The Chirping Moms

July 31, 2015

S'mores Double Chocolate Pudding Recipe

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of TruMoo Milk. All opinions are 100% mine.

S'mores Double Chocolate Pudding Recipe || The Chirping Moms

When I think of summer, there is one favorite family snack that we must have:  s'mores.  There's something about the combination of toasted marshmallow, the crunch of the graham crackers, & that warm melted chocolate that everyone in my family loves.  After eating s'mores for the past month, our family has decided it was time to create our own s'mores recipe.  Today, I am sharing a super easy recipe: S'Mores Double Chocolate Pudding.

S'mores Double Chocolate Pudding Recipe || The Chirping Moms

S'Mores Double Chocolate Pudding Cups
Ingredients Needed:
  • 4-6 Crushed Graham Crackers
  • 1 Package of Instant Chocolate Flavored Pudding
  • 1 Cup of Whipped Topping
  • 1 1/4 Cup of TruMoo Chocolate Milk
  • 1-2 Cups of Marshmallows
  • 2 Chocolate Bars, Crushed
Directions:
1.  Mix TruMoo chocolate milk & pudding mix together.  Beat with wire whisk for 2 minutes.
2.  Stir in the 1 cup of Cool Whip.
3.  Spoon the pudding into plastic cups.  
4.  Top with crushed graham crackers, marshmallows and crushed chocolate bars.


We served our pudding into plastic cups so we could eat them on the porch in individual servings.  It also makes for some super easy clean up which is great for a dessert for a summer family barbecue.  This simple dessert is a refreshing version of our favorite s'mores flavor!

S'mores Double Chocolate Pudding Recipe || The Chirping Moms

My kids love TruMoo chocolate milk, so we decided to use TruMoo chocolate milk to make our dessert with double the chocolate flavor.  My two boys are big fans of chocolate milk, so I love the fact that TruMoo products are made with no artificial growth hormones, no high fructose corn syrup, & is fresh from your trusted dairy.  Everyone wins with a glass of TruMoo milk.  For product information and availability, visit TruMoo online.  Find TruMoo Recipe inspiration on Pinterest. Also, please Join the TruMoo community on Facebook.

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July 30, 2015

6 Simple Tips for Tired Moms

This post is sponsored by Starbucks Refreshers.

Summer, it's awesome.  Days are full of fun activities that keeps everyone happy:  swimming, picnics & play dates at the park, and spending long afternoons in the backyard.  But with all of its awesomeness, having the kids at home all day during the summer is truly exhausting.  Waking up at the crack of dawn & going non-stop until bedtime is busy.  We have to keep the house maintained, schedules planned, & kids content.  So as much as I love summer, I have to admit that I'm tired and am looking for simple ways for me to keep my energy up!  With one month left of summer, we are sharing some of our favorite tips to help keep you energized & refreshed throughout the days!

6 Simple Tips for Tired Moms

6 Tips & Tricks for Tired Moms

1.  Plan rest time into the day.  It doesn't matter how old your kids are, plan a down time in your day.  Since I still have one of my three kids that nap, our rest time is always right after lunch.  I put down my two year old for a nap & my two boys know that for at least an hour, it's their time to wind down.  Sometimes they play quietly on their own.  If they want screen time, then they read for 20-30 minutes and then they get a half hour of TV or iPad time.  During this time, I will either catch up on email, read, or just sit and enjoy a show by myself!  Once I have taken my rest time, I feel more rested and recharged to start the afternoon with the kids!

2.  Grab a refreshing drink.  Find your go-to pick me up and stock up.  With the super hot weather, I have traded in my afternoon cup of coffee right now for a Starbucks Refreshers.  Starbucks Refreshers are made with a blend of feel-good ingredients including fruit juice, vitamins, ginseng, & natural caffeine.  There are three different flavors:  Blueberry Acai, Raspberry Pomegranate, & Strawberry Lemonade.  The drink is refreshing & perfect for helping me get over the afternoon slump!

