Apr 242015
 

Shopping for Mother's Day? Teacher Gifts? Graduation or Father's Day? A Summer Birthday gift? The perfect gift solutions are here in this ultimate summertime product buying guide! Snatch up all the hot items of the season and be a hit with everyone on your list!With Mother’s Day, the end of school, Father’s Day and summer birthdays coming our way, it almost feels like this season is as gift-giving busy as the holidays! It’s no secret that I love to shop, but our tight budget is always a concern. I really like to make sure that the items I purchase are fantastic and well worth our hard-earned pennies.

So I dove into some dedicated hands-on shopping research, friends (it was so tough ;) ), and came up with a list of items that are rocking my list this Spring and Summer. The super-fun news? A whole bunch of these products are being given away to one lucky winner in the giveaway below. So read up, then throw your name in the hat to score big. Warm weather gifting is in the bag!

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For the grown-up:

Last year I was trolling a shop at the shore, when I saw one of these insanely gorgeous JORD watches. I was a goner; I’ve been crushing on it ever since and now couldn’t be more thrilled to to offer the chance to win one to YOU. There is a $139 gift certificate to JORD up for grabs! JORD has options for ladies and men, so it would be a wonderful gift for anyone on your list, but honestly, after seeing the intricately-crafted beautiful woodwork, you’d better just plan on making room on your own dresser for this gem. It’s that stunning.

I cannot stop crushing on this gorgeous wooden watch! There are so many choices and colors to choose from--shop now for the perfect gift!

The only thing sweeter about this pic than the one above it? The JORD watch is actually on my wrist!

Watch Gift Ideas

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Who couldn’t use a pick-me-up of a new phone case? You know one that isn’t all heavily coated with kid stains and scratch-marks from dropping it on the pavement while trying to carry a million things. The uber-customizable options from The Case Studio are the perfect gift! With loads of cool designer patterns to choose from or the option to create your own, the site is user-friendly and delivery is quick. Plus, with this unique $25 off promo code, you can score a case for half off! Type in: 25TOSPEND at check-out and use the extra savings to snag one for yourself!

 

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Do you ever take a really cool picture on your phone and want to display it as wall art, but not sure how? Enter SwitchArt, a genius solution. TheSwitchArt™ App for iPhone allows users to simply download the app, buy a pack, and begin uploading personal photos from their camera roll, Instagram feed or Facebook page. Each pack includes a SwitchArt™ Magnetic Frame in the color and size of your choice, and a number of prints you select. Your new and personalized artwork will arrive by mail in a few days. Then, you can create and order the rest of the prints in your pack whenever you want with free shipping. Enter below to win a 24 x 24 magnetic frame (color black, brown, or white your choice) with two personal photo prints!

All the easy-peasy changing of wall heart is yours for the taking with this genius solution! Take your pics and display them for everyone to see--until you take the next great shot!

All the easy-peasy changing of wall art is yours for the taking with this genius solution! Take your pics and display them for everyone to see–until you take the next great shot!

I’m excited to gift my husband this for Father’s Day, partly because the app was so easy to use, I was able to figure it out myself without bugging him, and partly because the fact that I have officially integrated his beekeeping obsession into our home decor is a surprise (at least until he reads this post). Either, way, SwitchArt has allowed the bees to find a way in!

Yup, I actually ordered this first print for my husband as a homage to his hardwork with his bees. My jury's still out on the buzzers, but with SwitchArt, my commitment doesn't have to be 100%--I can just switch it out to a print honoring another one of his hobbies (growing hops for home brewing!)

Yup, I actually ordered this first print for my husband as a homage to his hardwork with his bees. My jury’s still out on the buzzers, but with SwitchArt, my commitment doesn’t have to be 100%–I can just switch it out to a print showcasing another one of his hobbies (growing hops for home brewing!)

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Looking for a one-of-a-kind gift? I know one of these precious pencil drawings from Artist Elizabeth Smith would be so appreciated by Grandma or a graduate in your life! Elizabeth transforms a photograph you send her into a beautiful, original piece of art, perfect for home decor or meaningful keepsake. This artist pours so much time and talent into each one of her creations, I promise you will be awed by your order! And she is giving away a $50 giftcard to her shop in the giveaway below, so enter now! Two very sweet examples of her work: A one-of-a-kind pencil drawing is the PERFECT GIFT for Grandma or someone else going through a special time in their lives. Snatch up this amazing artistry at these sweet prices and make it a memory to last a lifetime! A one-of-a-kind pencil drawing is the PERFECT GIFT for Grandma or someone else going through a special time in their lives. Snatch up this amazing artistry at these sweet prices and make it a memory to last a lifetime!

