Back to School Fashions and Adventures #KidsGotStyle

This post is the last in a series about back to school fashion as part of my involvement with the #kidsgotstyle campaign with Glam Media. On Friday, my whole family went to Target for some back to school shopping.  As much as I want to say it was fun, well, it was exhausting.  Parts of it were fun- but my husband had this idea in his head that we could get my son’s stuff quickly and then head to Home Depot and Lowe’s to look at flooring options for the breezeway.  In under an hour.  (I am going to assume that most of you, like me, found that idea amusing!). My son’s never really wanted to choose his own clothes before- so this was a big day for both him and me.  It wasn’t necessarily easy for me to let go and let him take charge, but it was actually pretty fun to watch him.  Target asked us to go shopping and using our Stylagram they sent as a guide, let our little guy get some back to school fashions.If you haven’t seen it, this is the Stylagram we got from Target- isn’t it awesome?
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Here’s our little guy with his new super cool Shaun White flip flops, Minecraft Tee and Cherokee pants.
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As you can see above, he’s pretty happy with his choices.  His first and TOP PRIORITY was the flip flops above- Shaun White‘s line, and they are red.  Both sisters got flip flops in recent weeks and my little guy was feeling really left out.  He was happy to have such cool flip flops AND to be able to choose himself.  The pants were a great find- they are definitely too long, but he hates snaps or buttons on pants and these have neither…so he’s a happy guy.  He chose the same pants in 2 colors!  Below, he’s wearing the same Cherokee pants and Minecraft tee but this time with a nice plaid shirt over it- which will be great for cooler weather and also for church!

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My son also discovered the hat options at Target when we were there.  With his Alopecia, I like to be sure he’s got hats he won’t mind wearing- and while he’s not got any bald spots right now, that can change in an instant.  So…we have a “cool” new Iron Man hat in his closet. (You can see little sister in the background looking for some boxer shorts for big brother to wear-isn’t she helpful?)

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Once he had his hat, we had to go back to look at more cool tee shirts.  Which is how we ended up with a second Minecraft tee. He’s happy.  I’m happy that he’s got clothes he’s going to want to wear.

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Never fear, we did plan for footwear into fall and winter.

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The same outfit with the other plaid shirt he chose on top- great for cold days!

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These shoes are a HUGE hit for him- and honestly, I’d probably never even have noticed the shoes had Target not put them in our Stylagram…but my little guy really likes them for 2 main reasons- they have laces (am I the only one who finds it odd that it is hard to find sneakers with laces for kids?) and there is RED in the shoes.  He loves red.  It’s his absolute favorite color. You’ll also note in this photo that he’s playing with his new calculator, which he’s so excited about (he loves math) and real pens…just for him.  We did get him new scissors as well but since we’re not allowed to send scissors to school that have been opened, they aren’t in the photo…they are in the bag with his other school supplies for the first day of school in a few weeks.

What have your kids chosen for back to school fashions?

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Expect more. Pay less.

Disclosure: Compensation was provided by Target via Glam Media.  The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of Target

 

A Princess Tea Party Birthday Party

This post about our now 4 year old’s princess tea party birthday party is courtesy of Celebrations 4 Kids birthday party company located here in Connecticut. Our little one adores princess everything.  So naturally, when Ann and I talked about doing a party for our girls so we could do a review, I knew a Princess Tea Party was the way to go. All that was left for me to do was get the addresses for our guests, and plan for snacks.

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When Ann arrives to set up for your party, she brings everything.  She and an assistant come with everything they’ll need for the tea party down to the tea kettle for heating the water.  You can plan on her arriving about 30 minutes before party time to get things set up and ready to go so the kids can just have fun.  We had the dress up option with our party, so while Ann was setting up the tea party table in the kitchen, her assistant Ashley was laying out these beautiful gowns for the children to choose from.

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After all of the guests have arrived and chosen their gowns for the party (we had 3 little boys who were here, and while Ann doesn’t (yet) have a ton of boy dress up clothes, thankfully our very own contributor Jenni had 2 knights and 1 prince dress up outfit that she lent us so the boys could dress up if they wanted to.  Most of the children here are in my daughter’s preschool class again this year and they ALL love to dress up!), Ann does a little coronation ceremony.

First, the birthday girl is crowned.

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Next, all of the royal subjects are crowned as well.

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After all of the guests are crowned princesses and princes, it’s time for tea.

