to run down the hill on foot. It's the worst when you don't have the option of boots, running shoes or hiking shoes when the kids are ready for more independence. 

7. Take a deep breath. Actually, like a million. Packing + unpacking for skiing is SO much work! I mean, borderline insanity. So, plan ahead. Maybe even start packing or loading the car a few days ahead, because it really is such a process!

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Kids skiing in colorado
kids skiing in Colorado
kids skiing in Colorado
Skiing with kids in Colorado at Loveland Ski Area
Skiing in Colorado (14 of 1).jpg
Family friendly Skiing in Colorado
Kids skiing in Colorado at Loveland Ski Area

We had a great day skiing as a family! Breck can make turns down the hill now. He is excellent at snowplow. Breck even skied backwards a few times, just like his Dad's favorite trick! Breck can even get his way back to the Magic Carpet weaving through the people all on his own. Breck + Bowan are loading + unloading themselves on the Magic Carpet. They are even working on getting on + off the lift on their own. Bowan is a speed demon + pretty fearless. Breck is learning to play his edge while staying in control. Bridger had a blast. He can stand up on the skis + walk in them all on his own. Bridger took some runs down the mountain + had a great time. The only tears were from me while I was packing for this day! Cheers to more great ski days. 

 

Photography by: // © Lindsey Lee & Co.

 

7 tips for skiing with kids

Sources:

Bridger's Boots: PediPed

Bridger's Snow Suit: Ralph Lauren Polo

Bridger's Hat: Eskimo Kids

Breck's Goggles: Smith

Easy School Lunch Hacks with Oriental Trading.

It's back to school time again, so that means back to packing lunches, too. It's so easy to get stuck in a rut. So, I have some inspiration for you to get back in the lunch packing groove! Put it on a stick! Here are some fun lunch packing hacks to help spice up those school lunches with Oriental Trading

Easy School Lunch Hack, gluten free lunch ideas

I know some lunch ideas can seem unrealistic or time consuming, but using a decorative food pick can be a great surprise for the kids! It can be a way to keep fresh food or veggies from getting smashed. And, total mom hack: it can be a great way to add in less preferred fruits or veggies for your child. Say, blueberries are a favorite food, but cucumbers are way down on the list, combine cucumbers with the preferred fruit for a more motivating experience for your child to try something new. 

Easy School Lunch Hack, gluten free lunch ideas

Add a few dips into the lunch so your kids can dip those fruits + veggies. A fun + healthy lunch. Easy to prepare + a great way to add in some less preferred foods. Maybe an inticing dip will be just the thing to help give a new veggie a try?! 

Easy School Lunch Hack, gluten free lunch ideas

Fruits + Veggies to add to a Pick:

Cucumbers

Blueberries

Raspberries

Strawberries

Cherry Tomatoes

Radish Slices 

Roasted Potatoes

Baby Corn (Found in a can)

Zucchini Slices

Pear Slices

Apple slices dipped in Lemon Juice

Grapes

Purple Cauliflower

Roasted Sweet Potatoes

Dates

Dried Cranberries

Rasins

Olives

Easy School Lunch Hack, gluten free lunch ideas

Another fun, yet simple surprise to add into the lunchbox? Small Notepads! Write notes to your child daily or weekly. Or, let a sibling or grandparent draw a picture or write a note for an extra special surprise. 

Easy School Lunch Ideas-2.png

This post was created in partnership with Oriental Trading. I only share products + companies that my family + I absolutely love! I hope you love these ideas, too! What is your favorite fruit or veggie to add to a decorative pick?

Photography by: // Lindsey Lee & Co. 

