27 January 2015

Happy 5th Birthday, Bennett!!!

My sweet, loving, amazing first born son turned five yesterday. FIVE YEARS OLD you guys. I'm not going to sit here and talk about how crazy fast time seems to be flying by, because that's a given.

I'm really having a hard time (as usual) getting any thoughts out, so I'll just make it short and sweet.


I'm sitting here at the computer, trying to figure out how to put into words what I'm feeling. Five years ago, your Dad and I were on our way to the hospital, feeling both anxious and excited about meeting you! I never realized how instantly and unconditionally I could love someone, until you were born. Over the years, you have taught me about purity and kindness in a way that no one else could. I've mentioned this before, but you truly have a heart of gold. You are a people pleaser, and want nothing more than to bring happiness to others, and believe me when I say that you do. You bring a smile to so many people's faces, because your sweet spirit is contagious. You set that example to so many, every single day.

At Five Years Old, here are a few of your favorite things! 

How old are you turning today? Five.
Favorite color? Yellow
Favorite toy? Train tracks
Favorite food? Mac n' cheese
Favorite snack? Pretzels
Favorite holiday? Christmas
Favorite TV show? Mickey Mouse 
Favorite movie? The Lego Movie
Favorite animal? Dinosaurs
Favorite drink? Apple juice
Favorite song? "Black Venom" - by Budos Band
Who is your best friend? Easton
Favorite place to go? The park
What do you want to be when you grow up? Pilot

26 January 2015

Building Memories, By Building Forts

*Thank you Pop Secret for sponsoring today's discussion, and inspiring me to make memories with my family! #PopSecretForts 

I feel like I've always had a bucket list (of sorts) of things that were absolutely mandatory to do with my kids, or to get for them. For example: bunk beds, getting a playhouse for the backyard, building gingerbread houses at Christmas time, taking them to baseball games, baking chocolate cookies, introducing them to Mickey Mouse, building forts... etc. I feel like all of these things are just such classic kids and family activities, that bring us all closer together. They are things I envisioned doing with my boys before they were even born.

But let's back up for a second.

I don't know if you knew this, but there is actually an art to building a fort. Well, that's according to my Husband. He considers himself to be a pro fort builder. Like, don't even try to question him when he's building a fort. Whereas I, I am what you call an amateur in the fort building department. But in my opinion, all you need for a good fort, is something to go underneath. Well, I suppose there are a couple of other necessities as well. But we'll get to those in a minute!

This fort particular fort this was my personal creation. I hung some rope between curtain rods and then draped a blanket over it. Ta-da! My kids don't need anything fancy, like I said, they just need something to go underneath. They actually call it their "tent." As soon as they saw what I was doing, they run to their rooms and get their pillows, blanky's and of course, their lantern and some flashlights.

There are a couple of other necessities for forts, if you ask me. 1) Legos, and 2) Popcorn. I'm sure I'm not the only one, but when it comes to popcorn, the more butter, the better. Just like the movie theaters. Honestly, I think the popcorn is their favorite part of fort building, I can't say I blame them. Who doesn't love to shovel popcorn in their mouth by the fistfulls?? ;-)

I think doing simple activities like this, can be a a great way to carve out time as a family, and also give the kids something special & different to do. I want my kids to be able to look back at their childhood, and have the kinds of memories that they want to pass onto their children one day.

Okay truth be told, a little while after this, my Husband took my fort down and rebuilt it. I told you, he legit thinks he's the king of building forts. He doesn't mess around.

Do you build forts with your kiddos?? If so, or even if you don't, I encourage you to!! It's such a fun, easy activity. And right now, if you create your own pillow fort and submit the photo to the Pop Secret Facebook page (via the hashtag: #PopSecretForts), you will be eligible to win some super fun prizes and rewards from Pop Secret!! Pretty neat, right?

But first, don't forget to hop over and grab your $1 off coupon for your bag of Pop Secret Popcorn!! It's a fort essential, remember! :)

22 January 2015

Boys Fashion - T-Rex Style

This weather lately, has been so nice! We've had sunshine for the past few days, and even when it's not sunny, its been warm-ish. It's been a really mild winter, which is always fine with me. And Monday's forecast? SUNNY AND SIXTY DEGREES. Bless it, bless it all.

I feel super lame talking about the weather, but really, it dictates so much of my mood. Did you know that seasonal depression is a real thing? Well actually it's called Seasonal Defective Disorder (SAD). Sorry, I'm being a big fat downer right now. Okay but my point is, that I don't have SAD because the weather has been lovely.... like the day I took these photos of Bennett. He went outside without a jacket and was totally fine.

I'm rambling. Let's stop talking about the weather and start talking about this super cute outfit! Ever since Bennett was little, he has loved Dinosaurs. So when I saw this outfit from FabKids, I showed B immediately, and without hesitation, he said "That's mine!" ha ha. Okay buddy, it's yours.

Oh and since this is a fashion post, I have a quick word on denim! I used to always buy skinny jeans for Bennett, but as he's gotten older, he's gotten super tall & slender. Well, he's always been tall and skinny, but it's extra extra these days. So I've actually been leaning toward a looser fitting jean for him, I feel like it's actually more flattering on his body type. What do you think?

*I was provided this outfit for the purpose of this blog post, but all opinions are my own!

If you haven't heard of FabKids, or haven't seen my previous posts about them, let me give you the run down on this awesome service.

FabKids is JustFab's newest fashion club, started by a team of parents, including mom and actress, Christina Applegate. FabKids makes it super easy & convenient for parents to shop because you get monthly selections of affordable, high-quality fashions that are personalized just for your kids.

