Visit Westcliffe, Colorado - Your Next Family Vacation

This post was created in partnership with Custer County Tourism. All thoughts + opinions expressed are my own.

Travel. Let’s make a pact not to travel for the ‘gram. Let’s travel for the memories, the happiness, the escape, the breath of fresh air (literally), the nature vibes + for the time you just can’t get back. Bonus if your getaway spot is totally Instagrammable. A vacation spot I love + I think you will too is Westcliffe, Colorado in Custer County. It’s an easy drive from Denver + I’m sharing here reasons why you need to plan your next trip to Westcliffe.

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Budget Friendly

As a mom of three kids, budget travel is always on my mind. My family loves Westcliffe for many reasons + budget travel is absolutely one of them. I’m sharing this first because I want you to know that vacationing in Westcliffe is absolutely doable. You can choose where you’d like to splurge as well as enjoy free activities like hiking, parks with the kids, star parties, walks, fishing, climbing, bird watching + resting + relaxing outside.

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The Views

The drive into Westcliffe gets you into the nature vibes mode before your trip truly even starts. Connection to nature has so many benefits + you will absolutely get a shot of them here. Once you are in Westcliffe you will see an entire majestic mountain range of 14ers, it will blow your mind. You will feel like you are living in a postcard during your stay. There is so much to do in Westcliffe, but the view alone is absolutely worth the trip.

International Dark Sky Community

Westcliffe is the first International Dark Sky Community in the state of Colorado. On any given night, you can lay under the stars + view an incredible night sky. Bring a blanket to lay on + one to cover up with + enjoy the stars like you quite possibly have never seen before. Bonus if you visit during a Sky Party, or book your own private party. Professional, giant telescopes are available to the public during a Sky Party to view constellations + planets. My family got to see Jupiter’s rings + Jupiter’s Moons!!

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DeWeese Reservoir

Fishing. Boating. Kayaking, Canoeing, Stand Up Paddle boarding. Picnics. You name it. The DeWeese Reservoir is a must visit. Plus, if you visit during the 4th of July, you can watch the fireworks right over the reservoir. DeWeese Reservoir has nearby trails for hiking, running, biking + ATV’s. Camp at La Vista Campground.

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For the Foodies

Grab a warm cooked meal at The Valley Mercantile. The menu is creative, hearty, offers allergen friendly options like nut-free, gluten-free, vegan + more. Look at my beautiful meal that was on the menu, no substitutions requested. A gluten free, vegan meal in the mountains? Yes, Please! Enjoy the family friendly atmosphere run by a family themselves. Games are available on the tables for the kids, this is a must visit.

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Small Town Atmosphere

Visit during a parade, holiday or visit anytime + feel the small town cheer. Enjoy the events without the huge crowds + with the perfect mountain backdrop. Visit the 4th of July Parade, the Westcliffe Farmer’s Market, take the kids to play on the school playground or the town park + playground, the All Aboard Westcliffe Flea Market, the car show. And, you must visit the bowling alley. The bowling alley has a nostalgic feel + is so budget friendly, you might want to visit it more than once.

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Explore the Downtown

Explore the downtown, grab a coffee, visit the shops, head to the Sunflower Market to pick up some organic groceries. My husband absolutely loved Sugar and Spice Bakery, I think you will, too. I loved the White Bird Emporium for coffee. I was so excited to find macadamia milk there. And, the kids were excited to find ice cream in the White Bird Emporium. While you’re exploring the downtown, look for this fun Wescliffe wall to get a shot with your family to remember the trip.

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Take a hike

There is an unlimited amount of outdoor recreation in the Westcliffe, Custer County area. Click here to view the seemingly endless options for hiking, biking, camping, snowmobiling and more! We hiked the Comanche Trail, it’s a very friendly trail, even our two year old happily hiked. The views are incredible + majestic. We drove past the old Hermit Basin Ski Area on the way to our hike, it’s a neat site to see an old, abandoned ski area.

