Melissa Kaylene: August 2014

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Create.Simplify.Inspire. #83

Yes, this post is a few hours late. Yes, last week I said I had hoped for a more mellow week. Yes, I jinxed myself. Today was filled with work - I covered a day shift which I never do, and ended up working from 6am-4pm, then I had our first PTO meeting of the year to rush off too, but I also found out yesterday that Anika started soccer today. At 5:30. And my meeting was at 6 - 10 miles away. And I had to drop off Emma and Noah first. I actually surprised myself that I wasn't late to anything.

 I'm laying in bed before 10 pm and ready for bed, which is very unusual for me. Tomorrow I'm heading over to help my friend set up for her wedding (which is Saturday), and then heading in to work an evening shift. I know a lot of women do it, but I don't think there is anyway I could work full time, blog, and be involved with the school and sports. There's not enough hours in the day!

    How's your week going?

I'd love it if you shared!

This link up to to share anything and everything that inspires you. 

Create.Simplify.Inspire. #83

Willamette Valley Wonder Woman

<a href="" target="_blank"><img src="" alt="Willamette Valley Wonder Woman" width="250" height="250" /></a>

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Free Healthy Habits Booklet For Young Girls

This is a sponsored post with Together Counts / Girl Scoutns of USA and I have been compensated for my participation in this initiative. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.
#sponsored #HealthyHabits @togethercounts @gscnc

Even though I've never been in Girl Scouts and we haven’t really involved the girls with it yet, I have always loved the program and what it does to help teach girls important things in life, like building confidence and character. One of my good friends has been a troop leader for many years with her daughter, and I've loved following along with their journey’s via Facebook. From the patches she’s received to the events they've done…sometimes it makes me wish I could have been involved when I was younger!

#sponsored #HealthyHabits @togethercounts @gscnc

I've wanted to involve my girls with the Girl Scouts in some sort of fashion for a while now, but sadly last time I checked there were no troops local to us and I just don’t have the energy to commit to being in charge of one more thing. (I’m already behind on the PTA stuff!!) But – I wanted to share these free booklets I've found with you. The Girl Scouts have partnered with the Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation and have developed three “Healthy Habits” booklets that volunteers can use in conjunction with their Journey Adult Guides. These books can show girls fun and easy ways to achieve “energy balance”, and what I love about it is that anyone can download them and implement them into their daughter’s journeys.  The three booklets are:
  • ·         Between Earth and Sky with Healthy Habits
  • ·         WOW! Wonders of Water with Healthy Habits
  • ·         Get Moving! With Healthy Habits

      I think any extra information that we can give to our kids is so important for their development! The Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation provides a program called the Together Counts Program, where they hope to inspire active and healthy living – and I think so many of our kids don’t really understand the importance of balanced lives, until in many cases it becomes a health problem.

    So, check out the booklets and tell me what you think! How involved are you in teaching your daughter Healthy Habits? It’s sometimes not easy, but just leaving the door open to have topics up for discussion will really help your daughter when questions do come up.

#sponsored #HealthyHabits @togethercounts @gscnc

   To learn more about the Girl Scout, join the upcoming Twitter Chat on September 9th and have some fun with the Girl Scouts Nation’s Capital and Together Counts!
      When: September 9th
Hashtag: #Healthy Habits
Follow: @GSCNC @togethercounts
Details: Will be available on on September 3rd!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Feast Portland


Things have been so incredibly busy lately that I haven't had a chance to tell you about the latest food event that I'll be attending soon! It's right here in Oregon and it's called Feast Portland. Feast Portland was founded in 2012, though this will be my first year attending this fun food event that is presented by Bon App├ętitFeast a big celebration that is broken down into many smaller events, so it's great because you can pick and choose what interested you. There's Grand Tastings, Dinner series, hands on classes - but, over half of the events are already sold out, so if you are considering attending I'd buy your tickets soon. :)


People from all over the country come to Oregon to celebrate Oregon's Bounty, and Alaska Airlines has partnered with Feast Portland and is providing discounted travel to the event between September 16th - September 23rd (2014). Also, Oregon Wines Fly Free on Alaska Airlines! If you happen to buy a case of wine at participating wineries you can fly them back with you - free of charge! Believe me, there's a lot of good wine around here! :)


I'm excited to be covering Feast Portland with a blogger pass, so you'll be seeing a lot more drool-worthy pictures around here over the next couple of weeks! (Especially on my Instagram) - and I'm in the process of trying to get a babysitter lined up for Saturday night so Wayne can attend some of the events with me and we can have a date night / celebratory anniversary night!


