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

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

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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!

Avoid The Doctor’s Office with Doctor on Demand {free code}

All three of the boys were born during cold and flu season.  I always hated bundling them up and hauling them to a waiting room full of people with various illnesses.  Thankfully, they never caught anything from the doctor's office (that happens later when they touch everything,) but it still would have been nice to have other options.  Well, now you have a great option for staying home when you definitely do not feel like going anywhere.  Doctor on Demand is a healthcare service that allows parents and kids to stay in the comfort of their own home and receive quality medical attention.  Patients can receive Video Visits with board certified physicians, psychologists, and even lactation consultants via smartphones, tablets, and desktop computers.

A few months ago, I tried out the Doctor on Demand app for the first time.  It was fantastic for helping with Baby Brother's bad face eczema.  We were between well child check-ups and I did not want to lug three kids to the doctor and pay an insane fee, but we did need medical advice.  Perfect scenario for Doctor on Demand.  Another good opportunity came up recently where the staff at the boys' clinic actually called to ask if we would wait until Spring to bring the older two boys in for their well child check-ups because they had been having SO many come in with the flu and other viruses.  Of course I said yes, but that also meant that we had to delay asking about a few things for the boys.  That's when I knew Doctor on Demand would come to the rescue, again.

I opened up the Doctor on Demand app and entered all of the Captain's info…age, symptoms, etc.  We then were put in a virtual "waiting room" while we were connected to a doctor.  The wait was about 2 minutes, which was beyond reasonable.  I wait 2 minutes just to see the receptionist at the boys' clinic.

doctor on demand

We were connected to Dr. Olson.  He was very kind and introduced himself to the Captain and I. That's another thing about Doctor on Demand….you do NOT have to get dressed up and ready to go to the doctor when you feel bad already.  Look at my crazy hair!  I don't even care!  Doctor on Demand

Dr. Olson was so nice to us and listened to what I had to say.  He had me use the app to take a picture of a rash that the Captain had and send it to him.  He looked at it after it sent and made a diagnosis.  He then gave information about how to treat it and take care of it, and offered to call in a prescription to treat it, as well.  He also said that if it did not clear up in 2 weeks, to follow up with his regular physician.

With our insurance, a visit like this with the Captain's doctor would have been around $120.  (We don't pay copays, but do have a low deductible.)  Add in the cost of gas and loading up three kids in the van, sitting in the waiting room, being exposed to other sick people, waiting at the drugstore, etc.  Doctor on Demand saved us SO MUCH time, money, and possibly more sickness.  (While we were given a code to use for a free visit, it would have cost $40 for a 15 minute call.)

Doctor on Demand has a great promotion for the month of February.  First time visits are FREE this month!  If you think you or someone in your family has the flu?  Free consultation with a doctor.  Weird looking rash?  Free consultation with a doctor.  Then, if you do end up needing to follow up with your regular doctor, you won't be out any extra money.  Sounds great, huh?  Use code "CAPTAIN15" for your first FREE Doctor on Demand call!

I was also thrilled to see that you can visit with lactation consultants and psychologists.  Do you know how many people NEED to visit a lactation consultant or psychologist but don't due to anxiety, transportation issues, fussy babies, or other reasons?  I think that Doctor on Demand is doing a fabulous service for the people that truly need it the most.  

Learn more at the Doctor on Demand website and download the app today!

#FeelBetter

Encourage Independence With A Packing Checklist for Kids {free printable + giveaway, too!}

This packing checklist for kids shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #GNKroger #CollectiveBias

 

#GNKroger #CollectiveBias restroom

Our boys are six and four and LOVE the idea of going to stay the night at their grandparents' houses.  They love their grandparents, but they still get a bit anxious when being away from home without us.  They do have each other, thank goodness, because I do not think they would actually stay at Grandma's house otherwise.  I want them to be comfortable when sleeping away from home and the first step to being comfortable is to take things that they are familiar with that provide comfort.  I also like to encourage independence by making a packing checklist for them to think about what they need, what the weather will be like, and what will make them feel most comfortable and enjoy the night at Grandma's.  (Click the image below for a free printable to download.)