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Stay Awhile

Custer County offers many unique accommodations. Dark Skies Vacations offers exciting experiences. Experience the Milky Way like nowhere else with your own private observatory through
Dark Skies Vacations. Click here to view a comprehensive list of Westcliffe accommodations.

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Experience the Arts

Don’t miss an experience at the Jone’s Theater. There are tons of opportunities for a rich experience while in Westcliffe.

Whatever you do while you are in Westcliffe, Colorado of Custer County, I hope travel for the memories, the happiness, the escape, the breath of fresh air (literally), the nature vibes + for the time you just can’t get back. Oh yeah + don’t forget to take some pictures!

Photography by: // © Lindsey Lee & Co.

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What's In My Diaper Bag? Feature with Bump Club + Beyond

What’s in my diaper bag? Well, that’s a loaded question. Because…… I load that thing up! I’ve found that there are some things I always need + I carry those. I try to be prepared to face the day + situation with ease the best I can. Diaper bag goals = ease. I’m sharing here what helps me find ease, peace in the motherhood moments + some happiness too. It’s all in my diaper bag.

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The Bump Club and Beyond interviewed me to find out What’s In My Diaper Bag. You can read the feature Here. And, you can enter the amazing Diaper Bag Sweepstakes Giveaway Here.

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When my son, Bowan, was first diagnosed with life threatening food allergies, I was so overwhelmed + honestly… depressed that I would now be responsible for always carrying epinephrine, everywhere. I’d also be responsible for choices that would keep him safe from his allergens. Talk about pressure. I remember crying for a few days when I realized I’d never be able to just run to the park again without a bag or purse, because I would need the epinephrine everywhere. Even in our neighborhood. I was. So. Overwhelmed. Over the years, carrying the epinephrine has become second nature + I’m so thankful that we have great products available to make managing life with food allergies a little easier.

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I’m always hauling around Stuck On You Bento Boxes + Name Labels on the kids things, especially water bottles. PediPed shoes are stuffed in my bag. And, so are Ergo Pouch layers.

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I love the Vilah Bloom diaper bag because it can be worn as a backpack, which makes the treks to the park so much easier. It’s also make with vegan leather + has a front dispenser for wipes.

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I love all of the California Baby products. They are top 8 free + cruelty free. The sunscreen stick + aroma sticks are some of my favorites, I’m always hauling them around. The first California Baby product I ever bought was 8 years ago, when I was pregnant with my oldest son, Breck. I was so excited to use the bubble bath with the adorable bubble wand. Still using it 8 years later!

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I love to carry around Janie and Jack bow ties, because…. Just in case! I also love the newsboy hats to help keep the sun out of the eyes.

I’m telling you, I load my diaper bag up. I’m known for hauling around trash trucks, mini garbage trucks + mini toy trash cans. Breck, Bowan + Bridger love the Driven Garbage trucks. I’m always carrying around a notebook or two, hoping I will have a few minutes to make a few notes or write a new list. I love the Rifle Paper notebooks, the beautiful patterns inspire me + my notebooks always seem to come complete with scribbles from my kids. I also love the Logan + Lenora wet bags, I use one to carry my camera. I love the Oh Joy! first Aid case for the epinephrine. Since I have to carry them around, I will do it with a happy pattern.


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





9 Reasons Why The Midwest Is Best with Mazda

I’m a Midwest girl living in a Colorado world. Wherever I am in the world, part of my heart is in the Midwest. Particularly, in a cornfield in Southeast Michigan. I’m sharing why the Midwest is Best with Mazda.

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The Midwest is calling + you should go. Here are 9 reasons why you should book your next trip to the Good ‘Ole Midwest.

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  1. The Small Towns are Charming.

    The small towns scattered throughout? They are quaint. They hold some history. They are a blast to explore. There is always something to explore in each small town you drive through. The towns take pride in their own little corner of the Midwest + they’ll show you their hospitality when you stop by. I love the town, Tecumseh, Michigan, where I’m visiting here with Mazda.

