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The Best Time to Be a Kid with Gymboree

This post is sponsored by Gymboree. All thoughts and opinions are solely my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that support this blog.

Gymboree Holiday Girl Boy Toddler Style

As I put the plaid jacket on my baby I got all the fuzzy feelings a new mother gets. This was his first time meeting Santa. Of course he won’t remember it, but a mother doesn’t usually forget these “firsts.” And while it probably wasn’t magical for him that first time, I know it was magical for us as parents. And I know that once he got older, along with his siblings, meeting Santa was a surreal moment. That was the start of our holiday traditions. Well we didn’t really think of them as traditions at first but it was something we did as a family. Looking back, these were the early days of our traditions as a family of 3 and now we are a family of 6, soon to be 7.Gymboree Holiday Girl Boy Toddler Style

Now, as a family, we have a lot of things we love to do for the holiday: skiing, driving to see the Christmas lights on homes, sipping Peruvian hot chocolate with Panettone, handing out gifts to the homeless downtown. Whatever it is that we are doing, we love doing it together.  And we love being outside. Well, the kids love being outside. I prefer to stay warm but since it is family time I sacrifice- haha!Gymboree Holiday Girl Boy Toddler StyleMadeleine: bird long sleeve | puffy jacket  (she’s pretty petite but the 2T fit her a little too snug- maybe size up?) | pink knee socks | duck boots | cupcake purse | bunny hat (not pictured)

One of our favorite holiday traditions is going to Breakfast with Santa. We’ve done it every year since we had a tiny baby and wherever we’ve lived we’ve visited with Santa while eating delicious food (can you tell I love food?) We like to walk around afterwards because…well…all the food we’ve eaten. Our kids love meeting Santa. We’ve only had a couple of meltdowns due to “stranger danger” but for the most part my kids are so excited to tell Santa what they’d like for Christmas. I like to tell my kids that they may ask for things for themselves but they should also think about what others may like and request it on their behalf (like in this printable letter to Santa). We love to see their little faces light up as they see Santa and he tells them about his North Pole friends. Even though we just witnessed the whole thing, they then love to tell us all about their experience, through their innocent and wondrous eyes. How magical is it to be a kid? And aren’t the holidays the best time to be a kid?Gymboree Holiday Girl Boy Toddler Style Gymboree Holiday Girl Boy Toddler Style

While our oldest is getting to the age where he will soon find out about Santa, we are trying to keep the magic and the spirit of Santa alive: the love, generosity, goodwill, miracles, service and selflessness. So when our kids think of Christmas and the holidays, I hope they think of these times we spent as a family and the bonds they’ve created with each other. They they remember the magic they felt as kids and pass those on to their own children. I remember the magic my parents created for us. And believe me it is even more magical to create these memories for our kids. It adds the flurries to my heart and I can’t help but feel this genuine love for them that is sometimes clouded by busy schedules and the chaos of parenthood.Gymboree Holiday Girl Boy Toddler Style

Included in the chaos of parenthood: finding clothes for 4 kids…..a daunting task. I turn to good quality stores like Gymboree that offer sturdy and fashionable clothes for all my kids. It’s a one stop shop that I can visit from the comfort of my own home at my own time. Because I really would rather be shopping late at night while my kids are sleeping than take time away during the holiday season. A bonus is that they have nice clothes (win for me) and fun designs like sharks, dinosaurs, unicorns, etc. (win for the kids) done in a non-kitschy manner (win for humanity).

Gymboree Holiday Girl Boy Toddler StyleAdelle: flamingo long sleeve | jeweled jeans | knit cardigan | pink knee socks | duck boots | puffy polka dot jacket | underwear | unicorn headband (not pictured) | bunny gloves (meant for toddler but fit Adelle!) Gymboree Holiday Girl Boy Toddler Style

Oliver: navy puffer vest | brown high topsbriefsshark socksolive lined pantswaffle teedino pull over | striped beanie Gymboree Holiday Girl Boy Toddler Style

Ashton: fuzzy camo vest | geo bear pullover | striped waffle tee | olive lined pants | octopus socksbrown high topscamo beanie | briefs

Do you have a favorite Christmas/Holiday Tradition you did with your family growing up or have one now with your own children? Make sure whatever you do, whether it’s taking a stroll outside to making cookies and watching holiday movies, to check out Gymboree’s holiday collection where they have cool and casual outfits or darling dress up outfits like this so you can jump on the bed…Gymboree Holiday Girl Boy Toddler Styleor look nice for a holiday picture!  Gymboree Holiday Girl Boy Toddler Style

rose print dress

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Snacking On-the-Go with goodnessKNOWS

This post is sponsored by goodnessKNOWS. As always these opinions are all my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that support this blog.

“Go, go go! Grab your shoes. Do you have your water bottle?”

