Archive for September 2017

A Few Favorite Things

September 29, 2017

Every now and then I like to share some of my new favorite finds...and it turns out you guys love these posts, so I'll keep them coming!

First up is this CC cream by Supergoop! I'm OBSESSED with this product. It goes on so smooth and gives my skin with just a tint of color and a nice dewy feel and look. I'll sometimes mix it with some foundation if I want a little more coverage. It feels so good on my skin, goes on fast, and makes me feel a little put together. And it's SPF 40. Seriously, go buy this now and thank me later. 

Next is The One Year Book of Devotions for Preschoolers. I love this book. It's filled with short, easy to read and comprehend devotional stories aimed at young children. I try and read one during dinner each night (it doesn't always happen...because dinner can be crazy in my house). The kids love them, the lessons are great, and they take only a few minutes...which is perfect for short attention spans. I can't recommend this book enough! 
I'm currently writing this post while wearing these glasses. I was getting headaches every night and it finally occurred to me they could have been caused by staring at a computer screen. These help me not strain as much when I look at the screen. Game changer. Plus they make me look super smart. 

After two weeks of Young Fives, we got the dreaded "a child at school has lice" email. Thankfully I don't think the child actually went to school with lice...but the parent reported it just in case. I purchased this Fairy Tales Rosemary Repel Lice Prevention spray and spritz some on Hudson before he goes to school for peace of mind. Nobody's got time for lice in this house. 

Okay, so we don't technically own these shoes yet....but look at them. Sadie NEEDS them. I went on the hunt for the cat & jack "jancy" shoes in pink and couldn't find them. But I stumbled upon these babies and am kicking myself for not buying them. Guess you know where I'll be going today. 

Happy Friday everyone!

*this post contains affiliate links

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How to Get the Perfect Monthly Milestone Photo

September 26, 2017

Those rolls. That smile. That face. Something about her being our last baby has me just in a puddle on the floor all the time. She's growing too fast and my heart can't take it. I want to keep her little forever. 

If you know me, you know that I can't stop taking photos of my children. It's a hobby that I love....and one that has improved with each child. After three kids I like to think I've gotten the hang of this whole monthly milestone photo thing and I'm excited to share with you a few of the tips and tricks I've learned along the way! 

Gerber Brand at Target Collection

First, think about your setting. A simple, bright, and clean background is best! I've tried everything from monthly milestone blankets, to cards, to stickers...and the thing I think that works best is something simple. You want your baby to be the star of the photo! If you are organized, you can take the photo on the same blanket or rug each month. Or, if you are like me, just aim for a simple background each time and you'll get a set of photos that go well together! 

Gerber Brand at Target Collection

Next, plan your outfit. I like to keep Belle in a simple onesie for her monthly milestone photo. It allows me to really see all those rolls! It also helps to showcase how much she has grown and changed each month. I also like to put her in something that has meaning....big sister Sadie is kitty obsessed and she loves this Gerber Collection bodysuit from Target so much. She flipped out when it came in the mail and got so excited when Belle wore of course I had to use it for her 6 month photo! I'm sure Belle will be a kitty lover just like her sister soon enough. 

Then it's photo taking time! This is the fun part! I love to showcase something that baby can do that is new for that month. For Belle at 6 months, that means sitting! She is so proud of herself for sitting up (for a minute or so at a time!) I just had to capture it!

Gerber Brand at Target Collection

I like to take multiple shots for milestone I had Belle lay down on this simple white cozy blanket. I've taken her photo on this blanket every month. And in order to keep her from rolling on to her tummy, I often have to give her a toy to hold. 

Gerber Brand at Target Collection

I also like to take a few detail photos of just her legs and arms. I did this with Hudson when he was a baby and they are still some of my favorite photos. I love looking back at those cubby thighs!

After you've gotten the perfect shot, it's time to edit it! I like to take monthly milestone photos on my Canon 60D with 35mm lens and then use VSCO, Facetune, and Snapseed on my phone to edit the photo. Super easy. 

For me, I've found it's easiest to photoshop in the month instead of using a milestone card or sticker. A one month old baby will lie completely still and let you take their photo next to a milestone card...but a six month old baby will grab it and try to eat it. And a one year old baby might tear up the card and run away. So try and think of something that will be a long term solution for you. I used an app called Over to write "6 months" on this photo. 

