#NinaNeedsMinions

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Hi there!

NBC Universal wants to know who needs Minions the most and they are giving you the chance to vote from a select pool of talent…including me! Errr…rather, Nina!!!!

Sprout has nominated Nina to get some Minions to help out with the nightly bed time routine! After all, don’t we all need a little extra help sometimes?! So click here and show Nina some love. (As of Wednesday June 24 at 9:00am Nina is in 6th place!!!) Oh, and you just might win some tickets to see the new Minions movie next month!

You can vote once per day. See all the contest rules and prize info here.

Good luck!

Minions-Quest-Sweepstakes

 

Sprout’s #MomIsHere #NoFilter30


I hope you will join in the 30-day challenge and take a candid, no filter, shot with your kids every day and share it with us! All of the contest details are here: www.momishere.com

Day 30 – May 10, 2015

It's all about this moment! Pure and unconditional love!

It’s all about this moment! Pure and unconditional love!

Day 29 – May 9, 2015

Just heading out to take care of our plot at the community garden!

Just heading out to take care of our plot at the community garden!

Day 28 – May 8, 2015

My little princess going out for a ride on her tricycle!

My little princess going out for a ride on her tricycle!

Day 27 – May 7, 2015

Enjoying an ice cream sundae together! How sweet it is!

Enjoying an ice cream sundae together! How sweet it is!

Day 26 – May 6, 2015

mom is here (grocery shopping) - day 26

Grocery shopping after ballet class and we fell in love with the orchid display!

Day 25 – May 5, 2015

Made sombreros at Miami Children's Museum today! Happy Cinco de Mayo!

Made sombreros at Miami Children’s Museum today! Happy Cinco de Mayo!

Day 24 – May 4, 2015

Getting crafty with the art supplies...making Mother's Day cards.

Getting crafty with the art supplies…making Mother’s Day cards.

Day 23 – May 3, 2015

Heading to the pool and she fell in love with this turtle!

Heading to the pool and she fell in love with this turtle!

Day 22 – May 2, 2015

Going for a little ride on the bike after dinner to enjoy our gorgeous Spring weather!

Going for a little ride on the bike after dinner to enjoy our gorgeous Spring weather!

Day 21 – May 1, 2015

After a long week we just want to relax (TGIF!)

After a long week we just want to relax (TGIF!)

Day 20 – April 30, 2015

Making a wish in the fountain!

Making a wish in the fountain!

Day 19 – April 29, 2015

Finger-licking good pizza!

Finger-licking good pizza!

Day 18 – April 28, 2015

Goofing off before nap time!

Goofing off before nap time!

Day 17 – April 27, 2015

Spending time with my love bugs!

Spending time with my love bugs!

Day 16 – April 26, 2015

We like getting our hands dirty in the garden!

We like getting our hands dirty in the garden!

Day 15 – April 25, 2015

Building towers and castles together is fun!

Building towers and castles together is fun!

Day 14 – April 24, 2015

We checked in on our plants before school this morning!

We checked in on our plants before school this morning!

Day 13 – April 23, 2015

Taking care of our plants together is always a fun idea!

Taking care of our plants together is always a fun idea!

Day 12 – April 22, 2015

This is my happy place - surrounded by my sweet baby girls!

This is my happy place – surrounded by my sweet baby girls!

Day 11 – April 21, 2015

Can't leave out my four-legged baby, Pepe!

Can’t leave out my four-legged baby, Pepe!

Day 10 – April 20, 2015

While big sis is at school we get to play at home!

While big sis is at school we get to play at home!

Day 9 – April 19, 2015

A nice sunny morning! Perfect for splashing in the water.

A nice sunny morning! Perfect for splashing in the water.

Day 8 – April 18, 2015

Gotta stay hydrated at the park! Juice box break :)

Gotta stay hydrated at the park! Juice box break :)

Day 7 – April 17, 2015

Sometimes it's all a juggling act!

Sometimes it’s all a juggling act!

Day 6 – April 16, 2015

There's always time for a snuggle

There’s always time for a snuggle.

Day 5 – April 15, 2015

Never a dull moment!

Never a dull moment!

Day 4 – April 14, 2015

Good morning!

Good morning!

DAY 3 – April 13, 2015

My girls love to dress up and get their faces painted!

My girls love to dress up and get their faces painted!

DAY 2 – April 12, 2015

Always a good idea to stop and smell the flowers!

Always a good idea to stop and smell the flowers!

DAY 1 – April 11, 2015

On our way to have some fun in the sun!

On our way to have some fun in the sun!

The challenge to find joy in everyday moments!