6 Simple Tips for Tired Moms

3.  Plan workout routines into your schedule before the week begins.  I aim to work out 4-5 days a week.  With my husband's busy work schedule, I have learned that I have to get my workouts on the calendar before the week begins so I know which days I need to get up early to work out before he leaves or which days I will be running in the late evening when he arrives home.  The other days, I schedule a workout at home while the kids are all playing or will try to fit it in during rest time.  If I don't have it on the schedule, I am more likely to skip & not get it done.  And I don't know about you, but working out actually makes me feel more refreshed and energized for the day!

4.  Organize fun things for you and the kids to look forward to.  Each week, I try to plan several playdates or fun outings for us.  This could be meeting friends at the pool, a late afternoon backyard playdate with friends that includes pizza and ice cream, or a special Starbucks run for completing their chores for the week.  By planning special activities, I know that we have things to look forward to & helps break up the long days that we spend together!

6 Simple Tips for Tired Moms


5. Head outside or open the windows.  I am a morning person so I find the hardest time of day is the "witching hour" right around dinnertime when I am trying to get things done, the kids are starting to get tired, & I'm tired as well.  We almost always head outside to play.  The fresh air & sunshine makes everyone feel a little happier and revived!  If it's raining or just simply too hot to play outside, I will open the windows.  The sounds of nature & the slight breeze makes us all feel a little happier, even if we are stuck inside the house.

6.  Last, don't sweat the small stuff.  You only live each day in your life once.  Try to remember what it is important & don't stress about all the little things that are surrounding you.  With young children, there is a lot of small things that add up (floors that need to be mopped, dishes that need to be washed, laundry that needs to be folded, books that need to be read), but you only have this time once.  Especially in the summer when the kids are home all day, you won't get a lot done and that's okay. 

6 Simple Tips for Tired Moms

As a mom who likes to do it all, I often find myself feeling overwhelmed or exhausted.  But I am still learning, thanks to the advice of several friends and family, that you must take care and make time for you.  This could be something as simple as heading outside for the afternoon or grabbing Starbucks Refreshers to enjoy on the back porch.  I hope that these simple tips will help you stay refreshed & revitalized as we finish summer with our last month of fun in the sun!  

6 Simple Tips for Tired Moms

With a revitalizing blend of sparkling fruit juices, b vitamins, and ginseng, Starbucks Refreshers has all the goodness you need to get the most out of today.



