Saturday, March 28, 2015

Dressing Toddler Boys for Easter.

Brought to you by Target Baby for Socialstars, #TargetCrowd

Target-nesia: The fog your brain immediately enters upon walking into a Target. It is often responsible for causing you to walk out with far more purchases than you intended, sometimes forgetting the single item you initially walked in for.

I fall victim to Target-nesia every single time I shop at Target. I'd like to say that coffee mugs and candles spontaneously jump into my cart every time I'm there but sadly, even my husband didn't fall for that one.  

My latest trip to Target was no exception, although I was quite proud of myself for walking away with exactly what I was looking for (and then some): stylish, coordinating and irresistibly cute Easter outfits for my boys, the middle little and littlest little. 

I also walked out with some kettle corn, k-cups, two new candles and a frame for our entryway gallery wall, but that is neither here nor there. It's just that Target is so darn convenient when it comes to finding great values for my home and my family and this last trip did not disappoint. 

If you were to map my usual jaunt through Target, it would look a lot like this: Starbucks for a latte then immediately over to the sunglasses and handbags. Conveniently, the work out clothes are just behind the sunnies and it's only natural that I swing through there. Sometimes I'll get distracted by a dress in the Juniors section and have to make a detour but then I'm certain I hear a pair of shoes calling my name. 

Luckily, Target Baby backs right up to the shoe aisles and this is typically where I spend most of my time. If nobody is melting down, I swing past the end caps filled with coffee mugs and then down along the beauty section. If everyone is really on their best behavior, I'll peruse the home decor aisles, specifically for poufs and window treatments because I love me a good Target curtain panel. 

But Target Baby, oh how you slay me. Seersucker suits and bow ties and boat shoes, oh my. Shopping for toddler boy's clothes makes this mom's job of dressing her baby boys simple, fun and most importantly, ridiculously adorable. 

For specific outfit links plus an entirely different, more casual (and coordinating) Easter ensemble (and additional ridiculously adorable pictures of the boys), head over here!

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Monday, March 23, 2015

BJ's Wholesale Club? More Like Mom's No. 1 Shopping Hub

With the birth of each baby, it's no secret that I've had less and less time to leave the house and run multiple errands throughout the course of the day. Long gone are the days where I could seamlessly flit between stores all across town, crossing errand after errand from my perfectly penned list.

Now, with three kids in tow, I practically have to start getting ready to leave the house the night before and that's only for one errand, let alone multiple, especially when you take into consideration the donning of not only shoes AND socks but also winter coats AND jackets. 

Flitting all over town to run errands would look a lot different today than it did four years ago. Not only would it look different but it would also take all the live long day and several hundred potty and snack breaks to accomplish. 
Shortly after baby number three was born, I was lucky if I remembered to change out of my pajamas before heading to the store, much less having remembered to pen the perfect list and take it along with me.

Baby Number Three 
Nowadays I'm all about precision: making the most of my time and making the least amount of stops all the while picking up the most amounts of things I need to keep the house running as cohesively as possible. This is where BJ's Wholesale Club makes my life as a busy mom of three, dare I say, easy.  

When it comes to buying all the great brands we love and trust to keep our family happy and healthy, it's BJ's to the rescue. I now have a year-long membership, thanks to BJ's Wholesale Club, and I'm so grateful for the convenience that the club offers. From baby necessities and grocery fresh produce to health, beauty and household items, there's plenty to stock up and save on and it's all under one roof. 

Can you say Mother's Dream Sequence? Shopping at BJ's is kind of like "You Carry the Baby and BJ's will Carry Everything Else." If only BJ's could babysit, too.

"You have a baby... in a BJ's!" 

Even without the draw of margaritas and childcare services (a girl can dream, right?), BJ's is our number one one-stop shopping mecca for everyday essentials such as Pampers diapers and wipes (did you know BJ's carries Pamper's Sensitive Swaddlers in sizes 2, 3 and 4?), TidePods (my absolute favorite little pod of happy that not only has detergent, but also a stain remover and brightener in one pac), Venus Swirl razors (the only razor to include "Flexiball" technology for maximum contact and a close shave, and with spring right around the corner, it's time I start de-winterizing my legs) as well as Bounty paper towels (the only paper towel strong enough to handle the messes of our three tiny-but-big mess makers).

