Thursday, October 29, 2015

Thursday Things

> Things to do with Halloween candy.  If you are doing a Switch Witch  type thing to keep your child from eating obscene amounts of candy, you may need some ideas what to do with it, other than eating it yourself or sending it in to work.  Please consider sending it to Operation Gratitude who will send it to our American troops over seas.   Candy needs to be sent in no later than November 15th to the following address:

Operation Gratitude
17330 Victory Boulevard
Van Nuys, CA 91406-5438
ATTN: Halloween Candy/Angel Cuevas

Please make sure to read all the do's and don'ts on the main page linked above and please consider taking the time to make a card or two with your child(ren) to send along for the servicemen and women who are sacrificing their holiday season with their loved ones to continue to protect our freedom.

> Our favorite Look & Find book, Frozen obviously, is currently 45% off.  Ashlynn got this for Christmas last year (at 2.5years) and still loves it.  Even though she completely has every item memorized, it's one of her favorite books.  At this price, would be a great gift or even book to give with items for families in need this holiday.

> Cost Plus World Market is having a 25% Off all Furniture and 10% off everything else sale.  It ends Tuesday, code BIGSAVE.  I would love to start furnishing out living room or dining room, these are some of my favorite items.

And last, it is Throwback Thursday after all.....

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Last Minute Sale Alert!

Pottery Barn Kids is having a sale up to 40% off all their Thanksgiving products and free shipping.

If you frequently host Thanksgiving or offer to bring a certain dish to the party, they really have the cutest kid-friendly items.  We have four nieces in addition to our own two girls, so now that they are old enough to feed themselves, a dedicated kids table is planned.  I love the melamine turkey plates and coordinating tumblers, which are only $3.50 and $3 each.  These are like the after holiday markdowns, except you can buy it and not have to store it away for a year.  I also love the serving tray which would be perfect for Thanksgiving themed sugar cookies.

Definitely give the collection a peek if you are in the market for jazzing up your celebration, sale ends tonight!!

Princess Parade

Ashlynn's school had their annual Halloween Parade last week and she was so excited to get to wear her Ariel costume to school.  It was so cute to see all the little princesses and superheroes since it seems 95% of the kids had chose to be some variety of that, Disney and Marvel really know where to market.

After we went out for veggie burgers and fries and followed it up with some fro-yo.  The next day we headed out to a local Halloween parade with friends and Ashlynn made it clear she is her mama's daughter by competitively running to grab every single piece of candy thrown.  My little sugar bug / chocoaholic in training. Pretty sure we might be able to hit up the whole neighborhood this year while trick or treating with that kind of spirit.

Here begins my steady diet of candy and coffee in the morning :)

Monday, October 26, 2015

[Going Green] WaterWipes

This post was sponsored by WaterWipes as part of an Influencer Activation for Influence Central. I received complimentary products to facilitate my review.

It's been a while since I shared some of our favorite natural and eco-friendly products.  I was contacted to participate in a campaign for WaterWipes, and after learning more, they totally passed the chemical free test!  

WaterWipes are a premium European brand - based in Ireland!.  They are 100% chemical free and only contain two ingredients - 99.9% purified water and 0.1% grapefruit seed extract.  Perfect and gentle enough for wiping even the newest and tiniest baby behinds.

And while we do have one child left in diapers, I have been using my favorite chlorine free and aloe and vitamin E enriched wipes since they day we brought Ashlynn home.  They were always by far my favorite even compared to the chemical filled national brands since they were durable and moist enough to clean up a mess with ease with only one wipe.  I was skeptical of another brand doing the same, but WaterWipes has been the first brand I've tried that has come close.  The only drawback to my previous diaper wipes brand, is that I didn't like using them on hands and faces since the natural added lotion would leave a foam which I wasn't too fond of being near their mouths or hands.  WaterWipes clean messy hands and faces like a breeze with nothing added left behind.