What a Safe Cupcake Means to Me

You may wonder what a safe cupcakes is? Well, once you live with food allergies, food becomes Safe + Unsafe. Safe food is free from life-threatening allergens. Unsafe food contains or may contain allergens due to the way the food was prepared or handled. We should focus on nourishing, health-giving foods + try to not overdo the sweets. But, let's be honest: desserts are part of our culture + lifestyle + it means a lot to be included in events + festivities with safe food. 

gluten free, vegan cupcakes. Allergy friendly cupcakes. Nut free cupcakes

My middle son, Bowan has spent most of his life with multiple life threatening allergies. He recently outgrew his peanut allergy. But, we absolutely know what it feels like to have a hungry, grumbling tummy even while surrounded by food. Food is about the physical aspect of nourishing our hunger + finding health giving foods to help us survive + thrive. But, food is totally social at the same time. When is the last time you've been to a party or festivity that didn't include food? 

gluten free vegan cupcakes, food allergy friendly cupcakes

With the holidays here, I'd like to bring some awareness to the social aspect of food allergies. It's totally ok to not be included once or twice, but to live a life of exclusion is incredibly draining + discouraging. It's isolating. When kids are forming a self-concept + a sense of identity the exclusion from social activities can't help but shape who they are. Yes, there are opportunities to teach, grow + learn. But, more often that not, the experiences can really add up as a huge mountain of emotions for the kids + adults to work though in our already busy, over-complicated, over-scheduled lives. 

gluten free vegan cupcakes, nut free cupcakes, top 8 free cupcakes

Food allergies have really gotten a bad rap + have been totally misunderstood for multiple reasons. This really strains relationships + ultimately, puts people with food allergies + Celiac at great risk. Food allergies are real + they have to be managed. There are some treatments for food allergies emerging, but they aren't available to everyone. There is no cure for Celiac. The only form of management of allergic disease + autoimmune disease is strict avoidance of the allergen(s) or gluten. That also means trace amounts... Surfaces where the food is handled + prepared... Shared utensils... Unwashed hands... There really is so much to think about with food allergies. I haven't lived this life in vain, I hope to spread awareness to help others down the same path we've traveled. 

gluten free vegan cupcakes, food allergy friendly cupcakes

Are you celebrating with someone with food allergies or Celiac Disease? 

Here are some ideas to help keep people with food allergies or Celiac Disease stay safe:

1. Pre-plan the menu, discuss brands of foods + details of the menu.

2. Host the celebration in a place where the food preparation can remain free of allergens. 

3. If an allergen will be present, keep that dish is a separate place, away from the safe food to help prevent cross contamination. 

4. Do the best you can to have as much safe food as possible, to include everyone. A safe dessert can bring everyone together + can set a great vibe for conversation.

5. Have an open mind. Some traditional recipes can very easily be altered to use a gluten-free flour. Maybe use egg replacer instead of egg? Maybe try some seeds instead of nuts? Cooking allergen-free is possible!

6. Learn what the allergies are so you can be an advocate + a refuge. 

7. Allow the person or family with food restrictions to lead the way. If you are unsure of how to cook allergen-free, see what brands of pre-made foods you could buy? Set a plan of how you could decorate or clean up to help support the cook.

8. Let the person with allergies know you care. Lead with love. Sometimes we feel strongly, but we don't share those feelings. I promise that your words will mean the world to the allergic person in your life. 

 

Gluten free vegan cupcakes

If you are looking for a safe dessert for your next event, follow Sit By Me Bakery. Not only are they experts at Allergy Friendly + Celiac Safe, their desserts are to die for even if you have no food restrictions yourself. 

Looking for more insight on food allergies + how to support the people in your life? Watch this video here by No Nuts For Me

 

Photography by: // Lindsey Lee & Co

 

Bento Box: Hello Cheeky Kids

 

Vegan, Gluten Free, Allergy Friendly Cupcakes: Sit By Me Bakery

 

Inclusion Quote. Ways to come together. Motivational quote. Inspirational quote.

Peanut Allergy Testing: Our Christmas Miracle

Our lives completely changed when my son, Bowan was diagnosed with a peanut allergy + other food allergies at 14 months old. We had to learn a new way of living. I had to take Bowan to specialists + office visits + even ER visits. The diagnosis was devastating + literally broke my heart. Like the Japanese saying goes, that broken space in my heart is repaired with a metal filling, because it will absolutely never be the same. Just last week, we expereinced a food allergy Christmas miracle. 

