Posts filed under Giveaway

So your kids want to be Ninja Warriors?

It's a year of rising and renewal for me... mind, body, and soul. After a tough pregnancy that kept me glued to the couch for most of a year, I'm more than ready to stretch and strengthen. A big part of that has been getting myself outdoors. The days of sitting on my can for most of the day and then spending the token hour with Tony Horton (of P90X fame) are giving way to functional, natural, healthy movement; living and breathing in bigger ways with integrated prayer of thanksgiving and intercession. And... I'm dragging my kids along with me.

Remember when we quit youth sports and I lost my "soccer mom" (volley mom, swim mom... all the things mom) credentials but probably saved my soul? Well, the kids are doing great but they do get a little antsy and we are always looking for ways to help them stretch and grow physically. And actually, they are more than happy to lead the way with a lot of energy and a little more crazy. Cross-eyed, upside down, strong in mind, body, and spirit...


(Hey Mom! Take a picture of me and send it to my brother! So I sent the pic of him showing off on the nunchucks to his brother at seminary. Because apparently for brothers, the competitive never ends.)

This has been a Ninja Summer. Anyone else know what I'm talking about? Are your kids making obstacles out of every possible piece of furniture and overhanging thing in site? Yep, yep... they're all Ninja Warrior crazy, I tell you. It only took one episode before they were literally climbing up my walls. 

Speaking of which... I have more footprints on my walls in one Summer than in the last decade. So mama said Enough!  I sent them outside...

And the woods and yard were transformed into our ninja playground. But after one set of stitches to a chin from an ill-placed log, a few dozen ugly splinters from natural obstacles, and a round of poison ivy (which healed marvelously with an essential oil concoction I inflicted on my kid), I started googling "Ninja obstacles for kids." Because while I love the great outdoors, I do not love knitting needle sized splinters and medical bills. 

Time to work smarter... And google introduced me to the Ninjaline.

One look and I was all in. I contacted the good people at Slackers and they sent me a kit to review and also promised a Ninjaline to give away to one of you!

*Please remember... I do not promote stuff that I don't own, love, and think some of my readers will appreciate. And we definitely use and enjoy our Ninjaline so we're good on that count.*

Let me tell you a bit about our experience and then I'm going to give one away...

This Ninjaline is a solidly constructed outdoor obstacle course similar to the overhanging obstacles used on American Ninja Warrior. It's basically a slackline that is set up above the head so that various Ninja accessories can be hung from it and navigated. All you need are trees and a teen or adult to adjust it. The installation is simple and now that we've done it a couple times, it only takes a step stool and 5 minutes to set up. The length is adjustable, the accessories are adjustable, and the whole thing fits into one box when we're done. Perfect.

I recommend the Intro Kit for beginners along with the ladder and rope accessories. The pro kit and accessories are excellent but definitely a level up. 

My kids are monkey bar pros at the park but this Ninjaline is definitely harder than monkey bars! It takes some will and some skill to get going on this, but for a kid who wants (needs) to move and be challenged, it's really perfect.

*Sidenote: Do invest in some gym chalk for chalking up little hands when playing monkey. It took some literal blood before we learned this lesson at a local park. Apparently, it's not good enough to have callouses because callouses can rip off. I know these things. I recommend a chalk ball like these HERE (affiliate link) and being used in the pic below.*

This is the anti-video game apparatus. (That's a good thing.) For every successful kip off this line, I'm sure there must be a game system gasping it's last breath somewhere. 

I would definitely recommend having the kids stretch and warm up a bit before practicing their Ninja Warrior skills. This is not your mother's playground toy but a real training tool with a youthful flare. There is technique and strength involved and is the perfect companion to our slackline. I love that the whole setup is portable and adjustable. 

Click on the pics below to enlarge...

It will hold the weight of most kids and adults. And for the younger ones in your family who have some work to do before they can Ninja their way across the line, the ladder and rope accessories are a lot of fun. My toddler uses the ladder as a swing and insists that we assist her with her other Ninja skills on demand.

While you're exploring the Slackers website, be sure to check out their other active products. There are so many things in their catalog that are on my wish list and that would keep the kids busy outside and in. I definitely have my eye on their swings.

Below is a brief video of my 14-year old working his way along the Ninjaline. The height is a bit short for him because it is set for the younger kids but he said that trying to keep his feet off the ground adds to the challenge! 

Posted on September 7, 2016 and filed under Family Life, fitness, Giveaway, review.

Lenten Beauty {Santa Clara Design Print Shop Giveaway}

 Saints quote prints from  Santa Clara Design Print Shop

Saints quote prints from Santa Clara Design Print Shop

My plans for Lent this year are not complicated. Increase prayer and keep working hard. That's all. With a baby coming in 3 months and an ark-load of other obligations... it's really what I can do. And if that's all I can do? Well, that's not so bad. 