  2. The Lakes are Beautiful.

    Not only are the lakes beautiful, but there are lots of lakes to explore. To find a lake surrounded by the tall trees is like a piece of Heaven waiting for you to relax, unplug + connect with the people you love out on a lake, floating, swimming, boating, canoeing or kayaking. The kids playing in the shallow water, making sand castles + rivers. That’s what childhoods are made of.

  3. The People are Warm + Friendly.

    There really is something to the Midwest Hospitality, wouldn’t you say? Need directions, a cup of coffee, help shoveling your driveway? Don’t be shy, Midwest Values seem to prevail. The pace of life can feel slower in the Good ‘Ole Midwest, so sit back + enjoy some time at a bon fire with people you love.

  4. The Grand Traverse Area is One of the Best Places in the World.

    You can visit yourself to decide, but Northern Michigan is truly a special place on this planet. Each season has something to offer in the Grand Traverse Area. Summer: swimming + boating in the beautiful aqua lakes, the Cherry Festival + hiking + biking the many trails. Fall: The colors are on fire + there’s nothing quite like it. Winter: snowmobiling, snowshoeing + visiting the ice covered water is just the tranquility we need. Spring: the perfect time to hike the Great Sleeping Bear Sand Dunes + drive the scenic M22 route.

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5. There are Fireflies.

Take an opportunity to just sit + watch fireflies float about as the sun is setting, is a beautiful experience, no extra events or effort required. Just a chance to connect with nature + experience the fireflies + soak up the Midwest lifestyle.

6. The Forests are Healing.

Science shows us that forests are healing. Even just a few minutes spent in a wooded area is proven to lower cortisol + stress levels. There are so many forests + trails to explore in the Midwest. There are beautiful forests in Northern Michigan, especially when they are covered in a blanket of white in the winter.

7. The Great Lakes are Great.

Who needs a trip to an ocean when you have the Great Lakes? Fresh water + fresh fun. The beaches + parks + playgrounds along the Great Lakes are easily accessible, reasonably priced + fun for the entire family.

8. The Orchards + Small Farms are a must.

The Midwest is home to many orchards + small farms. Traverse City is the Cherry Capital of the world. The fresh cherries are amazing + there are many wineries to explore as well. And, come fall, you can find many quaint pumpkin patches + apple orchards throughout the Midwest. Let go of everything and explore a pumpkin patch, an apple orchard + enjoy the time right where you are at.

9. Your Family is There.

Hey, even if you don’t have family in the Midwest, you might make some friends that turn into family.

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The fall colors in the Midwest are fabulous.

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Take a drive with Mazda, explore the fall colors. See the historic downtowns. Enjoy the fresh farm stands.

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This post was sponsored by Mazda. I only share brands I love and use. I feel alive in the Midwest + when driving a Mazda6 we #feelalive

Listening to Myself + Going Places with Toyota

My inner voice, is it there? Yes, it’s always there, but sometimes I’m not listening to it + even worse, sometimes I’m not following it. I’ve been working on opening myself up to my inner voice, listening to it + following it. That also means going places I might not otherwise go with Toyota. I’m sharing a personal story about listening to my inner voice + 5 ways to listen to your own voice. Spoiler alert: it needs you.

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This past year, I faced many challenges, losses, life-changing moments + I’ll just name it: trauma. Honestly, if I could give any of those moments back + hop on a boat + call it smooth sailing, I’m sure I would take it, because who really wants to go through pain? I’ve gone through the process of grief over the multiple losses I faced this past year + while working through my experiences I’ve looked for the silver lining + reached acceptance. By reaching acceptance, I do not mean that I feel like it’s Okay that I lost a baby + went through a surgery that I genuinely feared even though it did quite possibly save my life. I’m not Okay with the memories I have of watching my son experience anaphylaxis to two unknown fruit allergies that each happened within 2 1/2 months time + the shock I went through responding to the emergencies. I just accept that these experiences happened among many others + they’ve brought me to a place I may not have arrived to without the journey I had to face.