I'm going to talk a little bit about medical information here, but clearly, I am absolutely not a doctor or allergist, I'm just a mom that's trying to share about my experience. If you are looking for help with allergies, please make an appointment with a board certified allergist.

Almost two months ago, Bowan had a severe allergic reaction to kiwi. It was an unknown allergy + a very scary experience for the kids + I. I administered Auvi-Q to Bowan at home, with his brothers Breck + Bridger watching. Bowan got another shot of epinephrine at the hospital when his reaction became biphasic + started back up again. Because of this reaction, we needed to do some allergy testing to confirm the kiwi allergy. We went to Children's Hospital downtown Aurora/Denver to see the allergy + EoE specialists. Bowan's blood work, indeed confirmed a kiwi allergy. 

Food Allergy story, food allergy testing

Bowan's anaphalyctic reaction to kiwi literally left me with nightmares for weeks. But, it also brought an incredible surprise. All of Bowan's other known food allergies went down. The allergists track IgE numbers of the food proteins that people with allergies react to. The most surprising result of the blood testing was that the peanut IgE dropped. The peanut levels were low enough, that our allergist at Children's wanted to challenge it!

food allergy Peanut oral food Challenge

When clinical allergy testing suggests a patient has outgrown an allergy, the safest way to test this is through an Oral Food Challenge. This is done in a hospital setting, at prescribed doses + at set intervals, to watch for even the slightest reaction. If a reaction does occur, the patient will be treated right away. I knew going into this challenge that we had a 50/50 chance of Bowan passing the challenge. But, I decided it was worth a shot because avoiding peanut is seriously so incredibly hard. I honestly don't think I've ever done anything more difficult in my life. And, I've had three natural childbirths. I will always choose childbirth over food allergies, if I only had a choice! Avoiding a food due to a life threatening allergy seriously wears on the soul + takes so much pre-planning, it is absolutely exhausting. 

Food Allergy: Oral Food Challenge

Our food challenge took place last week on the 9th floor of Children's Hospital Colorado. It was the pulmonary floor. Completely equipped at the highest level to treat any respiratory distress caused from an allergic reaction as a result of a failed food challenge. Ironically enough, Bowan + I stayed on this exact floor 2 1/2 years ago when he was hospitalized for 3 days due to respiratory distress with RSV. Bowan's peanut allergy was confirmed via blood work 2 days before that RSV stay. This recent hospital visit really came full circle. Below is a photo of Bowan riding in the ambulance to Children's downtown. 

Toddler with RSV
toddler skin testing allergy
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Bowan is such a strong kid. He's been through so much. He's been poked and prodded + had painful allergic reactions. He faced his recent oral food challenge like such a big, strong boy. He was afraid because he knew he was going to eat peanut. Ever since his first exposure to peanut at 14 months, he's spent his entire life avoiding peanut. And, now he was going to eat it. That is a lot to ask of a 3 year old. He did it. And, after all this heartache, he passed. Just days shy of his 4th birthday he at 16.7 peanuts or 5000mg of peanut protein + passed an oral food challenge. 

Peanut allergy: oral food challenge

We experienced a true Christmas miracle! Bowan outgrew his peanut allergy. Only 20% of kids with a peanut allergy will outgrow the allergy. Living with food allergies has never been about the food. It's not been about peanut or almond or wheat or any other food that we couldn't have. Not the food. Not at all. It's been the exclusion, the painful reactions. The extreme medical bills. The extra hours working just to make a dent in the medical bills. The lost time at the appointments. The painful blood draws that a little toddler just doesn't understand. We praise Jesus for Bowan's Christmas blessing, but our walk with food allergies is far from over. 

Skin testing for peanut allergy
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Peanut Allergy: food allergy testing
Peanut allergy testing

Here Bowan is learning how to self administer epinephrine from a nurse. 

