Monday, August 31, 2015

Preggonista® Style Box GIVEAWAY


Last week was a doozy for me and I will be sharing what happened this week on the blog.

I am glad to be back home. I'm also excited to be offering my readers a Preggonista® style box giveaway!!

In case you missed it, I received my first style box and was in love with it. If you are expecting or if you know someone who is this is a great subscription box for them. This is what I received in my first box...

I can not wait to show you how I'll be styling the dress from seraphine. I plan to use the style guide that came with the box. That makes it so easy to use the dress in several different ways.

So here's your chance to win a style box for you or someone that you know. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Carter's Back-to-School

“I participated in an Influencer Activation on behalf of Influence Central for Carter’s. I received a complimentary gift card to facilitate my review and thank me for my participation.”

Today is the big day for our family! It's the official start of the school year! The Summer has come and gone and we are gearing up for all things Fall. Over the Summer Savannah and I had so much fun shopping for her back-to-school wardrobe. Her size hasn't changed much since last year but her legs are getting longer by the minute.

One of my favorite places to shop for the kids (all of them) is Carter's. We headed there to get started on our wardrobe update. Carter's now offers sizes up to a size 8 so I knew we would have no problem finding pants that fit her long legs. Adjustable waist bands help keep her pants up and that's another reason I love Carter's.

Carter's has a cute and colorful variety of easy outfit sets. The Fall collection was full of well coordinated outfits that I know my PreK kid will have no problem putting together on her own. She loves picking out her clothes in the morning before school. That's one of the fun things about going back-to-school. I remember being so hype about my back-to-school clothes as a kid and teen!

As a Mom, these days I'm more excited about the value I'm getting for my money. Quality is important to me and it feels good knowing that the items we get from Carter's will wash and wear over and over again with no problem. Savannah plays hard so I need clothes that can hold up.

I would describe Savannah's style as fresh, happy and modern. We were both so happy to see that the Fall collection matched our style. She loves leggings, dresses and floral prints and that's exactly what we got during our trip.

Here she is in some of the new items we picked for back-to-school...

This blue dress was her favorite item from our shopping trip. She loves a dress!

Floral print leggings are adorable on her. When I saw these as part of the doorbuster sale I had to get her some. They are so cute with the matching lace inset tee.

Another school wardrobe staple for us is a super cute warm-up suit. I absolutely love this one. 

How cute is she? I know her first day of school is going to be filled with so much learning and fun! It makes me feel good when I know she feels good about herself. Confidence is key when going back-to-school and I know she has that.

Now what kind of friend would I be if I didn't help you save money while shopping too? I know you guys love Carter's just as me! Their doorbuster deals make getting ready-to-play outfits so easy. Use this coupon to save while you shop!

Save BIG during these upcoming sales!

Count Me In Preschool Sale (Up to 50% Off): 8/5 - 8/31:
- Doorbuster 2 or more: $6 leggings, long sleeve tees, boys terry pants & slogans

Labor Day Weekend 50% off Entire Store or More: 9/1 – 9/7:
-Doorbuster $12 5-pack bodysuit, $9 2 pack pants, $10 turn me around sets (9/3 -9/7 only)

How was back-to-school shopping for you? Share your little ones Carter's Back-To-School style online using the hashtag #CountMeInCarters. 

Preggonista® Maternity Style Box

Here I am a little more than halfway through my pregnancy! I cannot believe how fast the first twenty-two weeks have flown by. Hopefully the next half will zip by too because I can't wait to meet our new baby!

One of my goals during this pregnancy was to fully embrace my bump and growing body. Something that I can say I didn't really do during my first two pregnancies. Now that I'm feeling much better I have been embracing my bump and rocking it in style.
preggonista monthly style box for moms tp-be

When I first learned about the monthly style box from Preggonista® I just knew I had to give it a try! I love the idea of a curated box that has some of the latest fashion and beauty items for moms to-be. I received my first box on Friday afternoon and it did not disappoint.

Here's what came in my first box...

preggonista monthly style box for moms tp-be

Preggonista® Style Guide
● Seraphine Side Ruched Gray T-Shirt Dress 
● Oopsie Loopsie Waist Extender 
● Bella B Glowing Skin Lightener 

I am beyond excited about this dress! Next week I'll be showing you several different ways to rock this piece for your bump. There will also be a giveaway starting on 8/31 for your chance to win a style box of your own! This is a great gift for a mom to-be. A winner will be announced on Labor Day.