Gerber Brand at Target Collection

Belle is so cute in her Gerber Brand Collection of baby essentials from Target. Gerber always offers the very best in baby essentials, including a brand-new 100% cotton collection for Target that delivers on style, value, and quality to meet the needs of today’s modern moms and babies. I love how soft and sweet these bodysuits are on her. 

Gerber's line of versatile everyday essentials makes the transition from sleep to play easy for any new mom and baby. Each piece is designed with adorable and fun prints and patterns to be worn at night or are perfect for any outing, or just hanging out at home! I love to put Belle in one of these pieces at bedtime with just a light sleep sack during the warmer months. 

The new Gerber collection is available at Target stores and online now! You can shop my favorites from the collection here

This post is brought to you by the Gerber Brand Collection at Target, all thoughts and opinions are my own. 

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How to Take an Instagram Photo, in 21 Easy Steps

September 25, 2017

Ever wonder how much effort it takes to get a cute Instagram photo of not one, not two, but three kids? 

It's easy, right? 

First, sweat through your shirt trying to dress your kids in the outfits you need to photograph. 

Give up on the cute coordinating outfits. It will be fine.

Find a spot where the lighting is just right. Bright but not too sunny if you are outside. Bright and not too crazy of a background if you are inside. 

Decide that you can't take another photo on your lovely white blanket because you just did that. Bust out an old quilt instead. 

Use your nice camera, NOT your phone. Because there is nothing "instant" about Instagram. 

Put your kitchen stool right by the kids and go up and down on it approximately 50 times as you try and get the right angle for your photo. 

Bribe the big kids with candy.

Talk in your high pitch sweet voice and beg them to look at the camera. 

Wonder to yourself if this is worth it. 

Next, take one hundred and sixty two photos that look like this. 

Or this. 

Keep your cool. I repeat, keep your cool. 

Decide that you don't have enough patience to get all three kids to cooperate, so settle for a photo of just two of the kids. 

OMG freak out because you just love that baby so much and she's your favorite of all time. 

Suppress the urge to squeeze her and smother her with kisses because she is perfect. 

Don't let the big kids see she's your favorite. 

Edit your photo to remove distractions, like the leg of the chair you are standing on (my favorite is the app Retouch). 

Realize you aren't going to get a cute photo of all three kids looking at the camera.

Decide this crazy one is a more accurate depiction of real life. And it's adorable.

Edit your photo (on your phone, because who has time for photoshop?). Make eyes pop, smooth out out their skin, and lighten things up (I like VSCO, Facetune, Snapseed, and PicTapGo.)

Finally, post to instagram. But only at a time of "high engagement". Or whatever that means. And use  relevant hashtags. Whatever that means. 

See? Easy, right?

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The Magic of Bath Time

September 20, 2017

Bath time with Belle is my most favorite time of the day. 

My husband takes the older two kids outside to play while I get to soak up some one-on-one time with my littlest lady. It's the best.

And Belle LOVES the bath. She's just about growing out of her infant bath tub and is almost ready for the big leagues. She's not too stable yet, so for safety reasons she still uses the infant tub. Once she can sit up comfortably I'll move her in to the normal bath tub. I have a feeling she is going to love taking a bath with her siblings. She loves splashing around...and so do they. So I'm in for a giant mess times three someday soon. And I can't wait!

But for now, I'm loving this time with just my gal. I told a friend the other day that I wish I could freeze time and keep her just as she is. I mean, can you blame me? Third babies are pure sweetness, and this lady is no exception. I can't imagine life without her.

Did you know that September is National Baby Safety Month? Bath time safety is essential for all young children. Some of the things I have done to keep our bath safe is I NEVER leave the kids alone in the bath. Not even for a second. Also, we have slip grips in our tub to prevent falling. I also installed a soft protector over the faucet, so that kids can't bump their heads on it. It's a good idea to have your plumber adjust the water temperature on your hot water heater so that it doesn't have the ability to get too hot....which eliminates the chance of your child burning their skin accidentally. What do you do to keep your child safe in the tub? 

Last night at bath time I used Baby Magic products in Belle's bath. And they smell so good! My favorite is the Calming Baby Bath. It was a nice addition to our bath time routine and helped her calm down and get ready for bed. And she seemed pretty happy about it too. 

Baby Magic is a family owned and operated business that's been making products for over 65 years. They focus on baby care products that do what they say they’re going to do – while cutting out the bad stuff. So I feel confident using it on my little love. 

