Amber tackles

small, simple steps towards a bigger, fuller life

Category: Uncategorized (page 2 of 3)

Getting Free Sunscreen!

If I had a dollar for everytime I was told that I am the “whitest white person” that someone has ever met I would be one rich lady.

My fair skin (and the comments that come along with it) doesn’t bother me at all…that is until I go out in the sun. Then I BURN, and burn quickly. “How quickly?” you ask. I will tell you how quickly – When I was a teenager, living in Texas, I had marching band practice for 2 hours everyday after school and if I did not put on SPF 40+ sunscreen at least twice during practice I would be red hot burned by the time I got home. NOT…FUN.

Oops! I forgot to put sunscreen on my knees.

Oops! I forgot to put sunscreen on my knees.

So I think it goes without saying that I go through a lot of sunblock.

When I was younger I would use whichever sunscreen was cheapest but as I had kids, 2 of which are redheads and even fairer than me, I began to learn about the chemicals that are in conventional sunscreen. My oldest had sensitivities to fragrances, dyes and other chemicals in any and all soaps, detergents, lotions, etc. practically from birth so I was definitely cautious about the products I put on her.

In my research I came across information about the 4 types of sun protection

1.SUNSCREENS – Uses ingredients like oxybenzone, avobenzone, octisalate, octocrylene, homosalate and octinoxate to filter or absorb the suns raditation.

2. SUNBLOCKS a.k.a. Mineral Sunscreens – Uses ingredients like titanium oxide and zinc oxide to create a physical barrier on your skin that blocks the sun’s radiation

3. Formulas that use a mix of both sunblocks and sunscreens.

4. Physical Protection – Things like long sleeves, hats, and sunglasses to block the suns rays.

I usually opt for options 2 and 4, sunblocks and physical protection, for me and my family. (The reason I avoid sunscreens is that the chemicals used to protect against UV rays can also cause skin irritaions, allergic reactions, and some studies show that they may cause hormone disruptions. )

So we stay out of the sun during the peak UV hours of 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. if possible, stay in the shade, wear items to physically block the sun rays, and use mineral sunblock and lots of it.

The “greener” sunscreens are all pretty pricey so I wasn’t too excited about having to buy an entire bottle in order to try it so I started contacting all the companies who had highly rated sunscreens on the Environmental Working Groups Guide to Sunscreens Best Sunscreens List and requested samples. I figured I would get a couple samples and at least one of the sunscreens would work well enough for me to want to buy a full bottle. But boy was I surprised when I recieved samples from not just 2 or 3 companies but 18!

Basically I had enough sunscreen for an entire summer just by contacting companies and requesting samples!

How To Tackle Requesing Sunscreen Like Amber –
1. Go to the company’s website and find their “contact us” page.

2. Use the contact form on their page or the email provided to send a message with what you are requesting, why you are requesting it, and your name and address.

(I wrote about how my kids are fair skinned and sensitive and that I was trying to find the best sunscreen for my family. If I had used a product by the company I would include a note about which products of theirs I already enjoyed. If I had never used their products I wrote about why I wanted to try something of theirs.)

3. If you can not find contact info on their website use their Facebook page and contact them through direct message.

4. Get emails back saying “Yes, your sample is on the way!” “No samples, but here is a coupon!” “Sorry, we don’t have samples at this time.”

5. Email all those people back saying “Thanks! You are awesome.” or “No problem. Thanks for taking the time to respond!”

5. Get a bunch of sunscreen samples in your mailbox over the next 6 weeks!

Easy Peasy!

I will get of the list of the companies that sent me samples or coupons up as soon as I can!

Happy tackling! – Amber

April Recap

Hello, fellow tacklers!

Have you missed me? I promise you I have big plans for this blog…but somehow my other projects always seem to get in the way.

