April 24, 2014

Why Is Your Dad An All-Star?

We're lucky ladies. Maggie, Alex and I have a special guy in our house who loves us, gets up super early every morning to commute to NYC to work hard to take care of us, comes home with energy to make us laugh, and spends weekends with us on family adventures. I couldn't imagine my girls having a better Dad. They think he's the greatest man in the world and when they play princess, he's always Prince Charming. Yesterday, I asked them why he's an all-star Dad or the best Dad in the world. Here's what they had to say:
I love what they said, because Maggie is my more serious child, who always talks about Daddy helping her or keeping her safe. Alex, my goofy child, loves chasing Daddy around the house. Now it's your turn! Why is your Dad an All-Star? By sharing a video, your All-Star Dad could win tickets to this year's MLB All-Star game in Minneapolis. 
This Father's Day, Dove Men+Care and Target are celebrating All-Star Dads! To enter, all you have to do is submit a quick video explaining why your All-Star Dad is the best with the hashtag, #DoveAllStarDad. Videos submitted via Instagram can be a maximum length of 15 seconds, while videos submitted through the sweepstakes microsite can be a maximum length of 30 seconds.
Dove Men+Care and Target will select the top 10 videos. Then, starting 5/15/2014, people can vote on their  favorites and will be entered for a chance to win a $10 Target gift card just for voting. If your video is voted into the top 3, you’ll win an all-expense paid trip to the 2014 Midsummer Classic in Minneapolis with your Dad! 
Dove Men+Care products are available at Target and make a great Father's Day gift. We often run out of ideas for "Dad gifts"and this year we're going to put together a "Dad Bath Kit" with some of the Dove Men+Care products. 
Be sure to head over to Dove Men+Care for your chance to submit your video from 4/13/2014–5/4/2014. Your Dad could have an All-Star Father's Day this year! Don't forget to use #DoveAllStarDad

This post is sponsored by Global Influence. As always, all opinions are our own. 
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April 23, 2014

Creating A Great Wardrobe: Moms This One's For You!

Style Smaller is one of my favorite blogs. Kate, the mom behind the blog is a wonderful, genuine writer. She's also one of the most stylish ladies around: her home, her children's outfits and her wardrobe too. She's guest posted on our blog before, but always shared tips for styling little ones. As I was noticing my own closet was in a serious rut, I reached out to Kate for help. She put together an awesome post with realistic ways to create great a wardrobe. 

In addition to her lovely blog, Kate now has an online shop too! You can find it right on her blog's site. It's filled with adorable accessories, home accents and toys too. Enjoy! 
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Creating A Great Wardrobe
By: Kate of Style Smaller

I was asked to give some tips to The Chirping Moms readers on creating a great wardrobe. It was a surprising & super-flattering request. My blog generally talks about kids' clothing,but BECAUSE I'm always talking about kids' wardrobes, I thought it would be a really fun change-of-pace to post my own style tips. ;)
Here's the fact: I don't have the most creative wardrobe ever. Here's a look at pieces from {or similar to} my every day uniform:


Black, white, grey, and denim rule my drawers. 
I do love to get dressed. I love working with what is in my closet. To me, money does not buy style, so it's not necessary to spend in excess. My "investment pieces" are well-made tees that fall exactly as they should and get worn a million times because of their comfort, quality, and versatility. I love well-made tried & true pieces that get worn until they have holes. My goal is never to have the MOST clothing... my goal is to wear every piece I own, so I'm not storing unnecessary pieces.
  • TOPS: For the every day, I switch between slouchy tees and slouchy tanks, and button down plaid. I do the half tuck these days to keep it really casual. If I want to spruce things up, or if I'm going somewhere fun in the evening, I'll switch to a blouse type of shirt, or I'll just change my jeans to a skirt and that's fancy enough.
  • BOTTOM: Skinny jeans or a casual skirt generally... geez, am I original or what? 
  • SHOES: I wear booties year-'round. I buy one great pair of sandals every spring. I wear chucks, Minnetonka flats, and have one fabulous and neutral strappy heel {similar} that takes care of all the fancy events. My shoe closet is not extensive, but I feel I have the right shoe for any occasion. 
  • ACCESSORIES: Earrings every day. Big and gold are my staples, but I switch them out for basic gold triangle studs when I wear my long necklaces. I either go big on the earrings or necklaces, never both. ;) It's the easiest thing to add jewelry to an outfit, and it makes me feel more "put together" and ready for the day when I do. Win-win!