After bath time I rubbed Baby Magic Gentle Body Lotion on Belle's skin....and it smells so amazing. I just want to sniff her, ha! It left Belle soft, moisturized, and ready for bed. Baby Magic products are known for being gentle, tear-free, paraben-free, hypoallergenic and dermatologist-tested. I only trust her sweet baby skin with the best, and love that I can feel good about using Baby Magic products in my home on all my kids.

This post is sponsored by Baby Magic.

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DIY Obstacle Course for Kids

September 18, 2017

This post is sponsored by Everywhere Agency on behalf of Primrose Schools; however, all thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.

Hudson has been really into racing activities this month and gets a huge kick out of me timing him as he completes a task. He asked me if we could do a fun project together one day and I had just the perfect idea: a backyard obstacle course!

I found a bunch of pool noodles marked down and bought them knowing we could use them to make something fun!

The rest of the supplies were things we already had at home, plus a few little things I picked up at a hobby shop and the dollar store. You can totally get creative and use whatever items you have on hand for a fun kid-friendly obstacle course!

We used wooden sticks from the hobby store to hold our pool noodles in place. I taped two noodles together to make archways to duck under, and used two noodles as obstacles to jump over. Hudson loved helping me put everything together and map it all out. We used cones to zig-zag through and I made a finish line with a crepe paper curtain. It was SO fun!

Hudson has had some big changes this month. He recently turned 5 and started a “young fives” program at school. We debated back and forth about whether or not we should send him to kindergarten. If we sent him, he would have turned 5 during the second week of school. And due to a regulation in our school district, he would most likely be the youngest in the class. Hudson is smart, and funny, and loves school. But I knew in my gut he just wasn’t ready. I wanted to give him the chance to learn and develop a little more at home before jumping in to full-time school. We knew this decision was coming and spent a lot of time trying to decide what was best for him.

Ultimately it came down to this: I will never regret giving Hudson an extra year to grow, both emotionally and physically, before starting school.

So, since we get an extra year at home, I want to help both Hudson and Sadie be successful as they grow by encouraging a few simple skills at home. Primrose Schools has an excellent resource of ideas to foster skills in your children while they are at home. They encourage kids to develop in six areas of executive function skills, all of which can be learned at an early age: teamwork, adaptability, self-control, critical thinking, problem solving, and working memory.

For this obstacle course activity, I really tried to focus on three of these areas: problem solving, teamwork, and self-control.

First up: creative problem solving. I set out all of our supplies for the obstacle course and then asked Hudson questions that encouraged him to think through different solutions. I asked him things like “what could we build with this?” and “how could we make this stand up?” or “how tall do you think we should make this piece?” as we went along.

It was great to watch Hudson come up with creative ideas and solutions for the obstacle course. The second skill, teamwork, really came in to play as Hudson helped me construct each piece of the obstacle course. We talked about how fun it is to work on a project together. He loved helping me make the decisions of where items should go and how they should all fit together. He even had some great ideas I hadn’t thought of! Each time I praised him for coming up with a great idea, he would always get this huge smile on his face!

I had a rough idea about how the obstacle course would be put together, but Hudson really used some creative problem solving to add in his own thoughts and opinions….and I loved it! I originally wanted the hula hoop to be something to jump on while it was laying on the ground, but Hudson had the idea to make it a ring to jump through. I loved watching his brain work as he thought out each section of the course.

Next, I tried to focus on helping my kids learn self-control.

Both of my kids struggle with self-control…but what kid doesn’t? My kids sometimes have little arguments with each other or outbursts when they don’t get their way.

It’s normal for them to feel this way as they learn how to control their emotions and behavior. So we’ve been working on this skill at home, and listening and following directions in our obstacle course has been great for both of them.

Sadie really picked up on how to complete each obstacle by watching Hudson run through it first. She started off running around most items, but after watching her big brother she really got the hang of it! Both kids demonstrated great teamwork and self-control. This obstacle course was a win-win for everyone! Plus it tired them out….which was a win for me!

I love that doing these simple and fun activities with my kids while they are home with me helps them learn, grow, and achieve big dreams in the future. If you would like to learn more about the executive function skills, be sure to check out Primrose Schools’ website for lots of fun and creative ideas you can do with your kids at home! Primrose Schools is my new go-to source for early education and childhood development content.

And right now, you can subscribe to Primrose Schools’ newsletter for a chance to win a Primrose Prize Pack consisting of a $250 Barnes & Noble gift card and 5 children’s books!

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