Some projects I have tackled lately include: switching which kitchen I use in my house, moving our bedroom into the old kitchen (we took out the fridge but the cabinets, an old range, and a sink are still in there), moving my Ebay inventory from being jammed into the corner of my living room/spread out randomly in our outbuildings to the room that was previously our bedroom, then organizing all 200+ items, putting all my boys toys into bins in the basement and then rearranging their room so that they could play without me losing my mind over the mess (though most of their toys may not have made it back up to their room yet. ;)), fighting repeatedly with my washer that does not want to keep working and constantly needs the drain cleaned out, helping my sister-in-law go through all her books, listing her books and over 100 other items on Ebay, planning what seeds I need for my garden, buying seeds for my garden, planning where to plant seeds in my garden, obsessing over my garden (Okay, that’s not a project but I sure do spend a lot of time doing it.), cleaning out our barn in preparation for when the 50 pigs we are boarding over the summer show up, taxes a.k.a torture, and finally (FINALLY!) starting to plant some cold season crops in one of our garden beds.

And if you follow me on Instagram you might have seen that the month of April ended with my kids running fevers and vomitting, and my Grandpa being admitted to the hospital with cogestive heart failure. (He is stable for now, thanks to everyone for the well wishes and prayers!)

I guess you could say that life doesn’t always follow my plans. But I promise you blogging is definitely on my “Too Tackle” list!

I have gotten requests for some scopes about gardening techniques so those will be coming soon, but for now fI have to bathe a 3 year old that insists on drawing on herself any chance she gets (there is always that one kid, right?) and give an 8 year old his first antibiotic EVER. Everyday is an adventure!

Happy Tackling! – Amber

Sleep Kicker Review

I am so excited to bring you all my first product review! The folks at Baby DeeDee gave me a choice of any of their products in exchange for me doing an honest review. I chose their Sleepkicker because it looked like the item my youngest child could get the most use out of.

My Baby Deedee package arrived just days before my youngest daughters 3rd birthday, so being the industrious woman that I am I gave her the Sleepkicker for her birthday. I wasn’t sure how pajamas were going to go over as a birthday present (she is normally a pretty thankful girl…but, you know, she’s 3) but she was SO excited. Her exact words were “This is comfy, cozy!”

I was pleased with the Sleepkicker as well as it appears to be well made and it’s one-size-fits-2T-to-4T style means it should fit Little C for a long time. What makes this item so “comfy, cozy” is due in part to it’s saggy baggy style and it’s soft fleece fabric. And although the saggy pants style may not be for eveyone as it can appear that there is too much fabric in the bottom area, I find it to be AAAAAdorable  and it does not intefer with my little one’s movement or comfort. There is space to layer cotton jammies underneath and the snug but not too tight elastic cuffs on the ankles keep the pant legs secureley in place so there is no chance of tripping on pant legs. Also now that we have had a chance to wear and wash this a few times I am still impresed with the softness of the material and the the quality with which it was made. The seams, zipper, and elastic are all holding perfectly.

My 2 complaints are 1 – the lack of color choices. It comes in 3 color choices gray w/ pink trim, gray w/green trim, and blue w/green trim.  We got the gray/pink combo as it was the one I thought would most appeal to my little girl. I’d love to see the Sleepkicker in a purple/pink combo as these are Little C’s favorite colors. The other items in their product selection have other color options so I think it’s just a matter of time before the Sleepkickers colors expand as well.

My 2nd complaint is not necessarily about the Sleepkicker itself but the laws surrounding children’s sleepwear which made the labeling on Deedee’s Sleepkicker somewhat confusing. The label reads that the Sleepkicker is fire resistant but is not treated with fire retardants. I emailed the company for clarification and very quickly recieved a response saying the the polyester fabric itself is fire resistant in and of itsself and is NOT treated with and fire retardant chemicals. I did some additonal research about sleepwear, because that’s just what I do (seriously, just ask my family about my excessive Googling habits) and found more information about the federal requirements that children’s sleepwear in the U.S meet certain criteria for resisting flames or be snug fitting. The jist of it all is that ANY sort of non-snug-fitting, fuzzy, commercially made pajamas have to be made of polyester (or similar fabric with innate flame resistance) or they have to be treated with chemicals. There are varying opinions on if these laws are necessary or actually harmful by requiring the use of chemicals on some fabrics and you can read a couple of articles on the topic here and here.

