The Chirping Moms

August 30, 2014

Back to School Snacking

With Back to School comes a lot of snacking: snacks inside lunch boxes, after school snacks, snacks to send in for the class, etc. It's easy to get in a rut of always having the same snacks and it's also easy to let snacking turn unhealthy. I've definitely had weeks where I'm sure we've snacked on pretzels and fruit snacks everyday. The kids get sick of the same old snacks, and my husband and I do too. He packs lunch for work everyday and while pregnant, I find I am looking for a snack more often. One way we're keeping our snacks fun, healthy and "new" is with NatureBox
NatureBox delivers nutritionist-approved foods right to your door. Through a NatureBox subscription, you receive five different snacks every month. You can choose the snacks you want or be surprised with their selections. The choices of snacks are unique and delicious! There's such a wide variety that you won't find your family getting into a "snack rut" this school year. Each snack from NatureBox contains wholesome ingredients - with no artificial sweeteners, flavors or colors.
Here's a few ways we're enjoying NatureBox snacks, along with some of our Back to School Snack Tips:
For Lunch Box Snacks: 
- Keep a variety of snacks to make lunches fun
- A bento style lunch box is great for portioning snacks for kids
- Keep dried fruit on hand for days you have no fresh fruit or just for a variety
- Let the kids be involved: have them suggest snacks they like or get to pick some the night before so you know they are going to eat what's in the lunchbox

A few tips for prepping after school snacks:
- Prepare ahead of time: Before the week starts, chop fruit and veggies and put in containers in the fridge, so you can easily take out and serve for snacks
- Designated snack area: Have a basket or cabinet with the snacks so they can come in and "help themselves" 
- Have some good "on the go" snacks in the house. We walk home from school and my kids are always hungry right after school. I like to have a variety of healthy snacks I can throw in the stroller when I am heading out to get them from school. 
- Involve the kids: After school snacks can also be a fun afternoon activity for kids. Give them the healthy supplies and let them make their snacks. Alex had a blast learning how to make "trail mix"! 
A few of our favorite NatureBox picks so far:
- Carrot Strawberry Fruit Chews: these are like a very healthy version of fruit snacks that my kids LOVE
- Baked Cheddar Potato Fries
- Salted Caramel Pretzel Pops: these are the small white snack we added in Alex's trail mix
- PB& J Granola with dried fruit: We like this for a snack and also for a meal with yogurt
Want to try NatureBox? You can click here to get 50% off your first month’s NatureBox delivery! ($10 value) using promo code: SNACKTOSCHOOL

Fine Crumbs: Promotion is good for 50% off your first month to month box or $10 off your first box in your first prepaid subscription. New and US subscribers only. Not valid on gift subscriptions and may not be combined with any other offers.
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

August 29, 2014

Breast Feeding Tips and Advice from a Renowned Lactation Consultant

When it came to breast feeding, I did an "ok" job the first time around, and a slightly better job the 2nd time around. I'm determined to do an even better job the third time around. I honestly think the only problem I had the 1st two times was that I didn't ask anyone any questions. I just assumed it would be easy, and when it wasn't, I didn't really know who to ask. Since then, i've realized there are so many wonderful breast feeding resources available: from the professional advice of a lactation  consultant to just being active in a Facebook group full of other moms to chat with. This month, as part of National Breast Feeding Month, I had a chance to interview renowned lactation consultant and Registered Nurse, Shari Criso. I met Shari last year and I was so impressed with her words of wisdom and how simply she explained so many aspects of breastfeeding. To come up with the questions, I thought of some problems I had breastfeeding and also reached out to many moms to see what kinds of questions they had. Shari also offered some extra tips as well as some of the top breastfeeding myths. Her advice has me feeling more confident for my "3rd time around" and I hope the tips and advice can help you too. 
Breast Feeding Tips and Advice from Renowned Lactation Consultant Shari Criso:
If nursing didn't go well the first time around, what are some common issues that moms can focus on the 2nd time around?
The best thing that you can do when planning to give breastfeeding a second chance with baby number 2, is to plan ahead, educate yourself and get help early from a lactation consultant. Learn more about what is considered normal with breastfeeding and try to identify the factors that led to your difficulties the first time around so that you are as prepared as possible. Most importantly is not have your challenges or lack of success the first time, undermine your confidence the second time around. I have seen SO MANY moms who were not able to breastfeed their first babies, go on to have successfully breastfeed with their second.  Remember, most breastfeeding problems rarely have to do with a mom’s physical ability to breastfeed, but rather the misinformation and lack of knowledge that creates a perception of this inability, or the unnecessary supplementation with formula that can then create a real problem such as more difficulty latching and a decreased milk supply.