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For the chic gal: Ladies love bags. Tote bags, clutches, purses, cross-body, satchels…you name it, throwing all the random kleenex packs and lollipops to bribe the kids into a new bag is enough to make any gal’s day. When Olivia + Joy/Tutilo sent me their new Spring/Summer line-up, I swooned. Affordable and chic, olivia + joy’s summer styles feature fashionable twists on classic silhouettes. Tutilo’s summer collection offers a versatile selection of stylish, utilitarian tote bags that are designed for the everyday woman. These collections include an array of bags, available in a variety of materials and colors. From classic and neutral shades or to making a statement with pops of color, there are so many choices! With convenient online ordering and a customer-friendly return policy, you can’t go wrong snagging one of these bags for the lady in your life!

Looking for the perfect chic summer bag? Search no further! All the quality, trend-friendly bags you need are right here! Check out the finds!

My dream summer bag

 

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The one gift that is sure to be a hit with any mom on your list? Wine! Trust me, Mommy needs a break. Keep it classy with this sweet packaging from Little Black Dress Wines. Little Black Dress wines are accessorized with fruit-forward aromas, hints of dazzle, an impeccable sense of balance and a body to die for. Great taste is mom’s best accessory. Little Black Dress Wines cover every mood from spirited to sophisticated and turning heads along the way. Grab a much-needed bottle for mom now!  

 

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While I’m typically a large roomy tote kind of gal, once in while, I need a small chic clutch for popping out errands or attending a soiree. Finding one that allows me to keep charged and connected? Bliss! True story: since ChicBuds send me this sweet Clutchette Power, I haven’t left home without it. I think my social media addiction may have a lot to do with my constant need to recharge, but a lot of it is just keeping up with my responsibilites as Mom in this modern-day world. Being able to do that in the form of super-soft vegan leather clutch in a boss hip shade? I’m sold! Grab one of these for the lady in your life and she’ll be delighted!

A gorgeously soft vegan-leather clutch that allows me to feel fashion-forward and charge up at the same time? I'm a goner! Check out the sweet find here!

A gorgeously soft vegan-leather clutch that allows me to feel fashion-forward and charge up at the same time? I’m a goner!

 

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Looking fabulous on the outside always makes a gal feel fabulous on the inside too. I love that with Belli skincare products, an upscale skincare line for pregnant/post-natal mommies, the guesswork of ingredient safety is removed and replaced with effective and luxurious formulations. With Belli, you can rest assured that you aren’t using anything that could be harmful to you or your baby-to-be. Every Belli product is allergy tested, free of paraben preservatives, phthalates, and artificial dyes or fragrances, and made in the USA. After you’re done checking out these terrific products, go enjoy Belli’s HUGE “Belli Celebrate Mom” event for the entire month of May! From May 1-31, make a daily visit to www.belliskincare.com for a chance to win an item from the featured brand partner of the day. On May 31, you can register for the Grand Prize (valued at over $1500), which will include a prize from all the featured brands!  You can also go to Belli’s Facebook page to compete for a matching Grand Prize package by posting a comment or uploading a photo or video of your mom. The post with the most likes wins!

 

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For the boys: We spend most of our summer splashing around in the pool, so quality swimwear is a must! Tom & Teddy makes it too adorable for my guys with their line of matching trunks for dads and little dudes! Tom & Teddy is all about friendship, shared experiences and that special bond between father and son. It captures the spirit of the great Australian outdoors and the perfect summer’s day by the water. Each individual piece is made to an exceptionally high standard – quality and durability are at the core of the brand. The quick-drying microfibre is salt water and chlorine resistant; this signature fabric is combined with UV protection, providing a soft finish for superb comfort. There is no better Father’s Day gift for the man and little guy in your life! And in the giveaway below you can score your own matching Daddy-son set and soak up all the cuteness for your own family! These sweet matching Father-Son swimsuit sets are the perfect Father's day gift! Snag one now and get summertime kicked off of the right pool-time foot!

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For the little readers: When we first read The Spoiled Pink book by Laura Sidsworth, my daughter was captivated. “Mommy,” she whispered in the most serious tone, “Can I please keep this book forever?” She loves it and the super-cool news is that Sidsworth also has a second book out, The Treehouse Treasury. I can’t wait to read this one with my kids so we can enjoy many happy night-night story times! Grab a copies of both books for the kiddo on your list and enter below to win free ones! This sweet book is full of pink, princesses, and puppies--everything the little girl in your life could want! Grab a copy as the perfect gift now & happy reading!

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We are also eager to read Even Superheroes Have to Sleep by Sara Crow when it comes out this summer! Crow has such a dedicated heart for this rhyming book (and the knowledge that getting kids to sleep is no easy task!) that she is Kickstarting the funding of the inital printing. As she describes, “The more money we raise = more books printed = more children sleeping better at night = a happier world (it’s science).” Go support her mission and make a plan to snatch up this book for the readers in your life come summer and throw your name in the hat to win a copy for free! (Please note, book will be mailed to winner when published. Estimated publication is August 2015) This rhyming book not only helps your little one with important literary and verbal skills but helps them with the too-important task of SLEEPING. Grab it up now, Momma! You know you need it!  