April 22, 2014

Happy Earth Day!

The sun is shinning and we're gearing up for a full day outdoors, enjoying our beautiful Earth! Here's a few ways we're celebrating Earth Day at our house:
Kicking off the day with Planet Earth Pancakes
How To: After you mix your pancake batter, drop in about 2 drops of green food dye. Just stir once or twice to make a "swirl" but not turn the batter green. You can add some blue too, if you'd like! Then cook as you usually would.
Reading An Earth Day Book
I recently bought the book 10 Things I Can Do To Help My World. I think it's a really simple way to explain Earth Day and helping the planet. It's not easy to explain Earth Day to a 2 and 4 year old, but this book is wonderful!
A Picnic In The Park
We're meeting some friends for a picnic and tons of fun outside!
Earth Friendly Products
Our house is far from perfect when it comes to Earth conscious products, but we're trying. One place I really try to stay away from chemicals and try to find "green" products is for my kids' skin. For about the past year, we've been using a lot of Babyganics. Some of our favorite Babyganics products:
Shampoo, bubble bath, dish soap, sunscreen and laundry detergent. You can see the whole product line  on their website. 
Sometimes we take the Dish and Bottle Soap outside for some bubbly water table fun! 
For Earth Day, I asked Babyganics to share some of the reasons they are "Earth friendly" and super safe for our little ones. Here's what they said: 
+At Babyganics we design all the products parents need to create a baby-safe world where their babies are free to explore, develop and thrive. 
 
+ We make a whole eco-system of baby-safe, non-toxic, hard-working and nourishing products derived from plant-based ingredients; from floor cleaner to bubble bath, sunscreen to toothpaste, dish soap to diaper cream.
 
+Our line of personal care products contains our NeoNourish(r) Seed Oil Blend.  This 100% natural seed oil blend is combination of oils from the seeds of Black Cumin, Tomato, Sunflower, Cranberry and Red Raspberry specifically made to nurture and support the unique needs of babies “work in progress” skin.  
 
+Our line of household products are plant-based, non-toxic, hard-working and completely baby-safe
 
+Although helping parents create a baby-safe world is our mission every day, it’s even more important on Earth Day because babies should be exposed to a baby-safe world outside of the home as well. 
 
We buy our Babyganics at Target or order from Diapers.com. You can find more places to buy their products here.  Right now you can get 20% off all Babyganics sun products with code SUNNYDAYS at Diapers.com. 
What are you doing to celebrate today? 
Happy Earth Day everyone! 

We were not compensated for this post. I have received a few samples from Babyganics, but have been purchasing them, monthly, for a year now. 
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April 21, 2014

Fun Finds for Babies & Toddlers (& Giveaway!)


Posh Play Diaper Clutch Combo//  Chewbeads  //  Live Clean Bath Products  //  Changing Pad Cover from New Mom Designs  //  Baby Headband from Pretty Messy Shop  //  Cord Winder from Rhoost  //  Urbini Hummingbird Stroller  //  Glass Sip 'N Straw Cup from Green Sprouts  //  mBaby Infant and Toddler Apparel line from Munchkin  // Maileg Bunny Rabbits 