 

Packing Checklist for kids

D is four and has been potty trained since he was two and a half.  He potty trained pretty easily, but we soon learned that night time was a whole different ball game!  We learned that bedwetting really has nothing to do with daytime potty training.  Many parents don't realize that bedwetting is a fairly common, developmental condition and they can't "train" their child out of it.  We did a lot of things like try to limit drinks after a certain time (yeah right!  If  my child is thirsty, I want him to drink!)  We also used different motivators to get him to want to wake up and use the restroom in the middle of the night but the truth is…he is a very deep sleeper, which is EXCELLENT for every thing except the issue of bedwetting.  The poor guy would wake up completely soaked and sometimes…he will not even wake at all!  I have checked on them multiple times at 4 or 5 AM and D is wet and snoozing away.  So yeah, it is definitely not something that we can train him not to do.  (According to a GoodNites® brand study, it's estimated that 1 in 6 children between the ages of 4-12 in the United States suffer from nocturnal enuresis, more commonly known as bedwetting.)

 

#GNKroger

So the next step was to accept it and not make a big deal out of it.  That's where GoodNites® disposable underwear come in.  We keep a stash in his underwear/sock drawer, he wears them under his pajamas and he stays dry all night long.  If it's wet in the morning, no big deal.  He will grow out of bedwetting eventually.  

 

#GNKroger

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

GoodNites® products are easy to find at Kroger and it lessens the embarassment for him when I am able to just throw them in the cart hurriedly and then go find new and fun fruits in the produce section!

GoodNites Disposable Underwear

 

Research from the American Academy of Pediatrics shows that psychologically, children who wet the bed do not want to participate in fun activities, such as sleepovers, because of their fear and embarrassment.  D is able to enjoy his trip to Grandma's without worrying about wetting her bed because of GoodNites® disposable underwear.  That's why it is at the first of his packing checklist, because it's so important to make a fun, enjoyable, comfortable experience where the boys can enjoy their time with Grandma!

#GNKroger

I have shared with you what makes me feel comfortable sending my kids to an overnight stay at Grandma's.  What items do you make sure never to let your children forget? 

 

Enter to win the Pull-Ups and GoodNites Potty Training Sweepstakes!   There are 7 opportunities to win – 5 $100 Kroger gift cards and 2 potty training packs valued at $200 each!

Pull-Ups and GoodNites Potty Training Sweepstakes

Learning About Presidents’ Day {Plus a DIY Presidential Timeline!}

This Presidents' Day post was brought to you by Oriental Trading Company.  All opinions are mine.  This post contains affiliate links at no additional cost to you.

The Captain and D are both very intrigued by countries and leaders.  They love learning about the different countries, capitals, and lately, the presidents of the United States of America.  Presidents' Day is coming up in February, so I wanted to provide them with many opportunities to become acquainted with some of our great leaders from the past!  Homeschooling this year has given me freedom to teach different things that the boys show interest in, at their levels, and tie it in to other subjects and things they need to learn.

The first thing the Captain wanted to do was play this presidential matching game from Oriental Trading Company. There were far too many cards to begin with, so we found the matches and only played with about 1/4 of them.  It was fun to find the different matches and hear the Captain try to pronounce their names.  He does pretty well, but it is still very cute!  Each president has two cards – one blue and one red – with different, interesting facts.  We learned a lot about the presidents this way, plus it was fun.  Fun education is the best kind! 

presidentialmatchinggame2The boys also flipped over the presidents door border, (which is a steal at $1.38 right now, if you're interested!)  All of the presidents are displayed, along with their names, years that they served as president, and they are all in order, as well.  What a great way to capture the history of our country and a fabulous way to introduce the boys to a love of history.  The Captain loved quizzing my parents via FaceTime about some of these men, too!presidential door frameThe most fun the boys had in our study of the presidents was the fun masks!  12 presidential faces were fun to play with.  From George Washington and Abraham Lincoln to Barack Obama….they love to pretend to be the presidents and try to talk like they think they might have talked.  These masks would be great for plays or pretending to give important speeches. 
presidentsday

That's definitely not all, just search for "presidents" at Oriental Trading and see the great teaching tools you can find.  

I used one of the 12 president rulers that came in a pack to create our very own presidential timeline.  I simply cut the presidents' faces out, which had their names and years served underneath, and made a timeline using sentence strips.  Each year was represented with a half of an inch (great since I had a ruler right there, ha!)  Then, I wrote each president's name in red marker and the Captain came along and matched each picture to the name.  Seeing it all on a timeline was educational to me, too, because I could see how many years (or days – some presidents didn't get to serve for very long!) each president was in office, how many terms, and incouraged the boys to ask questions about each president.  I mentioned earlier how the Captain was excited to talk about the presidents with his grandparents and show them his timeline….what a great way to learn even more and practice skills like math, writing, matching, measuring, and much more, all while having good conversation with his relatives!  