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Now that all the sweet summer finds have been revealed, go win them for yourself and get your gifting settled and in the bag! And happy shopping, friends! As long as you are 18 or older and live in the continental United States, you are eligible to enter the giveaway below, which will close on 5/1/15 at 5:30am ET. Thank you for entering! a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

****Products received from above companies for review purposes, but my delight in each of these items is 100% genuine. *****

Apr 202015
 

It’s time to get ready for summer, friends! That means FINALLY bidding adieu to those nasty cracked heels and yucky feet. Just think of the sweetness of staring down at some pretty polished toes while chilling with a margarita in the fresh summer sunshine. Bliss, I know. Good news for you? We’ve got the tools you need to make this a dream-come-true.

I’m teaming up with The Invention Brothers to give you a chance to win a fabulous new beauty exfoliator called The Skoother® Skin Smoother, as well as an iPad Mini!

If you suffer from dry, cracked heels, the 'Get Ready for Summer Giveaway' is for you! Enter today for your chance to win an iPad Mini, a Skoother Skin Smoother to help cure your cracked heels, or a Margarator giant party blender. With 25 prizes to be won, you don't want to miss out!

Have you heard of the Skoother?

It’s the most effective way to quickly and easily smooth rough skin and calluses on your feet, heels, elbows and hands, and it’s unique design makes it much more effective than pumice stones, emery pads, metal graters (ouch!), motorized sanders, and other skin-smoothing gimmicks.

If you suffer from dry, cracked heels, the 'Get Ready for Summer Giveaway' is for you! Enter today for your chance to win an iPad Mini, a Skoother Skin Smoother to help cure your cracked heels, or a Margarator giant party blender. With 25 prizes to be won, you don't want to miss out!

It’s easy to hold.

It conforms to your body, making it quick and easy to use.

It doesn’t require batteries.

The Micro-Abrasive Screen is rough enough to remove stubborn calluses on your heels, but gentle enough also lightly smooth the skin on more delicate areas like your hands and knees.

It has been medically-tested by a team of doctors at the University of Michigan Health System, Ann Arbor.

It’s easy to clean.

And by entering the Rafflecopter form below, you will have a chance to win one (1) of 20 Skoothers to get your skin ready for summer.

But wait – it gets better!

We’re also giving away 4 Margarators® (1 Gallon Party Blender) and one (1) grand prize of an iPad Mini!

What a great way to kick off the warm weather!

All you have to do is complete the form below to enter between April 20, 2015 at 12:00 am EST and April 30, 2015 at 11:59 pm EST.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

And if you don’t win but would still like to be one of the first to experience the Skoother, simply sign up using THIS FORM between May 1, 2015 and June 14, 2015. The Launch Day Special for a Skoother is only $12 + free shipping. We will contact you through your email sign-up to give you more details!

Good luck!

For complete contest rules and regulations, CLICK HERE.

The Mom of the Year received no compensation for sponsoring this event, and is not responsible for the delivery of the prize. Prize delivery is the sole responsibility of The Invention Brothers / Comstock Studios Inc. Twenty-five (25) winners will be drawn randomly and notified by email. The winners will have 48 hours to respond in order to claim their prize. If they do not respond within the 48 hours, they will forfeit the prize and an alternate winner will be chosen. This post may contain affiliate links.

Apr 172015
 

Creating a space of calm and serenity in your yard is easier than it sounds! Check out this easy help to make the soothing happen in your yard!So, a bit ago my husband began this crazy beekeeping hobby. Yeah, that’s still happening.

While largely the bees do their thing and I do mine, they started hanging out a bit too much around our pool last summer.  Somehow the concerns I voiced regarding this translated into my husband’s pressing need to build a pond in our front yard. The logic is beyond me; just go with it.

I did all the things, friends. I made the sideways glares, passive-aggressively tisked disapproval over diagrams of his plans and remained certain that such an endeavor was way too far out of our grasping-at-straws-to-maintain-sanity-with-young-kids existence.

Still, as Dr. J tends to do, he persevered.

He was determined for this pond–for the bees, for our yard, for the sheer value of creating something beautiful at our home. Whatever his motivation, it was happening. And God bless Practical Garden Ponds because they allowed it to be a feasible task that did not slay us with its enormity.

What is Practical Garden Ponds?

If you are local, this company can create a one-of-a-kind pond feature at your home and then take care of servicing it as needed. If you live a bit further away, Practical Garden Ponds is still something you want to check out. They not only sell pond equipment and accessories at incredibly reasonable prices, but they offer individualized, dedicated recommendations and inspiration.

It was a delight to work with Nate, the proprietor, in creating our pond. Practical Garden Ponds will happily do all of the work for you, or help you do it yourself, as preferred (my ambitious husband wanted to tackle a lot of it by himself). Personally, I preferred to cheer the process on from the front porch ;) 

Why is a pond a good thing?