If you’re reading this, I know you’re a parent, and if you’re a parent I know you’re just as crazy-busy as I am. Most of the time I find myself caught up with just keeping up! Life with little ones is not easy. Usually I can be seen with some version of large tote bag/diaper bag hanging from my neck, water bottle in one hand and half-eaten banana in the other while the girls attack the playground.  Regardless of how hard it is, I know that these hectic everyday moments really do matter! Days like this are an important part of the fabric of our family life. I’ve realized that thinking like this allows me to start to feel more joy.  It truly does.  I am so very lucky, grateful and joyous to have my daughters.  Yes, I feel stressed, I feel pressured, I feel pushed and pulled, but if I can remind myself to embrace the craziness and just step right into it, I can actually feel the joy too!

Let me be honest, it often takes a nudge from someone outside my inner circle to remind me to think like this.  I forget that it’s important to insert myself into the moment. That instead of creating and fostering moments for just them, I could consciously create moments for us together.  And that’s what I love so much about Sprout’s #MomIsHere initiative. It’s the nudge I needed!

For those of you who don’t know, Mom Is Here is Sprout’s campaign that celebrates  moms everywhere and inspires them to get in front of the camera and back into the picture with their kids to celebrate everyday moments.  This year the campaign kicks off with a 30-day social media challenge called #NoFilter30.  The idea is to encourage us all to remember to get “in the picture” with our kids by posting one candid “no filter” picture everyday for the 30 days leading up to Mother’s Day. Oh, and there are prizes too! To enter, submit a photo on Instagram with the hashtags #NoFilter30 and #MomIsHere. Or submit a photo directly right here. For all the details visit www.momishere.com.

I have accepted the challenge! My pictures will be ‘no filter’, real everyday moments with my kids – without worrying about whether I’ve brushed my hair or put on lipstick or if my girls are wearing matching clothes or any of that silly stuff! I hope you’ll take the challenge too! I will be posting on Twitter (@MicheleLepe) and Instagram (MicheleLepe).  Maybe at the end of the 30 days I will create a new habit of regularly taking more shots where I’m actually with my girls. I hope when my daughters grow up and look back at all of these pictures they will remember that Mommy was right there with them! Most of all, I hope we find more joy in those every day moments.

Here is my first submission!

On our way to have some fun in the sun!

On our way to have some fun in the sun! #MomisHere #NoFilter30

I will be checking in everyday to see all of your submissions as well!  Have fun with it and good luck!

 

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY: Open to legal residents of the 50 United States and Washington D.C., at least 18 years or older, and a mother or legal guardian of a child 8 years old and under. Void where prohibited. Contest begins 12:00 AM ET on April 11th, 2015 and ends at 11:59 PM ET on May 10th, 2015. Subject to Official Rules.

Getting crafty: Tissue Paper Flowers

Spring paper flower

Spring has sprung and seeing colorful flowers in bloom make me so happy!  I happened to have plenty of tissue paper and pipe cleaners on hand, so why not make our very own bright, colorful flowers?

It’s really quite easy and there are steps that my daughter’s nimble little fingers can do as well.  These flowers can be used as decorations for anything from a birthday party to a backyard BBQ.  The pipe cleaners make it easy to attach them almost anywhere.  I wanted to make my plain white flowers a little more cheerful for our Spring celebration so we sprayed them with a light mist of liquid watercolors. (I ordered mine here. Easy to wash off and clean up!!)  If you don’t have liquid watercolor I’m sure a bit of water with a few drops of food coloring would work as well.  Just be sure to use a spray bottle with a fine mist so that you don’t wet the delicate paper too much!   If you do have colorful tissue paper, then have fun with layering different colors colors together.  Each flower will be beautifully unique!

Step 1: Gather your supplies – 6 sheets of tissue paper per flower (cut your rectangular sheets into squares), pipe cleaners (I used green so that we could have green stems), safety scissors

Step 2: Stack the 6 sheets of tissue paper neatly and fold one side over about 1″.  Turn the stack over and fold back the same width.  Continue until it’s all folded up like a fan Continue reading

Yummy Lentil Soup!

french lentils

Lentil soup: So nutritious, so yummy, so why not make some for dinner tonight? I grew up eating this on a regular basis and I’ll admit there was a time when I couldn’t stand it! I went through a “picky-eater” phase which was tough since lentil soup was in regular rotation in my mom’s kitchen.  But then I grew up! And I realized that I really love to eat and I that I really love lentil soup! I’ve been making this soup for years now. My girls have been eating this pretty much since they could eat solid food! (pureed at first, of course!) And, believe it or not, they love it! I made it tonight and they both ate huge bowls without so much as a whine.