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July 29, 2015

Where to Wednesday: A New York City Mini Vacation with Kids

We head into New York City quite a bit. There are so many wonderful things to do there with children and we feel blessed to live near such a vibrant city. Every once in a while, it's fun for us to take a "vacation" to New York City and stay for more than just a few hours. This past spring, we decided to embark on our first hotel adventure with all three kids. We went on a little vacation to New York City. Everyone had a blast and we checked out some fun places for the first time. Here are some places we enjoyed that we would highly recommend:
1. The Langham Place Hotel
The Langham Place Hotel is located right on 5th Avenue in New York City. It's the perfect location for a family stay in the city. The staff is incredibly friendly and welcoming to children. The kids each got a special travel journal when we checked in, complete with fun city stickers. 
The hotel is located in walking distance to so many great places for families to visit. There are also plenty of food and pharmacy options right on the same block, which makes any family stay a lot easier. 
The Langham Place Hotel offers wonderful room options for families. There is a Family Place Room  that offers plenty of room for visitors with children and also deluxe room options that have 2 rooms and a kitchen area. With the baby and 2 little ones, having them all have plenty of space and a kitchen area (especially for bottles), was amazing. Maggie and Alex enjoyed the mini robes and the giant windows. They spent time setting up all their little toys so the toys could look out at the "big city". 
The room was very accommodating and so was the staff. They were there to help in any way they could. On Monday morning, Tom walked to work from the hotel and after checking out I drove home with the kids. Once the staff heard I was heading out alone with the 3 kids, they did everything they could to lend me a hand. They were loading luggage and pushing strollers. 
I would highly recommend Langham Place Hotel for a family vacation in New York City. Now here are some of the things we enjoyed during our stay: 
2. Afternoon Tea at Measure
The Langham Place Hotel offers a wonderful afternoon tea at their restaurant Measure. Their food and the atmosphere is a lot different than most afternoon teas. Chef David Vandenabeele turns afternoon tea into a modern tradition with a bento box filled with contemporary tea time treats. 
My girls each had the bento boxes for a late lunch and they thought it was so cool that the food was  in a box. They were even more excited when they peeked inside to see the dessert treats! The room is bright, spacious and was a lot of fun with the kids. 
3. The Central Park Zoo
Maggie and Alex love animals. Their favorite place is the zoo. We wanted to take them to a zoo they hadn't seen before and decided to check out the Central Park Zoo. It was small enough to manage with 3 very young children. 
We saw everything in plenty of time before any melt downs occurred. 
My girls loved the animals and even Tommy was excited to see the seals playing! We also spent some time in the Children's Zoo before we left. It was really cute, interactive and Maggie and Alex loved getting up close and personal with the llamas! 
4. The New York Public Library 
Our hotel was right down the street from the New York Public Library (Stephen A. Schwarzman Building). Maggie and Alex had never been, so when Tommy was napping back at the hotel with Tom, we took a walk over. Of course their favorite parts were the giant lion statues out front! It's a beautiful building to show kids, both inside and outside. Running up and down all the stairs is a great way for little ones to burn off some energy. The girls took to trying to count how many steps there were as they ran up and down. 
5. Bryant Park Carousel 
Bryant Park was just a few blocks from the hotel. It's a great place to walk around with kids. There's Le Carrousel which is a must to ride! There are occasionally fun events for kids at the carousel on weekends. Check the schedule on the site for upcoming fun. 
The first hotel stay with all 3 kids went better much than expected. I think that was mainly due to the phenomenal family accommodations at the Langham Place Hotel. We are very thankful to the wonderful staff for making our first adventure as a family of 5 a success. We hope to visit again soon! 
For more family fun in New York City and not to miss places, visit this post. 
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July 28, 2015

Some Big News & Then Some Much Bigger News

We have some big news. We’re moving. We’re not moving far, just across town, but it’s been quite the undertaking this summer. We had a lot of plans for this summer and moving wasn’t one of them. But sometime at the end of May we found a house in town that we both love. It was right before we went on vacation, which ended up being good timing, because instead of negotiating while Tom was busy at work, we could relax by the pool together and talk everything over. We had found a house to move to and now it was time to try and sell our house. If you’ve ever had a house on the market with 3 little kids, you know it’s not a fun process. The days consist of cleaning, trying to keep the kids away from what you just cleaned and then leaving the house while it’s being shown. Of course the only times people wanted to see the house were when Tommy wanted to nap or during dinner/ bath time. It was a little crazy, but thanks to some awesome friends in town, we got through it. About 2 weeks later, right before we left for the beach for 4th of July, we got an offer and things were rolling along. 
While I’m excited for the new house and what’s to come, I’m an emotional mess about leaving our current house. Over the past 4 years this house has really become our home. I remember the day I found it. It was minutes after it went on the market and we had been searching for a house in this town for months. I was 8 months pregnant with Alex and determined to find a house to move into before she was born. When I saw the house, I knew it was the one for us. Originally I had wanted to move into the city but Tom wanted the suburbs. Our compromise was a town with a great downtown area. This house was just blocks from the center of town, the train to the city, etc. It needed a lot of work and a lot of love, and that’s what we’ve done for the past 4 years. We’ve put a lot of work into our home and we’ve loved doing it. We both have a lot of pride in the home we’ve created for our family. If you know me well, you’ve heard me say “I’ll never leave this house”. We started to outgrow the house sometime around when Alex was being potty trained. We have 1 toilet and for some reason 4 of us fighting for that one toilet somehow made the house seem smaller. Then Tommy came along and while he fit just fine in his little nursery, we felt a little crammed. Tom felt crammed more than I did. I always said “we have plenty of space, more than most people”. I knew we could make it work; it just meant keeping less clutter. We even thought about adding on some day. We love our home, despite the space and our favorite part is the yard. So as soon as spring rolls around each year, we fall back in love with our house. But this spring, things changed a bit. 
Here we are the day we moved into the house. Just one child, our sweet Maggie, 18 months old. 
Here we are now:
Let me zoom in a little….
And there’s our MUCH bigger news: We’re also pregnant! So as much as we love this house, we love the idea of our growing family even more. We found a (slightly) bigger house on a quieter street in our town, the town we love. While I’m sad to leave this house, I know we’ll make somewhere else our home quickly. I tear up each time I think about leaving the place I brought 2 of my babies home to, the place I watched babies learn to crawl, walk, talk and play. Where we gave first baths and first meals; we have so many more milestones to watch with all four children and a new baby to bring to a new home. We’re busy as can be this summer and our hearts are so full of joy as we prepare for the arrival of baby #4 in January!
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July 27, 2015