We love BJ's Wholesale Club so much that the next time you're stumped when it comes to choosing a shower gift for the Mom Who Might Have It All? I strongly urge you to consider buying her a membership to BJ's. Seriously. Not only will she be able to pick up family essentials quickly and easily but as the kids get older she could effortlessly feed them lunch and a snack from all of the free samples they give out. 

It's a win-win all around! 

To keep up to date with Procter & Gamble and BJ's Wholesale Club, follow them on Facebook and Twitter.

To enter for a chance to win a $100 VISA gift card, tell me in the comments section below: How would shopping at a BJ's Wholesale Club simplify your life?

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This giveaway is open to US Residents age 18 or older (or nineteen (19) years of age or older in Alabama and Nebraska). Winners will be selected via random draw, and will be notified by e-mail. The notification email will come directly from BlogHer via the sweeps@blogher email address. You will have 2 business days to respond; otherwise a new winner will be selected.
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This sweepstakes runs from 3/23/2015 – 4/30/2015
Be sure to visit Procter & Gamble and BJ’s brand page on where you can read other bloggers’ posts!
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Sunday, March 22, 2015

Field Mom. It's Like a Stage Mom, But Outdoors.

Last Spring we dipped our toes into the world of recreational kiddie sports. Or, rather, I should say that my husband dipped his toes into the world of recreational kiddie sports, more specifically, tot-soccer. 

When tot-soccer began, I was grotesquely pregnant and not necessarily in a position to sit on a lawn chair on the sidelines, nor was I able to take on the responsibility of chasing our then-two-year-old all over God's creation while his brother, at 4, played some semblance of an organized sport. 

After every game, if you could even call them that, I would laugh comfortably from my seat on the couch as my husband would tell me stories of passionate sideline parents, tiny discombobulated players and games that seemed to play on forever. While Carter loved playing soccer last year, this year he wanted to try something different and that's when we took the liberty of signing him up for t-ball. 

As a parent I feel like there are so many milestones to get excited about but seeing my baby pick up a glove and talk about his "baseball mitten" is one of the most exciting yet. I guess you could say I'm the boy-mom equivalent to a Stage Mom. As in, it's totally acceptable to show up to his first ball practice wearing a t-shirt with his name on the back, right? And maybe a giant button with his face on it as well?

Shortly after we got the email informing us that he's been assigned to the team "The Bats," (it's still unclear whether we're talking about the flying kind or the piece of baseball equipment), we ventured out to pick up the necessary items we would need to get him started. A variety of t-balls, a baseball tee, a helmet with a face mask, athletic shoes, two bats (one of the foam variety appropriate for a two and a half year old little brother) and two "baseball mittens" later, we were ready to hit the field. 

And by field I meant neighborhood basketball court. 

In my former life, I played softball for seven years. I started off as the right fielder picking daisies (literally) on my town's rec team "The Blue Bison," and ended my career as the starting pitcher for my high school's freshman softball team. Baseball is in my blood and as my boys get older, it's already evident that there's things they love that I'm absolutely clueless about. The distance that separates us in that sense will only get larger- so for now? We bond over baseball. Mittens included

(If anyone tries to tell my two and a half year that it's NOT a baseball mitten, I'll punch them in the face). 

On what can only be described as the quintessential second day of Spring (we're ignoring the melting snow in the background, a product of the real first day of Spring), we ventured out as a fit family of five to impart parental wisdom in the form of proper stance and fielding techniques. 

Perhaps we still have a little work to do. Although it has already been decided that I'm totally going to be that passionate sideline parent. As evidenced by the look on my face during our very first "practice." 

If you ask the boys, their sudden athletic talent stems from their cool new kicks from Rack Room Shoes. The minute my 2.5 year old slipped into his mega-awesome (his words, not mine) "Minja Ninja Turtle" sneakers, he was immediately transformed into a bad-guy-fighting, base-running, ball-catching machine. He also thought he could display his brand new ninja moves in the house which quickly bought those new sneakers a special place atop our refrigerator for a few days. Lesson learned.

All the while, my 4.5 year old couldn't run the bases fast enough, showing off his super-amazing light up TMNT sneakers. Oh yes, I said light up. Cross that off the list of "things I swore my children would never wear." 