Bowan Peanut Challenge
peanut allergy OIT treatment

Just 6 months ago, I flew with Bowan + Bridger out to Utah to See Dr. Jones of Rocky Mountain Allergy to pursue Oral Immunotherapy treatment. I took the trip to get Bowan on the waitlist, because honestly, I just couldn't see how I would handle all of the difficulties of sending a son to Kindergarten with a peanut allergy + multiple life threatening food allergies. I was desperate. He requested blood work + we got all of Bowan's IgE levels then. IgE levels can change over time. But, it was so surprising to see that the levels dropped over the past 6 months. A miraculous surprise.

I sure have learned that people living with food allergies are an underserved community. There is still much work to be done. We need to spread more empathy + we need to fund more research. If you can help anyone in anyway, please do. 

 

Photography by: // © Kathleen Peachey + Lindsey Lee & Co. 

 

Teal Allergy Awareness Earrings by: Allergy Mom Depot

 

Other Posts you might like:

Our Peanut Allergy Diagnosis

The Heartbreaking side of life with Food Allergies

10 Tips for the New Allergy Mom 

Brene Brown Quote

7 Ideas to make your Holidays Special with Janie + Jack in Dapper Style

Holidays are the perfect time to create special memories + traditions with our kids. It's a great opportunity to create a magic all of our own. I'm partnering with Janie and Jack to bring you 7 ideas to make your holiday season special.

boys outfit style guide with Janie and Jack
boy outfit holiday ideas with Janie and Jack

1. Create a tradition of giving. Find a way to make it personal. Write a list of ideas of ways your kids can to give to others in the community or around the world. Let your kids pick their favorite idea or ideas and work together to give + bless other people. Donate toys to other kids that have less. Create food baskets for families in need. Donate books to places that could put them to great use. Mail packages to military members. Donate to your local school. Work together with your church to help another family. Big or small, this is a great way to teach compassion to our kids this holiday season.

Dapper boys outfit ideas with Janie and Jack

2. Create a tradition around a game or games. Keep the food + clean up out, less stress for all! Involve everyone young + old, find ways to laugh + connect. Game ideas: Go Fish, Uno, wheel barrow races in the living room, Snowman building, creating ornaments, Candy Land, treasure hunts around the house. The ideas are endless!

Dapper Boy Style with Janie and Jack

3. Let your kids do a gift exchange from each other on Christmas Eve. This was one of my most favorite traditions from my childhood. My mom let my brother + I exchange gifts on Christmas Eve, we always gave each other one of our most wanted gifts + it was a special time to spend together. I will always remember those special moments. 

Boys outfit with Janie and Jack

4. Make a handmade gift or many handmade gifts to spread Christmas cheer. Maybe add some personalized art to a photo book? Create handprint ornaments, because those hands will never be that small again. Create a video to email to someone. Write a poem to a loved one. Create potato printed wrapping paper. Create small figurines out of modeling clay. Whatever it is, the time will be special + the gift will be loved. 

Boys outfit ideas with Janie and Jack
Dapper style tips with Janie and Jack

5. Create a memory book, or yearbook, or a list of the top 10 memories from the year. Work with each child to reflect on the year. If they are little, write down your favorite memories from their first or second year. If they are older, talk through their favorite experiences from the year. Maybe they can already write the sentences, or color pictures to record the special events. Keep these yearbooks in a photo box to collect every year. 

Styling a boys outfit with Janie and Jack

6. Make a phone call to someone special. It seems so simple, but we don't make as many calls as we used to. Call a loved one. Hopefully the kids can sing Rudolph or Jingle Bells! I bet that Grandma or Great Grandpa or Aunt will be smiling from ear to ear to get such a special call.

Baby boy clothes with Janie and Jack

7. Dress the kids up for the holidays! Take some photos of them because they will never be this small again + their magic is real! I absolutely love to dress my boys in Janie and Jack for every special occasion. I just love my boys in bow ties, suspenders + sport coats. And, Janie and Jack always has the most incredible selection. I also love that the clothing is timeless + useful even after the holidays are over. Read my post here for style tips to dress your dapper boys. 