This recipe makes a huge batch so you’re either cooking it for a crowd or for freezing (which is what I always do!).  You’ll thank me later when you have no idea what to make for dinner, didn’t have time to run to the store and/or have no desire to cook…just pop a container out of the freezer and Presto! Dinner is served!

 

Sopa de Lentejas

1/2 onion, diced

3-4 garlic cloves, diced

Continue reading

Kind kids

Chica and I visit with Willie on the Today Show

Chica and I visit with Willie on the Today Show

In case you missed it, Chica and I were invited to visit The Today Show to make a special announcement: Sprout has launched its “Kindest Kid Contest” again and they’re looking for submissions! (The deadline is Sept. 30) As mommy to two little ones, the topic of kindness is really important. I want my girls to know that being kind matters and any act or demonstration of kindness, big or small, counts towards making the world (even if it’s just our little corner!) a better place. It seems so obvious, even to me now as I read what I just wrote, but it’s interesting how quickly it’s forgotten. I think about the last time I saw someone coming through a door behind me, or struggling to carry packages, or attempting to merge into my lane of traffic…what did I do? I’m the first to admit that I’m far from perfect and there have been so many times where I’ve been too busy or distracted to hold that door open.

But, to be honest, now that I have those two little girls I have found myself making a conscious effort to have more patience, slow down, and pay a bit more attention. These little ones learn from my example at home. Now it’s on me to make sure that I’m showing them how to be kind to themselves, to each other, to our pet and other animals, and, of course, to our environment.

I’ve had many parents ask me what sort of “act of kindness” does their child have to do in order to enter. That’s a great question and the answer is simple: anything! To me, the point of the contest isn’t to name one winner who did some amazing deed, it’s to get a conversation going in every family about what being kind means, why it matters and how we can all be a bit more kind everyday.

So, if I were to enter Bianca, my 2 year old, into the contest I would say she was very kind yesterday. She saw a candy jar with mints at a restaurant and asked me for one. I took her to the jar, she picked one, and without hesitation and with a look of concern, she asked if she could get one for her sister too. Of course I said she could. That only satisfied her for a second! Then she asked if she could get one for me and her father too! So sweet and thoughtful. To me…that’s kindness!

Now, if I were to enter my 4 year old, Gia, I would have to say her act of kindness was when she picked up the scraps of paper from the table (after some crafty project we did) and walked to the kitchen and threw it away in the garbage. This teeny tiny act was kind in so many ways!  First, kind to me! She saved me the trouble of asking her to do it or having to do it myself. Second, kind to the environment!  Perhaps she doesn’t understand the importance of recycling or of not littering (because she’s only four!), but this is how and when that learning process begins.

So, as you can see, my kids aren’t out there forming non-profits or organizing fundraisers! They are doing little things here and there, like I’m sure all of your kids are doing. It’s when we shine a light on all of the kind acts – big and small – that we see what a big difference we can all make together!  The deadline for submissions is coming up on Sept. 30 and I can’t wait to see what acts of kindness you’ll share with Sprout!

3, 2, 1…Astroblast!!!

Astroblast Characters

Hold on to your hats Sprout fans! A brand new show is launching on Sprout in 2 days! Astroblast is filled with fun (and really adorable) animals that live in outer space on a space station.  In celebration of the launch of the new show, which is produced in partnership with Scholastic Media, Sprout hosted a luncheon for some wonderful moms and their Sproutlets in NYC…at the Sugar Factory, no less! Those present were lucky enough to watch a sneak preview of the show, but worry not dear reader! Check out sproutonline.com for a full episode and sneak previews.  And, if you just have to see it on TV you’ll only have to wait until Saturday July 12 at 1pm EST or 8pm EST to watch on Sprout!

And, speaking of July 12….we will be broadcasting the Good Night Show LIVE from 6-9pm EST on Sprout! It’s been a while since Star and I took over the Sunshine Barn (which is where the Sunny Side Up Show lives) and I can’t wait! We have a few surprises planned, but rest assured that we won’t deviate too much from our trusted nighttime routine that gently eases our little Sproutlets to bed every night. We are just so excited for the launch of Astroblast that we felt it deserved a huge welcome!

Astroblast coloring pages from sproutonline.com

Astroblast coloring pages from sproutonline.com

I hope you’ll visit sprout’s website and take advantage of the printable coloring pages and really cool interactive games they’ve created to support the launch of Astroblast.

Yummy Sundae at the Sugar Factory!

Yummy Sundae at the Sugar Factory!

Yes...like a kid in a candy store!

Yes…like a kid in a candy store!

Having fun with some super sweet Sproutlets

Having fun with some super sweet Sproutlets