Aside from all the ecological benefits, which my husband would love to hash out in detail if you’re interested, I’ll speak to the beauty and serenity of our pond. We chose a pondless water feature, which in our case, basically means a pretty pile of rocks water repeatedly circulates over (without a pool of water at the bottom).

Could it get more peaceful??

For me, no. Our pond is set on a timer, so from when I get up in the morning to when we settle in for the evening, the water soothingly runs in the background of our days. I work from our dining room table, with the windows open in the warmer months. I can’t say how calming it is to hear the water flow; even when the events and endless emails of our lives rage on, at least this one peaceful thing is a gentle constant.

Creating a space of calm and serenity in your yard is easier than it sounds! Check out this easy help to make the soothing happen in your yard!

I love our pond, and in short: my husband was right. This was the right choice for us. While too many times I roll my eyes over Dr. J’s tenacity, in this case, I’m thankful for it. Thankful for it in the way that leaves me feeling gorgeously serene listening to the sound of the water repeatedly rolling over itself–in this crazed Mom of the Year‘s lifestyle, this is a blessing of no small proportion.

So take a leap with your own home–let Practical Garden Ponds use their gift on your yard for a fraction of the cost you’d pay elsewhere. Your sanity will thank you, I promise.

Now you’ll excuse me–I’ve got a pond to go bliss out over.

****Thank you to Practical Garden Ponds for their help in creating our pond feature! Our appreciation of their services remains 100% genuine!****

Apr 102015
 

Healthy, delicious, & affordable meals the whole family will love really CAN happen, Mom! And it's easy-peasy! Trust me, get this food on the table and call it a win!One of my favorite parts of blogging is being able to work with other moms to share their small businesses. Through this, I am able to find so many cool new products while being blown away with the commitment and hard work these ladies pour into supporting their families. How incredibly boss!

Recently, when my friend Barbara shared her heart behind why Wildtree and its products have become so important to her and her family, I was so impressed. When she gave me some of the items to sample, I was a goner–the stuff was yummy, my kids ate it happily, and my husband asked if I could get more of it!

What is Wildtree

It is a company who is committed to offering quality, healthy, easy-to-prepare food at an affordable price. As their mission statement reads: Wildtree offers the highest quality herbs, spices and culinary blends that are free of preservatives, additives, fillers and promote a healthier lifestyle. We believe in the value of making cooking a quicker, easier, more healthful project for those who are short on time. Wildtree also offers a fun adventure for those who wish to be more creative in the kitchen.”

Wildtree offers the highest quality herbs, spices and culinary blends that are free of preservatives, additives, fillers and promote a healthier lifestyle. We believe in the value of making cooking a quicker, easier, more healthful project for those who are short on time. Wildtree also offers a fun adventure for those who wish to be more creative in the kitchen

With items such as beer breads, sauces, drink mixes and desserts, they have everything you need to make your family a delicious healthy dinner–without a pricey cost and a ton of effort!

Why is Barbara committed to Wildtree?

As she describes, “I have a son with severe dietary restrictions and have had to make all of his food from scratch since he started eating solids. I took food every.single.place we went. I am the mom that pulls a cupcake, slice of pizza, and a bottle of water from her purse at the ChuckECheese birthday parties! When I found Wildtree and discovered a company that is founded on the premise that healthy food should be delicious AND affordable I was thrilled. I used the products pretty much daily for a year and then realized I should really hook myself up with a discount! And here I am, a year later, using the products daily and sharing their goodness with others – both those with dietary restrictions and with those that just want to eat a little better but still have delicious food.

I am proud to represent a company that never backs away from its founding ideals – to provide healthy food that is both delicious AND affordable!”

The beautiful family Barbara works hard to take care of--dying over these three adorable Wildtree fans!

Interested in checking Wildtree out?

Here is a link to the online catalog so you can browse the full catalog. Trust me, you’ll find loads of thing to spruce up your meals in a hurry!

http://mywildtree.com/lovetoeatWant to learn even more about ways you can help take care of Barbara also offers tasting parties and super-helpful freezer meal workshops to help you get organized. Be in touch with her to book a session or to learn more.

And then go ahead and order a few of the items that you are most crushing on! My family has honestly loved every item we’ve tried, so you really can’t go wrong. And keep in mind that these food items make wonderful hostess or Mother’s Day gifts. Giving a fellow busy mom an easy healthy meal for her family? There’s nothing more appreciated!

Snag your selections on her website and check out choosing the host as First Name: Mom of the, Last Name: Year Barbara and I are eager for you to give them a try!

And as bonus for my readers, Barbara is giving away a $25 Wildtree gift certificate below! As long as you are 18 or older, you are eligible to enter, and a bunch of healthy family eating is in reach! Contest ends 4/17/15 at 5:30am ET.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Here’s to healthy, easy, affordable meals friends–it can happen!

