Spring Fashion For Boys That We ALL Can Agree On!

I participated in an Influencer Activation on behalf of Influence Central for Carter’s. I received a complimentary gift card to facilitate my review as thanks for my participation. All opinions in this spring fashion for boys post are my own.  #SpringIntoCarters #IC

#SpringIntoCarters #IC

Winter was long and cold, and we had record snowfalls in Texas!  While it was fun, we are so glad that spring is here and we can enjoy the sunshine outdoors.  Spring means green grass, flowers, Easter, and FUN!  I wanted to get the boys matching outfits to wear to church on Easter Sunday and for spring pictures, but apparently the Captain is "over" matching with his brothers, so we settled on coordinating outfits.  We went to Carter's and were greeted with adorable clothes in gorgeous spring colors.  The Easter shop at Carter's is full of vibrant colors, florals for girls, and new classics for boys.  You can go with dressy styles, coordinating accessories, and even "My First Easter" products for babies.

#SpringIntoCarters #adWhile I wanted to choose everything, I let the boys go with the mission of finding something that fit their individual styles.  D immediately went to a beautiful blue shirt …. of course!  He loves blue!  He held on to that shirt for the duration of our shopping trip.  He was so proud!  Then, the Captain worked with D's choice to find a cute plaid short sleeved shirt and some khaki pants.  I then visited the baby boy section to pick out the most adorable navy blue romper with marlins on it for Baby Brother.  We were set and everyone was happy!  Oh and Carter's always has great sales, which makes Mom and Dad happy.

#SpringIntoCarters #ad

After we had agreed on Easter Sunday outfits, I let them choose a few other items and I visited the clearance section.  The Captain loves sports clothes more than just about anything, so I let him pick out this outfit, that he wears every chance he gets, like during this trip to the zoo.
#SpringIntoCartersAll of the clothes at Carter's are stylish, comfortable, and fun!  There is definitely something for all personalities.  While we were there, I also picked up a set of adorable long sleeved onesies for Baby Brother.  They are so soft and comfortable.  I love to dress him in these at night because they don't ride up and expose his back while he sleeps.  They are also great for chilly spring days.#SpringIntoCarters #ad

Through April 5th, you can save 50% off of everything in the store!  BUT, before heading to Carter's to stock up on the new spring essentials such as tees, shorts, tunics, leggings, tops, polos, dresses, skirts, and much more, print out this coupon to save even more.  Or log on to Carters.com and use the code to save big without leaving your home.  (Note that this savings coupon expires April 5, 2015.)  Check out the Swim Shop while you're there and get ready for warmer days, now up through sizes 7-12.  I'll be going back to pick up some swimwear with UPF 50+.carters_0326_marchblogger_coupon

Easter Gift Ideas for Families to Enjoy Together {giveaway, too!}

Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.  Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway. If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller / FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days, you are not eligible to win. If you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.  All opinions in this Easter gift ideas for families post are mine.

EasterGiftsFamilies

If you have been to any retail store in the past month, you have surely seen the plethora of Easter themed gifts for kids.  Chocolates, candy, stuffed bunny rabbits, shirts, Easter baskets, and more.  All of this is fun, for sure, but I like to include the entire family so we can all enjoy our time together.  Five gifts that would be great for family togetherness and fun follow:

1. Raised garden bed kit (or any garden themed item) – gardening is a great way to involve the whole family and get outdoors this Spring and enjoy God's creation!  There is nothing more satisfying than preparing the ground, planting seeds, and watching a garden full of delicious vegetables and fruits grow.

Easter gifts for families

2. Zoo passes – we absolutely love having a family zoo membership!  We can go any time and spend as much time as we want and we do not feel like we have to stay all day to get our money's worth.  The boys love animals and every time we go, there are new surprises!

3. Picnic basket – eating outside is super fun for the boys.  The times we get to have a picnic is very special, so having a dedicated picnic basket would be such a fun surprise!

4. Tickets to a movie or show – We don't get to the movies very often, but there are many great plays, musicals, and shows to choose from where we live.  Pick an age appropriate movie or show to attend and you will create some great memories with the kids!

Easter stories

5. A good book about the true meaning of Easter – Easter Stories: Classic Stories for the Holy Season is a collection of classic tales that bring Jesus to the forefront.  Each story was selected for the spiritual value and literary quality.  Authors such as C.S. Lewis, Leo Tolstoy, Selma Lagerlof, Oscar Wilde, Elizabeth Goudge, and more are included in this 383 page book.  

