It’s Back To (Public) School For Us! {25% off coupon at OshKosh B’gosh, too!}

I participated in a Influencer Activation on behalf of Influence Central for OshKosh B’gosh. I received a promotional item to thank me for my participation.  #backtobgosh #BgoshJeanius

Osh Kosh B'GoshLast year, I homeschooled the boys.  It's what was right for our family at the time and given the opportunity, I'd do it all over again.  I'm so happy that I had extra time with my boys!  The Captain was in kindergarten and D followed right behind him, trying to do all that he did.  About mid-year, the Captain, who had major school anxiety in pre-k for months, started talking about maybe trying public school for first grade.  We talked about it a lot since then, and now he is fully on board and registered for first grade public school.  This mama is nervous, he's a bit apprehensive, (big word that his Grampy taught him!) and he convinced D (and us) that he needed to try pre-k, too.  They love being together and I think they will both do better knowing that Brother is there, too.

Well, now D is very apprehensive, so we are doing all that we can to encourage him and let him know that he will: A) have fun and B) be okay!  I hope to update you in a few weeks that things are going great.  Pray for us!!

The first step in back-to-school preparation is shopping, of course!  We went to OshKosh B'Gosh to get some great deals on clothing that we all can agree on.  The Captain loves his sporty clothes and D loves jeans and lucky for me, OshKosh is the perfect place for both!  They have great sales, coupons (check below for a great one,) clearance, and their clothes are great quality that will last.  

#backtobgosh #BgoshJeanius

D is my child that would rather run around in mismatched jammies and save all of his money that he earns.  The Captain is always talking him into spending his money on different things, most of the time, it's gum.  D would spend $20 on just gum if we let him.  I wanted him to be excited about going to school and wearing new clothes, but he was not so thrilled to go shopping for clothes.  When he laid eyes on this awesome shirt, though, he was sold.  Throw in some jeans and some sporty clothes, and he was done.  He quickly tried them on and then it was back to being silly 4 year-old.  

The Captain grabbed four times as many clothes as D and enjoyed every second of the whole clothes shopping process.  They are two totally different personalities!  Neither of them are crazy about trying clothes on, but when it involves a large dressing room with your family, then it's not so bad.

[Read more…]

Things That Stress Me Out and How To Relieve The Stress of Parenthood

This blog post is part of a paid SocialMoms and RESCUE blogging program. The opinions and ideas expressed here are my own.  #StressLess2BMyBest  Relieve the stress of parenthood!

There is nothing like becoming a parent to quickly figure out what truly stresses you out.  For me, I have about three things that really get under my skin and have made me go a wee bit crazy in the past.  As the boys have grown older, I have learned that life happens and not to stress out about it, but it has taken some practice! 

1.  Spills and crumbs – One time the Captain spilled a whole can of salted mixed nuts all over and under and inside of our couch.  I was furious.  I tried to hold it together as I stomped to the hallway to get the vacuum cleaner.  I think he was 2 or 3 then, and he was just trying to serve himself a delicious snack.  We found nuts and salt for months after that, though.  I was reminded of this incident tonight when Baby Brother grabbed a bag of popcorn we had bought at the zoo and dumped it all over the carpet.  Instead of getting mad, I just stayed calm and vacuumed it up without yelling or stomping or anything.  I'm not sure how I reacted when D pulled this stunt and ate dirt out of our houseplant:

RESCUE

2.  Sick kids – I know, that makes me a horrible mother.  I just can't deal with sick, whiny kids for very long.  I love to hold them, cuddle them, administer medicine to make them feel better, but if I can't help them, I feel helpless, and that stresses me out.  And what's worse is when they're sick and cannot tell me what hurts or what would make them feel better.  Again, I've learned to be patient and do what I can and realize that I cannot always solve their problems.  Time will heal them and I just have to make them comfortable.

3.  Kids that don't sleep – Sometimes I cannot believe I'm still dealing with this one.  Seriously.  Baby Brother is 16 months old and he will go a few weeks sleeping mostly through the night and then, bam!  Newborn mode activated.  I try to be patient, but being woken up three times between the hours of 11 PM and 6 AM is NOT fun.  I think I'm patient the first two times but after that…nope.  I get mad.  And stressed.  And hubby usually gets the brunt of it.  I'm working on it!