Lesson learned here? Never say never.

As for me and my husband, his sweet pair of Asics Runners (the only pair of athletic shoes he will wear) as well as my super-fun and awesomely-bright pair of Nike FS Lite Run sneakers, gave us just what we needed: the comfort and capability to run after our own mini t-ball team. 

Whether we're hitting the pavement together for an evening run or chasing the boys around the yard, we can always count on Rack Room Shoes to offer comfortable, on-trend footwear for the entire family. After all, just because we're parents doesn't mean we have to sacrifice our sense of style! 

For a family of five (whaaaat, five!!), footwear can get expensive. Rack Room Shoes is known for it's every day "Buy One Get One 50% off" promotion on all styles which makes the process of buying sneakers for everyone just a little bit less painful. Not to mention the Rack Room Rewards program that allows customers simple, instant savings on shoes for the whole family.

Even the littlest member of our family threw on a fresh pair of infant Nike athletic shoes to join in on the family fun. 

With three boys in the house, I know that there will be many, many years of t-ball, tot-soccer and maybe even a little lacrosse ahead of me. I can only hope that the novelty of seeing them take the field doesn't wear off as time goes on. I also hope that my 2.5 year old always calls his baseball mitt his baseball mitten. That's not too much to ask, is it? 

Oh and does anyone know where I can have personalized buttons made? Maybe some water bottles, too? Okay fine, maybe a sweatshirt or twelve as well... ;)

Field Mom, Stage Mom, it's all the same... 

This post is brought to you buy Rack Room Shoes. 
I received product for free in exchange for my honest opinion, as expressed above.

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Tuesday, March 17, 2015

10 Easter Basket Filler Ideas for Toddlers (And PreSchoolers)

Growing up, I always looked forward to Easter. Not only was it one of the very few holidays of the year that I was allowed to wear my beloved shiny patent leather shoes with the heel (oh, that glorious "tap tap tap" sound!) but it was also always marked by three of my favorite things: a ridiculously large and delicious family brunch, powder bunny footprints and an Easter basket full of treats and toys galore. 

As a self-proclaimed chocolate addict from an early age, Easter was the second cousin of Halloween- that's how much candy filled my basket. I'm sure someone out there will surely chime in, "treats and toys? Obviously not the point of Easter!" And yes, they would be correct, not the point at all. But despite the spoils my parents so graciously and lovingly bestowed upon me during the Easter holiday, I still managed to grow up a devout Catholic with a strong sense of faith.

Go figure. And thus the tradition continues with my children. 

Powder bunny prints and Easter baskets full of love quickly found their way into our home once we started having children. As the boys grow older, they'll note that the ratio of toys to candy will grow significantly smaller, but while they're still young, I love filling their baskets with small handfuls of things that I know they will love and appreciate. 

Always looking for new ideas, here's what you'll find stuffed inside the boys' baskets this year. Consider this an official (candy-free) "Easter basket fillers for ages 1-5" list. 

1. Books, specifically of the Pete the Cat and Llama Llama variety. I'll find any excuse to buy the boys new books and both the Pete the Cat and Llama Llama series's are major favorites in our house.  If Pete the Cat and Llama Llama aren't your bag, you can find a whole huge list of other fun Easter books for Toddlers on Amazon. 

2. Swimsuits (SwimZip): With summer right around the corner and the beach house calling our name, I thought it would be fun to add a swimsuit to each of the boys' baskets this year and these matching Crabby suits from SwimZip are the perfect choice for my fair-skinned beach bums. Tagless and long sleeved with no pinch zippers and full UPF 50% coverage, these suits allow me to worry just a little bit less about their precious skin getting too much sun.

3. Hide N Squeak Eggs
4. Finger Puppet Tattoos: It's crazy just how much fun we have with these finger puppet tattoos! What began as a stocking stuffer has quickly morphed into an Easter basket stuffer as well as a fun add-on to many a classmate's birthday gift. You can never go wrong with fostering creative and imaginative play!

5. Bubble Machine: Bubbles are always a huge hit with my boys and we've had one of these machines since my oldest was a toddler. I think it's about time to replace it with a new one- and extra points for not having to blow hundreds and hundreds of bubbles myself! 