 

First image credit: depositphotos.com, Image ID:43825341Copyright:Roxana

 

Apr 012015
 

These sweet eco-friendly duds from Elisabethan are the PERFECT Mother's Day or teacher gifts. But, let's be honest, at this level of adorableness, I want these skirts, tunics, scarves and headbands for myself! Score some NOW!Last summer I was trolling a consignment shop at the beach with my sister, when my eyes landed on the most fabulous skirt of all time. It was from a brand I’d never heard of before, Elisabethan. As my knees buckled from its magnificence, even my sister, a decided non-shopper (I know–I have no idea why I like her either), conceded, “That is really, really cute.”

So basically, the skirt then went on and didn’t come off for the rest of the summer. It was insanely comfortable and soft. Of course, silly summer things like kids with drippy popsicles and sweaty walks to the park meant it got washed–a lot. But you know what? This only made me love it more. Because as I wore and washed it hard, I realized how incredibly well made it was. The colors didn’t fade, stitches didn’t pull, and the shape wasn’t lost.

And I did mention how adorable it was? I was in love. I researched the company, and fell more in love. You see, Elisabethan has a firm commitment to creating NEW, not MORE. Founder Elisabeth Delehaunty and her small team of skilled artists work together to create gorgeous clothing from “experienced textiles” (post-consumer fabric). Each item is one-of-a-kind and eco-friendly.

As described on their site:

“Bags and bales of cast-off t-shirts, cashmere & lambswool sweaters and other second-hand textiles arrive at the Elisabethan studio. The team culls and low-impact launders what Elisabethan can use, then donates what’s left to local thrift stores. White t-shirts & sweaters are dyed to increase the availability of the yummiest, most-desired colors.  The team hand-cuts each piece from Delehaunty’s original patterns, then combine (by deciding EACH cut piece that will go in a garment), stitch and finish with appliqués and other accents. Phew! Fabulous, one-of-a-kind, eco-friendly garments are born.”

In short, it’s one very cool operation. Equally cool to how the clothes are made? The clothes themselves. Let me break it down for you: I have spent countless hours drooling over the items in their shop, stalking semi-local stores that sell the goods, and fantasizing about chancing on another amazing consigned skirt find. My husband is thrilled.

These sweet eco-friendly duds from Elisabethan are the PERFECT Mother's Day or teacher gifts. But, let's be honest, at this level of adorableness, I want these skirts, tunics, scarves and headbands for myself! Score some NOW!

I was so obsessed, I begged and pleaded with the staff of Elisabethan to let me share their work with you. Being as they are so very wonderful, they not only agreed, but gave me a sweet promo code to offer to YOU, readers. Through the month of April, enter code TMOTY15 at check-out to receive 15% off your entire purchase. This is a really fabulous deal.

What should you do with it? Obviously, snag some gifts for Mother’s Day, teachers and summer birthdays on your list, but here is one other wild suggestion: buy something for yourself. Like, no really, you can do it.

These sweet eco-friendly duds from Elisabethan are the PERFECT Mother's Day or teacher gifts. But, let's be honest, at this level of adorableness, I want these skirts, tunics, scarves and headbands for myself! Score some NOW!

Here’s the thing: as moms we give and give, but it wouldn’t be such a bad thing to take care of yourself once in a while. Getting yourself an uber-comfy piece of clothing that will allow you to play hard with your kids this summer? Worth it. And, it’s a bit of a money-saver too. I’ll be honest: these skirts cost more than I would pay for a skater skirt at Target, but they last. Really, truly last. That consigned skirt I found at the beginning of last summer? I have every intention of rocking it overtime again this summer–and it is still looks fantastic.

So get shopping with Elisabethan. You’ll thank me! 

This sweet eco-friendly repurposed fabric scarf from Elisabethan is the PERFECT Mother's Day or teacher gift. But, let's be honest, at this level of adorableness, I'd keep it for myself! Win it NOW!

And while you are swooning over your new purchases? Enter below to win one of their adorable Ruffle Pippi Long Scarves. This item will get you more compliments than you know what to do with. Seriously, it is that amazingly cute. As long as you are 18 or older and live in the continental U.S. you are eligible to enter. Giveaway closes 4/8/15 at 5:30am ET.

Go get your eco-friendly, one-of-a-kind Elisabethan on, friends!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

***Elisabethan is a brand I am proud to promote and I am thankful they sent products for me to wear and enjoy so I could share my love of them with you, readers!****

****4/10/15 UPDATE: Congrats to Valerie W. for winning this gorgeous scarf****

Feb 272015
 

FRIDAY! The big day full of dreams of relaxation and maybe, just maybe a few extra minutes of sleep! Treat yourself to some laughs with ideas of how you can kick off the weekend Mommy-style--some of these wild ideas you would never have thought of, but I promise they will make your day!My favorite day of the week! The hope, the promise, (albeit the very unlikely) dream that there will be a minute of relaxation or a snoozle of extra sleep hiding somewhere in the corners of your weekend…it could happen. Keep the fantasy alive, fellow warriors.

