The Chirping Moms

August 22, 2016

We're Rocking Back to School With This Week's Giveaway

My girls have never been big fans of playing games on tablets. I've tried a lot of different games and apps, but not many keep their attention. Then I noticed one of their friends rocking out to KIDZ BOP on her tablet and had a flash back to the commercials year and years ago. It actually didn't seem like that many years ago.... and then I realized they're on KIDZ BOP 32 and suddenly I felt super old. 

I downloaded KIDZ BOP for the girls and they loved it. We've since downloaded 2 more and they listen to the music any chance they can get. Sometimes they even get their little brother in on the dance party action. I don't know if it's due to this new love of KIDZ BOP or a Taylor Swift biography we've been reading this summer, but Alex recently informed me she'd like to be a "real pop star" when she grows up. She's also my mini fashionista, so when she told me she'd like some "pop star" clothes for kindergarten, I knew she would have a blast checking out some of the fun styles Crazy 8 has this season. 
Alex recruited her back up dancer Maggie and we all sat down to put together an outfit at Crazy8.com It was so much fun. Maggie liked how they suggested items once you picked something out, while Alex preferred putting together her "own style". The clothes arrived and they spent time together mixing and matching what we got and lining up their school outfits. The accessories were their favorite part. I love that Alex likes to put a bracelet in place on the outfit when she lays it out for the next day. 

I also informed the girls that Crazy 8 and KIDZ BOP have teamed up to host a pretty awesome talent search. Needless to say they haven't stopped rehearsing yet. Each time I say i'll record their video to enter they tell me "we are not done practicing". Hopefully we get an entry done in time! 
Here are the details of the contest: 
Crazy 8 + KIDZ BOP Talent Search!
Does your kid want to star in a KIDZ BOP music video? Crazy 8 is joining The KIDZ BOP Kids on their “Life Of The Party” concert tour as an official sponsor and is kicking off the partnership with a Talent Search.  One lucky kid will win the opportunity to fly to Los Angeles to star in a KIDZ BOP music video and receive a $250 Crazy 8 shopping spree.

How to Enter: 
Parents can visit KIDZBOP.com/talentsearch to see rules and enter their child.
Today through August 31, 2016, parents or legal guardians of children ages 14 and under can enter their child in the KIDZ BOP + Crazy 8 Talent Search online, or visit one of the live audition stops at malls throughout the country. 
For online entries, parents upload a 60-second video of their child’s talent to YouTube.com and then visit KIDZBOP.com/talentsearch to submit their URL. 
Live auditions will be held on the following dates at the below shopping locations, from 11 a.m. – 8 p.m.: August 13: Brea Mall, Brea, CA and August 20: Ingram Park Mall, San Antonio, TX
Be sure to check out all the cool Back to School styles at Crazy8.com! What are some of your favorite styles? 
If your #Crazy8kid has yo-yo tricks, sweet dance moves, awesome skateboard tricks or any other talent, Crazy 8 wants to see it. So enter soon!
Now for the giveaway
This week, one lucky reader will receive a KIDZBOP 32 CD and an $88 Crazy 8 gift card! It's super easy to enter this week. 
1. Visit our Facebook page and find the Crazy 8 + KIDZ BOP giveaway post or click here to go right to it. 
2. Then "like" the post and comment with your favorite Crazy 8 item. 
3. For an extra entry you can tag (just once please) a friend that might like to enter. 
4. Still want even more entries? Share the post! 
Important: You must be a Facebook fan of Crazy 8 and The Chirping Moms to be eligible to win. Good luck and let's ROCK this school year! 
Disclosure: We were not compensated for this post. We did receive items for the purpose of review. As always, all opinions are my own. 

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August 18, 2016

Miles' Milestones: 6 Months


Miles is 6 months old: 1/2 a year! It's going by entirely too fast. I started off the month with a special letter to my little boy (you can read that here). Here's what Miles is doing at 6 months:




First off, Miles has grown to be 15 pounds and 14 ounces which is exactly (to the oz!) double what he weighed at birth. He's now 26 inches, so he's grown half a foot in half a year! He's fitting into 9 months clothes and the only thing that doesn't seem to be growing is his hair. He has the least hair of any of our babies but we love the "fuzz" he has on the back of his head and the tuft of hair on top. His sisters say it's like Simba from the Lion King. 



Eating: This has been a big month for trying new foods. Last month Miles had really just started foods and tried rice cereal and fruit. This month Miles has tried: yogurt, sweet potatoes, new combos like "broccoli, peas and pears" and more. He's also tried couscous, bread crust and grabbed a whole banana. Miles loves Baby MumMums, puffs and Cheerios. He can't quite pick up the tiny stuff but tries. He prefers foods he can grab and eat and isn't crazy about baby food. Tommy was like this and we did more of a baby led weaning approach. I have a feeling we're going in that direction with Miles too. Miles' favorite thing about mealtime is that he now sits in a high chair at the table with his brother and sisters. He looks from side to side at all of them and smiles so big. He's so happy to feel like "one of the gang". 