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After the tea party, Ann’s assistant Ashley brought the kids into the other room for some games.

Charades

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Guess What’s in the Bag

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As you can see, when Celebrations 4 Kids does your child’s birthday party, there’s not much for you to do at all.  Ann provides theme coordinating invitations and thank you notes, brings all supplies needed (she may need to borrow your sink) and even one dozen cupcakes for the guests. Once you choose your theme, and decide if you are doing any add-ons or not, you can get your date set and give a deposit to secure your date. You can book online or on the phone, although I’d recommend calling- you’ll know quicker if your date is available and you’ll get to speak with Ann in person!  :) Once your date is secured, your invitations will come in the mail for you to send- and on party day, Ann will give you the coordinating, personalized thank you notes. She’s thought of everything, pays a lot of attention to detail, and she’s always got extras of supplies- for those of us who have had guests not RSVP and show up unexpected, she’s got them covered too!

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If you are thinking of a princess tea party birthday party, or any of the other party options offered by Celebrations 4Kids, I can’t recommend them enough.  Ann’s been doing kid parties for over 27 years and she’s amazing at what she does!  Thank you Ann! I think we’ll be seeing you at a few local parties coming up soon!!

Brawny supports the Wounded Warrior Project #woundedwarriorproject

This post about Brawny’s pledge to the Wounded Warrior Project in support of our injured soldiers is brought to you by our friends at Lunchbox.  We are one of the lucky families who have not had a loved one come home from combat injured.  Really, it’s hard to not know someone who’s been injured serving our country.  If it’s not your neighbor, it’s someone else’s.  Those who have sacrificed so much need our support- and one such organization to offer that support is the Wounded Warrior Project.  Brawny has pledged to say thank you to our heroes by making a $10,000 donation to the project! By you and I pledging OUR support of the project, we’ll all get a printable $1 off any Brawny product coupon.  I pledged- will you?  (I pledged with my Facebook account- it took less than 30 seconds to pledge.  Don’t use Brawny? Take the pledge, print the coupon, and donate the paper towels to a local food bank.  I’m sure they’ll appreciate it)

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Photo credit: Unknown
Photo is of my beautiful cousin Sandy during her service for our country about 10 years ago.

Those who serve our country in combat are giving up so much- and risking everything.  So are their families. We try to support our nation’s heroes when we can- and that means supporting campaigns like this one, but it also means that when we see men and women in military uniforms, we make a point to go up to them and say thank you for serving.  I do it, and I encourage my children to do it.  They’ve given up so much, and there are so many ways we can say thank you to them.

Say Thanks to Our Nation’s Heroes

For every US Solider killed in Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom, seven are wounded. The maker of Brawny® is a proud supporter of Wounded Warrior Project®, an organization dedicated to honoring and empowering those heroes injured in combat. The maker of Brawny® has teamed up with Wounded Warrior Project® and Walmart to say thanks to our Nation’s Heroes. On July 6th and 7th, Walmart shoppers pledged their support to our soldiers and Brawny®’s donation of $200,000. Now, you have the chance to show your support for our Nation’s Heroes as well. Head over to Walmart.com, join your state of supporters and the maker Brawny® will make a total donation of $10,000 to Wounded Warrior Project®.

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Spread the Word

Help spread the word from the maker of Brawny® and Wounded Warrior Project® by sharing your support button on Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest!

Our Thanks to You

As a thank you for your support from the maker of Brawny® and Wounded Warrior Project®, be sure to pick up the $1 off coupon for Brawny® products to use at Walmart for an every day low price.

Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by Lunchbox. All opinions are my own.

On Parenting: Dear Fellow Parents, I have something to say.

Dear Fellow Parents,

I have something to say.

Your child isn’t perfect.  Your child never will be perfect.  (For the record, none of my children are perfect. They never have been and they never will be).

Please stop insisting that your child is perfect.  Humans, by nature, are not perfect.

Also, your child will never be the very best at every single thing they do all of the time.

AND THAT IS 100000% OK.

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It really is. I promise.

Please, I beg of you, accept that your children are human beings with flaws.  Embrace them and love them for the individuals they are.  Teach them to accept losing gracefully and how to learn from failure.  Because you know what?  They will fail.  They will lose.  Maybe it’s not today, and maybe it’s not tomorrow, but one day, they’ll fail.  Or they’ll lose.  And if you’ve spent all of these years building them up on some pedestal of perfection, their whole world is going to come crashing down around them. (My children have flaws.  It’s part of what makes them who they are.  I’d not have them any other way).