I myself usually opt for snug fitting cotton pajamas for my children but do let them have a pair or two “comfy, cozy” polyester jammies for cold winter nights here in the U.P. while I avoid anything that has been treated with flame retardant chemicals. I am glad this Sleepkicker does not fall into the treated category and that the company is open and willing to quickly answer customer questions. Also Baby DeeDee carries a whole line of baby/toddler blankets and sleepwear including cotton options.

Overall I am happy with this sleepwear and think it will get a lot of use before my duaghter grows out of it or wears it out. It is definitely a great option to have in the cold winter months (or cold spring months that we are having now) in Upper Michigan. We can keep the heat down but still know our little one is warm and not kicking off her blankets in the middle of the night.

If you are interested in purchasing a Sleepkicker or any of Baby DeeDees products my readers can get 20% off their first purchase here.

If you have any additional questions about the Sleepkicker I am glad to answer all I can or you can contact the company on their contact page .

Happy Tackling –

Counted With The Stars Book Review

Amber tackles…Counted With The Stars book review

*Some of the links in this post are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I personally use and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.


Counted With The Stars

I was fortunate enough to be a part of Connilyn Cossette’s book launch team, and was able to read Counted With The Stars before the release date, and it was amazing!

I don’t know that my husband appreciated me having our bedroom lamp on until 1 o’clock in the morning but I had so much trouble putting this book down. That captivating, page turning, finish in one sitting feeling is one I often get with suspense or mystery books but not so much with historical fiction…until now.

I was so drawn in by the story Kiya, an Egyptian maiden who lives through the 10 biblical plagues while also enduring the inexplicable harshness of her new mistress after she is sold into slavery by her father.
She struggles not just with the loss of the luxurious life she once lived, but also her feelings of abandonment and betrayal by her family, and confusion as to why a Hebrew slave girl has befriended her when she is now a pariah both among the Egyptians and slaves.

When the Hebrews set out on their Exodus she is torn between her homeland and people which she once loved (but abondoned her and are now ravaged), or a God who (if the stories of the Hebrews are true) is both powerful and frightening.

If you are a fan of Christian fiction or historical fiction this book is one to read. I can’t wait for Connilyn Cossette’s next book! Unfortunely the second book in the “Out of Egypt” series is not set to be released until October 18th this year

If you’d like to get your hands on this book there are a couple giveaways going on right now.

If you head over to Periscope to Cara Grandle’s channel @caragrandle and watch her scope from this morning she has an interview with the author of Counted with the Stars – Connilyn Cossette and Cara also tells you how you can enter to win a copy from her.

Also on Connilyn Cossettes website she has a book giveaway along with a beautiful necklace and earring set so you can “Sparkle like an Egyptian.”

If you want to get your copy now it is available on online through many retailers including Amazon.

Happy tackling!

– Amber

If you are a writer looking for encouragement and community you can join Cara Grandle’s author4theAuthor facebook group (which is where I found out about Connilyn’s launch team .)

If you are reader looking for recommendations, links to giveaways, or online book discussions you can join my Book Tacklers Book Club facebook group.

* My enjoyment of this book was purely from the storytelling aspect. I am not a historian or biblical expert and do not know how accurate Ms. Cossette’s depictions of events or places are.

*I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.


One Week Until Spring

Only 7 days until it is officially spring! I am so ready!!!IMG_20160313_215318

9 Days Until Spring!


Only 30 days till Spring!

30 days until spring

Motherhood Mindset


Mindset: a mental inclination, tendency, or habit

The last time I took part in Motherhood Monday I wrote about accepting your mistakes and moving on from them. This week I want to clarify that has NOT always been my mindset. I wrote that post because I am working on changing my attitudes and I needed the reminder to let it go as much as anyone!

Often times my mindset is goal-oriented, all or nothing, perfection or failure, and anything that gets in the way is a bother. I want to get things done right, right now.

This is not a very workable mindset for a homeschooling, mother of 4 young kids. It is not possible to work on anything straight through to completion considering my entire life is made of small bursts of productivity interspersed with large amounts of interuptions.