I have learned that yelling benefits no one, kids deserve respect, accidents happen, and we are all human and make mistakes.  I have also prayed for patience and matured through my years of being a mother.  I think I have done alright, but we all have our moments!  I think a big thing that helps is to laugh it off.  If I cannot laugh about something, I'm probably more tempted to yell, so I've been trying to find the humor in all potentially stressful situations. Along with finding the humor, these are five ways that I relieve the stress when these parenting stressors come up!

stress

1. Ask for help – We moms think that we are showing a sign of weakness if we ask for help, but really, we cannot do it all.  I've learned to ask for help from Hubby, friends, family, etc, when we need it.  It benefits my children because it allows me to lessen the stress and recharge.  Last week when I had been sick for ten days, I asked my parents to take the older two boys and I felt better because my sons were being taken care of and not forced to sit around just because Mommy was sick.  They got bonding time with their extended family and I got some extra rest.  

2.  Say no – Some may think I say  no too much, but I just have learned when I have to say no to things.  If I'm not confident that a situation will be doable, I say no.  Sure I feel guilty, but it's okay to say  no!

3.  Do whatever works best for your family.  People love to give advice and that's okay, but in the end, you have to do what's best for your family.  I had to wear Baby Brother a LOT when he was an infant because it's what worked for us.  It worked for him and worked for me and we were happy.  Same thing with when the Captain had a cot in our floor for when he was scared in the middle of the night.  It worked for him, it worked for us, it was better than the alternatives, and we all got sleep.  And you know….he did grow out of that phase!

4.  Find a hobby you love and let go of the stress.  If you have a lot of stress built up, it's important to let it go.  Whether it's gardening, cooking, watching a movie, running, or something completely different, do what you love and let go of the stress!  Channel your inner Elsa and LET IT GO!

family playdates

Be ready for anything your children throw at you with Rescue!  AND, click on the image below to download a BOGO coupon and be entered for a chance to win prizes from Bose and GoPro in the RESCUE #StressLess2BMyBest Sweepstakes.

RESCUE

 

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

Purchase the Perfect Christmas Outfit at OshKosh B’gosh With This Coupon!

This post was brought to you by OshKosh B'gosh and Influence Central.  All opinions are mine.

(ad) OshKosh 25% off Coupons #IC #GIVEHAPPY

Are you still looking for the perfect Christmas pajamas or outfit for your littles?  Enjoy this 25% off coupon to OshKosh B'gosh and stock up!  The coupon is good through the end of the year and can be used in store and online!  Have fun shopping and Merry Christmas!

Visit SEA LIFE Aquarium in Grapevine This Spring!

This post was brought to you by Sea Life Aquarium in Grapevine.  All opinions are mine.

We visited SEA LIFE Aquarium in Grapevine about two years ago, and the Captain still talks about how cool it was and how we should go back.  He was only two and D was seven months old, but we all had a blast!

fish

turtle

SEA LIFE Aquarium in Grapevine, Texas has over 5,000 sea creatures, 30 incredible displays and a 360 degree ocean tunnel! SEA LIFE Aquarium will transport you into the amazing underwater world. Come nose to nose with sharks and prepare for astonishingly close views of everything from humble starfish and seahorses to graceful rays. If you are shark lover or seahorse fanatic, SEA LIFE will astound you!  You'll see the graceful rays or the clever octopus, too! that you love the most.  You can see them all – from the curious and the rescued to the rare and the enigmatic. And you'll be able to get closer to them than ever before.

Please present this coupon to the SEA LIFE Grapevine Aquarium Admissions Center to receive one free child ticket with the purchase of a full-price standard admission ticket. This coupon is not valid with pre-purchased online tickets nor can it be combined with any other offer or discount. Valid up to (4) free child tickets per coupon with the purchase of (4) adult tickets. Child ticket only valid on the day of purchase. 

Sea Life Aquarium Grapevine, Texas

 

Save Money on Natural Peanut Butter, Help National Parks

I participated in a campaign on behalf of Mom Central Consulting (#MC) for Smucker’s. I will receive a promotional item as a thank you for participating.

I've always been a big fan of peanut butter and the Captain is a fan, as well.  Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, of course, peanut butter and jelly bagels, peanut butter bars, and my all time favorite childhood snack – peanut butter banana with crushed graham crackers.  Peanut butter is really good for you if it's natural and no gross oil is added, which is pretty popular amongst the popular peanut butter out there.  After examining all of the jars of peanut butter at the grocery store, I finally decided on Smucker's Natural peanut butter because it only contains peanuts and a little tiny bit of salt.  That's all we need and it is so, so delicious.  

crushed graham crackers

This January, our favorite brand, Smucker's, along with Laura Scudder's, and Adams Natural peanut butter have teamed up for a $100,000 donation to the National Parks Conservation Association's America's Great Waters program.  Look for a .25 cents off coupon on store shelves toward a jar of these naturally delicious peanut butters.  For every coupon redeemed by March 24, 2014, Smucker's will donate $1 to the NPCA, up to an additional $50,000.  What more of a reason do you need to try natural peanut butter?

natural peanut butter

 

Kukees – The Perfect Gift For Anyone On Your List!

gift ideas

box

Kukees is a brand of artisan cookies that is one-of-a-kind!  Each cookie is handmade with the purest ingredients.  There are never any preservatives or hydrogenated oils, just lots of flavor and three grams of fiber!

