Friday, November 17, 2017

Our 2017 Family Photography Session + Custom Holiday Cards with Mpix

It's that time of year again. The time when moms everywhere spend weeks preparing their families for the much un-anticipated Holiday Card Family Photo Session. What often takes thirty minutes to execute, has us moms stressing out, sweating and swearing over coordinating outfits, the perfect location and tantrum-y threenagers for weeks all while our families merely sit back and roll their eyes.

I get it. It seems silly to the outsider and truth be told, to many of our husbands. Why spend so much time trying to achieve that flawless holiday photo when in reality your baby hasn't worn pants in weeks and your 5 year old still has Sharpie on his face from that time, maybe a month ago, when he wanted to be a tiger? I'll tell you why. 

Because nobody wants to hang a picture of reality from their kitchen cabinets. Nobody wants last night's soaked Pull-up on the coffee table on their fridge. Because nobody wants to string up your pants-less 3 year old on their mantel alongside twinkly garland and mercury glass ornaments.


And maybe, just maybe, when I look back on this season of our lives, the exhausting shuffle of raising small people and trying our hardest not to ruin them, I want to see all of it, all of the chaos, with just a shiny coat of glitter on it. One that makes the bags under my eyes smaller, the 7 year old's attitude a little less existent, the crazy seem a little less maddening and a bit more beautiful.

I can't remember the last time I wore a dress and spun in a field, if ever, with my children running circles around me but in spite of that, in spite of the heavy-handed make-up and false eyelashes and "hard pants" and itchy sweaters I forced my boys into... This is us.



What you can't hear in these pictures is the fart jokes, the sugary bribes for "just one good smile," my husband issuing warnings for little ears that wouldn't listen. The laughter that echoed throughout the field as three little brothers chased each other through tall grasses and sticker bushes only to tackle one another, pinning each other down in a blur of tickles and giggles. 

As a mom, I am constantly second guessing myself. Did I do enough for my children today? Did I teach them enough? Did I talk to them enough? Most importantly, did they feel loved? I ask myself these questions at the end of almost every single day- it's easy to feel like you're failing at everything when the balls you've so carefully been suspending in air begin to fall. 



But when I see the smiles on their faces in these pictures, when I hear them use their manners when talking to the photographer, when I see how hard they love each other, I know without a doubt that I am doing something right. That all this worry isn't in vain. 

And these pictures will forever serve as tangible evidence that while I may not have had it all together all of the time, that together we have it all. 




Just when I thought the hard part was over, however, I realized it was only half the battle! Once I received our gallery from the super talented Amanda Allgood of Amanda Allgood Photography, I then had to narrow down my favorites and choose a Christmas card.

For years I have trusted Mpix with all of my personal and professional printing needs. When clients would ask where to print their images from our session together, I would immediately refer them to Mpix. After all, how could I recommend anything other than what I use to print the pictures that line the walls of my own home?

That's why it was no question when it came time to select our holiday cards this year. With quality premium paper options, beautiful foil pressed fonts and prompt 1-2 days shipping, I had this year's family Christmas card not only chosen but on our doorstep in record time.  

Mpix has more than just holiday cards, too! They're a one-stop shopping destination for for quality prints, memory books, home accessories, gifts and so much more. You can check out my holiday board on Pinterest where I pinned some of my favorite card designs from this season! 


Wonderful Season Groove

To help take some of the stress and panic out of your holiday season, my friends at Mpix have offered one lucky ILYMTC reader a $50 credit to be used on any product/products on their site except E-gift cards. Entry is easy, just use the rafflecopter widget below! Good luck to all those who enter and Happy Holidays! 
















Our Christmas cards are c/o Mpix, a company that I have trusted for years with both my personal and professional printing needs. The opinions shared are honest and my own. Thanks for supporting the brands that continue to make this blog a successful space for family advice, support and encouragement!


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Wednesday, November 1, 2017

'Tis The Season... For Germs.



This post is sponsored by Zoono USA. 

It's every Mother's favorite time of year (and I'm not talking about class party season- that's a whole new post for another day). I'm talking about Cold and Flu Season- dun, dun, daaaaaaaaah. 

If you told me that wrapping myself in seaweed and throwing glitter around my house while hopping on one foot would prevent my kids from getting sick every other week during cold and flu season, I would totally do it. 

Each school year I dread the months between October and April for this very reason. While the rest of the North East is excited about pumpkin lattes, Fall foliage and flannel shirts, I'm over here vacillating between the fetal position and stockpiling things like elderberry vitamins, grape juice and essential oils.

It's inevitable, I get it. Germs are ev-er-y-where and kids are major germ magnets. A few weeks ago, on a busy Saturday morning, I decided I'd pay closer attention to what my kids' hands touched and by lunch time I decided to call it quits because I was entirely too grossed out by it all. 

Studies have shown time and again that shopping carts are crawling with E. Coli and fecal related bacteria- think about that the next time you're leisurely strolling the aisles of Target with a latte in hand! Not to mention that doorknobs, cell phones and kitchen sponges are other veritable hot beds of diseases.