Here are the events that I'll be covering for Feast Portland:

1. Friday, September 19th : Oregon Bounty Grand Tasting presented by Alaska Airlines
2. Saturday, September 20th: Oregon Bounty Grand Tasting presented by Alaska Airlines
3. Saturday, September 20th: Marquee Event: Oregonian Media Group High Comfort at The Nines
4. Sunday, September 21st: Tillamook Brunch Village

Plus some other amazing media-exclusive happy hours and events.


 One thing I love about Feast Portland though, is that it's all for a good cause. All net proceeds from the event are donated towards ending childhood hunger in Oregon and around the country. In it's first two years, Feast Portland has already raised over $99,000 for it's charitable partners - Partners for a Hunger-Free Oregon and Share Our Strength's No Kid Hungry Campaign.


If you are looking for a break and a fun getaway for the weekend you should come out! There are many local area hotels that have exclusive Feast Portland packages, so you can get the most for your money. For more information about the event, check out their website: and while your at the Feast Portland don't forget to tag your photos and tweets with #FeastPDX so we can all join in on the celebration! 

*All photos c/o of I have been given a blogger/media pass in exchange for my coverage - no other compensation will be received. All opinions are my own. For more information on partnering with me on upcoming events email me at*

Monday, August 25, 2014

Paperless Coupons to Stock up on Items for Fall Sports

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone.
10 Things to Save with #WalgreensPaperless for Sports Seasons #shop #cbias

I used to clip coupons quite a bit. I was never extreme, but I did a pretty good job stocking up the house with items that were close to, if not, free. Then I began blogging and doing more activities like running the P.T.O at the grade school and I found that I just couldn’t do it all. Couponing is fun and rewarding, but it takes time, and at some point I had to re-evaluate to see what was the most valuable way to spend my time – and as you can see this blog easily won that debate. So, I changed some of the ways that I tried to save money.

I started using my phone more.

10 Things to Save with #WalgreensPaperless for Sports Seasons #shop #cbias
10 Things to Save with #WalgreensPaperless for Sports Seasons #shop #cbias

Stores have jumped on the band wagon and have realized that most people out there really don’t have the time it takes to sit down and cut out coupons, but they do have a couple minutes to take out their phones in the store and digitally “clip” a coupon to their account so it gets taken off right there when they check out. It’s seriously as easy as pushing a button, and just like the coupons you clip - they can each be used one time.

I was very excited when I heard that Walgreens started implementing this system with their Balance Reward Card App, because I can stock up on things there that I might not do at other stores – things like vitamins and bandages, Walgreens has a large variety for me to choose from.

10 Things to Save with #WalgreensPaperless for Sports Seasons #shop #cbias

While everyone else is out school shopping, I’m also out getting extra things to have on hand for soccer season – things like snacks, band-aids, wipes, sanitizer, stuff that we go through more of when the girls are playing.

At Walgreens the other evening I stocked up on a lot of those items and used my digital coupons to save some money. Every little bit helps!

10 Things to Save with #WalgreensPaperless for Sports Seasons #shop #cbias
10 Things to Save with #WalgreensPaperless for Sports Seasons #shop #cbias

What things do you stock up on during sports seasons? Here is a list of a few things I always keep extras of:

1.     Bottled Water
2.     Nuts + Trail mix
3.     Hand Wipes
4.     Sanitizer
5.     First Aid Kit (make sure yours has instant ice packs inside!)
6.     String cheese
7.     Extra Band-Aids (they help if your kid gets an cut, or blisters)
8.     Bug Spray
9.     Sun Block
10.   Deodorant

Thanks to #CollectiveBias and #WalgreensPaperless for letting me share my ideas with you!