You can watch the opening of my first box from preggonista® on my YouTube channel!

What was your favorite thing to wear while pregnant?

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Back to School Fashion Haul (VIDEO)

School starts for Savannah on Monday! Check out her back to school fashion haul featuring apparel from Journey Kid's, Kohl's, Old Navy, H&M and Carter's.

I'll be sharing more on our visit to Carter's next week along with a coupon for your own shopping trip! You know I love a sale and a coupon so I'm in heaven when the two collide. Don't miss out on those savings next week!

What's your favorite item from Savannah's back to school wardrobe? I'm still on the hunt for some black hi-tops for her.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Organizing Mamas: Kid's Play and Homework Space (AFTER)

I may or may not be in a very early nesting phase. When I first started decluttering at the beginning of the Summer I had no idea we had this much crap. Cleaning off the desk in the kitchen was very enlightening. Let's just say that I found a pencil sharpener on the desk after clearing it off.

Mimi and I are revealing our spaces for the Organizing Mamas: Kid's Play and Homework Space Challenge.

This was our desk area before... This was definitely my "Devil Wears Prada" moment of everyday. I'd just slap stuff down on this desk and keep it moving.

The after... This clean desk was achieved by utilizing the empty file cabinet that has always been located directly next to the desk. Don't judge me. Everything that didn't deserve to get filed got thrown in the trash or shredded. I took all of the books upstairs to their new home along with the photo album. Who has a photo album in their kitchen? We did. The pencil sharpener was found behind the photo album. 

I can see our calendar again. There is also a place for my computer now. This makes me so excited!

I had been looking for a bookshelf for weeks. Every thrift store within a decent radius from my house met me and my kids. I didn't think I was going to have any luck finding a shelf. I was tempted to just hop on Amazon and order one but because we might be moving soon I didn't want to buy anything new.

I try not to buy any big ticket items before a move because things always get broken, scratched or "lost". My plan was to find a wooden bookshelf that I could give a face lift. Something that would serve it's purpose in this house before we find new roots somewhere else.

All of the books were located in Savannah's room. I thought it would be a better idea to bring the books out into this spot between the kid's rooms. My hope was that I could free up enough space to make room for a crib in Savannah's room. Savannah has decided that she no longer wants to share a room with her new sibling. I will cross that bridge again when I have to....

Here is the new bookshelf. I found it on Sunday afternoon. It was originally $29 and I got it for $19. If you could have seen me in that Goodwill celebrating... 

I thought I was going to paint this shelf but my husband had a hard time getting it upstairs. I don't think I'll make him take it back down and back up again. That might be overcooking his grits. So I gave the shelf a nice cleaning and filled it up with books.

It fits perfectly in the hall. While putting the books on the shelf it dawned on me that if I made the kids swap rooms that it would be more than enough space for Little Mike and the #grandfinalebaby to share a room, and I wouldn't have to lose my guest room. We'll see. That's another bridge for another day as well.

Our next Organizing Mamas Challenge will focus on a kitchen storage area. I'll be figuring out how to make our kitchen pantry function a bit better. Here is a before of the pantry...

I'll be taking some cues from Mimi on this one because her pantry makeover was amazing. Visit her blog to see how she transformed her kid's play and homework space. Then come back in two weeks to see how we pulled our kitchen storage areas together.

Join our challenge on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter. Share your before and after pics using the #OrganizingMamasChallenge hashtag. 

 What home projects are you working on right now?

Thursday, August 13, 2015

What is a REAL MOM?

I have been seeing the phrase "real moms" getting tossed around a lot lately. A whole lot. Whenever there's an article about anything related to motherhood you can bet that the claws will come out. Unless of course it's one of those nice pay it forward stories or something equally as sweet as that.

The first time I noticed the "Real Mom" conversation happening was right after the birth of the royal family's newest baby. When Princess Kate stepped out on the sidewalk looking like she just came from Sunday school the Mommysphere went crazy. First came the sweet congrats and then came the, "Real Moms don't look like that after giving birth" comments.

I thought she looked amazing and I even made a joke about it on my blog's FB page. I personally look like a cross between death and being hungover after birth. That has nothing to do with Kate though. It's her job to present herself a certain way and she does it well.

If you do enough googling you can actually see women commenting on FB with their post birth photos of what "Real Moms" look like. Are you effing kidding me?! Like. Really? Is it that serious? Don't get me wrong, I get it what you're mission is. You want to prove that motherhood is not as glamorous as some lead others to believe it is. I get it. But have you ever stopped to think that maybe that's not everyone's reality?