One thing that my experiences brought me was the gift of depression. I say gift, because one thing that came from my deep sadness was that in those moments, my inner voice was loud + clear. I heard many things, thoughts, values + truths I already knew. But, I was just a little de-railed, surely life changing events can cause a re-commitment in life, + maybe I came to a place where I needed to focus on something else. I had to get back to my roots. In every way.

I had an unexplainable draw to the corn fields, trees + serenity of Lake Michigan that I grew up with. I wanted to be with my family + lifetime friends that know me + the natural aspects of Michigan that bring me true peace. I traveled to Michigan + Toyota was there with me to help me go places.

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Our inner voice. It’s so deep within us, I mean it truly is who we are. If we can listen to + find our inner voice, we can find true peace + it can set us out on a path we are meant to be on. The path may not be easy, but if it’s meant for us, there is something undeniable about that.


Through my experience, I’ve found 5 ways to help find your inner voice:

  1. Identify your values. - What is important to you?

  2. Focus on the things you loved as a child.

  3. Focus on awareness, not avoidance.

  4. Listen to the painful feelings.

  5. Go where your calling takes you.

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I would fall asleep dreaming about Traverse City, my favorite place as a little girl. I absolutely love Traverse City, MI, but I did not have a deep drive to visit there for over ten years prior. Traverse City was something that kept calling to me. My original intention was to move there. The doors kept closing on that opportunity, but because I went, my kids got to experience a place that means so much to me, I made a new friend that I think will be a lifelong friend + I bought a company while on a trip that I surely never would’ve done if I wouldn’t have listened to my inner voice. The road since hasn’t been easy, but I think it’s my road I’m supposed to travel.

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Your voice may be a still, quiet voice, but it is surely there. Listen to it, nurture it, find patience with it. We are all created with the same intention. However, our unique purposes are different. Life isn’t a one size fits all. Your voice is your voice. Your path is your path. I hope you find it + hold on tight to it.

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The road may not be easy, but I’m on it. Toyota sponsored this post. Toyota believes in helping us go places + they sure create vehicles to help us do so. I only share brands I love + I love the mission behind Toyota.

Photography by: // © Lindsey Lee & Co.

Ouray Hot Springs: A Year-round Family Vacation Destination

Looking for a perfect family vacation idea? I've got you covered. Views. Therapeutic water. Sun. Shade. Kid friendly pools. Waterslides. HOT pools for the parents. A nearby park. Ummmmm, Rocky Mountain Heaven. They don't call Ouray the Switzerland of America for nothing. All the heart eyes for this San Juan Mountain Range. Our family absolutely loves Ouray Hot Springs + I think you will too. 

Ouray Hot Springs> Top places to visit with kids in Colorado

The newly remodeled pool has something for everyone. A volleyball area, an obstacle course for older kids, a water slide, a shaded pool, HOT pools, lap lanes. Tons of chairs + even shaded areas for seating. 

This overhead photo was taken during our family hike on the Perimeter Trail. I absolutely recommend this trail for families. There are some steep sections + the kids likely won't hike the entire loop, but it's an excellent experience to hike as much as you can together. 

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This pool offers awesome floats to rent or, you can bring your own. Bowan was in love with this life-like gator. He was a wild one to ride!

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Where else can you do a waterslide with this kind of view? 

Breck loved the waterslide. He had such a great time!

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Breck snorkeled the day away + had the absolute best time. He's really gained confidence as a swimmer this summer + snorkeling in the warm water really gave him a great opportunity to improve his swimming skills + confidence in the water. 

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Bowan was living his best life on the float we found at Target. 

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Bridger was worn out after a lot of fun in the sun. 

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Kids SPF 50 Swim Suits: Cabana Life

Kids Swim Shoes: PediPed Flex

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This post was sponsored by Ouray Hot Springs. This is one of our favorite spots in America + we think you will love it too. 

