{family fun} super cute sarah & abraham placemats

Since the moment these placemats arrived I’ve been DYING to share them with you. But I was holding firm to the Valentine surprise for the girls. Then it occurred to me that I COULD share them, because my little girls may be proficient on an iPad, but they sure don’t read this blog yet!!!

How amazing are these!?!? I may be biased since they show my own little family, but I just can’t believe how stinking cute they turned out.

Spitting image of Addie.  Strawberry blonde, short curly hair…kills me!  Piper’s photo was a little blurry, but you can see her very blonde pony tails in the first shot….super sweet.

Hay and her pony.  Sigh….

Then I figured that Mommy and Daddy should have them too, and really the images are generic enough that they can be an adult or a child.  Love these….

All of the images are spot on and I know will be such a hit Valentine’s Day morning on the table.  I’ll let you know how it all goes, but just in case you wanted to do the same, or maybe had an upcoming birthday, these are a GREAT idea! Cute details, great colors, thick laminate to wipe clean, looks good on your table….what’s not to love?? I liked ours so much in fact, that I even had a set made as a house warming gift.

Bet you want to know where I got them???  They are from a long standing favorite, Sara & Abraham!  Check them out, you wont be sorry!! This one could be a Favorite Hall of Famer for me…

{Nothing to disclose, just an always and ever happy customer of Sara & Abraham!}

{family fun} what do you want to be??

Who do you want to be when you grow up??

I love the stage the girls are at right now.  It is just one big playtime of imaginary fun! And these costume sets by Melissa & Doug are AWESOME!

All three girls received them from my very “in the know mom” sister.  The girls had played with some on a visit to their cousins last fall, and the kids were entertained forever!  I immediatley put them on my reminder wish list for Christmas when I got back home.

But as luck would have it, the girls received them from their sweet aunt for Christmas!!  We now have a budding Police Officer, Chef, and Veterinarian (though they think it’s a Doctor – either way works with me!)

They were so excited to receieve these under the tree, and they continue to pull them out almost daily to dress up. Super cute!

These costumes are favorites for sure. I’ve aslo seen a Construction Worker, Doctor, Fire Fighter, Knight, Hair Stylist, Train Engineer, Waitress, Princess, Fairy, etc.  So many fun choices. I’ve bought a couple recently for birthday gifts, and Amazon seems to have the best prices {$19-$25} which is where I’ve been buying them.

Hayden, are you heading into the kitchen to bake us a cake??

Seriously, I love that it entertains them so much! The conversations they come up with are priceless!

Be sure to check them out. Great gift to give your own kids, or for an upcoming birthday gift! Definitely on my Favorites List!

{family fun} $1 hair bows!!! (yep you read that right…)

This is not the post I had planned for today. But as luck would have it, I forgot my camera that I kinda needed to take the photos to go with the planned (and written) post. Ugh.

But all is OK, because I’ll get that one up later Thursday, and can post instead about some girlie hair bows that I’ve mean meaning to share with your for months!

I have girls.

Did you know that? Yea, 3 of em. Little girls, little heads, little pony tails, little bows.

Have you ever shopped for hair bows?  Or maybe found a super cute one, closed your eyes to what you had to spend, then kicked your car door as you picked up your cute little girl from preschool….missing that cute bow?

Yeah, I’ve never had that happen either.

But if I HAD, HAD that happen, I would be SOOOOO excited to know about these hair bows…..are you ready for it….

THEY ARE ONE DOLLAR EACH. $1…..JUST $1……YEP, UNO DOLLAR-O.  I really love that price tag.

I also love them in little Piper’s hair.  Check out those little ponys!!

I love em from the side.

And I love them from the back of that bowling ball head!

I love that they look super cute no matter the size or style of the pony tail.

I love that I could order a group of 40 bows for these 3 little heads…That I could pick all the colors I wanted…That I could choose 6 of some, 2 of some, 5 of some depending on what I needed….And that I could add slip grips to the clips.

I do not love that my photos are a little blurry, but I LOVE the bows in the girls’ hair.