You can’t choose your child’s teachers (unless you homeschool).  Let your child’s school staff make those choices.  They know what they are doing.  They really can handle things.  Let it go. That goes for locker assignments, where they sit in class, etc.

You really, truly, honest to goodness do not need to ensure that your child has a best friend  in every single activity they do.  It’s actually a healthy thing for children to learn how to cope in new situations and they might actually make some NEW friends.

Not every player on a team is going to be the best.  The kids know it, I promise. They know who’s got the talent.  We have to teach them to be gracious if they are that star player but we also have to teach them to be gracious and happy FOR the star player if it isn’t them.  My nephew spent 15? years playing hockey, all through school.  He got a trophy at an awards banquet in high school for most valuable defenseman (or something similar, I don’t remember the title of it)….and when he got home he said to his mom ” I finally got a trophy that means something, mom!”  His comment has stuck with me for years.  All of those years playing, he got trophies.  But he knew they didn’t hold a lot of meaning- that one trophy really meant something to him.  It’s still on his bookcase in his room.  I smile when I see it.

Please, please.  Think about this.  For all of us who call the teachers to insist your child should have a better grade- are you going to call their employers and insist they get a raise?  Do you think they should get a raise because they tried really hard? Just because your child wants to start the game for the team doesn’t mean the coaches feel that’s best for the team.

We are our children’s parents, my friends.  It’s our job to help to prepare them to be adults who are able to be contributing members of society.  Are we really doing them favors by always insisting they are right…or that they are always best????

We need to teach our children that when you say you are going to be some place, you get there.  On time.

We need to teach our children that WHEN they screw up in life, they have to figure out how to pick up the pieces and move on.  If they don’t learn from mistakes now, as children, when we parents can guide them along so they can LEARN how to do it, how are they to learn what to do as adults?

We need to teach our children how to deal with failure and disappointment.  They aren’t going to be praised and promoted at work just for showing up and sitting at their desk all day….that’s now how the real world works.  How are they to learn all of this if we’re not helping them to learn it as children?

Our job as parents is absolutely, unequivocally, to first and foremost love our children.  But part of loving our children is giving them the tools and resources they will need to live  as an adult in the real world. I feel like many of us have lost sight of that ultimate goal- and we need to find our way back.

A very wise mom once said to me that when her last child left home to go to college, she knew she’d worked herself right out of a job.  She raised four children- each left home, went to school, found work, and has been able to navigate the real world.  That’s my goal as a parent…to work myself right out of a job.

Listen, I’m not saying we need to not love our kids, or encourage them. I absolutely believe we need to.  But I think we need a reality check, collectively, as parents.  We’re NOT all parenting superhumans- it’s just not possible.  So maybe we need to take a step back, look at the amazing individuals our children are WITH their flaws and imperfections, and enjoy our time with them while we can- but also remember that these wonderful, imperfect little beings are going to grow up and be imperfect adults who have to go out into the real world at some point.  Isn’t it better to help guide them through disappointment and failure now, while they are young?

Also, I know there are exceptions. But those are exceptions. Not the norm.

What do you think? Are we helping our children by being over involved and giving a sense of perfection?

This post has been brewing in my head for a while.  The Daddy Complex’s post about the CTFD Method just kicked me into gear to write it (there’s language in his link but it’s spot on – worth the read!!)

 

A&E Real Life Series Modern Dads Mobile Tour #ModernDads

A&E is kicking off its new real-life series, Modern Dads, with an interactive road tour this August leading up to the series premiere on August 21st at 10:30/9:30c.  They’ve asked me to share about the Modern Dads Tour with you and as a thank you, have invited my family to come enjoy a fun day at one of the tour stops. I think it’s over the top marvelous that there’s a show like this- and just scrolling through the photos on the Modern Dads site I can see I’m going to enjoy watching- the dads look like normal guys, not perfect, but in love with their families.  It’ll be pretty neat to see a show that goes into the life of the dad at home for a change!!  Who’s watching with me?

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Parents and their children are invited to check out the Modern Dads RV for a fun-filled family event. You’ll be able to have your family photo taken for free, check out the ultimate Modern Dads “man cave,” and walk away with Modern Dads swag including sidewalk chalk, bubbles for the kids, and more.

