My 3 year old, Spencer, is in Preschool this year. Unlike his big brother, he has ZERO interest in learning his alphabet, numbers, or colors or anything. But he IS learning, whether he likes it or not, and one thing he has learned to do is color nicely and draw.
Yesterday, he drew his first portrait of me.
As the parenting product industry rapidly increases, it’s becoming easy to find and buy gifts for moms. But what about the dads?!
DaddyScrubs is a dad-founded and dad-run company that makes fantastic gifts for dads! I met the DaddyScrubs team two years ago at the ABC Kids Expo and they have such a passion for fatherhood! I love that they are making great items that dads love and will actually use!
The first line of products that brought the company into the parenting spotlight a few years ago were their scrubs for dads – DaddyScrubs, designed to make it clear to everyone around the delivery room that the daddy is Daddy, not the doctor! They also have Daddy t-shirts, hoodies, caps, diaper backpacks, and so much more. Their styles have branched out from their classic “Daddy”, and we got to try one out at our house, the Periodic Table of Daddy Elements t-shirt!
My husband absolutely loves his Periodic Table of Daddy Elements t-shirt from DaddyScrubs! It’s a cute design with even cuter jokes in the “periodic table.”
Here’s a close-up shot of the Periodic Table of Daddy Elements:
This shirt is a conversation starter for sure, everyone wants to see what’s on the shirt. There’s so much that dads at all stages can relate to. From Pickles & ice cream to Prom, the Periodic Table of Daddy Elements is a sweet reminder of all the things dads are great at doing for their families.
Take a look at some of these other great DaddyScrubs gifts:
The Daddy Diaper Pack recently won the SheKnows 2013 Parenting Award and it’s easy to see why! The Daddy Diaper Pack has roomy pockets, an insulated cooler pocket, and straps for keeping your essentials close at hand!
DaddyScrubs has so many gifts for dads in your life, whether they’re expectant dads, new dads, or expert dads! Go shopping for the dads on your Christmas shopping list at DaddyScrubs.com!
Disclosure: DaddyScrubs sent us one complimentary t-shirt in exchange for our honest review. I was not paid for this post and I was not required to write a positive review.
A few weeks back, I was contacted about reviewing the new Shark Rocket vacuum. Was I interested?? YES! And ohhhh people. Boy, do I love this vacuum!
- Deep Cleans Carpets (Deep cleans carpets better than a full-size Dyson upright [vs. DC40, Based on independent ASTM F608 - 11 (Carpet Embedded Dirt Removal Effectiveness) testing]) — Photographic evidence of the deep cleaning power will be shown below!
- Cleans Bare Floors and Area Rugs — Yes, carpets AND bare floors AND area rugs!
- Never Loses Suction or Power — Why do they even make vacuums that would lose suction? What’s the point of that??
- All the Power without the Weight — Super easy to handle and move around the house
- Versatile Floor to Ceiling — You can literally clean your ceiling fan one minute and under your couch the next
- Easy Storage — It comes with a handy dandy hook to keep it off the floor
- Swivel Steering — You’ve got to see how easy it is to use! (Video below)
- Premium Pet Tools — Dog owners? You need this thing.
- Versatile Cleaning — Why buy multiple devices when this one does it all?
Here’s how my Shark Rocket arrived:
Look at all the things! There are so many ways to clean with the Rocket and you can keep them all in the included accessory bag. You might look at all the accessories and think that means it’s a complicated vacuum, but I assure you it is not. It’s easy to see what does what and changing them out is super easy.
The first room I decided to vacuum with my new Rocket was my boys’ bedroom. We had vacuumed their room less than a week before, so I wanted to see how the Rocket would handle what I thought was a fairly clean floor.
UMMMM…THIS IS HOW FULL IT GOT IN JUST 1/3 OF THE ROOM. GROSS.
I proceeded to fill it up three more times in that room. Good grief. I’ll never trust my eyes again; I actually thought the floor was relatively clean!
So the Rocket is basically a self-propelled vacuum. I mean you have to steer it around and handle it, but it takes off like a rocket! Aptly named, indeed. There are two speeds to choose from, but I mostly use Speed 2, the fastest/most powerful. The regular vacuum brushroll can be used on carpet and bare floors/area rugs, but on my pretty hardwood floors, I prefer to use the Dust Away Attachment, which cleans bare floors by vacuuming first and then coming behind with a microfiber cloth to dust the floor. For our floors that are walked on by dogs all day, this is perfect! It cleans up dust, dirt, and dog hair!