We had the delicious opportunity to review a box of Kukees!  They came in a pretty pink box (shown above) and we were excited to sample their Mix It Up Box, which contains two of each of the original Kukee flavors – Double Chocolate Chip, Dark Chocolate Cherry, White Chocolate Macadamia, Triple Raisin Oatmeal, Peanut Butter Banana, and Reese's Peanut Butter Cup!

I love how the Kukees came…freshly baked in a cute box with drawers, even!

get caught

Our family LOVED trying the box of Kukees!  I mean, who wouldn't, but they were really good!  The Captain's favorite, as well as mine, was the Reese's Peanut Butter Cup cookie:

chocolate peanut butter

You can see all of the yummy goodness in the cookie!  And every single cookie we ate was exactly like that, full of yumminess!

cookie

They other flavors in the box were equally as delicious!  White Chocolate Macadamia was the Hubby's favorite!  

Kukees would be a great gift for anyone on your list, including teachers, bosses, grandparents, or anyone who would enjoy a special treat like Kukees!  You can choose from different flavors and right now, there are four additional holiday flavors – Gingerbread Chocolate, Pumpkin White Chocolate, Turtle Kukee, and Cranberry Orange Zest with White Chips.  Yum!   Each box of a dozen cookies (in any variation) sells for $49 each at the Kukees website.

Like Kukees on Facebook and then sign up to get 40% off your first box!  Follow Kukees on Twitter, as well!

Save on Admission at Denton’s Water Works Park! #WaterWorksUSF

Are you in the Dallas/Ft. Worth, Texas area or are you planning a trip here this summer?  If so, make sure to visit Denton's Water Works Park!  This awesome water park features four giant water slides, a children's play pool, a continuously flowing river, sand volleyball court, outdoor amphitheater, party and picnic pavilions, concessions, and more!  The rates are very reasonably priced for some summer fun – adults and kids 48" and over get in for only $11!  For kids under 48", admission is $7, kids under two are free!  And if you're not going to swim, admission is only $5.  They offer great season passes and a monthly pass, as well.  Right now, you can get a $3 off coupon to print out and present at Water Works Park.  (one coupon per person and not valid with any other offer.)

 

Coffee-Mate Natural Bliss creamers are simple and delicious! #cbias #NaturalBlissWM

I love coffee.  It's essential to my mornings and I love sipping hot coffee with creamer.  However, I don't like all of the hard to pronounce ingredients on my regular bottle of creamer and I don't like using just half and half or milk, so I was THRILLED to get to try the all natural Coffee-Mate Natural Bliss creamers, that have only four ingredients.

We were out and about, so we decided to head over to Walmart to pick up some Coffee-Mate Natural Bliss creamers: 

The Natural Bliss creamers were easy to find in their crisp, white bottles in the dairy section.  This Walmart only carried three of the four flavors – Vanilla, Caramel, and Sweet Cream.  They did not have low-fat Vanilla in stock.  I couldn't decide which flavor to get, so I bought all three.  I figured mixing the creamers would be good, too!  They were very reasonably priced at around $2.28 each.

I checked the label and sure enough, only four ingredients!

 

 

Since we are not evening coffee drinkers, I had to wait until the following morning to try out the Natural Bliss creamers.  We like freshly ground, freshly brewed coffee, so while I waited for it to brew, I had to choose which flavor of Natural Bliss I wanted to try first.  Vanilla?  Sweet Cream?  Caramel?

 

 All the flavors sounded delicious, but I finally decided on Sweet Cream.

I was really blown away by the yummy, pure tasting flavor of the Sweet Cream Natural Bliss creamer.  Nothing tasted artifical at all and my cup of coffee was perfect.

I think the other two flavors, Vanilla and Caramel, are yummy, too, and I'd buy them if Sweet Cream wasn't available, but Sweet Cream Natural Bliss is definitely my favorite!

What flavor would you like to try first?  Do you like the idea that Natural Bliss creamers are ALL NATURAL and have only four ingredients?  

If you want to try some Coffee-Mate Natural Bliss creamer from Walmart, make sure you go to the Walmart website to print a coupon for $1 off two Natural Bliss creamers!  Visit the Coffee-Mate Natural Bliss website to learn more and make sure to follow Natural Bliss on Facebook, too!

Make sure to check out our full shopping trip at my Coffee-Mate Natural Bliss photo album on Google + and see what part of our shopping trip was the boys' favorite!

This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights
study for Collective Bias. #CBias All opinions are my own.