A few months ago, I started having a teensy celebration on my social media every Friday to recognize the day. I’m not sure anyone else is that into it, but it makes me giggle, so I’m keeping the weekly fun rolling.

Follow along with me on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to check out the latest Friday laughs. And please share any of your own ideas for how you revel-it-up come the end of the week!

For now, smile the it’s the week is over, and go bold with a true wild mom-style move. Inspiration below!

 

 

FRIDAY! The big day full of dreams of relaxation and maybe, just maybe a few extra minutes of sleep! Treat yourself to some laughs with ideas of how you can kick off the weekend Mommy-style--some of these wild ideas you would never have thought of, but I promise they will make your day!

FRIDAY! The big day full of dreams of relaxation and maybe, just maybe a few extra minutes of sleep! Treat yourself to some laughs with ideas of how you can kick off the weekend Mommy-style--some of these wild ideas you would never have thought of, but I promise they will make your day!

FRIDAY! The big day full of dreams of relaxation and maybe, just maybe a few extra minutes of sleep! Treat yourself to some laughs with ideas of how you can kick off the weekend Mommy-style--some of these wild ideas you would never have thought of, but I promise they will make your day!

FRIDAY! The big day full of dreams of relaxation and maybe, just maybe a few extra minutes of sleep! Treat yourself to some laughs with ideas of how you can kick off the weekend Mommy-style--some of these wild ideas you would never have thought of, but I promise they will make your day!

FRIDAY! The big day full of dreams of relaxation and maybe, just maybe a few extra minutes of sleep! Treat yourself to some laughs with ideas of how you can kick off the weekend Mommy-style--some of these wild ideas you would never have thought of, but I promise they will make your day!

FRIDAY! The big day full of dreams of relaxation and maybe, just maybe a few extra minutes of sleep! Treat yourself to some laughs with ideas of how you can kick off the weekend Mommy-style--some of these wild ideas you would never have thought of, but I promise they will make your day!

FRIDAY! The big day full of dreams of relaxation and maybe, just maybe a few extra minutes of sleep! Treat yourself to some laughs with ideas of how you can kick off the weekend Mommy-style--some of these wild ideas you would never have thought of, but I promise they will make your day!

FRIDAY! The big day full of dreams of relaxation and maybe, just maybe a few extra minutes of sleep! Treat yourself to some laughs with ideas of how you can kick off the weekend Mommy-style--some of these wild ideas you would never have thought of, but I promise they will make your day!

FRIDAY! The big day full of dreams of relaxation and maybe, just maybe a few extra minutes of sleep! Treat yourself to some laughs with ideas of how you can kick off the weekend Mommy-style--some of these wild ideas you would never have thought of, but I promise they will make your day!

 Happy Friday, friends! Go enjoy!

Feb 252015
 

Visiting the Crayola Experience was the perfect way to encourage my kids creative efforts and explore the delights of crayons, markers and other art-supplies! I loved the DIY fun and this was the perfect diversion for my active kids--read on to find out the can't-miss highlights!Every once in a while, I decide to be That Mom. You know, the mom who does something really cool with her kids.

It all started with an episode of our beloved Daniel Tiger. When the crew took a trek to “the crayon factory”, my children began a vivid love affair with the notion of making a visit to The Crayola Experience and have never looked back. That was two years ago.

We first visited over a year ago, and my kids were so enamored they’ve been begging to go back since. It wasn’t a hard sell, as I have very fond memories of going myself as a child with my grandparents. And while the design of the crayon box may have changed, the fact that it is an awesome thing to do with kids has not.

Throw in the fact that I might totally lose my crap if I hear the tinny tune of an electronic toy one more time while hibernating down in these arctic temps, and a chance to get out and let my kids loose on some creative play sounded beyond sweet. My husband was in for taking off so we could make a day of it, and The Crayola Experience was on!

There are crayons and markers to make, Model Magic to shape, molds to melt crayons in, colorful wax to draw with, and an entire floor dedicated to craft-making. With the live factory demonstration (we saw it twice and my kids would have happily sat through the interactive show a zillion times more) and the two-story high gynasium for kids to run wild in (a separate smaller structure for toddlers is available too), we had found the perfect cure for winter blehs.

Visiting the Crayola Experience was the perfect way to encourage my kids creative efforts and explore the delights of crayons, markers and other art-supplies! I loved the DIY fun and this was the perfect diversion for my active kids--read on to find out the can't-miss highlights!

They had so much fun. The Art Alive! section left their mouths gaping; kids create digital works to be displayed on an interactive big screen–their work was being broadcast! And Doodle in the Dark lead to endless giggles. As they interacted with animated crayons and played with an interactive floor screen, I did the unthinkable: I sat down on a bench in contented relaxation and said to my husband “They will sleep so well tonight.” Bliss.