Playing: Miles remains my best baby when it comes to playing with toys. He loves when you hand him a toy and spends time shaking, crinkling, etc. Most toys go right to his mouth, so Sofie the Giraffe is still a favorite. Miles started playing peekaboo this month. He cracks up when we play it with him. His little giggle is the sweetest. 



Sleeping: Miles goes to bed a little earlier now (8pm) and sleeps until about 6am. His main nap of the day is when his brother naps and while he's really young for one nap, it's only a cat nap here or there the rest of the day. My other babies all did 2 naps at 2 pretty exact times of day at this age. While I'd like Miles to nap twice, one long nap when his brother naps means a pretty quite afternoon in our house.


Travel: This month Miles traveled to Baltimore for the first time. He splashed around on the splash pad with his siblings and explored the National Aquarium with us (from the Bjorn). He loved seeing all of the fish and dolphins. The dolphin show was so exciting he fell asleep halfway through! He was a joy on vacation and tried Italian bread for the first time in Baltimore's Little Italy. 

Favorite Gear: 
This month our most used items are:
1. Jumparoo
2. BABYBJORN Carrier
3. Playmat
4. BABYBJORN Highchair
5. Doona carseat/stroller 

Miles seems to be getting closer and closer to siting up on his own. We'll see what 7 months brings! 


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August 16, 2016

Ideas for Creating Birth Announcements





Creating birth announcements is something I really enjoy. I think because I truly love receiving birth announcements, I put a lot of time and thought into the ones I get to send. We've used Classic Kids Photography over the past few years for photos of our children. This is the first time we were lucky enough to have them take newborn photos. To my surprise, they visited our house the week after Miles arrived (more on that to come!) and I was even more surprised to learn that they can upload photos to Minted for creating birth announcements. 



During my proof viewing session, Lindsay explained how easy it was to use their photos to make birth announcements. She said people tend to be so excited and in a rush to make birth announcements, they upload the first iPhone photo they can. Instead, if you wait a bit, you can use beautiful newborn session photos to make them. 


Creating the birth announcements in this post took me minutes. When I logged into my Minted account, the photos Lindsay and I selected were all there waiting for me. She helped me select different looks so I would be able to find cards that fit the image well.



She also recommended using some of the fabulous sibling shots and parent shots she got for announcements too. It's wonderful to see the new baby and also fun to see him or her with the family!


In addition, Lindsay mentioned how easy it is to use your Classic Kids photos for thank you cards too. When you are adding announcements to your cart, you can add thank you cards that match or even design totally different cards. It's such a special way to thank people that give you a baby gift or help you out when the new baby arrives. Everyone loves an extra photo of the new little babe!




It's so hard to choose a photo for your announcements, so it's also a huge plus to get to have your photographer help you. The staff at Classic Kids is incredible. Not only are they phenomenal photographers, they also patiently sit with you during your proof viewing and really help you decide what to use where: photos to gift family, prints to enlarge and even what photos would make good birth announcements.



Once you use your Classic Kids photos to design announcements and thank you cards, you know you are getting the high quality cards Minted creates. I think Classic Kids and Minted make a great partnership - beautiful images on beautiful paper!



All of the designs in this post were created quickly and easily on Minted. I used the "view photo in multiple cards" feature and updated the cards with Miles' info. Then I saved the designs and could compare/ decide on my favorites. It's pretty tough to choose which I like best with all of the adorable, squishy newborn poses Classic Kids captured. 

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August 15, 2016

Back to School with Boden & A Chance to Win a $750 Gift Card




I can't believe the summer is coming to an end. I'm not too happy to have to get back on a schedule and swap days at the pool and beach for days of carpool and homework. But, watching the kids kick off another year filled with new things to learn is a pretty exciting part of parenting. Maggie learned so much last year in Kindergarten and now her little sister Alex is ready to follow suit. This year is Maggie's first year of full day school, so 1st grade will mean another big year of learning for her. 





One of the fun parts of end of summer/ Back to School season is picking out first day of school outfits and school clothes. My favorite clothes to buy for the kids are school clothes. I wore a school uniform from kindergarten until I got to college, and always envied the kids who picked out a full wardrobe of fun fall clothes, while I was stuck in a plaid jumper and white shirt. In high school I even had uniform shoes. Maggie and Alex like picking out their own clothes each day for school, but still let me have a bit of a say in what we buy. 






