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What went viral this week: Mom donates a whole Payless store + a miracle baby born 4 months early

It's time for the weekend and that means it is time to round up the viral stories that have warmed Team Motherly's hearts this week.

We've got some feel-good viral stories you may have missed over the last seven days. Take a look (and grab some tissues), mama.

Kindness in action: One mama's novel way to make sure every kid has back-to-school shoes

Mom and lawyer Carrie Jernigan of Arkansas recently went to one of the Payless shoe stores currently going out of business with the intention of scoring a couple of pairs of shoes for her own kids. But when her daughter asked if they could also pick up a pair of heavily discounted shoes for a classmate of hers who needed a new pair, Jenigan had a lightbulb moment.

"As I was checking out I just said, 'How much for the rest of the shoes in the store?' almost joking and I could see the clerks, her face, her wheels start to turn and she finished checking me out. She said, 'Can I have your number?'" she told 5 News.

Later that day the store manager called her, and soon she ended up with hundreds of pairs of shoes for kids (and adults) in her community who need them.

The story went viral and has turned into something she couldn't even imagine.

"It's turned into this huge school back to school bash for our community," she told Good Morning America. There's going to be a major event at the local middle school and others have joined Jernigan to donate backpacks and school supplies.

Mamas paying forward: This mom received the sweetest note from a stranger in the drive-thru 

As the New York Post reports, mom Heidi Goforth stopped at the McDonald's drive-thru for a couple of breakfast burritos when she got the sweetest surprise from a fellow mama.

When they pulled through to pay they discovered the vehicle in front had bought them breakfast and left them a sweet note on the receipt: "My son is in the airforce. I can't buy him breakfast so I bought yours. Have a blessed day."

"I just had this happen to me. It touched my heart sooo much!" Goforth wrote on Facebook. "I was buying breakfast for my son at McDonald's and the sweet lady in front of me in the drive-thru paid for my meal.

"I pray that you see your son soon," she wrote to the anonymous note writer. "He's lucky to have a mom that loves him so much! God bless you and him! Tell him thank you for his service."

This mom gave birth 4 months early + her miracle preemie is going viral

Ellonn Smartt from Des Moines, Iowa was supposed to be due in November, but her baby is already here. As ABC News reports, when Smart went into labor at just 23 weeks pregnant the 25-year-old mama was understandably scared.

"I started bawling my eyes out," she told ABC News. "I had dreamt of a perfect pregnancy and I thought everything was going great. All my appointments were fine, I was healthy, I ate right."

But her son, Jaden, was coming four months too early. Smartt needed an emergency C-section, and when her son was born he shocked his mom and the medical team by trying to do something pretty impressive for a baby so tiny (just 13 ounces). He was trying to breathe on his own.

"[The doctors] just were shocked that something so little was trying to do stuff on his own and breathe," Smartt said.

The tiny baby has been moved to the NICU at Blank Children's Hospital, and Smartt and her partner Jordan are hoping to take him home around the time of his original due date, November.

"[The doctors] are kind of going day by day. They're pretty much saying he looks really great," Smartt says.

Hang in there Jaden, you can do it!

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As much as I love fall, it always feels like the season when my family's routine gets kicked into overdrive. With our oldest in (homeschool) kindergarten, my youngest on the brink of entering her twos, work, housework and *all the things* filling my day, it's hard not to feel a little overwhelmed sometimes. Did I mention we're still in a pandemic? (Yeah, it's a lot.) And while I try to take a positive view as much as I can, now more than ever I definitely jump at the chance to take anything off my busy plate.

One thing first in line at the chopping block? Cooking. To be fair, I like cooking. I cooked most of our meals long before I had ever even heard of social distancing. But there's something about the pandemic that suddenly made cooking every single meal feel exponentially more draining.

Enter Daily Harvest. They deliver nourishing, delicious food right to your door. Daily Harvest's mix of smoothies, bowls, flatbreads, snacks and more provide a balanced, whole food options that are as satisfying as they are nutritious. But my favorite part? When we're ready to eat, I simply pull the food from the freezer and it's ready in minutes—without any chopping, measuring or searching for a recipe. Even better, they're incredibly tasty, meaning I'm not struggling to get my girls to dig in. Not cooking has never felt so good.

