Archive for Life


Britton is always creating things, and he likes to have his new inventions and games videoed.  Here’s a small sample.

Mother’s Day Program as School


Choosing Health

The Beginning:

A few of you may know that a few months ago I joined a movement in the personal care and cosmetics industry called Beautycounter. I say movement and not a company because that’s what it is to me–and to the leaders behind it. The whole mission of Beautycounter is to get safe products into the hands of everyone.

Now, if you know me, it’s not like I have a whole lot of empty time on my hands that I need to fill. Between the 3 kids, keeping the house running and running Sprout Shell I’m pretty busy. But I also knew I had to be a part of this movement towards health and safety for everyone. Maybe it’s the part of me that likes to teach, or the part that likes to help–or both–but once I found out what I’m about to share, I knew I was in.

For a more in depth look at how the company started, go here: Our Story


Now, I like to say that we often don’t know what we don’t know. And the learning process can take a long time. We go along, making changes here and there, until one day we learn a key piece of information that changes everything.
That’s what happened to me this past April. A lecture/discussion about environmental health was the catalyst that rapidly solidified my commitment to a safer, more healthy way of life.
For the past eight or nine years I’ve made small little steps in the “green” direction. We’ve used Method and 7th Generation for years. When Cam was born we started using Honest products for the home–and for her–because they’re committed to health and safety. Here and there I’d pick up the words Paraben, PEG, BPA and the like and try to stay away from them. They were “dangerous” and shouldn’t be used. But, they’re everywhere. So I figured they couldn’t be THAT bad.  Now, you may be asking why I didn’t just go for the organics or natural products from Whole Foods or something. Because they’re more expensive. And my frugal mind couldn’t justify the extra cost.  The regular products are everywhere, and I thought ingredients that were harmful couldn’t possibly be in products meant for every day use on our bodies.
Then I went to my discussion and learned a few things:
  • More than 80,000 chemicals have been introduced in the last 30 years. 10,000 are in common beauty products. Safety tests have been done on about 1,000 of them.
  • The last time a federal law regulating the cosmetic (personal care) industry was 1938
  • The European Union has banned about 1300 chemicals because they might be unsafe. The US has banned 11. Seriously.
  • 1 in 4 children will have either Asthma, Allergies, Autism or ADHD
  • 1 in 3 men and 1 in 2 women will have cancer in their lifetime
  • Hundreds of synthetic chemicals are found in newborn baby cord blood

I’ll be honest, it made me angry. With how regulated EVERYTHING is in our country now, how could this possibly be true? But, it is. With the sudden rise of so many health issues from infertility to allergies to disease, it stands to reason that our environment has to be a factor. What we put on and in our bodies every day has to have an effect.

Then, once I did learn about their harmful effects, and actually looked at WHY some of those common ingredients are bad, (endocrine disruptors, allergens, vitamin blockers)  that was it. I knew I had to change, even if it was a little more expensive. My children and their health is more important to me than an extra pair or shoes or nice meal out. Mine too.
Beautycounter is ridiculously vigilant and careful about the ingredients they use. In addition to the ingredients banned in the EU, they’ve also created their own “Never List” of ingredients they refuse to use as well. Find it with explanations of why the ingredient is bad here: Never list
So that’s why I am so passionate about healthier products–I hope you learned something too. That is my ultimate goal. To educate. Because until you understand in a real way the ill effects most personal care products have, doing what you’ve always done is easier. Because you may not know what you don’t know.
I hope you understand how your choices affect you and your family and the results of your choices today will be seen tomorrow.
These products really work. They’re awesome! I am finally breakout free after 3 months of using the Essentials line of skin care. After YEARS of dealing with acne, it’s practically gone. My skin is softer, less red and much happier than ever before.
Oh–and did I mention the body products smell amazing? There is nothing artificial. Scents are all essential oils. All ingredients are on the label.
Try It!
So, are you ready to try them? Shop here: Kirsten’s Beautycounter
I’m also happy to send out samples to try–email me, Kirsten.Reeder (at)
Once there you’ll also find more info about the company and its mission.
If you feel passionately about this movement, or want to earn some extra money, or just create your own collection of healthy products, let me know and I can get you more info.
beauty counter collection



Hiking Family Fun

We live in such a beautiful area with a lot of hiking and walking trails, so we took advantage of a nice Saturday and went out to a nice park a few miles away.