Boys holiday outfit ideas with Janie and Jack

Bow ties, wool vests, newsboy hats, leather belts, striped socks, dark denim + a fun sports coat?! I mean, we can't go wrong! These outfits are so festive, yet a few accessories can be swapped out + much of the outfit can be used again for Easter! Plus, the quality is so amazing, Breck's clothing can be passed all the way down to Bridger in the years to come. 

Boys style guide with Janie and Jack

This clothing was provided by Janie and Jack. I absolutely love this brand for dapper looks for my boys. I only share brands and items that I absolutely love + use for my family. Thank you for supporting the brands that support my blog to bring you helpful style posts like this one. 

What is your favorite way to style your son's outfit for photos?

Photography by: © Kathleen Peachey

Dapper Boy Holiday Style
Baby boy bow ties with Janie and Jack

Smash Cake Photos: Bridger's 1st Year

The first year is full of so many milestones, topping it off with a cake smash seems to be the best way to close out the year. Bridger is ONE. He is so full of joy + love. His life is a gift + I can't wait to see the gifts he brings to this world as he grows. He's so loved by his big brothers, especially when they get to join in on his cake smash fun. 

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Bridger's beautiful cake is from Sit By Me Bakery. This vegan cake is totally delicious. My kids wish they could survive off of this cake alone. 

Vegan smash cake

It's often a misconception that baking without ingredients means taste will be sacrificed, but not here! This cake is free from gluten, dairy, eggs + free from all of the top 8 allergens, actually + it tastes amazing. Hey, it's even a little healthy: this cake is made with apples + bananas. 

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Bridger is my 3rd boy! So, I sure know how fast the first year flies by. I'm so thankful Kathleen Peachey captured these beautiful moments from this first birthday milestone. I feel like this photo completely captures each of the boys personalities. A huge heart + a silly heart + a heart that really wants to eat more of his first cake. With a house full of boys, there is always something going on + these big personalities sure do keep things interesting!

Vegan Smash Cake

I love that Sit By Me Bakery provides stunning cakes that are perfect for any occasion. Yet, full of high quality ingredients that matter to me as a mom. Apples + bananas in here?! Yes, please!

Vegan smash cake

His tiny hands will never be this tiny again. His days are full of exploration + adventure. Maybe the sayings are true, I think boys really might be made to get dirty. Especially when it involves cake. 

First birthday photography

Dear Bridger, I want you to know that you are loved + treasured. We are so thankful to have to in our family. Here you are sitting in the same highchair I had as a baby. You are our sunshine when skies are grey. 

first birthday photography

The great thing about being the youngest brother is that Bridger has two big brothers to show him lots of love. They also teach him lots of tricks. He's on the go + into so many things. But, hey, I guess I'm completely used to chaos at this point.

first birthday photography

I love how this black + white photo pulls me right into the emotion of this moment. 

Vegan cake smash photography

Bridget's Deep, dark eyes pull me in every time. Breck + Bridger have a special connection. Breck is a great older brother. He loves Bridger deeply + can take great care of him. Breck gets very frusturated when Bridger knocks over his trash village. Otherwise, they sure have lots of fun together. 

Vegan cake smash photography

I can feel Breck's gentle love he is showing to Bridger in this black + white photo by Kathleen Peachey. 

Vegan smash cake

It's all in the details. 

Vegan Smash cake

Brotherly love. There's nothing like it. 

Vegan Smash Cake

This beautiful blue is all natural. No artificial dyes here. 

Vegan cake smash

My favorite kind of mess. A happy mess. 

Vegan gluten free smash cake

Dear Bridger, 

Happy 1st birthday to you. 

Love, 

Mommy, Daddy, Breck + Bowan. 

 

Photography by: // © Kathleen Peachey + © Lindsey Lee & Co. 

 

Use code: Lee for 10% of your next photography session with Kathleen Peachey

Sources:

Kids clothing: Janie & Jack

Recycled Spoon: Replay Recycled

Party Hat: Little Blue Olive

Smash Cake: Sit By Me Bakery

Baby boy cake smash photography