For the 3rd year in a row, the majority of our school clothes are Mini Boden. I like shopping the Mini Boden line for my kids because I know they are high quality clothes that will hold up to lots of playing outdoors, washing and even passing on to younger siblings. Even the shoes always last until they outgrow them. Maggie and Alex love Boden clothes because: they are comfortable and have animals on them (Maggie) have beautiful dresses (Alex). 
This year, Boden has a new size range for kidswear, which means so many more styles to choose from. Baby now goes up to 4, Mini Boden goes up to size 12 and the Johnnie B. line starts at 5-6y. 





When we were picking out school clothes, we couldn't leave out the little brothers when I saw these "smart" cardigans with trucks on them! 





Along with awesome school clothes, Boden has great Back to School essentials and accessories like back packs, lunch bags, pencil cases, socks, underwear and more. 




Some of our favorites for girls:




Twirly Dress: This dress was Maggie's pick for the first day of school. She (of course) picked the squirrel pattern. It's bright, fun and super twirly. It's light weight and short sleeves for the warm first months of school and they looks adorable layered with a sweater when it gets cold. 



Tights: The Boden tights are made to last! There are adorable designs with animals on the knees this season. The cable tights are the warmest tights i've found for kids. They are thicker than leggings and if you have a little girl that refuses pants (even when it's below freezing) these are the perfect compromise.




Corduroy Skirts: We've had quite a few corduroy skirts from Boden over the past few school years and they hold up so well to washing. This year they have a few different styles and patterns. Our favorite is the "hedgehog" print! Julie got this cute corduroy jumper for Abby for preschool:





Sweaters: The Mini Boden sweaters for girls are our favorite sweaters by far. They are well made, very warm and come in so many great colors. Also, how pretty are the details on this sweater





Boots: This is our third fall/winter with Boden boots. They are comfortable, easy to get on/off and last all season. 


Mary Janes: Mary Janes are adorable for school and Boden's are comfy and come in great colors and patterns. There are traditional leather Mary Janes that come in navy or red. There's also a Mary Jane that comes in a fun leopard or glitter print too! 








Some of our favorites for boys:


Tops & Tees:  The Boden tees are perfect for boys.  The tees are comfortable and durable, perfect for boys' rough and tough everyday play!  I love that their tees are made to last.  Even after many washings, Boden tees still look as good as new.  I love the classic looks of their tees, including the classic striped t-shirt and the sports stripe tee.


Sweatshirts:  Fall arrives quickly after school starts, so one of our back to essential for the boys are some new hoodies and sweatshirts.  We love sweatshirts and hoodies because the boys aren't huge coat fans wants, so the longer we can stay in hoodies and sweatshirts then the happier that they will be.  I love to find sweatshirts that are classic and neutral, allowing them to mix and match with a lot of different outfits.  The Essential Sweatshirt is perfect for everyday wear because it is super comfortable & casual.  I also love the Herringbone Zip-Through Sweatshirt, which is perfect for cool fall mornings because you can just quickly zip it on over your clothes before you head out to catch the bus.

Sweatpants and Joggers:  The boys are a lot like their mom & don't love the feel of stiff and uncomfortable jeans!  Most days, you will find the boys in a pair of sweatpants, a back to school essential if you have boys at home.  Boden has great selection on cute, but comfortable, sweatpants and joggers.  Two of our favorite finds for the back to school season are the All Action Sweatpants and the Everyday Joggers.  


Accessories:  Boden has a fun selection of boys' accessories for back to school this year.  You will find hats, scarves, backpacks, and more.  One of our favorites are the sock boxes, especially the fun shark pattern socks for my favorite shark fan!

Sneakers:  Every boy needs sneakers & why not add a little fun into their daily life with these brightly colored suede sneakers.  They are super stylish and the boys love the glow in the dark laces that come with them!




We hope you take some time to browse the awesome Back to School collection from Boden.  For our readers, we are excited to share a coupon code: 7P6R that will give you 15% off.  Plus, we are super excited to kick off a HUGE giveaway from Boden where one lucky winner will receive a $750 Boden gift credit!  All you have to do is enter in the Rafflecopter at the bottom of the post.  We're excited to host this giveaway with 7 other awesome blogs! Be sure to visit their sites to see the great Mini Boden Back to School outfits they put together for their children. By visiting all of the blogs, you'll have a chance to see over 20 ways to style the adorable clothes Boden has this season.