Photography by: // © Lindsey Lee & Co. 



5 Family Friendly Hikes in Traverse City with Toyota Highlander

Taking a trip "Up North" is a chance to go somewhere magical with sun, sand, snow, hills, dunes + great fresh water lakes. It's a chance to connect with nature, find yourself a little + create special memories with your family. I'm sharing 5 family friendly hikes in Traverse City + why the Toyota Highlander is an awesome family car. 

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5 Family Friendly Hikes in Traverse City, Michigan:

1: Sleeping Bear Sand Dunes: The Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore is the most popular single attraction in the Traverse City area. And, for good reason, it is beautiful + the end result of the hike brings a stunning view of Lake Michigan atop the dunes. The Dune Climb is totally worth it. A childhood memory of mine + my kids absolutely loved summiting the dunes + seeing the water on the other side, they thought it was the "coolest thing ever." There is a 27 mile long trail that runs along the dunes, so you can plan out multiple adventures here. 

2. The TART Trail: The Traverse Area Recreation and Transportation Trail can take you on an adventure east to west across the city. If you're up for it you can cruise down the entire 10.5 mile trail, or take it in stride as long as your family would like to go. Another bonus, is the trail is paved so the kids my like biking, or in-line skating along the trail. You can even stop for lunch or a snack at a restaurant along the trail.

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3.  Empire Bluff Trail: This 1.5 mi loop is definitely doable with kids. It has amazing views of Lake Michigan, an opportunity to hike through a peaceful Michigan forrest + views of open fields, too. The town of Empire is very quaint + a fun spot to stop. 

4. Leelanau State Park Trail The Leelanau Peninsula is another breathtaking area. You take the M22 scenic drive to arrive to the park + that in itself is an adventure. You can take the well marked hiking trails to see the lighthouse or Fox Island. If you make it up to this hike, absolutely stop at Fishtown Leland to explore the historic fishtown. 

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5. Old Mission Point Park Trail: A trip to Northern Michigan isn't complete without a trip to a lighthouse. The drive to the lighthouse is beautiful along the peninsula + a stop at the Jolly Pumpkin on the way is another must. This 5 mile loop can help you feel like you a floating back in time with the lighthouse + help you to connect with nature in the trees. 

There is so much adventure to be found in Northern Michigan, explore + go where your sails take you!

Best family vehilcle with Toyota Highlander in Traverse City, Michigan

We traveled around the Traverse City area in a Toyota Highlander + my husband + I both agree it is an ultimate family car. The safety features are incredible from listing the street name + speed limit on the dash to the added steering control. My husband loves the excellent horse power. I loved the compartment to store tons of snacks between the two front seats. The bucket seats make it so easy for the kids to get in + out + the all wheel drive makes any hiking adventure much more fun. 

5 Family Friendly Hikes in Traverse City with Toyota Highlander

I always try to take as much caution as I can on a road trip with my most precious cargo inside, but of course I can get a little off track at times. The Lane Departure Alert with Steering Assist was the most helpful feature I've ever experiences on a car. If I got a little right or left of the lane, the car auto-corrected. It was amazing. The entire Toyota Safety Sense package was amazing, but that was my favorite part. 

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If you are planning a family vacation, I highly recommend a trip to Traverse City, Michigan. The water is blue, the air is fresh + the trees are calming. Have you been to Traverse City? Let me know in the comments. 

Looking for comfortable shoes for you? I have the brand for you: The Walking Company. Click here to discover your new favorite shoes.

Looking for adorable + comfortable shoes for your kids? Click here to discover the PediPed brand. I highly recommend them!

5 Family Friendly Hikes in Traverse City, Michigan

Photography by: // © Lindsey Lee & Co. 

 

This post was sponsored by Toyota + Traverse City Tourism. I only share things that I absolutely love + believe in + I hope this post was helpful for vacation planning + future car shopping. Cheers. 

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. 

If you are looking for adorable + comfortable shoes, I have the brand for you: The Walking Company. Click here to discover your new favorite pair of shoes.