When we received this book, I was excited to begin reading a story each night to the boys.  The Captain has been captivated with these read alouds and hangs on to each word.  He particularly loved a story by Laura E. Richards entitled "The Coming of the King," about a group of kids who want to clean their dirty playground because a king is coming by.  The comparisons and thought provoking details of each story are just wonderful and we have really enjoyed reading this book together!  Read more about this great collection at the Plough website.

EasterStoriesgiveaway

Enter to win a copy of this great book in the Rafflecopter below.  Good luck!

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Show Your Creativity And Win Big With Turano Bread!

Disclosure: Compensation was provided by Turano via The Bloggy Moms Network. Views and opinions are my own.

Turano Bread Contest

My guys all love sandwiches, that's for sure, but sometimes it's good to use a little creativity with your bread.  Turano Baking Company is a 53 year old Chicago staple that has been serving predominantly the midwest. Recipes stem from Mariano Turanowho came to America from Italy in 1962 and began baking bread.  Over the past year, Turano has become a national brand and is now available at all Aldi locations in Texas. To celebrate the launch, Turano has partnered with renowned chefs Brian Luscher (The Grape Restaurant) and Uno Immanivong (Chino Chinatown in Trinity Groves) from Dallas, Texas to create their own #TuranoHack using Pane Turano bread.

Turano Hack Contest

Turano Bread is encouraging "getting creative between the slices" in their fun #TuranoHack contest!

 

What you have to do to enter:

1.  Visit Aldi to pick up some Pane Turano bread and any additional ingredients you need.

2.  Record a video of you making your own Turano Hack using Pane Turano bread and  additional ingredients from Aldi.

3.  Upload the video to Youtube or other online channel (i.e. Vimeo, Facebook).

4.  Complete the submission form on the Turano contest page by April 30, 2015 to be entered to win.

5.  BONUS: Use #TuranoHack to share your video on your social channels.

 

What could you win?

Grand prize winner will receive a $500 cash prize, while all entries have a chance of being featured on Turano’s social channels.

 

What is the judging criteria?

1.  Appetizing appeal of dish

2.  Originality & creativity in submission

3.   Amount spent on ingredients (The less spent, the better!)

4.  How well you represent Turano hack enthusiasm

 

Up for the challenge?  Have a great idea for a delicious Turano Hack?  Let me know in the comments or on Facebook if you enter.  I'd love to see your creation!

 

Stop Spending So Much Green and Check Out Our Lucky Savings on the Lowest Priced Unlimited Plans

This lowest priced unlimited plans shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser.  All opinions are mine alone.  #MarchIntoSavings  #CollectiveBias

Hubby and I have been married for almost ten years and have never had our own landline, we have always relied on our cell phones.  This has saved us a lot of money over the years, but now we are realizing that another phone besides our personal cell phones might be a good idea.  While we do not leave the boys with a sitter often, I think it is important that the Captain, especially, have a way to get in touch with us if he needs us.  While he is far too young for a phone, having communication available for a text or a call when we are away is reassuring to him.  Also, if our regular provider is down or something goes wrong with our phones, it is always important to have a backup.  When looking at landlines or other plans, however, we were overwhelmed!

#MarchIntoSavings #CollectiveBias #ad

I have read a lot about the Walmart Family Mobile plans and have seen the in store display, but been a little too intimidated to try it.  When I finally took the time to look into it at Walmart, I had to give it a try.  I was already shopping for groceries, so it was quick and easy to check out what was available in the electronics section.

#MarchIntoSavings

We decided to treat ourselves to a little St. Patrick's Day gift and see what kind of lucky deal we could get. With the help of the nice man in the mobile department, I bought the Alcatel Evolve 2 at a great price – $39.83, down from $59.88.  He also let me know that we needed the $25 starter kit since we were not already using the Walmart Family Mobile plan.  The starter kit includes a standard and micro SIM card for your phone.  After I checked out and finished my shopping, I was able to easily set up our new phone within 10 minutes at home.  I chose to set it up on the phone with a real person, although you can do it online.  The woman was very helpful and gave me my choices of plans and informed me about when I would be billed, etc. I went with the $29.88/month Unlimited Talk, Text, & Data plan which includes up to 500MB of 4G LTE data.
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Important things to remember about Walmart Family Mobile plans:

  • plans are NOT prepaid, but postpaid
  • you must cancel the plan at any time and you will receive one final bill after you cancel
  • unless you are currently a Walmart Family Mobile customer, you must purchase a $25 starter kit
  • there are many phones to choose from, or you can use your own phone
  • you have options – prices, plans, phones – you can surely find just what you and your family need!