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Where can you find the Modern Dads Tour? 

  • WASHINGTON DC area
    Saturday, August 10th; 1:00PM – 5:00PM – The Prince William County Fair
    Prince William County Fairgrounds, Manassas, VA
    Parked at the Kids Fun Zone
    Sunday, August 11th; 1:00PM – 5:00PM – Six Flags America
    Upper Marlboro, MD
    Parked inside “Gotham City”
  • BOSTON area
    Wednesday, August 14th; 12:00PM – 4:00PM – Six Flags New England
    Agawam, MA
    Parked inside the grounds at the main entrance of the water park
    Thursday, August 15th; 5:30PM – 9:30PM (approximate) – Paw Sox Baseball Game
    (Gates open 5:30PM; Game starts 7:05PM)
    McCoy Stadium, Pawtucket, RI
    Parked at the ballpark’s main/front entrance
  • PHILADELPHIA/NEW JERSEY area
    Friday, August 16th; 4:30PM – 8:00PM – Ocean City Boardwalk
    Ocean City, NJ
    Parked at the Music Pier: Boardwalk & Moorelyn Terrace
    Saturday, August 17th; 4:30PM – 8:00PM (approximate) – Camden River Sharks Baseball Game
    (Gates open 4:30PM; Game starts 5:35PM)
    Campbell’s Field, Camden, NJ
    Parked at the main/front entrance
  • NEW YORK CITY area
    Sunday, August 18th; 3:30PM – 7:30PM (approximate) – Brooklyn Cyclones Baseball Game
    (Gates open 3:30PM; Game starts 5:00PM)
    MCU Park, Coney Island, NY
    Parked at the main/front entrance
    Wednesday, August 21st; 12:00PM – 4:00PM – South Street Seaport
    Lower Manhattan, NY
    Parked underneath the FDR bridge

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If you do head to the tour, please share your photos on Instagram with #ModernDads and @AETV– I’m sure they’d love to see everyone having a great time!

About the Show

MODERN DADS features four stay-at-home dads who may be a little unconventional, but they get the job done. Banding together, their “guys club” is a tribe of suburban, child-rearing dudes who are just trying to do their thing… with a kid (or four) on their hip. This new series will follow their exploits as they navigate their lives; juggling the requirements and social expectations of being both a `modern man’ and ‘modern dad’ while their significant others are off at work.Don’t forget to tune in to the series premiere of MODERN DADS on August 21st at 10:30/9:30c.

Hope we’ll see you at the Modern Dads Mobile Tour!

Healthy Snack Options from Simply Balanced

This is a sponsored post about healthy snack options from Target Simply Balanced.  Opinions are my own.  We’ve had a really busy summer in our family- swim team, tennis lessons, swimming lessons for the past 6+ weeks….and now we’re finishing up swim lessons but have a few weeks of camp to get through…and in the blink of an eye we’ll be back to school.  We want to make sure that we are offering healthy snack options to our children, especially when they are so busy and on the go, to keep their bodies fueled and energy levels up.
healthy-snack-options-simply-balanced-foods Target’s new Simply Balanced takes the guesswork out of eating well-all Simply Balanced foods meet nutritional requirements that include: low sodium and fat, zero Trans Fat, no Hydrogenated Oils or high fructose corn syrup, and no synthetic colors, artificial preservatives, flavors or sweeteners.  If I’m able to choose, I’m always going to choose healthier, better for you options for my family.  My favorite thing about this new line of foods is that it’s all priced affordably and I can grab it when I’m at Target (which is, you know, thrice weekly or so). I like being able to get the most for my money!!

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There’s  a pretty wide range of healthy snack options from Simply Balanced- my husband actually packed the Nut & Fruit Clusters to bring for his lunch today, and my kids have eaten their way through two bags of the freeze dried Apple Slices in just 2 days.  If my kids are going to bring fruit strips, I want them to be full of real foods and not high fructose corn syrup- the kids think they are a special treat and I don’t mind them having one once in a while if it’s actually made of fruit. healthy-snack-options-freeze-dried-apple-slices

 

I’ll be including a lot of the Simply Balanced line in the kids and the husband’s lunches this year for sure- paired with fresh fruits, veggies, and some protein, they’ll have a full and balanced lunch/snack on the go.   My oldest and my husband both love chili on cool fall and winter days- they’d love some tortilla chips as a side with that chili for sure!