And since I’m sucker and we only do adventurous things as a family once in forever, the kids were each allowed to pick one special treat from the gift shop. Truth told, I love the gift shop: it is chock full of nifty gift ideas for creative play with lots of products you can’t find in stores. Also true? I am thrilled with my kids’ picks. The umbrella my daughter chose was perfect (I’ve wanted one for her for forever for rainy preschool drop-offs and pick-ups), and I can’t tell you how many fascinated minutes my son’s marker-maker has filled. And we’ve only made half of the markers in the kit, so lots more fun to come!

Visiting the Crayola Experience was the perfect way to encourage my kids creative efforts and explore the delights of crayons, markers and other art-supplies! I loved the DIY fun and this was the perfect diversion for my active kids--read on to find out the can't-miss highlights!

Our visit to The Crayola Experience was fantastic. We made, we created, we got tons of artwork to bring home, and a boatload of fun memories were made. And then we got in the car, and my son’s first words were, “Mommy, can we go back to the crayon factory?” I think they had a good time?

Good news for you, friends? The Crayola Experience is offering an exclusive discount to my readers. To get this sweet discount, go HERE and enter code “Mom of the Year”.

Trust me, a trip to Easton is worth it. The kids will have a blast, creative genius will be sparked, and really, they will sleep like angels all night after you get home. Perfect fun for kids and parents ;)

Go get your Crayola on!

****Thank you to The Crayola Experience for providing my family with tickets to their attraction; our delight in our visit is 100% genuine!****

Feb 132015
 

Some of my favorite sweet smiles! If you simply can't stomach icing one more heart-shaped cookie or the classroom Valentines' cards have done you in, read of few of these for a teensy break.  Because even if you can't have all the wine and roses, Valentine's Day is a pretty good time to feel the love!If you’re anything like me, you may be a bit knackered from all the kid’s Valentine fun that’s been going down this week. And this isn’t going to be a post about trying to embrace the true meaning of Valentine’s Day despite the crazy. Let’s be honest, it will be a miracle if I even manage to stay up with my husband for even an hour after putting the kids to bed. The forecast for fancy heart-filled loved-laced celebrations looks grim around here.

But this is going to be a post where I share some of my favorite sweet smiles from over the past few years. If you simply can’t stomach icing one more heart-shaped cookie or the classroom Valentines’ cards have done you in, just pop in on a few links for a teensy break.

Because even if you can’t have all the wine and roses, Valentine’s Day is a pretty good time to feel the love. Enjoy the weekend, friends, however you spend it!

I realized my husband and I were totally on the same page–thanks to a Hallmark card.

That moment when you realize your spouse may actually be a bigger geek than you are.

Love is when the toast is burned, but we pretend it’s not because the morning is a crazy mess and we don’t want Mommy to lose her crap.

My husband has the weirdest bunch of hobbies ever, but I’m not even going to blink an eye.

I am 35 years old and I can’t put on my own shoes.

I busted the oil pan on the minivan and our budget was glaring at me. My husband reminded me this had nothing to do with the stuff that really matters on this earth.

My husband incessantly makes piles and chews his milkshakes; I am choosing to love him anyway.

With 5 simple words, my heart was stolen all over again.

Some of my favorite sweet smiles! If you simply can't stomach icing one more heart-shaped cookie or the classroom Valentines' cards have done you in, read of few of these for a teensy break.  Because even if you can't have all the wine and roses, Valentine's Day is a pretty good time to feel the love!

Some of my favorite sweet smiles! If you simply can't stomach icing one more heart-shaped cookie or the classroom Valentines' cards have done you in, read of few of these for a teensy break.  Because even if you can't have all the wine and roses, Valentine's Day is a pretty good time to feel the love!

Second image credit: depositphotos.com, image ID:23101678, copyright:SolominViktor

Third image credit: depostiphotos.com, image ID:18280999, copyright:alexraths

Feb 112015
 

Keeping a close eye on little ones all the time is TOUGH! Here is the perfect gadget to letting you make sure your kids are safe--while tackling your looming dish pile. It really works!We are entering a new stage in our household: independent play in our rooms. To those of you with older kids, this probably doesn’t sound like a big deal. For those of you with kids younger than my 3 yr. old and 5 yr. old, your mind is blown, “How does this even happen?!?”

But it does happen, trust me. Somehow baby gates get booted from staircases and your kids start saying wild things like, “Mommy, I am going to go up and play with my Legos.” The first few times, you will just nod numbly in shocked disbelief , stand at the bottom of the steps and hyper-vigilantly listen for the first possible indication that your child has injured himself.

Then, after a few successful unsupervised playtimes, you will start to relax a bit. You will enjoy the five minutes your children are happily occupied and begin to tackle the 16,000 tasks on your to-do list. Yet while the breathing room thrills you, your mom instinct won’t quit: “What are they doing up there?” “What is that thumping noise?” “Are they okay??” 

Obviously, we can’t watch our children for forever, but during this stage of not-quite independent, I would love to have an extra set of eyes. One that I could put upstairs so I can wash the dishes downstairs without panicking over the sounds coming from upstairs.