WFM

Our family has enjoyed getting to know our new family mobile phone.  We have looked up St. Patrick's Day recipes and crafts, played fun games, and more!  I have also loved the extra security of a helpful back up phone that doesn't break the bank.  We definitely found the "pot of gold" with Walmart Family Mobile!
 
How would this plan be helpful for your family?

My Quick and Easy Snack Solution for Busy Moms – With The Perfect Level of Sweetness!

This quick and easy snack shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #teastraightup #CollectiveBias  Enjoy the perfect level of sweetness!

#teastraightup #CollectiveBias

One thing about all mothers is true:  we are busy!  I have found that it does not matter what a mom does, if we have a child, our workload increases dramatically.  Some days are especially busy for me.  We are homeschooling the Captain this year for kindergarten, which some days takes more time than others.  Then there is cooking, cleaning (sometimes….haha,) changing diapers, laundry, kissing boo boos, sports practice, church, shopping, taking kids to the doctor, and much, much more.  My duties as a mom never, ever end.  I would not have it any other way, but some days are so busy, I forget to take care of myself.  Many times I am lucky to remember food and drinks for the boys, that I forget my own afternoon snack.  When we are out the door for whatever errand we have to run, I like having a quick, portable snack and drink to grab in a hurry.  

I have perfected my recipe for the crunchiest almonds ever.  I grab a handful of crunchy almonds on the way out of the house and I am good to go.  They offer a great, satisfying snack and protein.  I also like to keep some Snapple® Straight Up™ Tea in the fridge for a refreshing drink, too.  I love the real brewed tea taste of Straight Up Tea and that it has the perfect level of sweetness that I can enjoy anytime.  Depending on your mood or taste, it is available in three levels of sweetness in an 18.5 oz plastic bottle so you can pick your sweet spot!  The size is perfect for sharing with littles because, for some reason, that is what always happens in my house.  

#teastraightup #CollectiveBiasRoasted almonds are easy to make and keep for quite a while in the pantry.  I keep mine in a lidded jar and they last a couple of months.  They're delicious by themselves or with no bake mini cheesecake, as a crust or topping!#teastraightup #CollectiveBiasIngredients:

  • raw almonds
  • water
  • salt

Directions:

  1. Soak your almonds.  (Not only is this the secret to maximizing crunch, it helps to neutralize phytic acid and encourage good enzymes so the almonds are more digestible, along with a lot of other benefits!)  To properly soak your almonds, put the almonds (however many you like!) in a glass bowl and cover them with warm water and a teaspoon of salt dissolved in it.  The almonds will swell, so make sure you have a ratio of 2 parts water to 1 part almonds.
  2. Cover the bowl with a tea towel and leave bowl on cabinet for 8-12 hours.  Check every few hours to make sure you have enough water.
  3. Throw out any nuts that float to the top because these are likely no good.
  4. Rinse, rinse, rinse.  Rinse the nuts after 8-12 hours until the water runs clear.
  5. Dry on a towel.
  6. Spread almonds on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet and cook in the oven on 250° for 2 hours or longer.  Check every 30 minutes or so, stir and put back in the oven.  After 2 hours, take one almond out and let cool.  Check to see if the almonds are crunchy or still a little chewy and replace for as long as needed.  (Alternatively, you can speed up the process and cook for 30-45 minutes at 325°, but I have found that they're easy to burn that way and aren't as delicious.)  

#teastraightup #CollectiveBiasMaking these crunchy almonds is easy, but not nearly as easy as stocking up on Snapple® Straight Up™ Tea!  I found all three delicious varieties – Sweet, Unsweetened, and Sorta Sweet – in the beverage aisle at Walmart:
#teastraightup #CollectiveBias

See more reasons to love Snapple® Straight Up Tea on the Snapple® Straight Up™ Tea social hub where you can also confirm the product is available at your local Walmart and download a coupon to save on your Snapple® Straight Up Tea purchase!  It 

SweetSnapple

Moms – what is your go to snack for busy days?