And they love choosing what fun color to wear each day.  This is seriously a favorite find!!  And to think I found it while searching for how to make my own bows….not likely now that I now about this fabulous little shop…

Check them out, Who Made That Bow? and stock up!  The quality is fantastic, the bows are beautiful, and the price can’t be beat!

{Family Fun} Back to School Crocs

Thank you to Crocs for sponsoring this blog post. Please click here to learn more about Crocs’ new Back to School line. I was selected for this sponsorship by the Clever Girls Collective. All opinions expressed here are my own.

So we’ve all seen these Crocs.  “Seen” being an iffy word to use considering if Crocs are on my kids feet they are likely in the sand, playing at the park, helping in the garden, running, jumping or dancing.

So to actually say you’ve “seen” them…well, you get my point.

OK there, thanks Piper!  Baby Pipes is wearing her 3 year old sister’s first Crocs. They are a size 4/5 and are so teeny-tiny. I just love em on those little feet!  I guess having a baby girl each year for 3 years has a random plus, I get to do a little dance each time I pull out the cute hand me downs!

BUT, have you seen these?  Crocs has introducing a new line of “school-approved” shoes for both girls and boys from K-8.

I need to back up for a minute.  I found these shoes for Addie last year, and she LOVES them. Much to Hubs dislike, the girls have just a “few” pairs of shoes.  But when I bought these for Addie she went nutty!  Personally she loves purple, so I had a winner no matter what. But also knowing that the shoes were Crocs and had the same comfort, same durability, same can’t destroy em if you tried, AND they were a cute ballerina flat style… well I knew had nothing to lose.

What I didn’t know was just how much Addie would love them!  They are her go to shoes 5 out of 7 days a week. I kid you not.

Then this past February when we were on a road trip, we lost one. ONE.

OHHHHHHH, both our worlds were destroyed by this.  I was sure it had fallen out at a gas stop, but still held out hope that maybe, just maybe it would be in the car. Nope.

Then this summer as I was being given my instructions from Addie’s preschool and heard the words “school approved shoes” I cringed. Of course Summer flip flops wouldn’t work (duh, Shanna)….and her lace up shoes would be too warm on her summer feet, sandels would just fill up with sand…yikes!  There was no more waiting, I ordered another pair.  My daughter almost did a back flip when she opened the box!!

And then guess what happened?  When I was packing for this little trip we are on, I unzipped Addie’s little backpack, and low and behold the missing shoe (5 months later)!!!  So now my 2 year old is just as excited as her 3 year sister ‘cuz she gets to wear “”school shoes” too.

There really are so many fun styles to pick from. Be sure to check them out. Great choices for boys and girls. I don’t even mind spending a bit more for them because they look just as new on my third child as they did on my first.

And you HAVE to watch this video!  Hilarious…love that our Little Punks can take “summer in their shoes to school” Ha! Happy Back to School!

{Family Fun} Favorite Kids Plates & GIVEAWAY!

I LOVE Sarah & Abraham! It’s no secret.

I’ve written before about this company (and was also a grateful recipient of darling note cards) and have been a customer now forever.  The products are wonderful, darling and unique. {Address stamps, note cards, stickers, invitations, name banners, art prints, placemats, notepads…seriously, the list is endless!} I think the price point is great for thank you gifts, teacher gifts, birthdays, etc.

The site is easy to use, and the customer service???  AMAZING! I’ve always received my items in what seems the blink of an eye. I feel like I place the order and walk out on our doorstep and it’s there!

So for the first giveaway this month, I wanted to share these darling little personalized plates Sarah & Abraham offers. I do not own these, but that’s simply because I’ve been lazy and not placed the order yet.  However, I know my Little Punks would go CRAZY if they opened a box with their own personalized plates & bowls! Come to think of it, I might need to order as a “Starting Pre-school” treat for Addie (which of course means all the punks get them), but how fun would that be to send her off on her first day of pre-school with a belly full of pancakes from a plate with her cute face on it!?!?

OK, this post is taking an entirely different direction than I was planning, but I am loving the idea of surprising your kids with a back to school breakfast on these plates & bowls! I’m not sure your high schooler would go for it, but your pres-chool, kindergarten, or first grader?? CUTE I tell ya!

Check it out…

I can just see this cutie wearing a plaid shirt the same as that napkin!