“Grab your book, please! Do you have your bag?”

“Make sure you have your ballet shoes! Do you have your sweater?”

Managing a household with 4 kids each with their own activities can be a lot to handle. To be honest, it isn’t that they have a lot of activities it is just that there are a lot of kids! As a work at home mom I also have to make sure that I am managing my own schedule and deadlines. It can be easy to put the kids’ needs and my clients’ needs first. Sometimes so much so that I’d grab a handful of whatever my kids didn’t eat or something that just wasn’t a suitable meal replacement. And if you’ve followed this blog long enough you’ll know how much I love my food. I knew that something had to change and I would have to have something that was actually good for me handy in my diaper bag. goodnessKNOWS squares are full of good ingredients and made without artificial flavors, sweeteners and colors. Sounds like a good snack to have available for those moments where I need to walk the kids into their activities with a few minutes to spare…or a few minutes late. Still working on that getting places on time thing. 

As we speak (umm…read?) I am munching on these delicious squares. With six different flavors these squares will provide a variety to your weekly snack rotation. There are four squares of deliciousness and for those that count your calories, only 150 calories in the whole pack – about 40 per square. Even with that, they are still satiating with the crunchiness of nuts and for those with a sweet tooth, dark chocolate. Which one is my favorite? That’s a hard choice but start with the peach, cherry & almond or strawberry & peanut. They really all are so good. Keep one in the car for emergency snacking, as well as your bag… and anywhere else. goodnessKNOWS squares are available here or on Amazon. Make sure to use this coupon if you buy on Amazon. Make sure to follow goodnessKNOWS on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook.

For my local Seattle friends, you can sample goodnessKNOWS squares around the city:

  • Where’s Waldo Run, Cowan Park, October 28
  • Northwest Chocolate Festival, November 11-12 (9am – 5pm)
  • Seattle Marathon, November 26

 

Trust me, you’ll want to try these. They aren’t dry but still has that satisfying crunch.

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

 

 

 

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Caring for Your Skin with Neutrogena

This post was sponsored by Neutrogena and contains affiliate links. All opinions are solely my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that support this blog!

photo by christina judd

As I was walking down the hall, I could hear my mom humming in the bathroom. The door was open so I peeked in and saw Madeleine sitting on the counter swinging her legs hitting the cabinets under her. She had a makeup brush in her hand and brushed it along her face haphazardly. She looked up at my mom and imitated my mom as she brushed her hair. My mother nostalgically shared that I used to do the same thing when I was Madeleine’s age. It was such a beautiful moment witnessing granddaughter and grandmother. The funny thing is that my mom doesn’t look like a grandmother.

She often would get mistaken for my sister and people still don’t believe she has a 32 year old daughter and is a grandmother. Great genes? Definitely. But for as long as I can remember, she always put on face creams. I’m pretty sure she even told me years ago that I should start taking care of my face even before things like wrinkles showed up. She advised me to prevent or diminish things that come with age but of course I was just too lazy to have a skin routine. I barely would wipe my face with the makeup remover wipes. I just felt “too young” to be worrying about my skin, wrinkles and age spots. But now, I kind of want to be just like my mom. Continue reading Caring for Your Skin with Neutrogena

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Recipe: Chili Bean and Quinoa Tacos

This post was sponsored by S&W Beans and all opinions expressed in my post are my own.


You know how some days you think that maybe feeding your family grilled cheese and cereal again probably isn’t a great idea. I get in a making dinner rut, too. I just don’t want to make it. But because I’m the only one that cooks I just have to do it- even if it is something simple. Continue reading Recipe: Chili Bean and Quinoa Tacos

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Party Ideas: Unicorn Inspired Bubble Wands

If a tutorial is really just one step, is it really a tutorial? I guess this tutorial really is indicative of my life right now. I’m taking it easy and enjoying my time with my baby…who’s 2. Ha! The other kids are in school and it is just Madeleine and me. I am working on some big projects so unfortunately the blog has been pushed to the back burner.

Another thing that was pushed back was my other daughter’s birthday party. We were traveling in the summer and with back to school craziness, switching schools but trying to appeal and just life….we are just now throwing her the birthday party she’s been asking for. I will say I am proud that it has only been delayed about 2 months so high five to me for not taking 6 months. I’ll take any win at this point.

She wanted a unicorn birthday party so here is one thing I worked on while watching an episode of The Office. It is a mindless craft but it turned out so cute! It’s the little things, guys! Continue reading Party Ideas: Unicorn Inspired Bubble Wands

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Connecting Through Fashion

This post was sponsored by Reebok through Activate Bloglovin’  
All opinions are all my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that support this blog!