And with two toddlers, messes are non-stop around here. No more need to wet rough paper towels to wipe faces while darting away from the table or the classic spit and swipe on the cheeks when getting out of the car. On top of that, they are great for wiping off make up too.   The wipes are also not inter-folded, which is nice since 10 don't come flying out when I'm trying to only grab one in a pinch.  The company designed the packing that way to maintain a sterile environment within the package, but the fact I don't have to smoosh a wad back in after is genius enough for me.

I challenged the wipes to the quintessential toddler mess that is the Fluffer Nutter sandwich.

Just like with diaper changes, the wipes easily cleaned up messy marshmallow fluff hands without any rough scrubbing.

Both my girls have sensitive skin that gets dry and is prone to eczema during the winter months.  I'm always aware to be gentle when wiping faces, but usually messes are so stubborn - as are the squirming children - that by the time their faces are cleaned up they are red from the wiping.  Thankfully with no added chemicals, these sweet cheeks were back to their kissable selves after a quick and ticklish clean up.

I was easily able to find and pick up two packs of WaterWipes at my local GIANT super market. They were located front and center with the baby wipes and were even marked down with a shopper's card.  If you are looking to switch to a chemical free wipe that stands up, you can use this link to find WaterWipes at select locations and retailers near you! 

To learn more please visit WaterWipes

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Weekend Things

My newly beloved DL1961 Emma skinnies are on sale,  I swear I wear these almost every day I don't wear leggings, which is probably like half of the week.   I also had these tops on repeat, which can get 40% off everything (no exclusions!) with code MAJOR and 8% back with Ebates (sign up here!)
And so many cute things for kiddos too!  The winter collection was just released, I'm completely mad for plaid!

Happy Sale Sunday Shopping!

Friday, October 23, 2015

Five Reads Friday

This is actually a Five Reads Friday x2.  I've shared a lot of books based around different themes - holidays, toddler non-fiction, milestones, cover artsteals under <$10, etc.  Since I'm in full fledged inquisitive pre-schooler mode, we will soon be having a lot of discussions that might be hard to have and I thought looking into finding ways to turn these discussions into teachable moments would be helpful for me and you, too!

It can be easy to deflect the "where do babies come from?" with a short "From mommy's tummy", but eventually these curious minds are going to start asking more "How did I get out of your tummy? and How did I get in?".   These little sponges are learning so much about the world around them, including topics that might be hard for us as adults to explain for the first time, like a beloved grandparent passing away or family friend being diagnosed with cancer.  Finding books written for young children are a great way to open up these discussions, for little ones to learn about birth, social differences, disabilities, abuse, and death.  These books will speak to children in their language and open up the conversation for them to ask more questions from you.  Hopefully answering their questions honestly, but with enough tact or metaphor for them to understand and not be completely lost or traumatized.

Hard Topic #1:  Where do babies come from?  

Hard Topic #2:  Abuse.  Discussing what is appropriate, private, and the power to speak up.  

Hard Topic #3:  Social, religious differences. Why does Jamie have two Mommy's?  Why doesn't Sam celebrate Christmas? Why does Casey's look so different than her family?

Hard Topic #4:  Autism.   Why does my classmate act differently?  What is Autism?  

Hard Topic #5:  Death.  Where is Grandpa?  What is cancer?

Have you had to discuss any of these topics yet with your children?  Did you use a book to start conversation and guide the topic in a gentle age appropriate way?  Any recommendations, please share in the comments!

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

[Child Style] Hanna Fanna

Generally, I shop at GapKids and Old Navy for girls, between my rewards card and the constant promotions, I feel I'm able to get some pretty cute clothes at decent discounts.  However, I can't stop crushing on the duds in the recent Hanna Andersson.