1.  What are Chewbeads?  I would call them fun jewelry for myself and Abby would call our Chewbeads necklace one of her favorite toys.  "Mommy Chic, Baby Safe".  Chewbeads are 100% silicone stylish jewelry for moms that is safe for babies to touch, tug, and chew.  Abby, like all babies, loves to put things in her mouth and when I wear a necklace, it's the first thing she grabs.  She loves to chew the beads, carry the necklace around the house, and I wish I would have discovered this before she turned one as it would have been perfect for her to grab during a nursing session.   Chewbeads are easy to clean with soap and water, or if you are like me, just throw it in the dishwasher!  To be honest, when I'm not wearing the necklace, I often throw the jewelry in my purse as it is a great teething toy to have when out on the go!  What a fun selection of items that Chewbeads carries:  necklaces (including  MLB team ones, go Cubs!), bracelets, baby rattles and teethers, and combination gift sets.  This jewelry would be a great unique gift idea for baby showers or new moms.  Chewbeads also has a children's jewelry line, Juniorbeads, which again is free of unwanted chemicals and stylish!  (Because we all know even big kids put things in their mouth!)   Maggie, Courtney's little girl, loves her necklace just like her mama wears.  She has worn them to the theater, out for a fun dinner, and Courtney featured them in her Easter basket picks here.  We are excited to announce that one lucky reader will win a Jane Jr. necklace in the color of their choice in our giveaway below!


2.  Sweet Dreams, Little One.  I LOVE this pillow from New Mom Designs for sweet Abby's nursery.  Call me crazy, but I am one of those people who makes my kids' beds every morning.  Toys all over the house, shoes strewn throughout the house...doesn't bother me a bit.  But there is something about having clean beds that brings a little sanity to my overly chaotic day.  This pillow cover from New Mom Designs adds the perfect touch to Abby's baby girl crib!  New Mom Designs is one of those Etsy shops where you kind of want everything you see.  Elvina, the owner, designs simple, fresh, and exclusive prints.  She turns her fun prints into anything that you may need for a nursery or kids' bedroom (including custom orders).  Check the shop out, seriously you will not be disappointed.  Make sure to enter the giveaway below for a chance to win a $50 gift card to New Mom Designs and I suggest following New Mom Designs on Facebook for fun exclusive offers!


3.  Abby just turned one last month and we are in the bottle to sippy cup transition.  Ugh, for some reason this has been harder for me than my other two but I'm going to win this battle, trust me.  We have always gone the plastic route with sippy cups, but I am trying to veer away from that with all this talk of chemicals and what not.  So I think I found a pretty awesome option now, the Green Sprouts Glass Sip n' Straw cup.  This sip' n straw cup is pretty awesome because the actual cup is made out of glass (not plastic!), but the entire cup is covered so you don't have to worry about breaking when being dropped over and over and over again.  (Trust me, Abby just threw a divided toddler plate over her high chair today and it shattered but this cup has withstood many pushes over the chair!)  Now, another great feature is that it has BOTH a no-drip sippy top and a silicone straw top.  It's super easy to clean and put back together.  And for our readers, you can receive 20% off your entire purchase on the iPlay website using coupon code:  IPFAN14.  


4.  Talking kids' bath time soap, I have to admit that many times I grab the best deal on the shelf but all this talk of chemicals and more chemicals has made me a little more hesitant on what I was purchasing.  Then, Courtney mentioned that one of her favorite go-to brands (and budget friendly) was the Live Clean Baby brand that is exclusively at Walgreens (or Walgreens.com).  First of all, super great price and easy to find at our local drugstore.  The Live Clean Baby product line is eco-friendly, pediatrician tested, and tear-free.  We are loving the foaming wash for my two littles, especially with the dirt that they are tracking in on their bodies after long afternoons spent in the sand and grass.  And now that my oldest is starting to shower on his own, I love the option of "kid" bar soap from Live Clean Baby which allows him to get clean without wasting an entire bottle of soap in one shot.
  

5.  Spring is finally arrived and this means we can all come out of hibernation and head outside with our kids.  We are HUGE fans of parks and playgrounds in our house and now is the time for me to get myself prepared for some quick trips out.  I was looking for a small bag to throw in a few necessary items without having to lug around the massively large diaper bag!  Well, let me introduce to you the Posh Play Diaper Clutch Combo.  The clutch is big enough to carry all your on-the-go needs with little ones (diaper, travel wipes, snacks, pacifier, band-aids) and includes a small mat to change diapers when out and about.  The mat would also be perfect to lay down on those not so sterile changing areas in restaurants and travel centers this summer.  And when else would I be using the Posh Play clutch?  It can double as a clutch on a night on town with friends because it's yet stylish and easy to carry.  Mini on-the-go clutch with kids during the day and fun purse at night, how great is that?  I'm all about dual purpose items...