Love the super hero! And there’s a girl version too!

Any ballerina’s out there??

The bowls are a nice height for cereal, or pancakes loaded with whipped cream and syrup…I mean if your THAT kinda mom….which I just might be.

So cute for your little budding chef!

There are loads of designs to choose from and they are completely personalized. You get to choose the background color, the hairstyle, hair color, eye shape, eye color, skin tone, and glasses or no glasses.  And honestly, I think the likeness comes out pretty darn close!

The other cool things about these??

1. They are melamine, meaning they can’t be broken easily. GREAT for Little Punks, or to use around outside or around a pool.

2. They are dishwasher safe.

3. They are BPA Free.

GIVEAWAY TIME! Comment below and let me know what your FAVORITE pattern is, be sure to check out the site for all the options. 1 winner will be chosen by random.org. Winner gets to choose either a plate or bowl of their choice.

Giveaway closes Saturday, August 6th at midnight PST. Winner will be notified via email.

{Disclosure: This giveaway is sponsored by me with cooperation from Sarah & Abraham. I asked to offer this giveaway because I love Sarah & Abraham, I adore these plates & bowls, and I wanted to share a favorite company.}

{Family Fun} Every Girl Loves a Pretty Dress

You know when people tell you you should check something out and you completely agree, nod your head, and put it on your mental checklist….and when you finally do check it out, you realize it’s been about 2 years since you first heard about it?

Yeah, me neither.

That’s never happened to me. {Yeah, right…}

I digress.

Last week I was running a few errands outside of my normal bubble and noticed an H&M. Now I love this store. I normally love to shop at the one in San Francisco when I’m visiting my sister (read = she has awesome fashion sense & my little Punks are not with me.}. It’s huge and can be a little overwhelming, but if you have the patience, you can find some really great peices without busting the bank. {Which is nice when you needed some post prego ~ pre losing weight clothes}.  It’s also nice when you just want to liven up your closet with a couple cute things….

So I popped my head in to see what I could find in under 25 minutes {which was all the “extra” time I had that day}.

That’s when I REMEMBERED the MENTAL CHECKLIST…H&M carries kids clothes!!!  Now our girls need more clothes like a hole in the head…but I’m a sucker for cute things, and my Punks have legs that grow like weeds.

Check these out…

Cute little dress for Piper….a whopping $4.95

Hayden loves stripes ~ another whopping $6.95

Then there is this little Punk. She loves to twirl….

And I found this little number ~ broke the bank a bit here $9.95

But OOHHHH the twirls it can do…

Addie: “This is sooooo BEAUTIFUL Mommy!!”

And even a little something for mom. But this really broke the budget at $17.95. A fun maxi dress. I layered a lose {sometimes off the shoulder} shirt over it to dress it up a bit for an event last week {don’t mind my silly pose…trying to take a pic with my camera since I lost my phone and needed to balance on the fireplace…..}

Anywhoo, if you have an H&M near you, as overwhelming and scary as it may seem, give it a shot.  For $40 I was able to buy 4 dresses that made the 4 girls in our little house pretty happy!

{Disclosure: Nothing to disclose, I went shopping, found some cute stuff at a fun price, & wanted to share it! Enjoy. Sorry I couldn’t link to everything, but they don’t offer online shopping, nor do they show everything on their website.}

Sometime it’s Better to Give on Your Birthday.

I have yet to write about the girls 1-2-3 Circus Birthday Party….so many photos to go through and share!  But I will, I promise! Such a special day and there were so many amazing people that helped pull it all together. It seriously NEVER would have happened without some very, very nice people that went to the ends of the earth for me! So stay tuned…

But today I wanted to tell you what we did in lieu of birthday gifts.  Months and months ago I had read a few posts from This Mama Makes Stuff about collecting toys, games, or books in lieu of birthday gifts. Because the party would be a pretty good size party to celebrate all 3 girls, I knew it would be a wonderful tradition to start!

We read all the time.  The girls have lots of favorites books. And there was just something about thinking of other little kids that weren’t getting to sleep in their own beds, or curl into their own favorite reading spot to look through a story.  So we decided we wanted to collect books for the children at CHOC.