Some of the Simply Balanced products include: 

Fruit Strips

Fruit Twists

Fruit Crispies

Corn Tortilla Chips

Tea

Granola Bars

Crisps

Popcorn

Most products come in an assortment of flavor varieties and have easy to read, easy to pronounce ingredients on the packaging.  That’s a win for all of us!  Which Simply Balanced product are you wanting to try first? 

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Take the guesswork out of eating well.

Introducing Simply Balanced,a new brand from Target that’s thoughtfully crafted for taste and goodness.

www.target.com/simplybalanced

 

 

Disclosure: Compensation was provided by Target via Glam Media.  The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of Target.

 

 

Back to school and back to fashion! #KidsGotStyle

This is the first in a series of sponsored posts about back to school must-haves.  School starts in a few weeks- which is going to mean some pretty big changes in our house.  We’ve been at the pool or tennis lessons all summer which means bathing suits and shorts/tshirts…or bathing suits and coverups.  The kids and I have been relaxing and enjoying the summer, but now that it’s August, it’s time to start getting ready for back to school and back to clothes!  This year, for the first time, my kids have very specific items on their lists for school clothes, shoes and accessories- even my littlest one.  Even my soon-to-be-first-grader has a list of must-haves and have-nots, and he’s never had a preference before.

One of my favorite parts of back to school shopping, aside from the brand new supplies that I’d organize and reorganize about 400 times before the big first day actually arrived, was picking out the outfit for the first day of school.  My mom always understood how much we each wanted that special something to wear for our first day, for the impression we’d make with teachers and classmates.

I asked my kids this morning what their MUST-HAVEs are for back to school this year.

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My almost 6 year old son: 

Sharpies ( I don’t know what Sharpie markers have to do with back to school but he was insistent that I include them!)

big kid clothes

cool jeans with no buttons

Star Wars and Lego and Superman stuff

a Flat Brim Hat (I’m hoping he knows what this means, because, my friends, I do NOT!!)

plain socks like dad’s

Cool shirts for soccer and basketball

My 4 year old daughter:

Princess dress

Princess shoes

Rainbows

Sparkly shoes

Sparkly clothes

Care Bears underwear

 

My 8 year old daughter: 

Maxi dress

glitter

more dresses

sparkles

earrings

headbands

skirts and leggings

new shoes

Thankfully, most, if not ALL of these items on their wish lists can be found at our beloved Target!!  My wish list for back to school is affordable stuff that they will WANT to wear that won’t sit in the drawers or on hangers without being touched.  I’m slowly embracing the fact that my kids are old enough to have their own idea of fashion and what THEY want to wear to show their style at school and it’s actually kind of fun to see them show their personalities through their wardrobe and accessories!

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Expect more. Pay less.

 

“Disclosure: Compensation was provided by Target via Glam Media.  The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of Target.”

 

 

Tips for Getting ready for Back to School

This post about getting ready for back to school : health is part of a partnership with Glam Media and This coming August, Glam is L’il Critters vitamins. We have just under a month left here before it’s time to go back to school.  Even before we’re back in school, things are starting to gear up for school.  Getting ready for back to school isn’t just about backpacks, shoes, school supplies and new clothing.  For us, it’s more about getting our bodies ready for back to school! 

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We’re working on getting the kids back into a bedtime routine– an earlier bedtime routine- having to get up by a certain time in the morning means that we need to make sure they get to bed and to sleep at a time that leaves them plenty of hours for sleeping.  Without a good night sleep, kids won’t have the ability to concentrate at school nor to fight off the germs they’ll be around once the doors to school open for the year.

Checkups– maybe this is just my kids because they have summer birthdays but we always have our back to school physicals so we know that things are all in proper working order and that the kids’ bodies are developing as they should be.  Routine health care visits are crucial. Before bed, everyone must brush and rinse and say a prayer.  Even if you aren’t religious, it is good for everyone to take a moment and reflect upon something or someone that they are thankful for or thinking about.  We brush, rinse, pray and read a book in our house- the kids love the snuggle time and we love sharing the stories and adventures with them.