Motherhood looks different for all of us. This particular article showcasing the new face of Motherhood got drug through the mud on just about every platform I saw it posted on. Could it have been more of a diverse article? Sure. Did I roll my eyes while reading it? Maybe. But again, I can not knock what feels natural to another Mother. If it feels "real" to her to dress up in cute outfits everyday and share the laid back fun moments of Motherhood on Instagram who am I to judge her? We all know that Motherhood is more than that. My question is, why do we consistently judge one another and proclaim to know what the makeup of a "Real Mom" is?

I actually feel bad for women who get offended by what they read and see. I hope they know that they are enough and that you're a real Mom despite what all the articles, blogs and comments say. 

If you breast feed you're a real Mom. If you bottle feed you're a real Mom. Are you a working Mom? You're a real Mom. Stay at home with your kids? Real Mom. Do you homeschool your kids? You're a real Mom. If your kids go to public or private school, you're a real Mom. If they ride the bus to school, you're a real Mom. Are you having a tough time losing your baby weight? You're a real Mom. You can still fit into your jeans from high school? Real Mom!

With or without stretch marks you're a real Mom. With or without abs you're a real Mom. If you have to use the drive thru a couple times a week to feed your family don't beat yourself up, you're a real Mom. Are you a regular at the farmer's market and Whole Foods? You're a real Mom. 

It doesn't matter if you had an all natural vaginal birth or a scheduled c-section, you're a real Mom. 

See where I'm going with this? Please let's stop with the "Real Moms look like, or have...", because the reality is that we are all doing the very best that we can. All of our realities are different. Motherhood looks different on everyone because everyone doesn't have the same story, journey and let's face it, resources. 

Don't hate on another woman's story or journey because it looks different than your own. Her parenting decisions have nothing to do with your kids. All of our kids are crazy. (Really? You've never said your kids were crazy?) How she looks at play dates has nothing to do with who you are or who she is as a Mother. It certainly has nothing to do with how either of you are raising your children and how they'll turn out.

We're all real Moms. We're all tired and figuring it out as we go. Celebrate the differences you see in someone else's journey ("Good for her"normally works for me) and don't forget to embrace what's amazing about your own. 

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Just For Me® Hair NEW Milk Collection

“I participated in a Influencer Activation on behalf of Influence Central forJust For Me. I received product samples to facilitate my review and a promotional item to thank me for my participation.”

All Summer I have been trying out new hairstyles on Savannah. It was actually one of my missions to learn how to braid before the Summer was over. Well, we won't talk about what progress I've made towards achieving that goal but I will say that I have become pretty good at some other styles.

I consider that a win.

The whole wash day process is something that I absolutely dread. I love Savannah's hair. Her hair is the exact same coily curly texture as mine. It gets extremely tangled and she let's me know about it. She's never cried but I can tell that she doesn't enjoy the detangling process of wash day.

We have tried so many different products to improve detangling. I was so happy when I found out we'd be trying the new Just For Me® Hair Milk Collection. My Mom used their products on me when I was kid so this is a full circle motherhood moment.

Infused with shea butter, soy milk and honey this line gently cleanses to prevent the breakage that can occur while detangling. It smells amazing and the product line is free of synthetics and parabens.

After using the Pre-Wash Softening Detangler I could finger comb her hair and comb it from root to tip with no problem. She didn't flinch once. Amazing. We absolutely passed the #5fingerchallenge! Her hair was full of moisture and so shiny. I was excited to try the rest of the line. 

The pre-wash product made shampooing and conditioning Savannah's hair more enjoyable for both of us. I have never seen her this happy on wash day. She was relaxed and laughing which made me feel so good.

Once I was done rinsing out her conditioner I braced myself for what I thought was going to be the moment our fun time playing "kitchen beautician" went south. I literally could not believe it but I was able to brush Savannah's hair from root to tip with absolutely no problem or back talk. Mind officially blown.

Honestly, I was so surprised at how tangle free her hair was that I actually had my husband take a quick video of me brushing her hair. I wanted to show you just how manageable and stress free the Just For Me® Hair Milk Collection made her hair. If you have a child with beautiful naturally curly hair you know that this is pretty cool to see...

I enjoyed bonding with my daughter today. It's important to me that she feels good about herself and embraces her natural beauty. I'm actually looking forward to our next wash day.

The Just For Me® Hair Milk Collection can be found at Walmart ($5.49). Give these products a try! The line is incredible and affordable. 