There are other specialty attachments that are and aren’t included with the Shark Rocket — there is a dusting attachment, a crevice tool, the Dust Away, and a pet attachment that were all included with my Shark Rocket (I believe there are some exclusive offers out there that may or may not include some of these attachments). Then there’s an attachment for under furniture and a motorized hand tool to really deep clean upholstery and more — those are not included and can be purchased separately.
I love how versatile the Shark Rocket is. You can use the accessories with or without the long middle part — so on stairs, you can use the vacuum rollerbrush part just attached to the handle/motor/dust cup part. Speaking of the dust cup, it’s really easy to empty! And when you need to clean the filters, you can just clean them yourself, you don’t have to buy a replacement!
The Shark Rocket is available to purchase pretty much everywhere. See more about it and its features at SharkClean.com, where you can find videos, exclusive offers, answers to FAQs, and more! Retail price for the Shark Rocket is about $159, but watch for sales with the holidays coming up!
Disclosure: I was sent a complimentary Shark Rocket to facilitate my review. I was not paid for this post and I was not required to write a positive review. These thoughts are my very own.
It seems like there’s some kind of switch that gets flipped in women when they have children. They may have been the most carefree, easy-goes-it person ever, but once that baby is here and YOURS, the worry switch goes from off to on! I never considered myself a worrier, but now every little thing makes me anxious and worried about my boys.
It’s important to not over-stress over silly things, but there are times that cause a little extra stress. Going to crowded places with my kids does kick the anxiety up a notch, but there’s a simple product that can put my mind at ease. SafetyTats are safe, easy to use tattoos for kids to wear so that moms and dads can worry less!
SafetyTat write-on or original tats can be used at amusement parks, trick or treating, large parks, or other big events as a “just in case” way to provide a way for your child to be reunited with you if they should become lost. They’re so simple to use: pick the spot you will apply the tattoo (SafetyTat suggests the inside of the forearm, but you could go with the upper arm, a nice traditional tat spot), clean it with the provided alcohol wipe, peel the tattoo off the large piece of backing, hold it firmly in place for 20 seconds (another way to practice counting with little ones!), peel off the top pieces of backing (kinda like a Band-Aid), then write your cell phone number on the tattoo with the special marker. The SafetyTat stays adhered to the skin and it doesn’t come off in water (we tried!). You can leave it on for up to two weeks, perfect for long and short vacations! When you’re ready for it to come off, it easily peels off like a strong sticker.
I tried the SafetyTat on both of my boys and they both tolerated the experience quite well. Here’s what Spencer (3.5) thought of his SafetyTat:
Disclosure: SafetyTats sent me a complimentary 6-pack of SafetyTats for our family to try out for this review. I was not paid for this review and I was not required to write a positive review. These thoughts are my own!
Mornings with kids can be hectic. Wait, I take that back. THE ENTIRE DAY can be hectic with kids. Everyone has places to be, things to do, and it’s a lot to remember.
Not only do you have to remember it, but you have to get your kids to go along with whatever the plan is for the day. That can be a struggle, but Easy Daysies makes your days easier with their magnetic schedules for kids.
A few months ago, I was asked to try Easy Daysies for myself and we got our starter kit, along with three add-on packs and more, a few weeks ago. We’ve been taking Easy Daysies for a test run and are ready to share how they’ve made our days easier and more organized!
Easy Daysies are a pretty simple concept: they’re magnetic schedules for kids! They can hang on your fridge (probably the easiest, most common place to put them) or on a wall. It can hang by magnets or on a hook. There are two cute sides to choose from and it’s about 8″ x 16″ in size. In the Easy Daysies Every Day Starter Kit you’ll get the Fold & Go magnetic board described above, plus 18 Activity magnets, a magnet storage bag, and a Dry-erase marker.
You put the magnetic board up and then arrange the Activity magnets needed for the day on the board in the correct order (don’t worry if it’s not exactly in order — they’re magnetic, not glued!), and you’re all set! Your kids will be able to see what’s in store for them that day and what they can expect!
My kids, especially my five year old Miles, have always thrived on having a schedule. He has always loved setting timers so that he knows when the next thing is happening and he always wants to know what’s coming up. Easy Daysies helps him see it visually and eliminates a lot of the asking.
Easy Daysies also has Add-on Packs: Get Dressed & Bathroom Routine, Chores & Special Times, and Family & Extracurricular Activities. With all of these choices, there’s more than enough to have a magnet for everything we have going on. All of the packs include some that are blank, so you can write in your own with the included dry erase marker.