Amberley London: Beautiful Dresses for Girls {& Two Chances to Win One!}


We were recently introduced to the most beautiful line of dresses for girls: Amberley London. My girls have worn a lot of dresses over the past 5 years, and I can honestly say these are our favorite! The dresses arrived in a big gold box tied with a bow. This is where the excitement began for Maggie and Alex. They insisted the box must have come from a Queen or a Princess due to the color of the box. Then, when they opened the box to reveal two gorgeous dresses, they were in shock and now certain they came from a castle. They love having the same dress, but Maggie's favorite color is yellow and Alex's is pink. So, the Amberley London dresses really couldn't have been more perfect: their favorite colors but still matching. The grand finale of excitement came when they realized how well these fancy dress twirled.


The girls have worn these dresses a lot already: birthday parties, out to dinner, a lunch date with mom. They find them very comfortable and I find them very well made. Amberley London makes perfect dresses for little girls. 

Here's a little more about this beautiful brand of dresses:

Amberley London is a luxury childrenswear line for girls aged 1 to 12 years. The brand evokes charm and launched exclusively through Barney’s New York in Fall/Winter 2013. You can also order the entire line of dresses on their website, www.amberley.com

For Amberley London, carefully edited colour and texture are key.  The girls have the Hempstead dress, which has an overlay of white flowers. It's so pretty, sweet and very classic looking. 

The heart of the brand is designer Becca Curreen’s ability to find and combine truly special fabrics.  She says, “I believe in simple, styled-in elegance and allowing the beauty of the fabric to shine. If my designs are understated but still eye-catching, then I’m happy.” She also says "I think there’s a real joy we share when our children look and feel special.” Maggie and Alex certainly feel very special when they wear their Amberley London dresses. They know it means we are going somewhere special too and they get very excited. I know these are dresses we'll save and pass on in our family. 


Now for the giveaway:  This week TWO lucky winners will receive a dress from Amberley London. Each winner will receive a Hampstead Dress: the style Maggie & Alex are pictured in above. The winners may select the color and size of their choice (based on availability). You can enter using the Rafflecopter below. Good luck everyone! 
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a Rafflecopter giveaway

July 24, 2015

Entering the Last Year of Preschool: A Year Full of Wishes

This is a big year for my four year old.  My sweet middle child, Andrew.  It's his last year of preschool before he heads off to kindergarten.  Since he is my second & I have already experienced this transition with my first child, I realize that this is a year to really treasure.  This is the year that we really don't have to worry about schedules & homework.  This is a year to take fun day trips or go get a late breakfast together, just because we can.  So as I am seeing our school year on the horizon, I am trying to really treasure the moments that I have with my sweet little boy.  