Frozen 2 is Officially in Development!

We are still loving Frozen in our house, especially after our trip to Walt Disney World last week.  We were able to watch the Frozen Sing Along at Disney's Hollywood Studios.  It was JAM packed and pretty difficult to reserve a Fast Pass for.  But, we did and we loved it!  Well, our biggest Frozen fan, Baby Brother, was exhausted, so he fell asleep mid show, but the rest of us really loved the live show!  BUT he was able to enjoy seeing Princess Anna, Queen Elsa, and Olaf in the parade!

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So now…for the news we have all been waiting for….Frozen 2 is officially in development at Walt Disney Animation Studios!  The news was announced at Disney's Annual Meeting of Shareholders this morning by Bob Iger, chairman and chief executive officer of The Walt Disney Company; John Lasseter, chief creative officer of Walt Disney; and actor Josh Gad, who of course is "Olaf" in Frozen.

John Lasseter said:

We enjoyed making 'Frozen Fever' so much and being back in that world with those characters.  Jennifer Lee and Chris Buck have come up with a great idea for a sequel and you will be hearing a lot more about it and we're taking you back to Arendelle.  We are so excited about that.

Release date and productions details are yet to be announced, but this is super exciting!!

What do you think the story line behind Frozen 2 will be?
Frozen 2 movie

 

The New, Simple Way To Protect The Sheets from Bedwetting – PeapodMats {giveaway, too!}

This post that shows you how to protect the sheets from bedwetting is brought to you by PeapodMats.  All opinions are mine.

PeapodMats for BedwettingWhen kids and pets are in your house, it seems like accidents always happen.  Even with the best diapers or overnight protection, there seems to always be those nights when someone drinks way too much before bedtime and is far too sleepy to wake up and use the restroom.  Or when somone is sick with a tummy bug and can't make it to the trash can in time.  You know how it is!  Most often for us, however, it is an unanticipated, unknown deluge in the middle of the night.  I'll go check on the kids at 2 AM and D will be soaked and snoozing right through it.  So, I change him while he is half asleep, but I don't want to change all of the sheets on the bed, along with a mattress protector underneath.  So what's an easier solution?  Something that lays over the mattress that the child sleeps on!  I've tried this, actually…I threw a towel over the sheet, but it got all bunched up, wasn't comfortable, and didn't really absorb as much as you would think.

PeapodMats were created with parents in mind.  They lie flat on top of sheets and stay in place with a grippy material underneath.  This allows kids to sleep comfortably in bed without bunching underneath.  There is also no "plastic crinkle" sound every time the child turns over!  

PeapodMats

The PeapodMats are made with three layers -

TOP:  cotton terry for comfort and breathability, stitched grid to prevent bunching

MIDDLE:  cushioning fibers to absorb moisture

BOTTOM:  coated and brushed to prevent leaking and to grip surfaces

Unlike other products for kids, PeapodMats can be used for a lot of different purposes after bedwetting is over.  Think pregnancy, birthing, breastfeeding, co-sleeping, travel mat, vehicle seat protector, beach mat, park mat, tummy time mat, changing mat, playpen mat, bathing mat, nap mat, sleepovers, campouts, adult incontinence, bedrest, and much, much more.  

PeapodMats come in different sizes and colors.  Check out the helpful PeapodMats website for more information.  Visit their "Retailers" information to purchase, or visit Amazon to see what's in stock!  

Win a 3×3 PeapodMat, available in winner's choice of color, (in stock colors only.)  Enter in the Rafflecopter form below!  US only, one entry per day, per household.  Good luck!
PeapodMats for Bedwetting giveaway

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Our Disney World Adventure (Including How We Told The Boys!)

Back in October, we decided to plan a trip with a homeschooling group on their Disney World trip.  Families from all over the country planned to venture to Walt Disney World in Florida the first week of March, and we were very fortunate to be able to go.  We somehow managed to wait until two days before we left to tell the boys, and we did so with a fun scavenger hunt and final reveal…a video of Daddy and I telling them we were going to leave the cold weather and go to Disney World on Monday!  We had an absolute blast and I'm sure you will hear more about it later, but first…check out this fun video of our boys learning they were going to Disney World for the very first time!!  