You also don’t always have to use it the same way. You might use the morning routine in the mornings before school and then change it out to a detailed schedule for the evenings. You can also take them down and switch them out for chore magnets when it’s time to complete chores! It’s such a great, reusable, way to keep track of what’s going on!
Here’s some other things I love about Easy Daysies:
- There are pictures as well as labels on the magnets, so even kids who don’t read can understand.
- Kids can move magnets from To Do to Done on their own!
- It helps take of the blame off of mom and dad — “Aww man, I gotta take a shower?!” “Sorry bud, it’s on the schedule!”
- It’s a great way to teach responsibility and independence. Kids can learn to take charge of their tasks and chores and get things done.
- It’s great for toddlers learning to use the potty themselves (using the Get Dressed & Bathroom Routine add-on pack) up through school-aged kids with regular chores and homework!
- For kids who get anxious about schedule changes, you can visually show them how things have changed so that they can see the big picture.
I love how my boys have adopted Easy Daysies into their daily routine. Every morning and evening, they move their regular set of To Dos over to the Done, one by one. I love hearing their little discussions in the kitchen: ”Spencer, let’s move breakfast over, we just did that.” “Yep, now when we are done with school, we’ll have homework, play time, dinner, bath time, and bed!”
You can pick up Easy Daysies online at EasyDaysies.com, along with other great products like their Restickables organizing stickers. You can also find them at BarnesandNoble.com! The Every Day Starter Kit is priced at a reasonable $25.99!
Psst! Here’s a bonus for teachers and parents of preschoolers and up! Easy Daysies also makes these fabulous sets for teachers! They have one for Preschool/Kindergarten and another for Grades 1-7. These sets are $19.99, and would make a fantastic first of the year gift for your child’s teacher, especially if they are just starting out! I gave the ones I was sent to two teachers at our school and the teachers were SO EXCITED! They love Easy Daysies!
Disclosure: I was sent a box full of amazing Easy Daysies products free, for my review. They didn’t pay me to write this and they didn’t demand that I write a rave review. I just genuinely love them and these thoughts are my own!
Yogurt is one of those foods with so many benefits, for kids and adults. It’s one of the first foods you can give to an infant, even adults love it for its digestive benefits, and it’s also a great vehicle for getting your kids to eat their fruits and veggies.
For many years, there haven’t been any great options for bigger kids (bigger than toddlers) whose parents want them to have yogurt. A lot of the options out there have loads of sugar, pretty much canceling out any health benefits they might have. Sprout Organic Foods, makers of baby and toddler food, snacks, and purees, now has an organic yogurt option for bigger kids!
Sprout Smash yogurt smoothies are a delicious, organic way for kids to get vital nutrients in a yummy way! The packaging has a built-in straw, so when you send them in your kids’ lunchbox for school, there’s no need to pack a spoon and worry about them losing it (not that my kids have thrown away our spoons or anything…). Here’s their lineup of products:
Butternut Squash & Grape
Carrot & Orange
Pumpkin & Strawberry
Banana & Berry
Cherry & Apple
Peach & Banana
Acai & Berry
Blueberry & Blackcurrant
Sprout Organic Foods sent me one of each variety, and we got these yummy flavors: Butternut Squash & Grape, Peach & Banana, and Strawberry & Cherry. I sat down with Miles, my 5 year old taste tester, and we sampled them together.
He was pretty excited.
I have to start by saying that he wasn’t really keen on the delivery system, but that’s just because it’s new for him. I think it was a shock to him when it was thick, not just a thin liquid, like juice. When I realized he wasn’t digging drinking it through the straw just yet, I put it on a spoon and he tried it that way — bingo, that was a winner!
We both decided that Strawberry & Cherry Greek Yogurt was our favorite! Delicious!
Here’s why I love these:
- It’s tough to find something that’s tasty and healthy that kids will actually eat, and these definitely are all three!
- You actually know what the ingredients are! Take a look at the ingredients in my favorite flavor, Strawberry & Cherry:Ingredients: Organic Apples, Organic Nonfat Greek Yogurt (organic cultured skim milk, organic nonfat dry milk), Organic Bananas, Organic Strawberries, Organic Dark Sweet Cherries, Organic Apple Juice Concentrate, Organic Strawberry Flavor, Citric Acid, Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C). Contains: Milk
- They’re great for lunchboxes or snacks on the go! Before they’re opened, they can be stored at room temperature, so you don’t need to be wary of sending them in a lunchbox that may or may not actually be at a safe temperature before your child actually gets around to eating it. They’re also resealable, so smaller appetites can have a little at a time (within a 24 hour period).