6.  You know Courtney and I always love finding cute hair accessories for little girls and the Pretty Messy Shop does not disappoint.  I love the fun, girly headbands that Hayley, the shop owner, creates and I can't wait to see what she comes up with this summer after seeing her cute Easter selection.  I almost always have a hair tie on my wrist (or two or three) by habit of a mom with long hair and aren't the ones pictured above such fun choices.  And check out the "clothespins that make you smile" with pink AND glitter.  The perfect way to jazz up our very full wall of art!  Pretty Messy Shop also carries baby bibs, burp cloths, magnets, and more.  It is one of those shops that you visit that just makes you smile.  Bright colors, glitter, and fun colorful prints that exude happiness.  One lucky reader will win a $25 gift certificate to Pretty Messy Shop and all our readers can receive 15% off with coupon code:  PRETTYMESSY15


7.  Baby + Just Started Walking = Mom Anxiety.  Right?!?!  Since Abby is my third child, you  think I would have this child-proofing thing down, right?  FAIL!  I think by the time you have your third, you forget about all those things that you did with your first because you are just busy.  But I did finally get the stair gate up, the cabinet lock on where the cleaners are, and I'm pretty quick at catching her before she puts yet another Squinkie in her mouth that her brothers forget to put up on a table when not playing.  But there is one thing I haven't ever had to worry about but now that we are in our rental house, I am so worried about the blinds with super long cords.  Solution:  Rhoost cord winders.  Wrap up the cord in 30 seconds and my mind is stress free.  Rhoost creates safety products for babies and kids that are easy to install, eco-freindly and look great.  Other Rhoost products include table corner guards, outlet covers, and cabinet closures.


8.  Did you know that Munchkin, one of the go-to baby brands on the market, just recently came out with a new clothing line, mBaby.  mBaby is doing something different with their clothes.  It's created to be innovative and revolutionary.  For example, the "onester" (mBaby's version of an onesie) features a double layer on the front to keep a baby warm while leaving a single layer on the back where they are usually warmer from lying down.  The "sleepster" (mBaby's version a sleeper) has a double layer front similiar to a built-in blanket.  It also has roll-up legs allowing parents to wrap those sweet little toes or expose them for sunshine and playtime.   The mBaby line is full of innovative, but yet comfortable items for your little ones!


9.  Abby just turned one and what do you buy a one year old who has two older siblings?  Not easy to shop for.  They don't need anything.  They don't prefer anything.  And personally, she is content with our Tupperware containers, my purse, and her big brother's Rescuebots.  I have to give my sister a huge props for finding something adorable and special for years to come, a Maileg bunny!  I did some searching about this fine company and found a great selection of their items on Amazon that are high-quality and so fun for little ones.  Seriously, check out the Bambi deer.  Or the ballerina mouse. Or the badger.  


10.  We were in desperate need for a new stroller.  Just ask my sister (the same one mentioned above) about our latest adventure to downtown DC.  I thought she may take her own ride home after I let her "borrow" one of our umbrella strollers.  The wheels hardly turn anymore and it is almost a comedy to watch someone else (not myself!) navigate it through the busy crowds during Spring Break at the Smithsonian museums.  (Sorry Jill, I hope you still love me after that crazy adventure we had).  So when I recently tested out the Urbini Hummingbird stroller on my latest travel adventure south, I was SO happy to find a SUPER lightweight stroller that is easy to travel with and navigate the crowds.  More details to come about the Urbini stroller but I had to add it into this post because it is one of my favorite new finds for my little ones!  

NOW it's time for the giveaway.  Three lucky winners will win a prize in this giveaway.  The three prizes are a $50 gift certificate to New Mom Designs, a Juniorbeads Jane Jr. Necklace of Choice, and a $25 gift certificate to Pretty Messy shop.  Enter in the Rafflecopter below and good luck!
  
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a Rafflecopter giveaway

April 19, 2014

Happy Easter!

This little girl is all set for her first Easter hunt tomorrow...


Happy Easter from the littlest chick (and all the other chicks and Chirping Moms too!)!