Pre-Wash Softening Detangler - Eases pre-wash detangling and breaking from combing. My favorite product from the line!)
Moistursoft Sulfate-Free Cleanser - Cleanses without stripping hair of natural oils
Silkening Conditioner - Protects against dryness and breakage with advanced conditioning technology
Hydrate & Protect Leave-In Conditioner - Creamy and lightweight formula locks in moisture and maintains bouncy curls
Leave-In Detangler - Restores hair's moisture, flexibility and shine

How does wash day go at your house? Try the #5fingerchallenge and let me know your results!

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Back to School Fashion Haul

I finally got a chance to film and upload Savannah's back to school fashion haul. We got some really great deals by using coupons, our military discount and taking advantage of tax free weekend.

She got some really cute stuff. I wish some of it came in a mommy friendly size. How was back to school shopping for you? Get any good deals?

Monday, August 10, 2015

Back to School Tips & Hello Fresh Giveaway

Back to school season is in full swing. Savannah's teacher called me last week to schedule our meet and greet before school starts in a couple weeks. We met her once before during the PreK Kinder event they had for all of the new students back in April.

The event was informative and gave all of us a chance to meet the teachers and get a feel for the school. I'm so excited for the upcoming school year. Savannah grew up so much during preschool last year and I know she's going to handle PreK like a boss!

Back to school tips

Over the Summer I made sure that we kept learning. I didn't overdo it though because my other mission for the Summer was to make sure the kids played outside as much as possible. Now that we are about two weeks out from the start of the school year I have been transitioning the kids back to our regular schedule.

I thought it would be helpful to share how we're getting ready for back to school season as a family.

Get back to bed on time - Over the Summer I allowed the kids to stay up past their bedtime a few times a week. The weather is so hot here that they can only play outside first thing in the morning or later in the evening. Playing in the evening was great but it did put them in bed much later than they are use to. Last week I started implementing their regular bedtime. My goal is to be out of their rooms with bedtime stories and prayers done before 7:30.

Plan your meals - The evenings go so much smoother when you don't have to figure out what you're having for dinner. You know I'm a fan of planning my meals for the entire month. If that seems overwhelming for you start by planning your meals a week or two at a time.

Implement quiet learning time - If you haven't been having some type of focused learning time over the Summer create some time for it before school starts again. 

Attend Open House - This one is a must if your little one is heading off to school for the first time. Before school actually starts Savannah would have had three different meetings with her teacher. If your child's school is offering an open house or "meet the teacher" event, go! It will make everyone more comfortable on the first day.

Join the PTO - Okay, so this one is optional but since I'm all about being involved I'm going to suggest joining the PTO. You don't have to be President or hold a position on the board. Sign up to be a member and when your schedule allows volunteer at your child's school. There are also opportunities for behind the scenes volunteer work too. For example, Sav's school is holding a luncheon for all the teachers and they have asked PTO members (and parents who want to help) to bring in different items for the luncheon. I signed up to bring drinks because I'm not available to volunteer in person that day.

Create a family calendar - I know most of us plug appointments and places to be into our phones but I love the idea of a family calendar that everyone can see and have access to. It doesn't have to be fancy at all. It's a great way to share doctor appointments, extra curricular activities, school functions and family events. I also use this calendar with the kids everyday during our morning routine, they love it.

Be consistent with routine - Try to be consistent with your daily routine the week's leading up to school starting. Whatever your family's regular schedule is try to stick to it as much as possible.

Back to School/End of Summer Party - I love giving myself a reason to throw a party for my family. Have you ever thought about celebrating back to school season? We plan to make a big deal out of it by going out to dinner as a family and letting Savannah choose the restaurant. We'll talk about going to school and what she's excited about learning the most. We'll also give her a little back to school related gift. It'll be something small like a school supply kit with her favorite characters on them.

So, those are some of my tips for getting ready for the back to school season. I wanted to do something special for my readers because I know how hectic back to school season can be for Moms. I am giving away this Hello Fresh gift card to one lucky Mama. As you might remember from my Mama Boxes unboxing I received this gift card in my second trimester box but I want to pay it forward and give it to a Mom that might need a little help getting a healthy meal together for her family.

If you have never tried their service this giveaway is for you! (please read the giveaway details in the box below) Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, August 3, 2015

Clorox Disinfecting Wipes for Back to School

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. 
#BackToClean #CollectiveBias

Summer is quickly coming to an end and that can only mean one thing, it's time for all things Back to School. If you've been reading my blog lately you know that I have been on a cleaning rampage around here. I have been reorganizing, decluttering and coming up with new ways to make keeping our house clean and germ free as easy as possible.