DIY Presidential Timeline for Presidents' Day

Materials needed:

DIY Presidential Timeline

Instructions:

  1. Write the years that began each presidential term, counting 1/2" for each year, using the presidential timeline ruler.  
  2. With a different color, write each corresponding president's name above the spot on the timeline that they served as president.
  3. Cut out each president's picture.
  4. Match each president's picture to the time period that they served and glue or tape to secure.
  5. Display your timeline and enjoy being able to visualize the history of our nation!

 

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Simple Textured Paint Football Craft for Kids

Simple Textured Craft for Kids

We are gearing up for the youth group Super Bowl party at our house on Sunday.  The boys want to decorate and have made a few posters for the big event already, but we needed some more football decor.  The Captain created this adorable textured paint football craft for kids and it turned out great!

Materials Needed:

Directions:

  1. Cut a football shape out of a plain piece of white paper.  (Can freehand or use a template.)
  2. Lay football cutout on a sheet of bubble wrap.Simple Textured Craft for Kids  
  3. Wrap more bubble wrap around the end of a glue bottle, then secure with a rubber band.  This will be your "brush."
  4. Use the bubble wrap covered bottle to dab into paint and onto the football.  This creates the texture effect.
  5. Once the football is covered in brown paint, let dry.
  6. When paint is completely dry, cut felt pieces for the lines and stitching on the football and glue on.
  7. Allow to dry overnight and hang for your Super Bowl party or wall art!

Simple Textured Craft for Kids

Simple Textured Craft for Kids

Looking for more fun Super Bowl activities for kids?  Print a copy of my free Super Bowl XLIX Word Search!

 

 

*contains affiliate links at no extra cost to you*

Three Ways To Keep Your Children Learning Over The Holidays (With Little Effort On Your Part!)

ImagicademyWe are going through a major slump in the homeschool area these days.  November and December are jam packed with the three boys' birthdays, Thanksgiving, Christmas, travel, and more.  It is hard for me to stay focused on what I am supposed to be doing, but it is even harder for the Captain.  Understandably, he and D would rather be playing, making Christmas crafts, or talking about our plans for the holidays.  It is times like these that I want them to enjoy learning and have fun without even realize they are practicing their math skills and learning.  

shopping

1.  Let them get involved and ask questions.  If you're shopping, let them create a list.  Let them weigh some apples.  Let them add the items with a calculator. If you're baking, talk about what you are doing.  Let them help, if possible.  I KNOW it can be stressful to let littles help, but letting them dump in a cup of flour is not going to hurt anything, I promise.  Talk about how four 1/4 cups make a whole, just like four quarters make a dollar.  Another good idea is to talk about how many miles to Grandma's house, how long it will take, etc.  Talk about math and other subjects and repetition will make it stick!

book

2.  Have them create a book.  Staple some printer paper together, lay out some markers, and let them draw and write to their heart's content.  Tell them to write a story and illustrate it.  Make it a gift for Grandma or even you and your spouse for Christmas.  They will put more effort into it if they are allowed full creativity and ownership and even MORE if it is a gift.  

3.  Quality learning apps.  I have always believed that using technology for education is a good thing.  The boys can sometimes learn things from apps that I have a hard time explaining.  Last week I downloaded a new app – Mickey's Magical Math World from Disney Imagicademy for this purpose exactly.  It has been great for the Captain!  It is great review and because D is always looking on, it's a great learning tool for him, as well.  The games are created where you need to use your math skills, but you don't even realize you're using math!

Mickey's Magical Math World

There are five major areas of Mickey's Magical Math World:  Shapes, Sorting, Add & Subtract, Problem Solving, and Count Along.  There are different levels to each area, which makes it great for the boys.  I am also able to track and monitor their progress with the Disney Imagicademy: Parents' App.

MickeyMickey's Magical Math World is a fun-filled space adventure where kids can explore, recognize, and identify shapes with Mickey's Rocket Build.  Minnie's Robot Playground is where kids play with numbers and patterns.  This part is great for D!  Other areas are Donald's Alien Number Line, and Donald's Sleepwalking Aliens, where kids make patterns and use sorting skills with Goofy.

I mentioned the Parents' App earlier.  Imagicademy: Parents is a free app that allows parents to connect with other parents in the Imagicademy community.  It also gives us parents inspiration and ideas to encourage our children to learn and grow.  And of course, it allows us to monitor our child's progress and see their creations!

Disney Imagicademy

I'll be honest in that I do not like to pay for apps because the Captain goes through them so quickly.  However, Mickey's Math World is very engaging and there are many different parts to explore.  He loves to play it!