I get an abundance of catalogs, the majority I've never signed up for, but there are very few that immediately don't make their way to the recycle bin. (Total side note, but who actually buys stuff from the Chasing Fireflies catalog?  adorable, but $150 for an Elsa costume?get real.) Anyway, I usually skip past HA knowing their prices are steep, discounts are few, and shipping isn't typically comp'd, but I love their holiday pajamas.  Technically, the pajamas in general as they are so well made, so I like to look at the holiday catalogs.  Seriously though, I got stopped by the clothes - so so cute.  I don't know if it speaks to my nineties Limited Too coordinating outfit loving heart (with matching scrunchies!).  The plaid, the fair isle, even the clogs - my adolescence is restored!

I am complete obsessed with the North Star, Ski Norrland, and Folk Mix Holiday Family Collections.  If I could afford it, I'd own it all, including the adult pieces. 

And sing it with me, if I had a million dollars....

Even the accessories are adorably cute.  I love the little corduroy jumper, I'll definitely be sale stalking that one.  I'm stoked they still have the jammies I bought for the girls available this year.  Kenley fits in Ashlynn's pair and I'm looking to buy Ashlynn a new pair and call good on the sleep wear until Spring, but if I had a boy, I'd totally be forcing Star Wars upon him, so many cute options!

Any brands you've been loving lately?  Want some Hanna?  Use this link to receive a 20% off coupon!!

**this post contains affiliate links 

Monday, October 19, 2015

Life Lately

Seems like there has been a whole lot and a whole lot of nothing going on around here.  You know when you feel like you've been busy you can't even keep the days straight, but yet, you also can't come up with one good example of what you've been doing??

Here's to trying to come up with some things...

I spent a few naps last week trying my hand at making my first handmade halloween costume.  Since Kenley is a bit too young to request her own costume choice, I decided she'd be Little Red Riding Hood.  Ashlynn wants to be Ariel, and I didn't really want to make Kenley be the coordinating Flounder, so I went with something I could keep her warm in.  I decided to make a fleece cape since it seemed like it should be easy enough for me.  I scanned pinterest for some outfit ideas and tutorials, but didn't find any exact patterns I wanted so I just took ideas from a few and made my own.  I added in some mini red pom trim along the bottom, red gingham lining, and ric rac to trim the sides.   Of course, Kenley has completely refused to try it on running from me every time I try.  Looks like she'll be choosing from the dress up bin on Halloween night.

I've spent most of my nights catching up on Scandal season 4.  And since Ashlynn is really pushing our limits with her insistance that one of us stays with her until she falls asleep, I also started reading Mindy Kaling's second book "Why Not Me?.  Her first book was seriously hilarious, and this one so far hasn't disappointed. I have a feeling I'll probably blow through it pretty quickly.

I don't know why, but I've basically taken the route of a big box store and have had the holidays on my mine forever.  Between wrapping Christmas gifts over the summer, seriously, and continuing with capitalizing on Halloween sales for Christmas dress up gifts, I can't seem to push the holidays back into their proper months.  However, Kenley's birthday is at the end of November so I've been trying to think of items for her as well, especially since a few family and friends have asked.  Since the girls "big" gift from Santa will be a dress up station, I figured we would just get her one "big gift" for her birthday and leave the rest of the smaller items for Santa to bring.  We already have a balance bike for Ashlynn and both girls have scooters.  I wanted to get another bike item that both girls could use ability wise and continue to use, so not a baby/young toddler specific type item.  I had been looking at big wheels, but a lot of them didn't have the greatest reviews.

This Radio Flyer option had good ones, so I had added it to the wishlist to price watch.  Except I was randomly checking the Lighting Deals the other night and it was included (lightning deals don't register as price drops on camelcamelcamel).  So birthday present snagged and currently on it's way.

I've also been thinking about our holiday cards.  We haven't had any family photos taken and don't have any scheduled, which is fine.  We've done a lot of professional photos the last few years, we are okay with taking a a few years off without the "perfect" family capture.  However, I'd still like a recent shot of at least the girls to share with family and friends.  I snagged the cutest dress from an etsy shop and then grabbed some cute accessories for Ashlynn, I have a dress for Kenley that I still need to make sure fits and we'll be good to go.  I'll definitely share some details when it arrives and I can take some pictures.