Pumpkin Pie Baby Outfit // Baby Headband
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Spaghetti Squash Mac & Cheese (Guest Post)

I'm having a cooking fail day in my house, ugh some days cooking makes me so frustrated!  This recipe, Spaghetti Squash Mac and Cheese, from Stephanie at Football, Food, & Motherhood is going to be on my must-cook list this next month as I have always wanted to attempt to cook spaghetti squash but have yet to try.  Hope you all enjoy! 

This is one of the first recipes I tried when I was learning to be more  health-conscious of the food we eat. It is still one of our favorites, as you can really change up the ingredients every time - sometimes we add bacon, and of course, lots of veggies to fill up on. My son loves it, and doesn't realize it's not "real" mac and cheese. I think your family will love it just as much!
SPAGHETTI SQUASH RECIPES -> MACARONI AND CHEESE. AKA MAC AND CRACK



Ingredients:
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • Salt & pepper (to taste)
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup shredded cheese (I used cheddar, but get creative here!
  • 1 cooked spaghetti squash
  • 1 green onion, diced
  • 1/4 cup frozen peas (optional – or pick another veggie!)
  • 3 tablespoons fresh parmesan cheese

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350F.  Wash off the  squash and cut it in half. (Can be tricky, use your muscles!!) Make sure to scrape out the seeds.  Place the cleaned squash face-down on a baking sheet and bake for 1 hour.  Remove from oven and let it cool for a few minutes. Then take a fork  and scrape out all the goods (will look like spaghetti!) and put into a large bowl. Or your baking dish if you’re like me and don’t need to dirty any extra dishes!!!  

In a saucepan, combine the flour, salt and pepper.  Over medium heat, gradually add the milk to the flour mixture  and whisk until smooth.  Heat and stir (constantly) until it thickens.  Remove from the heat and add in the cheese.  Stir until the cheese has melted (this is pretty quick) and the mixture is smooth.  Pour the cheese sauce over the spaghetti squash.  Add in the onion and frozen peas.  Mix it all up! Finish by adding the sprinkle of parmesan cheese  on top.  Bake for 20 minutes, or until the parmesan cheese is melted and the squash is heated through.

YUM YUM YUM. ENJOY!

Stephanie Barnhart is the founder of Socialminded Media Group, which provides marketing strategies and coaching for small business and soloprenurs (like bloggers!). She is also the founder/author of Football Food and Motherhood, a blog about parenting survival in NYC, and the NY Editor of MommyNearest.com – a mobile national parenting magazine and resource. She speaks at multiple national conferences on SEO, internet monitoring for parents, and social media. You can find her published in the Huffington Post, NY Metro Parent and PARENTGUIDE News.
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April 18, 2014

Honey Teriyaki Chicken Pizza (Guest Post)

It's Friday night and that is often pizza night in our house!  I love this creative spin for a pizza idea, Honey Teriyaki Chicken Pizza, from our friends at Playground Talk.  Easy, simple, and looks delicious.  Thanks for sharing!    


 At PlaygroundTalk.com we're always looking for quick, easy recipes our whole family will enjoy. Local mom, Nicole didn't disappoint when sharing her Honey Teriyaki Chicken Pizza Recipe. Check it out...



Directions:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Place two of the flatbreads on a baking sheet.  Drizzle and spread the olive oil on top of the flatbread.  Bake for 4 minutes to get the flatbread crispy.  While they are in the oven you can mix the chicken with 1 tablespoon of the honey teriyaki sauce.  Remove the flatbreads from the oven and spread the remaining honey teriyaki on each flatbread leaving a 1/4 inch border around the edges.  Top evenly with the shredded chicken, sprinkle with the crumbled bacon and the cheese. Bake the flatbreads for 3-6 minutes or until the cheese is melted and the flatbreads are lightly browned.
PlaygroundTalk.com - is a local resource for parents in the NY Metro Area. Don't miss our curated events calendar, reviews by local parents, giveaways, community support, directories and more! Find us on Facebook (www.facebook.com/playgroundtalk) or sign up for our weekly newsletter  http://eepurl.com/z-YwT

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