Download Mickey's Magical Math World (exclusively for Apple iPad) and Disney Imagicademy: Parents today and keep kids learning and engaged over the holidays!  Also explore the Imagicademy website.  Imagicademy is the new learning brand from Disney created for families with children ages 3-8.  The purpose is engaging and enriching children through the power of imagination and creativity.  The interconnected system of apps will build on each other to reinforce learning concepts in immersive and playful ways.

Imagicademy has great advice, apps, and activities to encourage learning and togetherness with your kids!  You can also sign up to receive news, updates, and special offers.  There is a free community parent portal, free Disney Store events, books and magazines, and hands-on learning tools that extend the digital experience to the physical world.  

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

D is FOUR! {birthday interview}

birthday interview

"Baby" D is F-O-U-R years old!  It is absolutely crazy that my sweet baby is so OLD.  I started this blog when he was about four months old, so he really has grown up here.  He is a great middle child….a great little brother and best friend to the Captain and big brother to his Baby Brother.  He is protective, sensitive, joyous, and keeps us laughing all of the time.  Happy birthday, sweet boy!  Here are his answers to our family tradition – the birthday interview:

How old are you?  four

What is your favorite color?  blue and yellow and green

What is your favorite thing to drink?  water

What is your favorite toy?  Duplos

Who are your favorite friends?  my brothers and cousins

What do you like to do?  play with Duplos

What do you want to be when you grow up?  "youth group" (youth minister)

What color is your hair?  brown

What color are your eyes?  blue

What is your favorite sport?  every sport

What is your favorite song?  "In A World Like This"

What do you like to do with Daddy?  play wrestle time

What do you like to do with Mommy?  hug her

What do you like to do with the Captain?  tickling

What do you like to do with Baby Brother?  hold him

What is your favorite restaurant?  Pizza Inn

What is easy for you to do?  color

What is hard for you to do?  do math

What is your favorite think about homeschool?  math

What is your favorite thing about church? singing

What is your favorite thing to wear?  my rock star shirt

What is your favorite show?  Diego

What is your favorite book?  "Harold and the Purple Crayon"

What has been your favorite place to visit?  Grandma and Grammy and Grampy

What was your favorite thing to do when you were 3?  go to Grammy and Grampy's house

Homemade Christmas Gak Recipe (Scented With Thieves Oil)

Homemade Christmas Gak

Christmas will soon be here but until then, there is a lot of time to fill!  Kids who are out for the holidays plus parents who have a lot to do to get ready for the big day means that we have to pull a few tricks out of our hats.  Here is a fabulous DIY for something the kids love and can spend hours creating with!  Homemade Christmas gak is perfect for preschoolers (who aren't tempted to eat stuff) all the way through adults who love to play with squishy gak.  And, it can be scented to smell like Christmas with thieves oil or cinnamon spice.  

Ingredients:

  • two 4 oz bottles of Elmer's school glue
  • one tsp Borax
  • food coloring (we used green and red, but the red only turned out pink so I abandoned it)
  • warm water
  • 3-4 drops of Thieves oil (I use Eden's Garden) or a few dashes of cinnamon

Directions:

  1. Pour both bottles of glue into a bowl.
  2. Fill each empty bottle with warm water, shake them up to get the rest of the glue off, and then pour into the bowl with glue.
  3. Add food coloring.  (It took a LOT of green food coloring to get the color in my picture, and like I said the red was just pink forever, so I gave up on that.)
  4. Fill a cup with 1/2 cup of warm water.
  5. Add 1 teaspoon of Borax to the warm water (not the glue mix yet) and mix well until it is dissolved. 
  6. Pour the Borax/water mixture to the bowl of glue/water mixture and stir with a wooden spoon.  Then ditch the wooden spoon and mix with your hands.  Keep at it until it is all mixed well and it is all the same color.
  7. Let the kids have at it!  Bring out cookie cutters, pizza cutters, rollers, anything to make it more fun!
  8. Store in a jar when done.

Notes:  *The thieves oil might make it harder to mix well, but keep at it and it will turn out fine.  *Remind kids to not put the Gak in their mouths and to wash their hands after playing with it.  *If the kids get it on their clothes like mine did, (because doesn't everyone love to SIT on their Gak? Ugh!) just immediately pick off any that you can and rub with warm water and then wash.  It came out well and didn't stain, but with the food coloring and oil, it made me a little nervous.

Homemade Christmas Gak is a great way to pass the time during snow days and would make a great, inexpensive gift or stocking stuffer!