Here are my 8 favorite products that are helping to lighten my load right now:

Mulberry + Dragonfruit Oat Bowl

Mulberry + Dragonfruit Oat Bowl

One thing that actually helps break up the monotony of quarantine? Trying and introducing new ingredients to my family. I love this overnight oat bowl (add milk the night before and let it set in your fridge overnight—easy-peasy!) because not only does it not compromise on nutrition, but it also helps me bring new whole fruits, vegetables and superfoods to the table with ease.

Mint + Cacao Smoothie

Mint + Cacao Smoothie

I kid you not, these taste exactly like a mint chocolate chip milkshake. (Just ask my 4-year-old, who is constantly stealing sips from my glass.) What she doesn't know? She's actually getting organic banana, spinach and chlorella with every sip. #momwin

Kabocha + Sage Flatbread

Kabocha + Sage Flatbread

Our family's eating habits have been leaning more plant-forward this year, which often means a lot of veggie washing, peeling and chopping every time I cook. That's why these flatbreads are my new best friend come lunchtime. This Kabocha + Sage Flatbread is made with a gluten-free cauliflower crust topped with kabocha squash, fennel and sage for a taste of fall in every bite. (Missing the cheese? You can add it before baking for more of a pizza feel.)

Kale + Sweet Potato Flatbread

Kale + Sweet Potato Flatbread

There's something about the combination of sweet potato crust topped with red cabbage, organic greens and an herby-cilantro sauce that is so delicious… like surprisingly delicious. I polished off this bad boy in seconds! And unlike other "veggie" crusts I've tried, these are actually clean (AKA no fillers, preservations, partially-hydrogenated oil or artificial anything). Plus, it couldn't be easier to throw in the oven between conference calls and homeschool lessons.

Cacao + Avocado Smoothie

Cacao + Avocado Smoothie

Any time I get to serve a breakfast that tastes like chocolate, it's a good day. (That goes double when it's *my* breakfast.) This rich, chocolatey smoothie is packed with organic zucchini, avocado, pumpkin seeds and pea protein for a nourishing mix of healthy fats and muscle-building protein so I can carry that baby all day long. And did I mention the chocolate?

Vanilla Bean + Apple Chia Bowl

Vanilla Bean + Apple Chia Bowl

Maybe it's just me, but after a long week of cooking, the last thing I want to do on Saturday morning is...wake up and cook. That's why these one-step breakfasts are saving my weekend. I simply add our favorite milk the night before and store the bowl in the fridge overnight. Come morning, I have a nutritious chia bowl that powers me through even the busiest day of errands. It's also Instagram-ready, which makes me feel like I'm out brunching (even if I can't remember the last time I was in a restaurant).

Cacao Nib + Vanilla Bites

Cacao Nib + Vanilla Bites

My kids have turned into snack monsters during quarantine, and I'm often struggling to find a wholesome option (that doesn't require a lot of extra cooking or else I resort to something ultra-refined and shelf-stable). These bites are the hero I never knew I needed. For one, they taste like cookie dough, but they're actually packed with chickpeas, pumpkin, dates and flax seed (among other whole ingredients). But unlike actual cookie dough, I don't have to go anywhere near my mixer to whip them up—all I have to do is pull the container out of the freezer, let them defrost a bit and we can all enjoy a treat.

Cauliflower Rice + Pesto Harvest Bowl

Cauliflower Rice + Pesto Harvest Bowl

Sometimes I have a little more time to cook, but I still want a quick, stress-free solution. (Especially because it always feels like I just cleaned up from the last meal.) I love these Harvest Bowls because they warm up in under five minutes on the stove top (or microwave!) but pack tons of flavor. The Cauliflower Rice + Pesto bowl is one of my favorites, with basil, olive oil and nutritional yeast for a hearty dish reminiscent of a mouth-watering Italian meal. When I'm feeling extra fancy, I add leftover grilled chicken or a fried egg.

Strawberry + Rich, Rippled Berry Compote Scoops

Strawberry + Rich, Rippled Berry Compote Scoops

Who doesn't want to end the day with a little something sweet? This creamy and decadent frozen treat from Daily Harvest is swirled with sweet berries and tropical dragonfruit for an antioxidant burst you'll feel good about—but that your kiddos will just think is ice cream. Go ahead, take credit for being the best mom ever.

Want to try it yourself? You can get $25 off your first box of Daily Harvest with code MOTHERLY.

This article was sponsored by Daily Harvest. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas

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