Move to the beat– any beat!  Kids need to exercise.  They need to M-O-V-E.  Most kids are running around, swimming, going to camp, playing sports all summer….when school starts, they are back to sitting at a desk for several hours a day.  Make sure to incorporate time daily for some physical exercise.  Even if you make up silly games to get some movement in right before dinner- right in your kitchen- just get them moving.  I’m planning to move right along with them.  Can’t get outside?  Improvise.  Jog in place.  See who can do it longest.  Jump rope.  Hop.  Skip.  Do silly stretching.  Try yoga!  Whatever that beat- slow, steady, fast, sporadic- move to it.  Find something no one hates and make it part of the daily routine. for a program all about happy and healthy kids!

lil-critters-vitamins-back-to-school

Take your vitamins: With school comes all of the germs that everyone else brings with them- taking vitamins helps to make sure that kids’ bodies are getting all of the vitamins and minerals they need so they can fight those germs! L’il Critters are parents #1 multi-vitamin choice; their lovable gummy bear shape and their variety of kid-friendly flavors and nutrient rich formulas make taking vitamins a positive experience for little ones!

L’il Critters™ are the #1 child gummy vitamin. We are the better tasting gummy vitamin that is preferred by Kids and trusted by Moms. “We Make Nutrition Taste Good.”

Disclosure: Compensation was provided by Church & Dwight via Glam Media.  The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of Church & Dwight.

 

 

True Blood, Sad Things and Life Insurance.

This post about life insurance is brought to you by our friends at Genworth. Opinions are my own. I  What do True Blood, sad things and life insurance have to do with one another?  Well, they all sparked this particular post, for one.  Plus, on  the latest episode of True Blood…Terry Bellefleur took out a life insurance policy just days before his untimely death.   Yes, I’ve managed to weave a television show about vampires into a really serious and heavy topic that none of us wants to think about. But hear me out.  Terry wanted to be sure that his wife and children were taken care of financially.  Sure, he’s fictitious and he hangs around with fairies and vampires, but he wanted to do what we all want- to make sure that we’re not adding any extra burdens and stress onto those we’re leaving behind.

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Photo Credit: HBO.com

My wonderful husband has had life insurance for many years. I’ve had some myself for a while. But we took a long hard look at things and realized that we were paying an awful lot for not very much coverage.  I mean, I’m home full time with the kids.  If the unthinkable happened, and we know that it could, there’s enough in place that the kids and I would be ok for a while.  That said, if that unthinkable were to happen to me, my husband would still have to go to work.  But we’d have no childcare. I AM the childcare.  That, and my income would be gone.  Poof.  That’s not a great scenario, right?  We don’t have enough life insurance to cover ourselves if the worst thing were to happen. Not a great feeling.  (Please note, this is already in motion to be corrected).

And…I hate to even type these words, but you probably know by now that I will say the hard to say and bring up the awkward on here…if the unimaginably unthinkable were to happen (yes, that’s a phrase, and maybe I did make it up) and something were to happen to one of our little ones, we’re going to now have coverage so that expenses relating to that omg-its-hard-to-breathe-even-thinking-about-it-situation were to happen wouldn’t put us under huge financial stress. I mean, if something happened to one of our children, I’m confident that would be ENOUGH stress and adding financial stressors would only make it worse.

the kids who made me mama

See, that’s the thing. We’ve never thought things all the way through before.  But the fact is, and maybe it’s sad if you don’t believe in God or maybe it’s happy if you DO believe in God, but we all die. Hopefully not until we’ve had a long, fulfilling life with some happiness in it.  But recent events in our very own country prove that bad things happen.  I have friends who have lost a spouse.  I have friends who have lost their child.  I’ve watched people close to my heart and family live through those horrors and it kind of opened our eyes, like it has so many others.

Do you want something to happen that you’d need life insurance? NO.  Never.  No one does.  But it can happen to us. To you. To me. We need to educate ourselves and protect ourselves.  Even we stay home parents need to take a long hard look at why (men and) women are not buying enough life insurance. (That’s a pretty informative article, by the way).

I’m going to close with this: If the Martin family is taking a look at True Blood, sad things AND life insurance, maybe it’s worth you taking a second look too. At least at the life insurance part.  Take a second look, get the sad stuff overwith, and enjoy something fun with your loved ones.
Do you have life insurance? AND do you watch True Blood?