Is it shallow of me to think that fashion is more than just superficial- but that it can serve as a way to connect? When I see someone wearing a beautiful piece of clothing, I usually tell them. It often starts with a compliment and then leads to a conversation. And then sometimes friendship:
I remember one of the first times meeting my sister in law and she was wearing a hoodie with gorgeous pearl earrings after an evening at a bonfire. My husband, her brother, later told me that she knew we’d get along because we were both wearing the same thing. Silly? Yes. But, it’s true! Continue reading Connecting Through Fashion

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Let’s Talk: Video Baby Monitors

Let’s talk baby monitors. Sure, some people go without and that’s cool. Some people have the audio only monitors while others opt for the video monitors. Some people may be wondering why I even need a baby monitor anymore. My baby is almost 2! Two! I don’t even believe myself when I say that.

This post is sponsored by CocoonCam; however, all thoughts and opinions are 100% my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that support this blog.

The truth is- I have a little anxiety. I get a little nervous when my kids sleep longer than usual and if they are crying whether or not they are actually hurt or just want to get out of their crib. Sometimes I crack the door open to check on my baby and of course it creaks like the mother of all creaks. The baby stirs and jolts up because obviously when she hears the door creak that means it is party time! I don’t know why I do this to myself. My inquisitive mind needs to know she is safe. Plus, I really want to see when she starts climbing out of her crib so I can line the perimeter with pillows….or just get her a toddler bed. Continue reading Let’s Talk: Video Baby Monitors

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DIY Personalized Quiet Time Bag + Toys To Go Inside

This post was sponsored by The Baby Cubby but all opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that support my blog.

You know how when you are sitting at the doctor’s with your well behaved kids in tow or sitting in the pews at church with your kids with their arms folded and quietly listening to the speaker? If you do, then you are a magical unicorn mom. If not, well, you are in good company.

We were running late to church so we just grabbed our church bag and bolted. As we sat between two families and our kids were much more interested in the fun toys they had. We, of course, were ill prepared since we just ran out the door and it was then that I realized, I have to put together a better “quiet bag.” I’ve been carrying around the same items for the last 2 years and the items had become trite to the kids. While my older kids should be able to sit quietly, my younger ones still struggle. I found some fun quiet time items to keep them from going crazy at church and actually let us listen to the speakers. Just bein’ honest guys. Continue reading DIY Personalized Quiet Time Bag + Toys To Go Inside

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DIY Shibori Napkins and How to Keep Them Stain-Free

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #WorryFreeMessFree #CollectiveBias

I looked on in horror as my young son wiped his spaghetti sauce mustache on his sleeve. Nooooo!! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve told him not to do that. Wait, I can. About 3489257489284920583092 times. Yep. I mean the napkin was within his grasp but I guess his sleeve was closer. I thought, it’s a good thing I don’t have nice napkins or I’d internally flip if he stained those. As I was washing the dishes I remembered a story I heard about a woman that had a beautiful pearl necklace. She put them in a safe place so they could never get lost or ruined. She never wore them for fear of something happening to them. She passed away never having worn that precious necklace she valued so much. While I don’t go to that extreme, we use our china several times a year, I realized my mistake. I CAN have nice things. Yeah some might get ruined because we are a young family. But, I can also take more steps to protect my “nice” things. Thank you Scotchgard™ Fabric & Upholstery Protector for existing!! I don’t want to be worrying about things getting ruined because they are being used. Helloooo!! Napkins are supposed to be used to wipe off spaghetti sauce mustaches. They are supposed to wipe off chocolate after a fun fondue night. That is their purpose. My logic was all wrong and I decided to do something about it. I finally bought myself some nice cloth napkins and wanted to personalize them by using the shibori method of dyeing. It’s just a glorified version of tie dyeing (throwback to summer camp). And it was fun to get all messy crafting up a storm. And you sure are bound to feel pretty awesome looking at your new creation and confidently saying to yourself, I freakin’ made these. So you wanna make some of these yourself?? After some trial and error and some more error, here is a way to make these. Take note that every dye is different and while your napkins will don the same hue, each method of tying results in something different. I like to think of it as unique and personal. I love when they are imperfect because well, we all are imperfect and beautiful. Alright, enough with the sappiness and bring on the mess.

Materials:
100% Cotton Cloth Napkins
Navy Blue Dye
Disposable Gloves
1 Cup of Salt (optional)
Bucket (I lined mine with a trash bag so it wouldn’t dye it)
Tools: rubber bands of various sizes and widths, cardboard, string, paper towel tube, etc.
1 Cup of White Vinegar
Scotchgard™ Fabric & Upholstery Protector (coupon for $1 off here!)