I often forget that prayer is not a means to achieve our earthly desires. The goal of prayer is Divine intimacy. If our desires are truly what they ought to be, there should be no conflict there... To be united with God in all things and at all times. 

That is the beauty of Lent... a return to the heart of things. Or more accurately, a return to the Sacred Heart of souls. That is my Lenten goal. And man, I need that renewal. How quickly I allow myself to continually put God into a functionary role in my life... Instead of as the source and goal of life itself!

I'm kicking off that immersion into Lenten focus with a giveaway of a beautiful set of elegant and inspirational quotes from Santa Clara Design. I have printed off my own copies from the digital set that Lauren sent me. Simple, beautiful reminders of Divine intimacy. Sacred silence

The set she's giving away here (pictured below) from her Santa Clara Etsy shop is printed on 5 x 7 heavy matte, bright white paper and printed with fade resistant archival print... SIX custom designed quotes for Lent perfect for home or work. 

A reminder of the simple purpose and design for our souls... Made for Love alone.

I love my set and will use them to decorate simply for the season. But I'm also thinking of printing off copies in black and white onto watercolor paper so that my children can add some borders or color to their own for their own spaces or school binders.

I have been following Lauren's work for years and always admire the way she applies her talents to give glory to God and the service of His people. I encourage you to follow her on Facebook and Instagram. Visit her Etsy shop to browse the many beautiful paper and digital prints she sells there... And definitely enter the giveaway below for a chance to have a beautiful printed set delivered to your front door!

Posted on February 5, 2016 and filed under Faith, Liturgical Year, Spiritual Life, Giveaway, Lent.

Fitness Meets Faith {SoulCore Review}

There is so much in life that draws us away from our primary purpose. When I find a resource in any category that draws me straight to mine, I cling to it. As a Catholic, that primary purpose is always Jesus Christ... and if a thing doesn't draw me closer to Him, it probably doesn't belong in my life. 

This is where the meeting of the secular and the sacred often causes confusion... because it isn't always clear cut. Excellent homeschooling materials (for example) don't always have to explicitly mention the name of Our Lord in order to help a person develop in His service. But boy, when you stumble upon a really excellent and thoroughly Catholic resource... it's a lot like winning the lottery.

I have always been committed to fitness in my life (body, mind, soul) and yet this year is much bigger for me as I focus (like a laser beam) on what it is that I need to do to be well. Healing from chronic illness and immune dysfunction can be a long road. 2016 is my time to Rise to Joy in service of my God and my vocation. And I'm sharing all of it publicly as a way to stay accountable and help others. So...

I want to introduce you to a challenging and beautiful Catholic fitness series called SoulCore. It's not yoga but it uses some of the same principles of movement that people find so effective... "a combination of core-strengthening exercises and isometric exercises, stretching and overall strengthening of the entire body." The biggest difference is...

Jesus Christ. 

Overt, joyful, focused, prayerful, physical and mental movement toward the Savior of the World.  The SoulCore project is consecrated to the Immaculate Heart of Mary and the Sacred Heart of Jesus. That's really the core of who we are. Beautiful. 

The exercises are set to a full rosary so it's a two-for-one if you're crunched for time. But there are greater benefits to that method: 

1. The prayers are the counting method. You move and pray. As a Catholic, I know the Hail Mary so well that it's like breathing. In this workout, I find myself easily entering into that prayer... sometimes less focused if I'm struggling with an exercise (but I know the prayer well enough to keep it on my lips) and sometimes more focused as my body and soul are both oriented toward work and heaven. Ora et labora indeed.

2. This is not just work and prayer but work as prayer. Our bodies are designed to serve the Lord. And the real gift with taking care of them with right purpose is that the care becomes a service to Him as well. It is not just a way to strengthen us for vocation but is actually a part of our vocation. SoulCore draws the mind to this reality directly.

As I said before, the exercises can be challenging even for those who are accustomed to working out. But they are also easy to adapt; lighter weights, fewer reps, knee push ups. My pregnant belly forces me to make some of those modifications but the workout is still wholly accessible to me. 

The Sorrowful and Joyful Mystery DVD workouts are currently available and the Glorious Mysteries will be in the shop soon. Digital downloads for all are also available. The website is full of inspirational material, accessories, local class info, and the inspiring story of the mission of the founders.


The SoulCore team very generously sent me a Sorrowful Mysteries DVD to review (I bought two more DVD's after loving my review copy!) ... 

...and also sent TWO copies to give away to my readers. 

Enter below through the Rafflecopter. I hope you win! If not, I hope you get the opportunity to experience this wonderful workout series another way! 

Posted on January 31, 2016 and filed under fitness, Giveaway, wellness, Womanhood.