Fun Poster Cards For Kids

I am a member of the Collective Bias®  Social Fabric® Community.  This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper amplification for Collective Bias and its advertiser. #KidsCards #CollectiveBias
Hallmark Poster Cards #KidsCards #shop #Cbias

A couple of weeks ago when we celebrated Anika’s birthday, I knew I wanted to do something a little special for her. Normally we’ll throw a party for each of the kids, and then Wayne and I will get the kids cards and take the birthday kid out to lunch all by themselves at the restaurant of their choice. It’s a tradition that I’m glad we started because it’s became a highly anticipated part of their birthday celebration.

I decided that after lunch I was going to have a big girl afternoon with my eleven year old and take her clothes shopping followed by a pedicure.

A couple of days before her birthday I was at Walmart with Emma and Noah picking out Hallmark birthday cards because they have a cool rewards program for every 5 cards you buy - and we ended up finding these Hallmark Poster Cards on the end aisle and the kids were immediately drawn to them. (I wonder why? Ha! ) At first I told them that they couldn’t get a Rapunzel or a Planes card for Anika because she wasn’t isn’t those cartoons, but then I decided to just let them do it. It was something they wanted to pick out for her – so why not? The kids birthday cards aren’t usually saved, and I knew these would at least get reused as Posters on their walls – plus I wanted to see the look on Anika’s face when she saw them!

Hallmark Poster Cards #KidsCards #shop #Cbias
Hallmark Poster Cards #KidsCards #shop #Cbias
Hallmark Poster Cards #KidsCards #shop #Cbias

I grabbed her a card too so I could write her a note about my special plans for her birthday.

Hallmark Poster Cards #KidsCards #shop #Cbias

She got a kick out of the Planes card and I think she secretly still liked the Rapunzel one, but she agreed to let Emma and Noah “borrow” them on their walls.

Hallmark Poster Cards #KidsCards #shop #Cbias

Anika was so excited for out date together and thoroughly enjoyed trying on new outfits and sipping on a coffee-free frappacino with a teen magazine while she got a french pedicure.

Hallmark Poster Cards #KidsCards #shop #Cbias
Hallmark Poster Cards #KidsCards #shop #Cbias

Moments like these make me feel like I must be doing something right. Spending time with the ones you love is the best present that you can give them.

Make sure you check out Connections From Hallmark to sign up for Hallmark Rewards, and to see great content from other bloggers. Join in the #kidscards conversation on Twitter!  


Keeping Healthy Goals Through Times of Stress

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #BalanceRewards #CollectiveBias
Willamette Valley Wonder Woman: Keeping Healthy Goals Through Times of Stress #BalanceRewards #Cbias #shop

If there’s one thing I've learned so far in life, it’s to treat your body with love by doing things to keep it happy and by making healthy choices. Most of the time I do okay, but there’s always room for improvement. My days vary day to day so sometimes I don’t pay enough attention to how much sleep I get of how active I've been – especially when life get a little stressful.

Willamette Valley Wonder Woman: Keeping Healthy Goals Through Times of Stress #BalanceRewards #Cbias #shop

Last Thursday after a busy week of work we headed out to the beach for the night, and the weather was perfect. I logged my walk into my healthy choices program, which is part of the Walgreens app and Balance Rewards Program (with the Rewards Program your earn points when you buy featured items or engage in healthy behavior). It’s a cool feature that lets you set goals, enter your activities and track your progress. We played and relaxed in the sand and enjoyed our evening together. We all fell asleep happy that night.

Willamette Valley Wonder Woman: Keeping Healthy Goals Through Times of Stress #BalanceRewards #Cbias #shop

The next morning though we were awaken with some scary news. Wayne’s mom had fallen and suffered a massive brain hemorrhage, so we immediately drove the hour and a half back to be with her. She wasn't doing well. She has been fighting cancer for several years now and the physician suspected the bleeding was coming from a tumor site. We sat there as he explained to the rest of the family that the brain swelling wouldn't peak until 2-3 days, and that given her age and health condition we were just going to have a ‘wait-and-see’ approach, but that there was a good chance she would not make it out of the hospital, and if she did if would be on Hospice. 