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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. 

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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

Lindsey Lee American Gluten Free-3.jpg

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

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

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. 

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!

Skiing in Colorado (6 of 1).jpg
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

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
Bowan Peanut Challenge 2 (1 of 1).jpg

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
Bowan Peanut Challenge-6.jpg
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

Season of Giving with The Denver Rescue Mission & Toyota

It's the Season of Giving. It's a time when we love to help others + we hope to make a difference. But, sometimes we don't know where we should give our efforts, our time or donations. I recently partnered with the Denver Rescue Mission + the Denver Toyota Dealers Association to help provide meals to the most vulnerable in Denver. I love this mission + the cause. I absolutely know they are making a difference, touching lives + making a huge impact. This is a cause you will definitely want to become a part of. 

Season of Giving at the Denver Rescue Mission with Toyota

A warm meal may not sound like much, but when you live on the streets with nothing but a blanket + the clothes on your back it can make the world of a difference. With winter rapidly approaching + 5,000 homeless individuals in Denver, the need for emergency services is prominent. To help prepare for the holiday season the Denver Toyota Dealers Association donated enough nonperishable food to feed more than 6,200 people through the Denver Rescue Mission. Last year Denver Rescue Mission provided 927,000 meals to poor + hungry men, women + children in the community. 

Season of Giving at the Denver Rescue Mission

The Denver Rescue mission provides meals, shelter + resources to people in need. My family + I partnered with the Denver Toyota Dealers Association + we shopped at Safeway for nonperishable food. We know this will make such a positive impact for so many. It's really important for my family that we look outside ourselves + our own needs + find ways to help others. Over 100,000 meals will be directly affected by the Toyota Season of Giving donation!

Season of Giving with the Denver Rescue Mission and Toyota

Food allergies impact 15 million Americans. Including 5.9 million children under the age of 18. We donated allergy friendly food options because people that are homeless or in need may be living with food allergies. Food allergies can become very expensive when specific foods have to be avoided + medical costs add up. The Denver Rescue Mission also has a food pantry, so people in need can also pick up much needed food for their family. I partnered with the Food Allergy Bloggers Conference to donate much needed allergy friendly resources. 

Donate this Season of Giving with Toyota

Whether it’s the loss of a job or the rising cost of housing, homelessness has complicated causes and devastating effects on men, women and families in our community.

Being homeless often means feeling hopeless, but the Denver Rescue Mission believes we can change this situation for our homeless friends and neighbors by meeting them at their physical and spiritual points of need. The Denver Rescue Mission follows Jesus’ example by walking alongside the people they serve through emergency services, rehabilitation, transitional programs, and community outreach.

Donate this Season of Giving with Toyota

The Denver Rescue Mission provides a New Life Program to people that come through their doors. Program graduates overcome destructive habits, maintain healthy community, obtain full-time employment, and provide for their own sustainable housing. While I was at the Denver Rescue Mission, I met a previous graduate of the program that is now the Warehouse Manager. It was quite remarkable. 

Donate this season of giving with Toyota

If you'd like to be a part of this mission, there are many ways you can help. You can donate nonperishable food directly to the Denver Rescue Mission warehouse. You can sign up to serve a meal. You can donate gently used clothing, warm jackets, even furniture or your old car directly to the Denver Rescue Mission warehouse. You can become a change maker + you can donate. However you choose to help, hope starts with you. 

Donate this Season of Giving with Toyota

This project was created in partnership with the Denver Toyota Dealers Association, Safeway + the Denver Rescue Mission. Thank you so much for supporting such a great cause. 

#letsgoplaces

#seasonofgiving

Photography by: // Connor Tieulie + Lindsey Lee & Co. 

Inspiration: Finding your Blogspiration

We might be bloggers, moms, recipe developers, food photographers, allergy moms, or all of the above. Whatever hat we wear, we need to be inspired. That inspiration often comes from within. We need to believe in ourselves. We also need an opportunity to get our great ideas out + get a little organized. Here are some helpful printable downloads to help make your ideas come to life. 