We asked birthday guests that wanted to participate, to bring new books, and had one of the activities at the party for people to color bookplates to insert in them if they wished.

It was so fun to watch the basket grow…

And continue to grow!

And then to see this happy smile and to know we had made someone’s day that much brighter!

This couldn’t have been easier to do…drove a few miles, pulled up to the waiting room doors and met this beautiful smile at my car…

Definitely a favorite thing!  If you live locally, consider donating books to CHOC’s literary program. You can contact Emma the Reading Program Coordinator at 714.532.8656, or estrong@CHOC.org. If books aren’t your thing,maybe something from CHOC’s toy wish list.  If you live outside of my little  bubble, please, please look for childrens’ causes to get involved with in your area. The recipients are so grateful for the help, and it will give you a warm feeling, even better than your morning latte, deep in your soul.

Addie’s & Hay’s Book Picks

Addie and Hay wanted to share some of their current FAVORITE reads. I asked them to pick a few to show ya. Hope you’re Littles love em as much as ours!

Just the name, I Don’t Want a Posh Dog is hilarious! This is a quick, smart, rhyming book about a little girl looking for a dog…

My favorite line, “I don’t want a snooty dog. A fancy, attitudey dog.”

Who wants ANYTHING “attitudey”!?!?

Pinkalicious is a funny little story about a little girl and waaaay too many pink cupcakes. The Littles love all the different colors she turns into….not sure it has curbed their desire to eat “MORE CUPCAKES MAMA!” But it’s a fun story none the less.

(As I type this, Hay is sitting on the floor next to me reading Pinkalicious and shaking her head, “No no cupcake! Go nigh-nigh! Reach-reach! Green in ‘er hand! Peekaboo! PINK! All done!”)

I tell you all of that from a literary and learning side. Hayden turned 2 in February, yet she is sitting, “reading” a book. Meaning she remembers what we’ve read when she sees the illustrations. The girls LOVE books, and I love that they have favorite books that encourage them to keep picking them up over and over and over again.

I bought Taking a Bath with the Dog and Other Things that Make Me Happy when I was pregnant with Addie. It just looked fun to me. I love all the many, many, many ways this little girl is reminded of that make her happy….

“Tickle my baby brother, jump rope, bake cookies with faces, ride my bike, chew peas one at a time, slurp spaghetti, dance with my shadow…”

The whole story just makes us all happy!

And speaking of making us happy, this is not my forgetting to rotate the photo, this is how Addie wanted to show you their all time favorite book for at least the past 3 months. Shoe-La-La! is read at LEAST 3 or 4 timers a day in our house. The Littles can practically recite it on their own (and again, Hay & Addie are 2 and 3 years old.) EVERY mommy can relate to shoe shopping and wanting to find the perfect shoe for your party dress. Very witty, very cute story. This would make a PERFECT birthday gift for a little friend.

Their final favorite for today is Happy Easter Mouse. We love any of the Mouse books…and this one is equally as simple and sweet. Mouse friend hides colored eggs around the house, and each page brings another color and you closer to finding out which friend. All 3 Littles are engaged and want to hear this every night as we get closer to the Easter Bunny this weekend.

What favorites are your Littles reading these days?  I’ve got a few more to share with you, but would love to know what your families are reading too!

Hours of fun!

I have been so behind in life, that I actually had over 700 photos to download (upload?) to my computer from my camera last night. When I came across this one, all I could say was, “Huh!?!?” For the life of me, I couldn’t figure out what Hayden was doing or where she was, or if I had even taken the photo…

Then I remembered we had bought these giant “Berries” at Costco. I’m clueless as to what the real names are, but in our house they are “Blueberry” and ” Raspberry”.   They are $29.99 each at Costco. There is a hole that you can’t see in the photo below at the top and at the bottom. Kids can roll on the grass like a hamster wheel, or you can push it around the yard while the Littles play “Popcorn” inside. We have LOVED them!

All you need to do is blow them up (which helps if you have a compressor….just sayin’ it could take a while).  We bought one last summer too and it was LOADS of fun! Every friend that visited our house was in that thing lickity split.