How to make potty training more fun #PullUpsPottyBreaks #ad

This is a sponsored post about how to make potty training more fun written by me on behalf of Huggies Pull-Ups. I’m cursing myself by even contemplating putting these words to a post but I think we’re done potty training.  There’s been dry Pull-Ups for a month straight in my house.  It’s an emotional time for me, which is kind of surprising because I HATE POTTY TRAINING with a fiery passion, but now that I’m realizing I may be done I’m really quite sad about it.

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Naturally, now that I’m finished with the potty training thing, I’m a self-proclaimed expert on all things PT.  Right? I mean, isn’t that the next step?   Bow down before me, people of earth. I have lived to walk the land of no diapers.

Um, not quite. I got off almost scot-free with kid 1.  And kid 2?  Not much was needed by me.  The third time’s a charm and my little one, as per her style, kept us on our toes.  I’ve heard rumors she’s a lot like someone I used to be a few decades ago who waited wayyyyyyyyyy too long and would stomp though houses to make that potty!!

I’m not an expert. I’m not pretending to be.  What I CAN share with you are some tips that might actually make potty training more FUN for all the people in your house.  Which might make it less stressful for you and the one who’s expected to be training for the potty and if it’s less stressful, maybe it might be a little more fun? Go more smoothly?

1. Make it FUN.  Smile.  Make up a song.  If I’m feeling it, I may just record myself singing our family pee-pee-on-the-potty song.  If it goes viral on YouTube, well, it won’t be for my angelic voice.

2. Laugh. Listen, I may be 39, but inside, I’m a 9 year old kid.  When someone sits on the potty and they toot, it echos.  It’s funny.  Kids are going to think it’s funny. Laugh with them.  Keep the tradition alive, let the next generation know that yes, others find that just as funny as they do.

3. You are going to need extra underpants.  I don’t care what potty training method you are using, you aren’t going to get through this particular life experience with a 3 pack of Hanes- not on a wing nor a prayer.  So have fun.  Get the cute unders.  Got a little guy?  Boxer briefs are about the cutest thing EVER on your little guy.  Don’t be afraid.  Shop around!! Let them choose what they like.  Listen, (and my apologies to Dora and Nickelodeon) I don’t like Dora the Explorer.  Never have.  But when my little one wanted Dora underwear?  It was like a teeny tiny fist bump moment for me….and then that glorious day when she peed in her Dora undies and I was all “take THAT, who’s exploring now, Dora??” (because again, I’m 9 years old…).  But for real, you guys.  It’s all cute.  Teeny little unders in colors, sizes, shapes, prints, characters.  Have fun with it.

4. Some kids don’t like to put their poo in the potty.  True story.  Some even freak out at the very idea.  So…have fun with that too!  Make a poo song.  Do a poo dance with choreographed moves.  (I would strongly advise you not to have video cameras capturing these dances showing anyone but you, but do what you want). If your kid only wants to poo wearing nothing but a winter hat, let them!!  Laugh about it.  Enjoy it.

5. Make a chart.  Doesn’t have to be a special  chart, and it doesn’t have to be fancy. If they want to keep track of something, let them.  If it helps them have fun and WANT to use the potty, that’s what matters!!  So what if they want to keep track of how many times they flush after potty.  Or just like to cover paper with stickers of their character friends?  If it’s helping them to be excited and want to potty train, LET THEM.  Seriously.

5. Laugh.  Be silly. Have fun.  Find a way to make it fun.  Life is so much better in almost every way when you can laugh through it.  Potty training isn’t fun for the adults.  But guess what? It’s probably not very fun for those being trained for the potty.  So make it fun.  Laugh about it.  If silly works, do the silly.  Eighty million times if you have to.  Use the characters, the stickers, the books, the shows- whatever works.  They love the shows and characters because they are fun to watch.  Make the potty training fun too.

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Because one day you’ll wake up and realize, it’s done.  The littlest one of your brood is no longer in the training phase at any time of day and it might make you sad.  There’s not a baby in your house after however many years there was a baby in your house.  So live on the edge.  Sing those potty songs and sing them proud, my friends!!  

Pull-Ups helps take the scare out of potty training by making it fun and easy with new Monsters U character training pants! You can help make potty training easier by staying consistent and using rituals like the potty break. Make it a game and ask your toddler, “What does a little monster take?”…“A Potty Break!”

Visit Pull-Ups.com and “like” Pull-Ups on Facebook for more potty training tips and resources.

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Huggies Pull-Ups. I hope in some way I helped you to think about ways to make potty training FUN!! Got any tips of your own?