The kids loved it! Cambry was a bit heavy at times, but my K’Tan is so comfortable, it wasn’t bad. We really should do this more often!

At the end of the hike we drove around and found a little playground. Cambry went down the slide then back up about 30 times. Mostly insisting on climbing by herself, of course.

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I love pics like this. They’re so sweet.





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Santa Cruz is Cool!

We’ve lived in the Bay area for 3 years now and have never been to the Santa Cruz boardwalk! So, with an open afternoon we headed down and saw these:

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The kids thought it was the coolest ever.2014-08-09 20.18.49

Then we got a super yummy Hawaiian Shave Ice. Those are super hard to find around here. 2014-08-09 17.40.06-1 2014-08-09 17.32.54


Britton and Kaia were looking for seals out in the water too. Looks like they found one!

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We had a really really fun time, even though we didn’t actually make it to the carnival or rides of the boardwalk. We’ll definitely have to head back for another visit.


Cam Does Funny Things

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She LOVES books!

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She’s a silly sleeper.

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She also loves letters!

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Playing at the park is fun!


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Her first ponytail! It was soooo cute!



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She thinks she super funny when she climbs on the table.



We couldn’t be happier to have her in our family. She’s a delight every day and makes everyone smile.



Ohio Bound

Mark’s family on his moms side had a reunion in Ohio, so we made our way that way. First flew in to Chicago, then drove the rest of the way. We didn’t quite realize it was as long of a drive as it was, but it ended up being ok. The drive was really pretty. Very green, lots of grass and streams.

But, it was kind of late when we got to the hotel, and the kids were a bit tired out!

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The next day we went to the reunion and met lots of people. Some lived in the area, a lot came from surrounding states, and a few of us were from a lot farther away.

The kids had fun playing and eating. We had a good time chatting, though I mostly talked with Mark’s aunts and cousins. I’d never met his most of his cousins before, so that was nice.

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Cambry needed some snuggles. And then she was off sorting bottles.

She also got to know her aunt Sara and cousin Caleb.

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There was chalk and bubbles for the kids to play with and Cambry LOVED it!

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Britton too. He liked blowing the bubbles, but also showing everyone the cool drawings he made.

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I’m glad we were able to go and the kids got to meet a lot of family that they haven’t before, and probably won’t for a long time again. We had a fun day of visiting, playing, running up the big hill, rolling down, swimming and making friends.

Thanks Wauseon!


Fun in Kirtland


On our way from Wauseon to Maryland we stopped in Kirtland to see the Church history sites there.


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We started with the mill and the kids thought it was really cool. It only used a little bit of water in a shallow trough, but produced a lot!

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Britton thought it was really cool to touch the potash.

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Kaia my little poser helping us show off the little creek.

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She and Cambry had fun together. Kaia like helping her, and I just know they’re going to be great friends growing up.

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Our last stop before heading out was the Kirtland Temple. We didn’t go inside, but the kids liked the outside just fine as you can see. We told them a little bit about what the temple was, why it was built and things that happened there.

It ended up being a really positive experience for everyone and I’m really glad we stopped in Kirtland, took the time to see it again–for Mark and I–and teach the children about some of the church’s history.


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Family, Friends and Vacation

After our fun-filled weekend with Aunt Shaela and Daddy, we made the super fun drive to Utah. The beginning is always ok, but that drive through Nevada is definitely the worst (Sorry Nevada!)

Kaia was thrilled about the doggies waiting for her at Aunt Shaela’s!2014-06-22 16.26.23

But soon the call of the horses proved too much and we had to go out and ride. Kaia thinks she’s a cowgirl. Britton was proud of himself for riding by himself.2014-06-20 14.28.54 2014-06-20 14.25.45 2014-06-20 14.25.13 2014-06-20 13.53.48

Though this is the only picture I got, we had a great time with my friend Angie’s family. We did dinner, then headed to my aunt’s house to play in the back yard for a while. The kids got along great, and we had a nice time visiting for a bit too. I’m really glad they moved up here, or I have no idea when I’d have seen them again. We haven’t been down to Southern Utah since we moved from Colorado.

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The next day we got to visit with Gigi and Grand Papa. They’re such good sports, because we were there ALL day! Even cousin Morgan came to see us. She’s such a sweetheart, and I wish we were closer so she could baby sit!