Both times we hosted swim lessons, all the kids were ALL over it! Because so many kids played on it, by the end of the summer, most of the “cells” had a hole or 2 so we sadly tossed it. But when we saw them again this summer, we quickly scooped up two!!

I’ll cross my fingers your Costco carries them too! Go now and pick one up!

Sippy Cup Line Up

This is our line up in the morning.

Mom “Big Cup”, Piper “Handle Cup”, Hayden “Pink Cup”, and Addie “Purple Cup”.

Why is all this important? Well since it’s helpful to me, I thought it might be helpful to you too.

Addie and Hayden both spend a few hours each week at daycare. We LOVE our daycare (I’m going to say “our” because it really does feel like our own family.) When the girls get there in the morning, the first thing they see is the line up of sippy cups. These are not fancy cups, they do not have bells and whistles, they are just sippy cups. But each cup is a different color or style, and it has each child’s name written with a Sharpie on top. Each child knows HIS/ HER cup and takes care and charge of it all day.

BRILLIANT. Why have I not been doing this???

So of course, I adopted the idea.

A few sippy cup thoughts (in case you wanted to know):

  1. Find a sippy you like, stick with it and only it ~ After loads of sippy cup “research” (read this as “have tried more than I would like to admit”) we pretty much exclusively use the Playtex Sippies. Not to say there aren’t other great ones, but these work for us because the parts are all interchangeble and they don’t leak. We have 2 with straws for “morning shakes”, pink for Hayden, purple for Addie, and handled ones for Piper. I think I have about 4 for each girl. Sticking with one brand makes it much EASIER and FASTER for us.
  2. Assemble your sippy cups as they come out of the dishwasher ~ I’m spoiled, I know. Dont kill me when I say, my husband is in charge of the dishes. (I’m ducking from the rocks right now….). When he unloads the dishes each morning, he puts the sippy cups back together before putting them away. By using all the same brand of cups, he can do this pretty easily, and having them assembled makes my morning 3 times faster as I’m not scrambling for parts.
  3. Let your kids help you fill the cups ~ I’ve definitely found there are less battles in our house when the Littles get to be a part of what you’re doing. The girls LOVE helping me fill all the cups in the morning ~ meaning they each hand them to me to put under the filtered water. Just pick a task that works for your Littles age.
  4. Pick one color for each child ~ Trust me, when they go to Grandmas, they will still drink out of a blue cup even if their one at home is green. Having their own color has been AWESOME. The girls love “their” cup and really do take responsibilty for it. If one girl is missing her cup, the other is quick to help find it.  A bonus is “learning to be helpful” and using “team work” to find one that’s missing.
  5. By having their own cups, it stops them from “sharing”~ I normally couldn’t care less if they drank from each other’s cups, but in trying to manage the “snot party”, this is helpful. Just sayin’….
  6. Helpful for potty training ~ By having their own colors, I can easily see how much each girl has had to drink, which in turn helps me with gaging the need for potty breaks. HELPFUL believe me.
  7. They are never too young for a sippy ~ Piper doesn’t have a color, her cups are just with handles. This helps with teething, getting her used to drinking from sippy cups, and helping her stay occupied. Pretty sure she could play with her cup for hours.  As a note, check with your doctor as to when he/she wants your babe to start drinking water. I think all of ours did around 7 or 8 months, but it’s a bit of a blur for me. However, almost from the day the Dr has said “Go!” to water, we’ve put it in a sippy (bottles too, but often in sippies). I’ve just always felt it can’t hurt them, it helps with hand and eye coordination, and they get to feel like a big kid. Loads of wins going on here.

Now, if you want to know about Mom’s Sippy Cup…it does not have Vodka in it like many would assume. Tempting, but no. It’s just water, but I LOVE my “sippy cup”. I have 2, got em from Amazon, and can’t live without them…

  1. It doesn’t sweat (not sure how this happens as it’s not insulated…)
  2. The “spout” does not pour water allover your face.
  3. It has a top that  you can lock.
  4. There’s is a hook if you need to attach to anything.
  5. If you are Type A and want to know how much water you’ve had, you can turn the dial on the side to keep track.

I love mine and use it everyday. It’s been a HUGE help with Getting Mama’s Groove Back!

Now go fill your sippy cups!