You can order through their website at anytime with a regular membership, but the awesome VIP Memberships include tons of perks! Such as:
  • First outfit is $15 plus free shipping!
  • Save up to 50% off retail prices
  • Skip any month you want
  • Exclusive VIP pricing
  • Earn FabKids rewards points
  • Cancel anytime!
So now all you need to do is head over to the FabKids website and take a style profile quiz about your kiddo, so that they can get to know your child. And then based on those results, FabKids will give you outfit suggestions. You can buy an outfit, or not. Or just shop around the site. But I dare you not to buy something.

I knew the day would come that he would develop a signature cheese face. And this ^^ is it. lol.

Have you checked out FabKids yet??! If you haven't, you need to. They have the most adorable outfits, I have yet to be disappointed with their selection!

19 January 2015

Finding ME Time + Getting Inspired for 2015!

This post is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Pollinate Media Group® and All You®, and Real Simple® but all my opinions are my own. #PMedia #NewYearMeTime http://my-disclosur.es/OBsstV

I really don't think it's possible to stress enough how important it is for Mom's to take time to themselves. We spend so much of our time and energy, making sure that our children's needs are being satisfied. I can't tell you how many times in the day I stop what I'm doing to change a dirty diaper, get my kid some water, break up a fight, help build their train track... etc. Let's just say constantly. I'm constantly stopping what I'm doing. And I mean, I'm happy to do that because you know, Bennett & Easton are my people, my little humans. I love them to death.

My goal for 2015 is to simply strengthen myself, in every capacity. Mind, body & spirit. I'll tell you something right now, strengthening my mind is a tough one. My mental state is seriously damaged by the end of the day. After a rough day with the kids, I legit feel like a crazy person, and end up hating the sound of my own voice. And in those moments, I just need to spend some time getting back to a place where I can remember WHO I AM, outside of being a Mother.

And I honestly think the best way to do that, is to get inspired!! I like to find things that I can work on for myself and set goals. It's not always easy to find the time to do that, but it's necessary.

I take myself, my laptop, and my thoughts to a quiet place to just sit and write, or think. Or do whatever I wanna do for a couple of hours. The other day, I was feeling like I needed some inspiration, with life in general. You ever get stuck in ruts? I do. So I went and did some shopping at Walmart, picked up some new workout clothes, a huge bag of white cheddar popcorn, and some magazines, and eventually landed myself at Starbucks for a while. Hallelujah!

By the way, the Starbucks by my house has recently done a renovation. And now they carry wine, and a larger food menu! They're also open super late and have live music on the weekends, it's pretty awesome! Well, I don't drink wine, but the food is really good. I got the baked Mac n' Cheese, holy heck it was delicious!

Sorry I got off topic ;-)

I sat there with my yummy food, and magazines and suddenly found myself with a check list of new goals and things I want to start working toward.

1. Create a more productive and realistic work-from-home schedule.
As I was flipping through Real Simple magazine, I came across an article that really spoke to me. Being a work-at-home-mom is stressful guys, I'm not going to try and sugarcoat it. Trying to find a balance is one of the hardest things I've had to do over the past few years. I often feel guilty when I need to get work done, but my kids want my attention and I just can't give it to them. I justify it by saying "well it's better than putting them in daycare!" Which is partly true, I think. But it's really really tough. Not to mention, trying to really concentrate on what I'm doing with kids running around like banshee's has proven to be challenging.

So going forward, I'm going to try and really put together a schedule that I can stick to. I'd rather designate certain hours I can work and really make that time productive, as opposed to just sticking in a few minutes here & there, and never really keeping my thoughts in order, or being efficient at all.

2.  Start meal planning.
I'm such a broken record with this one. But I'm not lying to you when I say that I really do have intentions of doing this.... it just sorta gets thrown to the back burner. But I was inspired by a lot of the recipes I saw while browsing my magazines... that I even wrote them down in bullet point form. That means I'm for real. ;-) Oh and if the meals are a little healthier, that's just a bonus.

3. Get organized.
This is HUGE for me in 2015, it's not just me talking out of my tooshie or whatever. I'm seriously serious about getting things organized. More than anything, I want to get the clutter under control. We all have those drawers, cupboards, or tabletops that just tend to collect junk... you know what I'm talking about. I've already gotten started, actually, on my quest to get organized.

Exhibit A:

I purchased this storage chest recently and then I added little containers to the drawers. So now there is a place for pens, paper, tape, chapsticks, sunglasses, mail... etc. All those pesky little things that tended to sit around my countertops, they all have a place to go now. It's like a huge weight lifted off my shoulders now. Crazy how little things like that can really simplify your life and make you feel accomplished. We even set up a little "charging station" for our phones & electronics.

The next step is to get a storage unit/dresser to put downstairs to get the kids toys put away neatly and out of sight. :-)

4. Maybe, just maybe, this will be the year of cutting out cable.
Please note that I said MAYBE this would be the year. Cable is one of those things that is such a huge expense, but yet, I can't seem to let it go. It's just so convenient. And the DVR? Extra convenient. I use it constantly because I can't stand watching shows real time. This article caught my eye, though, and I think I might try to get some ducks in a line here pretty soon and see if I can finally cut ties with my cable company. Wish me luck! :)

Those are just a few of the things I'm looking forward to this coming year. I feel all sorts of renewed and refreshed after I take some time to myself. How are you getting inspired for 2015?? What are some of the goals the goals that you've made?

And before I sign off -- if you need some help carving out some "me time" or are looking for inspiration, right now you can save $1.00 on ONE (1) PEOPLE®, InStyle®, PEOPLE StyleWatch®, All You®, or Real Simple® magazine. The Walmart digital coupon is available 1/14/15-2/16/15 (while supplies last). To access the coupon you must be a member/subscriber to Walmart.com.