Lastly, I don't think I shared that we snagged TWO, full size bedframes off craigslist for $60.  And they were delivered to us.  They are both the same, cherry solid wood with spindle headboard and footboards.  I don't plan on having Kenley convert from her crib quite yet, but I think she will be moving over earlier than Ashlynn did, lots of ideas swirling around, I'll get them down and share those soon too!

What's been going on with everyone else?? ;)

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Amazon Halloween Costume Deals of the Day!

I wasn't going to post this, but I shared that we scored a $5 Elsa coronation dress on Amazon on my snapchat (ehayes1183) and then figured I'd let everyone know here too.  BUT while looking  I found out that tons of costumes are included in the Deal of the Day, take a look at just a few below!

(this just arrived today and the quality surprisingly isn't too bad for $5!)

Luke Skywalker - $15.91

Captain America - $18.55

Rapunzel - $17.07

Iron Man - $13.50

Some of the items are "add-on" items for PRIME members, meaning you don't get the discounted deal until you spend $25, but it's pretty simple to reach $25 by adding a few items together with a regular non-add on item or by just grabbing something you need - I bought a book and some dog biscuits because I forgot to get them on my target run.   You know, but didn't miss random Halloween decor and other unnecessary things.

Now, tell me what are all the grown ups being for Halloween?!

* affiliate links exist in this post

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Roses All Over - Stenciled Closet

Oh boy, this post is about six months over due.  After Ashlynn moved into her big girl room,  I started getting her closet put together.  I love the way Kenley's closet turned out, and growing up, I always had my bifold closet doors open.  I decided to open Ashlynn's up like Kenley's, but I wanted to create something different.   Her room is pretty simple and clean, BM Classic Gray on the walls, white furniture and bright purple bedding and details.  Since she is three, I wanted to add something bright and fun without it being a giant Elsa Fathead.

I know her room will constantly be evolving with her tastes and interests, so additions of Frozen flannel bed sheets and an abundance of bunny every thing are a lot easier (and cheaper) to change.  I decided to stencil the closet wall with the Roses All Over stencil from Cutting Edge Stencils.  I used Pantone's Radiant Orchid, a perfect match to her bedding, a small sample pot picked up at Lowe's ages ago.

I used a small foam roller brush and a sorry excuse for a paint tray. The stencils come with detailed instructions and there is a great video tutorial on their site to watch to see technique and tips.  The biggest take away, little paint and apply lightly.  Especially on a stencil with as much detail as the one I chose.  A roller loaded with paint or applying too much pressure will definitely cause bleeding under the stencil.  It's always easier to add more.  

The stencil was extremely easy to line up, getting into the corners was a little tricky, but since it's a closet it's hardly noticeable if even visible.

I'm sure you don't notice right away, but looking closer below, you can see how certain areas are darker where I applied more paint.  I was able to go in with a small craft paint brush and add more purple to areas that were too light, and cover areas with gray where the stencil bleed through.  Necessary?  No, but it wasn't too time consuming to make some fixes and I would most likely obsess over it if not.

Since Ikea no longer sells a 5 unit expedit, the one we used in Kenley's closet. I decided just to move one of our many 8 unit expedits into her closet to store books, toys, and baskets.

As she grows she can fill these with clothes, but for now, her 3 drawer dresser and the hanging rack hold everything with plenty of room to spare.

Full disclosure, I was not sponsored, perked, or gifted by cutting edge stencils to write this post, but I would absolutely purchase another stencil again.  My only probably was with cleaning the stencil, I didn't clean it enough between stencils, mostly because it's so detailed it was a pain.  Because of this, any paint that did bleed under would then transfer under to the wall creating a smudge.  Again, something easily fixed with a small brush, but once I finally did clean the stencil it was a major chore.

Six months later and the "reveal" is finally here.  I promise the reading nook canopy post won't be much longer... or maybe it will? ;)