#BodenBacktoSchool

August 12, 2016

Friday Favorites: Travel Activities for Kids

We've done quite a lot of traveling this summer and we still have a trip to go. My kids aren't very entertained by the car DVD player (or they pretend they're not to torture me!). So I knew I needed some new activities for the car. I try to find activities that are good for the car and also to use on vacation. I've definitely had a lot of "mom fails" with travel activities in the past, but this summer nailed it with the selections. I stocked up but was careful to reveal the activities slowly, when needed. 
We had a few Mudpuppy items in the past and they have always been a huge hit with my kids, so when I stocked up this summer, I selected all Mudpuppy items. If you like Mudpuppy or want to try their activities, you can often find them on Amazon for a great price. Right now if you use the code SUNNY40 on the Mudpuppy site you get 40% off your ENTIRE ORDER. It's a great time to stock up! Here's a list of our favorite travel activities this summer:



1. Magnetic Figures: Mermaids and I Love NYC
2. Magnetic Characters: Madeline 
3. Pouch Puzzles
4. Flip & Draw: Animals of the World and Ballerina 
5. Play scenes: At the Zoo & Princess 
6. Travel Journals 
All of these activities were perfect for my girls' ages: 4.5 and 6.5. They played with the items above in the car, on a ferry, in a house, in a hotel and in plenty of restaurants. 
We used the Pottery Barn Kids lunch boxes to hold toys for travel. A friend sent them as a surprise before we left for our trip and they honestly hit the perfect amount of toys for a trip. 

The journals in the photos with their names on them are from May Designs. I was ordering a gift for someone and noticed the notebooks were on sale. You can order them with blank white pages, so if you're kids like drawing, these are a lot of fun for travel. 



One more item (not Mudpuppy) that I just found in the Target Dollar Spot that has been a huge hit: chalkboard "lap top". It's $3 and comes with the chalk too. It fold in half and is the perfect size for laps in the car or on a plane. Last, but not least, a cheap one time use water proof camera is a fun activity to use on a trip.  Happy travels everyone!   



We were not composted for this post. We did receive items for the purpose of review. As always, all opinions are my own. 
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August 11, 2016

Fight For Your Write with Bic

School is less than one month away.   This month, the anticipation of a new school year really starts to set in.  The kids get excited for their new backpacks & lunchboxes.  We have a fun day full of back to school shopping for clothes and supplies that they need. And the kids can't wait for the letter that arrives at the end of the month that indicates who their new teacher will be.  Last, but most important, we spend a little more time at home getting our brains ready for a new school year.


With the second half of summer setting in, I try to spend a little more time working with the kids getting them back into "school mode".  Depending on my child's age, this may include practicing math facts, working on letter sounds, understanding ten frames, & having scheduled time for independent reading.  One big thing that we spend time on throughout the summer is creative writing.





For my kids, creative writing means that you can write about anything.  My oldest son, Aiden, loves to write stories about baseball & biographies about famous people.  For my son who will be entering kindergarten this year, he loves to draw pictures and tell me verbally what his story is about.  Again, just like his older brother, most of Andrew's stories are about baseball.


 
Some days, I give them a written prompt during this time to help foster new ideas & creative thinking.  To help get them excited about school (especially my kindergartner), we talked about some of our favorite things we do at school.  Aiden, of course, loves recess as shown in his writing below.



During this creative writing time, it allows me to work on their handwriting with them.  As a former elementary teacher, I know the importance of handwriting and how essential it into a child's education.  Research shows that handwriting promotes critical thinking, reading comprehension, fine motor skills development, creativity, and even self-confidence.



To encourage my kids to write at home, I love to keep a variety of writing supplies on hand in our house.  Of course, we have a giant stash of markers and crayons, but I find that as the kids' fine motor skills improve that the children love to use pens and pencils.  We are loving the great variety of pens and pencils that Bic has to offer.


Aiden loves the twist on the classic #2 pencil, the Bic XTRA-Fun #2 Pencils with Stripes.  These pencils come in a variety of bring colors & are fun to write with.



Andrew loves the four-color pen in one.  The Bic 4-Color Stylus and Pen is an upgrade on a beloved pen with the addition of a lightweight stylus!  Even little Abby loves to join creative writing time.  Below, you can read the letter to her best friend, Hannah, that she wrote using the Bic Xtra Precision purple ink pen (her favorite color!).


 
BIC is on a mission to celebrate handwriting and Fight For Your Write.  Through August 15th, BIC is hosting a fun and exciting "If I Were Principal For a Day Contest" that we hope you enter with your kids.  What would your kid(s) do if they were principal for a day?  All you have to do to enter is have them write out their ideas, submit your entires, and you could win a $10,000 scholarship!  For more information about the contest and to learn more about ways to celebrate handwriting, visit BICFightForYourWrite.com.






Disclosure:  This is a sponsored post written in partnership with Bic.  As always, all opinions are of my own.
#BicFightForYourWrite  


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