But, wait, there is my goal oriented mindset talking again. These “interruptions” are not interruptions they are life. They are moments of connecting with my kids, or training them, moments to model patience and love. These are moments to be enjoyed just because they are spent with my kids even when they are spent cleaning up messes and resolving conflict. They ARE NOT moments to be frustrated about, and hurry through in order to get back to my to-do lists and goal completion.

Thankfully there is a great thing about mindsets. They are changable. Like any habit, with hard work and consistency you can change which attitudes you fall back on.

Changing A Negative Outlook

So how do you change a habit?
How do you change your mindset?

1. Decide that you want to change.

Before you can change your attitudes towards situations you have to want to. Some people are perfectly content with (or perfectly oblivious about) having a negative outlook on life, they don’t feel a need to change the way they feel about or respond to life experiences.

I am not one of those people. Though while in the moment I tend to have negative reactions to things that dont “go my way,” when I look at the big picture I know and appreciate the blessings I have as a mother, I know that my goals amd to-dos are not the most important things but my relationships are. I want to cultivate that positive attitude in the everyday moments and in my day to day mindset.

2. Figure out which attitudes you want to make your new habits.

You have to know where you want to take your mindset in order to get there. You must figure out what parts of your mindset you are going to replace and what you are replacing them with.

I want to replace my feelings of frustration with feelings of gratefulness and appreciation. I want to replace my all or nothing attitudes with moderation. And I want to change my selfish, me centered thoughts to thoughts of love and understanding towards others.

3. Feed the mindset you want.

Once you decide to change, and decide what to change you have work at it. It’s not good enough to just think about and crave improvements in your mindset you have to consciously and consistently interrupt your unwanted attitudes and reactions, and replace them with the ones you want cultivate.

This will be a struggle. No matter how bad you want something changing your automatic responses isnt easy.

I am working on changing my mindset by being on the look out for any thoughts that don’t promote a healthy, positive, moderate outlook and purposefully thinking things like “my kids are only small once, enjoy these messy moments, take time to help them and be there for them, your to-do list will get done and just because it isn’t done now doesn’t mean you are a failure.” And for this to actually change my mindset I have to do this over, and over, and over. It is a practice makes perfect situation if there ever was one.

I’d love to write more but my children are calling and I am off to be grateful and happy that they are.

With Love, Amber

Don’t forget to check out all the other Motherhood Monday ladies’ posts!

Lisa W.
Amber Joy
Lisa B.

Kindles Are On Sale!

If you have been following me for awhile you know I love physical books but I also read ebooks A LOT. I read on my phone and also on my Kindle (which I love) so when I saw that Kindles were on sale I just had to share with you all!

*Some of the links in this post are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I personally use and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

Right now the Kindle Fire tablet is 20% off, the Kindle Paperwhite is 17% off and the Kindle glare-free touchscreen, which is what I have is 25% off. If you have been wanting to get a Kindle now is a great time. You can check out all the kindle deals HERE!

Motherhood Mistakes


Welcome to week four of The Mother Blog‘s #MotherhoodMonday series.

After reading my take on things make sure you check out all these participating ladies’ posts: Lisa, Farrah, Christy, Rebekah, Amber Joy, and Sarah.

This weeks topic is “Motherhood Mistakes.” (Does Lisa have a talent for picking deep topics, or what?) And the truth is I could name a long list of mistakes that I’ve made as a mother…

But I’m not going to. I am not going to talk about the should have beens, the missteps, and the things I did wrong. I refuse to dwell on things that I can not go back and change.

And I encourage you all to do the same.

As mothers we are constantly bombarded with conflicting options, the newest research, overwhelming piles of to do’s, and should do’s, and could do’s. So many chances to make wrong decisions. We can not do everything right. Let me repeat that…We can not do everything right! Mistakes are inevitable, but usually not overcomeable (If that is not a real word it should be.)

If you find out that you have been doing something wrong or realize you have made a mistake –

Admit it. (Even just to yourself)

Apologize (If need be.)

Change what you are doing.

Let go of your guilt.

And move on, while striving to do your best going forward.

That is the best that any of us can do.

“I did then what I knew how to do. Now that I know better, I do better.” – Maya Angelou

With love, Amber


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