I have realized that these moments don't have to be big, or well-planned out, moments.  It's the simple sweet things that make life special & valuable to him.  An extra twenty minutes at bedtime to play a board game together.  A simple walk around the block with his bike.  Blowing bubbles together on the back porch.  Or just writing his name together in the sand.  One of my favorite quotes as a parent is one that you have heard, but a great reminder to slow down and cherish these years.  "Enjoy the little things in life, because one day you will look back and realize they were the big things."  



Every once in awhile, you come across a book that captures all your feelings in words.  When I found this personalized book from I See Me!Andrew, We Wish You More, I knew that this would be the perfect book for my sweet little son.  This would be a book for him and I to read together and to look at for years to come.  If you have a preschooler, I think that you will nod your head and agree that the last full year at home before the school years is one to cherish.  A year to wish, a year to slow down, & a year to treasure.  



So as my son enters his last year of preschool, I am writing this post for him.  Many of the wishes that I have for my son are unsaid, so I love that this book captures the unwritten thoughts and wishes that I have for him.  Not only are the words special and sweet, but the illustrations are imaginative and beautiful.  I wanted to share some of my favorite wishes that I have for him found in his new personalized book.  This post is also a reminder to myself & hopefully some of you to treasure these little years because soon enough our wild, crazy, & lovable preschoolers will grow up and these moments are ones that we will never get back.  


"We wish you more pause than fast forward."
Among the busy days, I want Andrew to slow down and realize that there is fun that can be found in the small slow things of life.  Take some time to look for four leaf clovers.  Enjoy the time to sit and look at books for an hour.  Have fun spending all morning making up imaginative games in the backyard on the swing set.   In the busy world that we live in, it's hard to realize that the world is just as fun when you slow down and enjoy life just around you.




"We wish you more we than me."

At the age of four, it's hard to think too much beyond yourself.  But we try to teach our kids that life is the best when you have people to do life with you.  Treasure your friends & family.  Treasure the strangers that you meet upon the street.   The "we" is a lot more fun than "me" all the time. 




"We wish you more snowflakes than tongue." 

If you have ever watched a kid get excited for snow, then you know what this means.  Trying to catch each snowflake on their tongue is impossible, but it's really fun to try.  To me, each snowflake is an exciting new opportunity.  I hope that my son experiences so many opportunities ahead of him that life is fun & exciting trying to do it all.  You only life live once, so have fun with what lies ahead!


"We wish you more stories than stars."

If there's one thing I treasure from my son, it's his simple & sweet stories about the day.  He loves when Daddy gets home and he can tell him the story about how much fun he had playing ninja at the park or pretending to scuba dive at the pool.  These stories may be ordinary to someone else, but to Andrew it's what makes life special.  I hope he continues to have an infinite amount of stories as his years pass by.


And then you turn to the sweet & simple ending:  

We wish all of this for you, because you, Andrew, are everything we could wish for and more.  And it's so true.  This little four year old son was prayed for before he was even born & we are so thankful for gift of life that he has brought to our family.  So as we enter this special last year of preschool, this is the year that I wish for more with him.  More laughter.  More one-on-one time.  More memories & moments because this is a year that you will never get back.
The personalized I Wish You More book is written by New York Times bestselling book creators Amy Krouse Rosenthal & Tom Lichtenheld.  To learn more about this wonderful book, make sure to visit I See Me!.  I See Me! is a great place to find personalized, unique gifts for little ones.  This book would be a great gift for people of all ages, from newborns to newlyweds, as you wish them well in life to come.  The personalized I Wish You More book is one to treasure for years to come.



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We are excited to share that I See Me! will be giving away three copies of this book to three separate winners!  Enter below for a chance to win one copy.  Head to our Instagram & Facebook page for two more chances to win.  Good luck!

I See Me!