What To Do:

  1. If you are using new napkins, make sure to wash them to remove any chemicals that might alter dye. Leave them damp.
  2. Using various tools like rubber bands, string, tubes, tie damp napkins using various methods. Or you could use the same method if you want them all similar. Here are a couple of links to help you with different tying methods.
  3. Every dye has slightly different methods so make sure to read their specific directions. I used a combination of colors: navy blue and royal blue dye. Then I filled a bucket with hot water. Add a cup of salt and mix really well. You could also just use a singular dye.
  4. Make sure your napkins are still damp. This helps to soak in the dye. Depending on how big your bucket is, place the napkins into it in sets. I did 6 an 6. Insert into dye and agitate the dye every 5 minutes. The amount of time you let it soak will determine the intensity of the color. I would recommend letting it sit for at least 30 minutes. I accidentally learned this haha! Dyeing is a unique technique because even if you use the same method all the results slightly vary.
  5. Once time is up, remove the napkins letting the excess dye drip off. I wouldn’t recommend using a white or porcelain sink to wash off dye or it could stain it. Without removing the ties, let cold water run through napkin until the water is clear-ish.
  6. Once the water isn’t an intense color, remove the ties and run under cold water until the water runs clear. Run the remaining napkins under cold water.
  7. Once they are all done, put into washing machine. Don’t mix with any other clothing. Wash it (no detergent) with 1 cup of vinegar in cold water.
  8. Wash again using detergent in cold water.
  9. Dry using low heat. Once dry, iron. Or not. Ironing really isn’t my jam but it makes it look crisper.
  10. Using Scotchgard™ Fabric & Upholstery Protector, shake bottle really well. I recommend using a test swatch to make sure color doesn’t rub off. Holding the can 6″ away, lightly spray one coat onto fabric, front and back. Make sure to be in a well ventilated area and cover your work space. (watch video here on how to apply)
  11. Reapply a second coat once first coat is dry.
  12. Once dry, it’s ready to use! Because napkins are frequently used, you’ll have to reapply every few months. But now you can use them without any worry! And they won’t change the feel or look so spray away.

So go take a stroll through Target and grab some supplies. Not gonna lie, my Target stroll not only included grabbing the Scotchgard™ product. A few other things jumped in my cart, too. #sorrynotsorry I finally found them in this aisle on the third shelf…not that I minded perusing every aisle to see what else I “needed.”

Now go spray your sofa, sofa pillows, other table linens…all the things. Actually first read on back what you can spray. And then stop worrying about it and just live your crazy awesome life.

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Tips to Coordinating Kid’s Easter Outfits

This post is sponsored by Carter’s; however, all thoughts and opinions are 100% my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that support this blog.

baby easter dress | baby sandals (sold out but linked to similar)

toddler easter dress | sandals | headbands (similar)

I think there are only a handful of times when I am actively trying to get my kids to wear coordinating/matching outfits: Christmas, Easter and when we take family pictures. Any more and I’d drive myself mad! Running from store to store trying to pick out something that matches the other store’s outfit and the one in the closet…..ahhh it’s just too much. I rarely go to store anymore. I prefer to online shop and that makes things easier but after having to plan for multiple of these events for years already, I’ve learned a few things when trying to coordinate outfits for my kids for special days like Easter.

  1. Try to shop from one store. Stores, like Carter’s, usually have a unifying color palette throughout their departments from babies to kids. I got shirts, shoes, bowties (the ones I got sold out but linked to similar one) and dress shorts for my boys that coordinate perfectly with the girls’ cute spring dresses. And if you can find shoes, bonus!
  2. Pick a statement piece (like a bold floral pattern) for one or two people to wear. Then pick subtler (like light stripes or even a solid color) coordinating pieces for everyone else. For those wearing the subtler main piece, try to sneak in a little oomph with texture (like a crochet dress), a patterned shirt layered under, a patterned bow tie or embroidered bottoms. Alternating the patterns (within patterns and from top to bottom pieces) is important so doesn’t look cluttered and overloaded.
  3. Know before you go. If you are planning on going to the physical store, then I say you have to do your research and check their online store. See what they have and see if it matches your criteria. It saves you from having to go from store to store to see what they have. When shopping for multiple kids I also look for coupons or promo codes because…ouch! Kids grow out of their stuff quickly (goodbye baby clothes) and it hurts to spend all that money! So if I can save some money I will look for it! Lucky for you I have a special 25% off Carter’s coupon promo code that you can use online or in-store when you spend $40. My kids just steal the show, huh? I can’t wait to take pictures of them all dressed up for Easter before we head to church…or maybe after because church is too early we are always rushing to get there on time.

It is still a little cool here but my kids are anxious for spring weather so they can stock up on some more cute and stylish tees and knit shorts so they can play in the sun comfortably and alllll dayyyy long! And can’t forget the swimwear….. my little fishies live in the water in the summer time.

I wish you well on your journey to dress your kids this coming Easter. Seriously, I know it can be a pain but it’s only a couple of times a year. Can’t wait to see all the kiddos in their darling Easter outfits. Tag me on Instagram so I can see!