I had done a ton of running back and forth the past couple of days and Friday night it started taking a toll on me. I sat down and felt as if I were melting into the chair. I knew I hadn't been eating right, drinking enough, or sleeping well. I hadn't even turned on MyFitnessPal app so none of my walking had been recorded or synced to my walking goal on my healthy choices feature. I logged in and added in my mileage for the day. I than drank a glass of water and went to bed – and I slept for eight hours

Willamette Valley Wonder Woman: Keeping Healthy Goals Through Times of Stress #BalanceRewards #Cbias #shop

The kids and I went into visit Wayne’s mom again last night and she was awake – once again defying all odds. Both her arms and legs moved, she was alert and verbalizing with us. She was cleared to eat some pureed food and she not only ate 100%, but she began to feed herself too – and this was all coming from a woman with cancer throughout her body and a large hemorrhage on the right side of her brain.

Willamette Valley Wonder Woman: Keeping Healthy Goals Through Times of Stress #BalanceRewards #Cbias #shop
Willamette Valley Wonder Woman: Keeping Healthy Goals Through Times of Stress #BalanceRewards #Cbias #shop

After we left the hospital I ran to Walgreens to pick up a few items that we needed and I used the Balance Reward Points I had accumulated. I checked my blood pressure while I was there and made sure I added it to my tracker.

Willamette Valley Wonder Woman: Keeping Healthy Goals Through Times of Stress #BalanceRewards #Cbias #shop Willamette Valley Wonder Woman: Keeping Healthy Goals Through Times of Stress #BalanceRewards #Cbias #shop

Today Wayne’s mom has improved so much that she will likely be discharged tomorrow, pending we find the right facility to care for her. This last 72 hours has reminded me how important it is to take care of you and maintain your health goals even during times of stress. Sometimes as a nurse the hardest thing to do is practice what you preach, but I believe these are some of the most important things you can do for yourself when faced with a stressful situation:

Willamette Valley Wonder Woman: Keeping Healthy Goals Through Times of Stress #BalanceRewards #Cbias #shop

1.    Prioritize: Obviously if it’s an emergency situation this will be easy to do, but sometimes we get thrown into too many directions that end up causing stress and we have a hard time figuring out where to start and what to do. Take a deep breath, and then make a list. Cut out the unimportant stuff.

2.  Sleep enough: I am guilty of not doing this. Do the best you can. Sometimes I’ll close my eyes in the afternoon for ten minutes, just to let my brain relax. What’s the magic number for enough sleep? I don’t know – but I’m pretty sure your body does, and it may also need extra rest when dealing with stress.

3.  Eat real food: I know the easiest thing to do when you’re busy and  stressed is to grab a cheeseburger with some greasy fries and a soda, or to not eat for half of the day only to be starving late at night (once again, guilty here). Instead try and eat a whole grain wrap or a sandwich with some fruit, veggies, and iced tea. I know when I do it really does give me a little extra boost of energy that I need – and I will indulged still. In fact last night we celebrated our small victory with ice cream blizzards.

4. Drink that water: It’s so simple, but something that seems to be forgotten when our minds are elsewhere. Friday was a huge reminder for me after I ended up with a bad headache and realized that it was because I hadn’t drank anything all day.

5.   Keep track of your activity and health: I love being able to visually see my progress towards my personal goals, whether it’s from getting enough sleep at night, walking enough miles every week, or seeing my weight loss on a chart – the healthy choices program really helps keep my day to day stuff in line, so I have one less thing to worry about.

How do you stay sane in times of stress?
Thanks #BalanceRewards and #CollectiveBias for helping me make healthy choices!


Saturday, August 23, 2014

The Dinosaur Train

A couple of weeks ago we drove out to Hood River and took the kids for a special ride on the Mount Hood Railroad. They had a special train ride based off of the hit PBS show Jim Henson's Dinosaur Train. The special event only lasted a couple of weekends so we thought it might be fun to take the kids out for a day trip adventure.