6. Toy Gliders (Jets): At nearly 3 and 5 years old, my older boys have taken sudden interest in all things paper airplane. Now that the weather is nicer, I know they'll go absolutely crazy for these toy gliders.    

7. ezpz Happy Mat:  A must-have at meal time in our house, we love the ezpz Happy Mat. Made from a single piece of durable, BPA, PVC and phlalate-free silicone, this mat suctions to the table and doesn't allow for the plate-flinging that has become synonymous with meal time in our house. It's even deep enough for cereal with milk or yogurt! 

8. Green Toys Jump Rope: After the winter that nearly crushed my sanity, I think it's evident that this year's Easter basket theme is "GET OUTSIDE AND PLAY!" Especially with this jump rope and the following garden set and bug catcher!   

9. Melissa & Doug Garden Tool Set: This will be the third (fourth?) year that we grow our own backyard garden and the boys love getting their hands dirty and helping to plant the fruits and veggies we'll enjoy all summer long.    

10. Bugnoculars Bug Catcher: Because, bugs! Growing up, I had a very similar catcher with attached magnifying glasses and it was the bomb. I carried that case all over my neighborhood and I can't wait to equip the boys to do the same! 

I would love to hear your ideas also! Tell me, what's filling your Easter baskets this year?   
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Monday, March 9, 2015

Have A Baby 10-15 Months Old? Then You NEED This.

Last week I took one look at the upcoming weather forecast and nearly died. Really, I did. I could feel myself slipping into a soul-sucking black hole and then buried alive by snow. I'm about to sound just like every mother on the Eastern seaboard from Maine to Virginia who is absolutely sick and tired of all the snow we've gotten but it's the truth. Cabin fever had nearly claimed us all and I wasn't about to face another snowstorm with the same old toys that my kids had grown weary of. 

The big boys are easily pacified by LEGOS, puzzles and let's be honest with ourselves, electronics of all shapes and sizes, so I wasn't necessarily as concerned with them as I was for our newly half-walking baby who hates to be set down and will surely smother me in my sleep if I, for just one more time, sit him down with a pile of books, blocks and the damn Latino Calypso singing/dancing Mickey (that's not really his name but it might as well be). 

I hopped on Amazon with an idea in my head and hoped I'd be able to find just what I was looking for and most importantly, that I would be able to have it shipped Amazon Prime so that it would arrive just before the snow fell. Lo and behold, my eyes fell upon the Little Tikes Activity Garden Center and it was love at first sight. The following day it showed up on my doorstep and I didn't waste one single minute setting it up for Collins to check it out. 

I kid you not, it has quickly become Collins' MOST FAVORITE PLAY THING IN THE WHOLE WIDE WORD FOREVER AND EVER. And you know I mean business when I use all CAPS. I'm literally shouting at you from behind my computer. 
If you have a baby, especially a bored baby, between the ages of 10 and 15 months old, your baby NEEDS this activity center. It will keep him or her entertained for hours (okay, at least an hour) which, we both know, in baby time is basically half a day (or an episode of Real Housewives and at least one cup of hot coffee). 

See? Already it's worth it's weight in gold. What's even better is that until they learn that the door opens and closes? You can stick them in there like a little penned in animal. Listen, with three kids under five, (safe) Confinement is the name of the game. 

But really. Collins absolutely loves this thing. He loves crawling in and out of the front door. Opening and closing the front door. Opening and closing the mailbox. Playing peek-a-boo with the shutters. He loves dropping the brightly colored plastic balls into the ball drop but only after banging them together forty-seven times. The little activity pad on the side there? The one that's removable? He loves spinning the butterfly and looking at himself in the little mirror. 

It's been a little over a week now and no one has grown tired of this toy, not even the big boys. Maclane, at two and a half, even thinks it's the bees knees. I'm sure there are other activity centers out there that are just as fun but there's just something about this one. Oh and I forgot to mention that it's super easy to put together (I did it myself) and the hardest part was keeping the power drill away from tiny grabby baby hands. 

We all know March is always good for at least one more freak snowstorm. If you need a little sanity-saver in your life, definitely check this one out. It also would make an excellent Easter or first birthday present!   

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