I had promised Savannah a trip to Target. She earned a shopping trip for being such a good girl this past week. While we were there I picked up my favorite go-to cleaning product, Clorox Disinfecting Wipes. 

I absolutely love how Clorox Disinfecting Wipes make cleaning so easy for me. When you have a almost five year old, two year old and you're 19 weeks pregnant you need cleaning to be fast and easy. I'm all about effortless housekeeping so I make sure we never run out of these.

I get several packs of these wipes at a time because I keep them all over the house. Each bathroom gets a container and of course I keep them in the kitchen. I also have them in the kid's play area, the laundry closet and in the arts and crafts closet. Having wipes all over the house keeps me from making a mad dash to the kitchen whenever I need one.

Clorox Disinfecting Wipes clean and disinfect at the same time. When I use these wipes I know that 99.9% of germs including viruses that can cause colds or the flu are wiped out. (see what I did there) Another great thing about Clorox Disinfecting Wipes is the clear-drying formula. I absolutely hate filmy wet surfaces so the clear-drying formula is probably my favorite thing about the wipes.

Here are  all the many ways I use Clorox Disinfecting Wipes to keep my family happy, healthy and germ free during the Back to School Fall season. 

In the kitchen:

  • Disinfects sink & countertops
  • Daily cleaning of fridge door, oven door and dishwasher door (i call this "little hands zone")
  • Stovetop & range
  • Clean & disinfect inside of fridge
  • Cleans microwave inside and out
  • Cleans & disinfects finished hardwood kitchen table
  • Highchair 
  • Cabinets
  • Pantry doors
  • Garbage can in & out
Arts & Crafts area:

  • This easel... (wait until you see the after photo)
  • Floor in paint area
  • Walls in paint area
  • Arts and Crafts apron
In the bathroom: (Super easy daily cleaning while kids are in tub)

  • Nightly cleaning of shower and tub between big cleans
  • Sink - goodbye leftover toothpaste
  • Potty Training seat for toilet
  • Actual Toilet seat

General germ-free uses:
  • Doorknobs
  • Light switches
  • Back to School gift for teachers
  • Grocery store carts (put some in a little zip bag for your diaper bag)
  • Cars - because spills happen there too. (always get a lid for your kid's milkshake)
  • Outdoor water tables and toys
So that's how I use Clorox Disinfecting Wipes to keep my house germ free! Gearing up for back to school has been so much fun. I can not believe my first child will be off to school in a couple weeks. I'll be sure to send her to school with some wipes to keep the spread of germs at bay in the classroom too!

Are you staying germ-free as you send your little ones back to school?

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Organizing Mamas: Kids Play and Homework Space Challenge

I think everyone has that place in their house that ends up collecting all the stuff that doesn't have a true home. Since I have been on a mission to declutter and reorganize our home to prepare for the new baby I thought it would be a great idea to start focusing my attention on our kitchen next.

One of my favorite bloggers recently did a kitchen pantry makeover that inspired me to start pulling my kitchen together. If you don't follow Mimi over at Lipgloss and Binky you should be. We will be decluttering and reorganizing our homes in an effort to make a big impact on the everyday lives of our families.

So far my little projects have done wonders for me. Next up on my list is the desk in our kitchen. It's where I'd like for Savannah to do her homework after school and during our home learning time.

This desk is a mess and it drives me crazy. No matter how clean my kitchen is it never looks all the way done because of this desk. Stay tuned for the makeover...

There is also an area in their play space that drives me crazy. I have been able to find a solution for their toys but I'm still working on how to make their little library function better. I honestly feel like the library needs a new location because I may need to use that space for the new baby's crib. Savannah has agreed that if the baby is a girl she is more than welcome to share her room.

If it's a boy I guess that means I'll be losing a guest room...

Here is the space that needs the work...

That bookshelf is about two to five books away from collapsing. The bin next to it is full of books that need a place on a shelf. I'd love to find a good wooden bookshelf at a thrift store. I'll be hitting up several to see what I can find.

Anyone else have a play space or homework space that needs a small makeover? 

If so, share it with us on IG, FB or Twitter using the hashtag #OrganizingMamasChallenge. In two weeks we'll be sharing the results of our makeovers and we can't wait to see your's!

Now head over to Mimi's blog to see the space that she's working on. The play space and homework room in her house is super cute!