Enter the Safe&Sound® Pan & Tilt Full Color Video Baby Monitor from VTech. With a camera that pans up to 270 degrees side-to-side and tilts as many as 124 degrees up and down, it has your little ones covered. With a feature that allows you to zoom in up to 2x and a range of up to 1,000 feet, it can fully be your eyes even when you’re in another room!

Have more than one kid you want to keep an eye on? The monitor is expandable up to four handsets from one parent unit. And the transmission, however many handsets you use, is quality and secure. It is equipped with digital transmission. The signal is digitized and encrypted, ensuring video and audio transmission is always private. There is high resolution with a 2.8-inch color LCD and full-motion video with up to 25 frames per second and automatic night vision.

  • Talk-back intercom: Sometimes all your baby needs is to hear the sound of your voice. Comfort your infant from any room with the built-in intercom on the portable parent unit.
  • Temperature sensor
  • Wall-mount bracket
  • Vibrating sound-alert on the parent unit
  • Rechargeable battery with low-battery alert on the parent unit
  • Zoom the camera from the parent unit
  • 5-level sound indicator
  • Volume control

Keeping a close eye on little ones all the time is TOUGH! Here is the perfect gadget to letting you make sure your kids are safe--while tackling your looming dish pile. It really works!

The best news for you, readers? You have a chance to win one of five nursery safety baskets featuring VTech Safe&Sound® Pan & Tilt Full Color Video Baby Monitors! Hop in the Twitter party on Wednesday, 2/18/15 at 1pm ET for your chance to win. Winner will be randomly selected from participants who answer the trivia questions correctly. Prizes limited to U.S. participants only.

Follow the #VTechBaby hashtag to track the conversation. You can see the details and RSVP via this Vite: http://vite.io/themotherhood

I will be there, hosting the fun and eager to share more about this high-tech monitor while giving out a bunch of sweet prizes! Can’t wait to see you there–and here’s to keeping an extra eye on those young kiddos!

******This post is brought to you by VTech and The Motherhood. All opinions are my own.******

First image credit: depositphotos.com, image ID:10837621, copyright:Wavebreakmedia

Feb 042015
 

Keeping up with videos and pictures can seem daunting. With this simple app, all the guesswork and challenge of keeping up is erased--easy-peasy and FREE! Go score it now!My kids are at really cute ages. So many times I wish I could bottle up their 5 yr.old-ness and 3 yr. old-ness and keep it forever. Not saying they won’t do cute things in the years to come, but I find it pretty magical when my son explains the reason his girlfriend likes him as “I showed her my ducks.” Will it ever be this innocent again?!

My husband and I try to capture it all–we really do. We even have preschool concerts and big events down to a science; I snap the pics and he records the video as his hands are more steady. And then we do our best to text the highlights to friends and family, throwing some of our favorites up on Facebook. But at best, our efforts are haphazard.

So when I found out the OneDay app was coming to Android as of yesterday, 2/3/15 (it has already been on iTunes), I was pretty stoked. I had heard about this app endlessly from friends. About how awesome it was, how much kids loved it, and what a perfect way it was to capture memories all in one custom-made video. Now that it’s available on Android for FREE, it was time to give this app a whirl. Plus, the sweet new Valentines’ stories are adorbale!

What is it?

The OneDay App is an instant movie maker that helps parents make movies of their children like a pro in seconds with fun holiday themes and curated, thought provoking, fun story sets.

Is it hard to use?

No! OneDay makes it fun to create short movies of your child’s life with a few simple steps. You open the app, pick a question from a wide selection of fun story sets, and record your children’s answers. Then the app automatically stitches the recorded videos together, and adds music to make quality, priceless movies to share with family and friends.

The strength of the app is in its simplicity. No thinking required. No editing or video skills needed. If I can do this, so can you!

Overwhelmed by pictures and videos of your kids? This one app pulls it all together for you--all you have to do is film your cute kiddo! Go make some memories--the easy way!

How do I do it?

Download the app, chose a set of themed questions for your movie (try one of the Valentine’s prompts I mentioned–they are the perfect way to send a smile this time of year!), record your child’s answers, hit “save and created story” and then watch your edited video, with music and transitions.

The app guides you through and does all the hard work for you. You just record your kid and have fun!

What does a video look like?

So glad you asked! Check out what my very non-skilled, non-tech-savvy self came up with:

One with a touch of heart (please ignore my daughter passionately flailing on the side) and

One I like to call “Brother-Sister Love” (if you have a sibling pair at home, you will know exactly why this is so precious…)

Want to get this easy video-making fun for yourself?

Go HERE for iTunes and HERE for Android, download the app and let it guide you through making your own keepsake to share with friends and family.

Did I mention that it’s FREE? It definitely is. Go score fun for yourself and and get ready to laugh it up with your kids! With this app, you are all video stars!

*****This post was sponsored by OneDay, but my delight in this app is 100% genuine!*****

First image credit: depositphotos.com, image ID:3505216, copyright:Demixx

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