So many people have said to wait until the boys were older so they could remember the trip, but this was just a perfect opportunity and in all honesty, they were the perfect age.  The Captain and D both love Disney Junior, still, so they were able to enjoy that part of Hollywood Studios together, along with Baby Brother.  D was too short for a few rides, but he's also very agreeable and happily went to other rides with Baby Brother and me.  Baby Brother was very easy going and made this whole experience the more wonderful.  And yes, he won't remember this trip, but his brothers will, and we will, and those memories are ones to cherish.  We didn't like the idea of having to wait until our youngest was 8 to enjoy a family vacation.  We are SO GLAD that we went.  It was magical, fun, and such a great vacation!

Disney World

And by the way, if you insist on waiting until all of your children will remember….my husband went to Disney when he was 11 and does not remember much, at all.  ha!  So sometimes, you never know!

Have you been to Disney World or Disney Land?  I'd love to hear about it!

Need to Keep Something Fresh, Dry, and Clean? Wrap It Up!

I have talked previously about how I am really trying to minimize the waste that our fridge produces.  (Okay, that we let happen by not taking care of it or not eating it quickly enough before it goes bad!)  I think we have done a great job at storing our food properly so we can make sure our food stays fresher, longer.  Our fridge is looking great and food is getting eaten which means, we are saving money!  Yay!  

I was on a mission to spread the food saving joy and visited the fridge at hubby's work the other day.  This fridge is used a lot.  It is used to store drinks, condiments, foods, and snacks to feed our church members, kids, and people from the community.  It sees a lot!  I opened the fridge and you know how it is, stuff just gets thrown in there in a rush because people are busy.  That particular day, I found a pitcher of juice that was covered with ClingWrap (which is great!), but there was also an opened can of chili and a package of cookies, opened, that wasn't sealed in any way.  I quickly wrapped these items up with Glad® Press‘n Seal® and put them back in the fridge.  That way, they will last longer and not have the icky fridge taste!

Glad Press'n SealI like to use Glad® Press‘n Seal® for wrapping up leftover pancakes and half eaten cups of yogurt.  It's a hassle free, simple, and even BPA free way to keep your foods fresh.

A great thing about Glad® Press‘n Seal® is for more than just food and beverages.   The boys and I brainstormed about what we could wrap in Glad® Press‘n Seal®.  The boys said it would be great to wrap their shoes and clothes and stick them in a backpack for a rainy campout.  That way, your clothes stay dry!  Also, I had the idea of wrapping diapers and tossing them in the diaper bag for rainy days.  This is even good for every day use, because I can't tell you how many times the diaper in my bag has been wet from leaky cups!  Wrapping up the emergency diaper is always a great idea.

Wrap Outside The Lines Glad Press'n Seal
 

Glad® is encouraging people to "Wrap Outside The Lines" with their fun contest.  Get creative for a chance to win a trip to ride a rooftop rollercoaster in Las Vegas!  Each week, you will have a different challenge.  Simply wrap it, snap a picture of it, and tweet it, along with @GetGlad and you're in!  Check out Wrap Outside the Lines for more information.

Glad Press'n Seal

Check out our fun video (and look for the awesome, unplanned "plank" from D:)

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Glad Food Protection. The opinions and text are all mine.

 

Easy Dot Art Shamrock Craft For Kids – St. Patrick’s Day

 

Easy Dot Art Shamrock Craft for Kids

Crafts are something that we all can agree on in this house.  The boys are excellent about coming up with their own crafts, but sometimes they need a little guidance to get started.  They love these Do A Dot Art! markers that Grammy gave to them and so I drew a shamrock (doesn't have to be perfect!) and let them dot around it.  The box says to only dot the markers, not drag them, so that adds another level of patience and skill to their crafting.  They seriously use these for everything.  We have made letters, their names, different drawings, and now these shamrock craft paintings.  They turned out really cute!

Materials needed:

Easy Dot Art Shamrock Craft

Directions:

1.  Draw or print an outline of a shamrock.

2.  Have child dot the marker all around the outline, then fill in the inside with green.

3.  Create a rainbow pattern with remaining colors (red, orange, yellow, blue, purple) and create a rainbow "behind" the shamrock.  We made two lines of dots for each color, then repeated the colors until there was no more white space showing.  

4.  Let dry (it doesn't take long) and display for St. Patrick's Day!

Shamrock craft
Easy Dot Art Shamrock Craft for Kids

To extend your child's learning, here are some fun St. Patrick's Day books for kids!

 

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