When we arrived we were greeted with staff adorning safari outfits with matching hats and we quickly climbed aboard. The train was decorated to match the safari adventure theme and we set off on a 30 minute train ride with excited children singing the show's theme songs. Midway through the ride juice and fruit snacks were provided to the kids and when the ride was over we we stopped off at their Nature Trackers Adventure Park, where the kids had a chance to earn their own Nature Trackers membership card by completing activities. 

My kids favorite activity was digging for fossils, but there were also things like identifying dinosaur foot prints, a mini maze, an art area, and bouncy house. 

There was also a snack area (for purchase) and a magic show that kept the thoroughly entertained. We ended up staying in the activity area for about an hour and a half. This train ride is definitely geared towards younger children, but Anika is always such a good sport - she colored away, ate snow cones and laughed along with the magic show - heck she was even my only 'brave' child that posed with Buddy. ;)

After our afternoon adventure we spend the evening in Hood River, went out to dinner and played along the riverside. 

The Mt. Hood Railroad offers a variety of train rides and excursions throughout the year, including the annual Polar Express ride. If you are in the area I would definitely recommend spending the day in Hood River and explore the area with your family.

I was given free tickets to the Dinosaur Train ride, no other compensation was received. As always all opinions are my own. 

Thursday, August 21, 2014

#ThatsMyKid and This is Their Style

#ThatsMyKid @JCPenny style/fashion blogger. #ad #JCP

Yesterday we did it. We went down and registered Anika for Jr. High. I can't believe that my baby girl is now officially in middle school. She has always been strong willed and a self starter, but I know that the thought of middle school is scary for her right now. She's not sure what to expect and it's a big change.

#ThatsMyKid @JCPenny style/fashion blogger. #ad #JCP

Last week we got a letter from the grade school letting us know who Emma's new teacher will be. She about jumped through the roof when she found out that her first grade teacher will be the same teacher she had in Kindergarten. I knew that her teacher would be switching grades, but I thought she was moving to second grade, not first. Emma is so happy to have her for one more year and so am I - my little sweet and shy girl takes a long time to open up and get comfortable in situations, and I knew that first grade was going to be scary for her because this is the first year she will be gone for the entire school day - in Kindergarten she just did half days. Having the same teacher will hopefully put her nerves at ease a bit.

#ThatsMyKid @JCPenny style/fashion blogger. #ad #JCP

And then there's Noah - my little man. He's excited about going back to preschool again and getting to have out with his buddies. He's such an easy going little boy, so happy and carefree. He always has a smile on his face and is obsessed with anything that is orange or has wheels. He's at that age where he still wants to snuggle his momma in the mornings and I cherish them, because I know those days are numbered.

These are my kids. Their personalities are so different and I love that about them. Their individuality is sometimes difficult for me though because there isn't one way that is better than the other when it comes to raising kids - each one truly is unique.

The one thing I can do though is let them express themselves through their wardrobe. The girls and I recently did some school clothes shopping at JCPenny and I let them pick out the outfits they loved. As long as it's age appropriate I don't mind the colors or patterns that they wear, because it's giving them control over something - it's allowing them to make their own decisions. 

Anika fell in love with this blue dress and I was surprised because she's never really been much of a girly girl, but I think it looks absolutely adorable on her. Emma is still in the phases of all things pink, sparkly and princess, and she pulls it off nicely. She picked out this shirt not even knowing that is says "Wonder"... perhaps she'll be her own little Wonder Woman someday.

I took a few pictures of the girls outside of our grade school before school begins as it's sort of a big year, one daughter leaving grade school behind as the other one enters. It makes me happy and sad at the same time. 

As different as they are, there are still times when these silly kids get a long really well and I hope that their relationship always stays like that. I hope that they can appreciate their differences and love each other no matter what. 

These guys have all their clothes ready to start school off feeling independent and happy. These are my kids - and I love them more than anything else on earth.

When It Fits, You Feel It.        

Disclosure: Compensation was provided by JCPenney via Mode Media.  The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of JCPenney.