- They’re totally healthy! Sprout recipes are made with certified organic ingredients and contain no preservatives, artificial colors, flavors or other additives.
So where can you find these fabulous smoothies? They’re available in at least six online retailers and Sprout’s store locator on their website makes it easy to track down their products in your local area! I was pleased to see that all of our local super-groceries (Kroger, Walmart, etc.) carry Sprout products! They’re sold in packs of five, which is super-smart, because we pack lunch five days a week! Amazon offers Sprout products in Subscribe & Save, so you can make sure you always have it!
Check out all of the Sprout Organic Foods products online and let your kids experience these delicious smoothies!
Disclosure: I was sent complimentary products to sample to facilitate my review. I was not paid for this post and received no monetary compensation for this review. These thoughts are my very own.
There is much excitement in my house right now, over something happening during Spring Break of 2014. Our family will be taking our first trip to Walt Disney World, and I am absolutely geeked out and pumped about this!
It has been at least 13 years since I’ve been, probably more like 15. I went three times when I was younger, twice with our family and once on a high school marching band trip. This is my first time planning a trip (obviously) and paying for it, so I’m in full-fledged Super Planning Mode!
Here’s the basics about our trip:
We’re leaving on Sunday, March 30th and driving to Orlando from Kentucky. We will meet up with my parents on our way down and spend the night somewhere on the way. We’ll be staying at the Art of Animation Resort on Disney property and spend five days (Monday through Friday) at Disney World, and driving home Saturday/Sunday.
Our boys don’t know anything about the trip yet, but we won’t be keeping it a surprise. We’ll going to tell them at Christmas, so that we have some time to prepare them for it and prolong some of the magic. I’ve seen some really cute ideas on Pinterest, like doing a Mouse in the House thing similar to the Elf on the Shelf leading up to a Disney trip, and hey, we’re spending a ton of money on this trip, might as well milk it for all it’s worth, amiright?
We’re working with Tiffany Hanks of Off To Neverland Travel, an authorized Disney vacation planner. Authorized Disney vacation planners are a free service to guests (they’re paid by Disney) to help you make the most of your trip, make your reservations, give tips and advice, and just generally make your trip as magical as possible. Check out the Off To Neverland Travel site if you’re thinking about booking a Disney vacation! (Note: This is not a paid or unpaid promo spot or anything, I’m just using the service and finding it super helpful!)
So far, here’s what we have planned:
Monday we’ll be at Epcot. It’ll be a shorter day, since we’ll have travel time, arrival, and check-in to deal with, but I think we’ll be fine with about a half day there. We have dinner reservations for character dining at The Garden Grill Restaurant. We did decide to do the Dining Plan for this trip, mostly because you can do character dining and see a lot of characters that way. I don’t know if we’ll do the Dining Plan on future trips (oh yes. There will be future trips. Plural.), but for this trip at the boys’ ages, I think it’s the way to go. We have one character meal planned each day.
Tuesday we’ll be at Animal Kingdom. I haven’t been to Disney World since AK opened, so I’m excited about seeing it! We’ll start our day with a character breakfast at Tusker House Restaurant.
Wednesday we’ll be at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. We have character dining reservations for lunchtime at Hollywood & Vine, a Disney Junior character meal. One fun thing about this trip is that my co-worker and officemate will be at Disney World at the same time with her kids and parents. We’re staying in different resorts, but we’ll be at the same parks each day and on Wednesday we have reservations within 10 minutes of one another! As you can imagine, there’s a lot of Disney talk in our office these days.
We’ll be spending Thursday and Friday at the Magic Kingdom. I know we’ll need two days to see and do all that we want to, and this way we can take our time. We have breakfast reservations at ‘Ohana on Thursday and our final character meal is at Chef Mickey’s for dinner on Friday. I saved Magic Kingdom for our final days because I wanted to work our way up to it and end our trip in the most magical part of Walt Disney World.
In my next post, I’ll tell you about some of my favorite resources that I’m using to plan our trip!
Going back to work has been great for me. I did love being a Stay At Home Mom for awhile, but at some point it stopped being fun, started stressing me out, and I began feeling like I was pretty crappy at my non-paying “job”, because I wasn’t getting things done at home like I should have, even though I was home all day and night. Not that parenthood is all about enjoyment, but I just wasn’t enjoying myself at home anymore.