Printable Downloads
Recipe Sheet
Daily Planner Download
Recipe Print-out
Weekly Menu Download

Weekly Menu Sheet Download Here

Wherever you are at just start. Share your story + share your ideas. You have something to give + people want to hear it. 

The one thing you have that nobody else has is you.

Your voice, your mind, your story, your vision.

So write + draw + build + play + dance + live as only you can.

-Neil Gaiman

Download Writing Prompts 1 Here

Download Writing Prompts 2 Here

Download Writing Prompts 3 Here

Download Writing Prompts 4 Here

Thank you so much for attending the FABLOGCON presentation with myself + Missy Voronyak. We hope this session leaves you inspired + encouraged to keep making, keep doing, keep writing + to keep being you. 

 

 

Photo Tools Every Busy Mom Needs with Photojojo

iPhone photography seems to go hand-in-hand with motherhood. Having a camera phone handy is perfect for capturing moments we want to remember. I'm sharing photo tools to help you get the most out of your most used camera, your phone, with Photojojo. Plus a simple + fun DIY project.

photo tools for moms

We can just grab our phone + go. Sometimes we really need a few things to keep our phone happy. The Photojojo Everything Everyday Kit can really help us take our photos to the next level. Honestly, it's been difficult for me to find a phone cable that works, doesn't get tangled + holds up. I've been using the Photojojo cable to charge my phone overnight + I absolutely love it. My phone is no good if its not charged, and this cable works so well + the material keeps it from tangling. 

camera phone tools

Something every mom needs in her purse? A personal power bank. I'm so serious. You just never know what's going to happen, and we really do need our phones. Sometimes we need them for super fun things (read this great list here.) And, sometimes we need a portable charging block for times when we make an emergency trip to the hospital with the kids + the phone battery is almost empty. It's really a great thing all moms should carry around in their bag 'o tricks, I mean diaper bags.

phone photography hacks

Photojojo is the sister company of Parabo Press, a photo printing company I just love. I told you I had a DIY project for you + I totally do. When you order prints from Parabo Press, they come with these adorable printed thick card-stock sheets. I've kept mine, and I was waiting for an idea of how to use them. Well, I came up with a fun + super easy DIY project for them. Hand print + foot print keepsakes. 

Footprint DIY project

Hand Print Keepsake DIY

How To:

This simple project is quick + easy, but the key to success lies in the prep-work + clean-up. The story of motherhood, right?

Do this project in your bathroom, you'll thank me later! Get the bath water ready. Have baby wipes ready + you can even place newspaper on your floor so the ink doesn't stain your bathroom grout. 

To make the clean + easy hand + foot prints, get your little one undressed just in their diaper or underwear. Place their hand or foot onto the ink pad, then press onto the cardboard. Make sure to evenly apply weight for a clear print. Then wipe off their hand or foot with some baby wipes + then place them directly in the bath!

Oh, and make sure you aren't wearing nice clothes! We don't want any ink stains!

Let the prints dry over night. Then, write the name + year on the back with a permanent marker. Display on a shelf or store in a photo box with other keepsakes.

Printed Photo DIY project

I know you have a lot of pictures sitting on your phone waiting to be printed. Just download the Parabo App + order a free 5" photo book! You'll love it! Also, I know you could totally use this Photojojo Everything Everyday Kit, so just head on over to Instagram to enter to win your own kit!

camera phone tools for moms

This post was created in partnership with Photojojo. I honestly do love + use the products + I only share what I think you will love, too!

Now, tell me in the comments below... How many hundreds or thousands of photos do you have on your phone that you need to print? And, how many times have you desperately needed that power bank?  

Photo Tools Every Busy Mom Needs. Tech tools for your phone
Square photo prints with Parabo Press
Inspirational Quote. Motivational Quote. What good are wings without the courage to fly? Atticus