The most I can do for our family to stay germ-free is the obvious- meticulous hand washing, up to date vaccines, plenty of rest and healthy meals. For my own sanity, however, I like to throw in extra vitamins during cold and flu season as well as arm all three of my boys with enough hand sanitizer to disinfect the state of Maryland. 

Unlike traditional alcohol-based sanitizers that leave skin feeling chapped, chaffed and flaking, Zoono GermFree24® Hand Sanitizer is an FDA-compliant, water-based hand sanitizer that kills 99.99% of germs on contact and keeps killing them for up to 24 hours. 

Yes, you read that correctly- TWENTY FOUR HOUR PROTECTION. Zoono GermFree 24 bonds to skin's surface and sets up a type of "glove-like covering" that physically impales and destroys germs on contact. It has been proven to provide long-lasting protection against a wide range of microorganisms including bacteria, viruses (such as influenza), fungi and mold.

Traditional hand sanitizers only work while they are wet and quickly evaporate from the skin's surface. GermFree24 does not rub off and will remain active on the skin's surface even with hand washing or sweating.

This stuff is the like the overachiever of hand sanitizers and I couldn't be more grateful to have it in our arsenal against germs! My oldest son loves it because at the first sight of winter his hands begin to chafe and crack just like his Dad's and this hand sanitizer doesn't sting his hands or burn his skin at all. 


Zoono GermFree24® is available on Amazon in a 50ml Foaming Hand Sanitizer as well as a backpack-friendly 9ml. SprayYou can learn more about Zoono GermFree24® at zoonousa.com and be sure to follow them on Facebook and Twitter to stay up-to-date on new products releases. 

Leave a comment below for your chance to win a $25 virtual Visa gift card, (1) Zoono GermFree24® 50ml Foam Hand Sanitizer and (1) 9ml Spray Hand Sanitizer! 

How do you prepare for cold and flu season?



  
 





 
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Monday, October 9, 2017

What To Do With All Those Apples You Picked + Halloween T's Your Kids Can Wear All Month Long!


When my first son was born I went crazy buying up all of the adorable holiday-themed kids clothes, as if 10 different shirts for a single holiday was necessary. I quickly learned what a waste of money that was as I refused to put my child in the clothes on any day of the month other than the ones surrounding the actual holiday.

With my second and third sons, not only did I have a fantastic selection of hand-me-downs to choose from but also, I wised up. I began only investing in holiday-wear that wasn't overtly holiday-ish and could be worn all month long.

That's one of the reasons I love Mini Boden's spirited line of kid's wear this Halloween season. The t-shirts are uniquely festive without being acutely Halloween-y, meaning everything isn't shockingly orange and black. This makes it ultra easy to incorporate these tees into your kid's wardrobe all month long, not just around the holiday! 

We recently took the boys apple picking and they had a blast running through the apple orchards with ease, unimpeded by stiff, starchy clothing. Mini Boden makes it easy to get into the spooky Halloween spirit with their glow-in-the-dark T-shirts for little boys, not to mention that creeping's never been more comfortable when everything is 100% cotton. The bright bold colors and ability to mix-and-match just about all of their pieces makes this line of clothes one of our favorites. 









Carter

Mac

Collins

In case you thought it was actually easy taking pictures with my mini man crew, take a look at Maclane's face in the below photo. His face is essentially how I felt trying to get the boys to all stand in a straight line and smile for "just one nice picture with mommy." 

In the next photo, Collins is one "don't make me count to five" away from turning into a rag doll. Thankfully, we were all able to pull it together for the unicorn of photos, one with everyone looking and smiling, less like little serial killers and more like sweet little boys, right at the camera. 






So, what is one to do with approximately 47lbs. of apples picked fresh from the farm? Aside from feeding one to every child at just about every meal, we decided to whip up one of our favorite after-dinner treats, mini apple crisps with whipping cream! While half of this recipe comes straight from a box, don't let it's corner-cutting fool you! 

What this dessert lacks in preparation, it makes up for in Fall-y deliciousness. The recipe can be found on the back of the box and it's as easy as 1-2-3! All you need is the topping mix, 4 medium-sized apples and 5 tablespoons of butter.





Many thanks to Boden for providing us with these pieces to fancy 
up our festive Halloween wardrobe! No additional compensation was received 
for this post, all thoughts and opinions expressed are honest and my own.




A few of our friends are sharing some frightfully good fun on their blogs along with more Mini Boden Halloween styles. The Chirping Moms have Spooky Ghosts made from paper plates and toilet paper plus easy costume ideas. 

Head to The Southern Mama Guide for Non Candy Treat Bags for Preschoolers. 

You must see how The Love Designed Life has created Goldilocks and the Three Bears costumes. 

For more cute costumes, see what Hello Baby Brown created. 

If you loved the Mini Boden Halloween pajamas, be sure to check out Momfessionals Sweet and Spooky Halloween book suggestions to read at bedtime this Halloween season. 

Trick or treat!


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