Cambry was still a little nervous about new people though.

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I realized Grandma and I don’t have many pictures together, especially since I’ve gotten older, so we had to take a selfie–even if the only sharing is here. The kids LOVE it at their house. They have all the fun toys to play with, and the outside too.

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Cambry took right to Grandpa, just playing and sitting on his lap. They were super cute.2014-06-19 13.25.12

Cam is actually wearing the outfit Grandma got her for her birthday!

They had fun discussing pressing matters…like which game to play next.IMG_20140619_122102292

And Miss Kaia was always ready with a snuggle.IMG_20140619_122508266

Grandpa even played soccer outside with them. They thought it was awesome. IMG_20140619_131544918_HDR


Later Aunt Dee Ann came to visit for a little bit. The kids had no idea who she was. I need to do better at showing them photos of family. One of the things I really hate about living so far away is them not getting to know family the way I did growing up. There were a lot of us, but we were close and did things together often. They miss out on so much this way, and it really makes me sad.

The next day we went to the Mt. Timpanogos Temple grounds to visit.

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This little girl is a heart stealer!

I love the beautiful grounds there, and the the peaceful feeling I get.

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Afterward we headed to Thanksgiving Point for lunch. It’s changed so much since my days there, but in some ways is the same. The Soda Fountain still makes the yummiest Oreo shakes around!

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Yes, more puppy time. Luckily Kaia is older and less likely to kill them these days. 2014-06-17 18.13.42 2014-06-17 18.13.34

One of the other highlights of our trip was visiting with some of our besties–the Kesslers! They were in the middle of a move to Texas, and we caught them on a Utah visit. 2014-06-17 13.07.54

Britton and Mav picked up where they left off and played together right away. It makes me sooooo sad that they’re so far apart now. These two were just the cutest little friends. I miss Paige’s creativity and inspiration on making my house as beautiful as I could. And I miss having the friend to just go visit on a whim because scheduling playdates was just silly. 2014-06-17 13.07.16 2014-06-17 11.04.49

The “real” reason for our trip was my high school reunion, that included a lunch portion for families. This is Utah after all. Miss Cam had lots of fun as you can see getting everything she needed.

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Sadly, I didn’t get any other pictures with anyone. What was I thinking!? But, it was a fun afternoon catching up with people and meeting spouses and children. I didn’t come to the last one, so it was a first for me.

It’s interesting, going back and seeing what’s happened in the lives of people you used to know. Some are exactly how you’d expect, and others not at all! I like to think that now that we’re adults all the fears and insecurities have gone away, but I found myself back where I was then, wanting to be liked.  Feeling intimidated by some, definitely not by others, and realizing that in the end, it doesn’t matter. I am who I am. A wife to a pretty awesome husband who takes great care of me and our family. A mother to arguably the 3 cutest kids on the planet, and a woman who singlehandedly runs a pretty awesome company that’s out to save the world (ok, maybe not, but it’s pretty cool anyway.) And that’s ok.

Anyway–our trip was awesome. I didn’t get to see everyone I wanted to. It was way too fast of a week. I wish we could visit more often, see more people, but for now, we’ll stick with phone calls and photos. Farewell Utah, until next time =)


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Happy Father’s Day!

There’s lots of Daddy love in our house. He’s a special, fun guy. Cambry couldn’t wait for him to read her all of his presents. She thought they were for her.

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Britton could hardly wait for him to open the present he made at school.   2014-06-15 08.04.29 2014-06-15 08.04.44

A portrait of him!



We’re so lucky to have him in our lives! He’s so much fun, loving and we couldn’t ask for anyone better.




A Visit From A Special Aunt

Aunty Shaela came to visit for the weekend and we couldn’t have been more excited! She’d never been to the city before, so we took her to some fun sites. We started at Fisherman’s Wharf and a snack at Boudin Bakery for some yummy bread.2014-06-14 11.12.35 

We ate strawberries as big as Cam’s head on the Pier.

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And Cambry loved the Seals.

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We waited in a ridiculously long line to ride the trolley. It was maybe worth the wait. The kids sure liked it.

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Everyone had to have a turn looking through telescopes at Alcatraz Island. Especially with Aunt Shaela holding them up.

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We love it when people come visit us.


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