I See Me! provided me with a personalized book & compensation for this post.  
As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

July 23, 2015

10 Ocean Themed Crafts & Activities for Kids

Today, I am sharing 10 Ocean Crafts for Kids.  After spending a week at the beach, my kids were very excited to learn more about the ocean.  So I gathered up some fun supplies & books and we did all things ocean!  Today, I am sharing 10 of my favorite ocean crafts & activities, as well as some of our favorite favorite ocean-themed books!

10 Ocean Themed Crafts & Activities for Kids || The Chirping Moms
1.  Cupcake Liner Fish Craft
Supplies Needed:  2 Cupcake Liners, Blue Dot Paint, Glue, Wiggle Eye
Directions:  Cut one cupcake liner in half.  Glue cupcake liners onto paper to form a fish shape.  Add wiggle eye with glue.  Make water bubbles with the blue dot paint.
10 Ocean Themed Crafts & Activities for Kids || The Chirping Moms
2.  Goldfish Graphing Activity
Supplies Needed:  Colored Goldfish, Create Your Own Graphing Worksheet
Directions:  Make a simple graphing worksheet like the one shown below.  Kids will graph & count each color before eating!
10 Ocean Themed Crafts & Activities for Kids || The Chirping Moms
3.  Beach in a Box
Supplies Needed:  6 cups of flour, 1 cup of baby oil, Plastic Ocean Animal Toys, Small Tupperware
Directions:  Mix flour and baby oil to form "sand".  Pour into box and add animals.  Let kids play (we did outside so I could just hose down when finished!).
10 Ocean Themed Crafts & Activities for Kids || The Chirping Moms
4.  Beach in a Cup Jello Snack
Supplies Needed:  Plastic Cups, Blue Jello, Crushed Graham Crackers, Whipped Cream, Swedish Fish, Wooden Skewer, Scrapbook Paper
Directions:  Make Jello ahead of time.  Let kids top the jello with the fish, graham crackers, & whipped cream.  Add a little boat sail by making a sail from a wooden skewer and scrapbook paper!

10 Ocean Themed Crafts & Activities for Kids || The Chirping Moms

5.  Dot Paint Crab Craft
Supplies Needed:  Red Dot Paint, Construcation Paper, Pip Cleaners, Wiggle Eyes, Sharpie Marker
Directions:  On a piece of construction paper, draw a crab shape (similar to a heart).  Have child paint the shape with dot paint.  Let dry.  Add pipe cleaners for claws.  Add wiggle eyes & draw on a smile!
10 Ocean Themed Crafts & Activities for Kids || The Chirping Moms
6.  Glitter Shell Necklace Craft
Supplies Needed:  Seashells with holes in the top (We found a lot of these at the beach!), Glitter Glue, String, Beads
Directions:  Paint shells with glitter glue and let dry.  String shells and beads onto necklace.  Make the string long so when you tie together, it will easily go on and off child's neck!
10 Ocean Themed Crafts & Activities for Kids || The Chirping Moms
7.  Shell Fossil Imprinted Jewelry Dish
Supplies Needed:  Crayola Model Magic, Shells, Glitter Glue
Directions:  With Crayola Model Magic, form a 2 inch circle.  Let kids imprint their shells into the dish.  Let dry according to directions on package.  Once it is dry, paint with glitter glue.  Let dry again & then it is ready to use!
10 Ocean Themed Crafts & Activities for Kids || The Chirping Moms
8.  DIY Sponge  Fish Stamped Beach Bag for Kids
Supplies Needed:  Tote Bag (found at local craft store), Paint, Sponge Fish Shape (found at local craft store)
Directions:  Dip sponge into paint and stamp onto bag in a pattern.  Let dry & use!
10 Ocean Themed Crafts & Activities for Kids || The Chirping Moms
10 Ocean Themed Crafts & Activities for Kids || The Chirping Moms
10 Ocean Themed Crafts & Activities for Kids || The Chirping Moms

Here are some of our favorite ocean themed books!
Ocean Themed Books for Kids || The Chirping Moms




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