One area where I stressed myself out unnecessarily was Halloween costumes. For some reason, I bought into the idea that I needed to make costumes in order to earn some kind of Mom badge. FALSE.
Yes, the boys’ costumes for the past few years were super cute, and their Octonauts costumes last year that they desperately wanted weren’t available in stores, but I’m here to tell you that I’m so relieved at my boys’ costume choices this year.
A few weeks ago, on our way home from school, I asked Miles (5) and Spencer (3.5) the big question: “What do you want to dress as for Halloween?” And then I held my breath, hoping they weren’t going to say something I couldn’t make and didn’t want to track down online.
Much to my relief, they answered “Spiderman” and “A doctor”. Well it just so happens we have those in their dress-up clothes, thanks to hand me downs and my post-Halloween trip to Walmart last year that yielded about five Halloween costumes for about $10.00!
Miles did change his mind later and instead wanted to dress as a pirate, but we had that too! It’s possible that they chose these costumes because we already have them, but I wasn’t about to challenge them.
Over the weekend, we went to a Walk with the Animals event at a local park where we have a family membership (thanks Mom and Dad!) and the boys got to wear their costumes:
They’ll get dressed up again for our church’s Trunkapalooza event on Halloween night, but we won’t be going door to door this year. Halloween falls the day before a big fundraiser at work that I’m co-chairing, so a low stress Halloween is exactly what I needed this year!
How about you? Has your Halloween been a low or high stress ordeal this year?
It snowed today. Just a few little flurries blowing around, but still. Snow.
I’m so not ready for frigid temperatures and what has become synonymous with the change of seasons: runny noses and crusty little faces in my house. I’m constantly amazed by how much gunk can come out of my boys’ noses when they’re dealing with a cold. So.Much.Snot.
A few years ago, Jamie introduced me to Boogie Wipes, a saline wipe for kids, to clean off those crusty faces and clear up the nose ickies. Little Busy Bodies, the makers of Boogie Wipes, have just come out with Puffs Fresh Faces — a saline wipe for adults! Whether you’re dealing with a crusty nose yourself, need to clean off your face after a workout or a long day at home/work, moms need saline wipes too! Puffs Fresh Faces sent me a fabulous blogger box full of samples of Puff Fresh Faces, a few Boogie Wipes, and some other goodies, and I’ve been using them regularly at home, work, and in the car.
Here’s what I love about Puffs Fresh Faces:
- They’re so much better than grabbing a baby wipe to clean up your face. I have no desire to smell like a baby’s butt, even if it’s a clean butt. Baby wipes have a distinct smell, and it’s one that lingers…I don’t want that smell lingering on me, especially not on my face.
- The scents of these wipes is fresh and pleasant but definitely not overwhelming. It doesn’t smell like you spilled perfume on your face, which is good, especially when you’re feeling under the weather. The one with a hint of Vicks is PERFECT for someone with a cold. The other scents are Light Lavender, Fresh Scent, and there’s an unscented version as well.
- The package reseals really well when you remove a wipe and the rest of the wipes don’t get all bunched up when you take just one out. Your wipes will still be wet the next time you open up the package.
- They clean makeup off really well! I’ve used makeup removal wipes before and they also have a distinctive smell that’s all chemically and gross. I think Puffs Fresh Faces wipes clean even better than those wipes and do it with natural saline!
My boys, who regularly use Boogie Wipes during cold season, also loved using Puffs Fresh Faces. They just clean their little faces so much better and more gently than with a dry tissue. My oldest, Miles, always gets red, irritated skin when he over-wipes his nose with tissues, so saline wipes by Little Busy Bodies are such a lifesaver for his face!
Puffs Fresh Faces are perfectly sized to keep in your purse, car, gym bag, desk drawer, bathroom drawer, or anywhere else you need to freshen up your face! They come in a 15 count package as well as a 45 count, which is more suited for your office or bathroom. You can buy them near the tissues at Walmart and Target stores, as well as several online retailers. The 45 count retails for about $4.99.
Holiday Bonus — Want your child to become the teacher’s pet? Boogie Wipes sells a Teacher’s Kit, which is $22 and has like a billion Boogie Wipes. Get one for your child’s teacher for Christmas, they’ll love it
Pick up some Puffs Fresh Faces today and your face will thank you for it. Fresh faces and happy moms!
Disclosure: I was sent a complimentary box of Puffs Fresh Faces products to facilitate my review. I was not paid for this post and these thoughts are my very own.