When baby #3 comes along and mom is chasing around other little ones, trekking all around town to preschool, activities, etc, what are some tips for still nursing baby? 
Breastfeeding #2 or #3 will definitely be different than the your first.  Even though you will find your moments (like at night when the older ones are asleep), those days of leisurely lying down and nursing your baby all day will more than likely just be a memory from your first experience.  Having #2 or #3 is completely different than your having #1 in all aspects of parenting and breastfeeding is no exception. It is important to be flexible, not with your feedings, but with yourself. Get clear about your priority, which should be to provide your second baby with the same benefits that you gave to your first and protect your milk supply by not skipping or delaying feedings. The flexibility will come in by being comfortable with nursing outside of your home, finding the moments to stop what you are doing (wherever that is) and feed your hungry baby. Ask for support!! You will need it…this is hard to do alone. Most of all, get clear about what is important and what is not. The laundry may not get done on time, the house may not look the way you want it…but something will have to “give”…let it be the house and not your breast milk or the time you have to spend with an older sibling that needs your love and reassurance more than ever.

For some moms & families exclusive breastfeeding is not always an option. What are tips for moms who want to breastfeed as much as they can but need/want to supplement?
Of course exclusive breastfeeding for at least the first 6 months and then a minimum of 12 with complementary foods is the recommendation and the ideal situation, it is not always what a mom can do or chooses to do.  A couple of things that you want to keep in mind is that by supplementing with formula your body will naturally start to decrease the amount of milk that you are making. This is a careful balance and the amount of feedings that you skip could potentially risk you losing all of your milk, so take it slow, start with one feeding at a time to see how your body responds, and try to at least wait until after the first 6 weeks while you are initially establishing your milk supply.  Also, try to choose a formula that is NOT soy based as too much soy can have negative effects on your baby’s health. What is important to remember is that breastfeeding does not have to be an all or nothing thing!  Any amount of breast milk that you give to your baby is better than none, so even if you plan to supplement while breastfeeding, your baby will still receive the benefits of that breast milk.

What are the best feeding positions? 
The best feeding positions are the ones where you are comfortable and your baby is able to get the most optimal latch.  This changes as your baby grows.  For the early days and weeks, the position that I recommend most commonly is the cross-cradle, which positions your baby across your body while you support your breast with the same side hand and your baby’s head with the other.  The easiest way to achieve this is with a sturdy breastfeeding pillow that will lift your baby up to the breast and give you the support so that you do not need to hold the baby’s weight. My other favorite position is lying down with the baby lying next to you.  This is great for those middle of the night feedings or to just get a rest while nursing.  Some moms can achieve this position great from the beginning, but most find that they need to wait a few weeks for their babies to be a bit larger to get a good latch this way. 

For moms who had latch trouble, what are tips to be more successful 2nd time around?
If your issues with breastfeeding were due to an inability to latch, it is very important to prepare yourself prior to the delivery by lining up a Lactation Consultant that you will be able to call immediately for support if you encounter the same problem.  There are many things that you can do, try and use…but support on getting the best positioning and latch early on will be the best solution.  If your nipples are really flat, it can make latching difficult especially when your baby is first born, their mouths are small and your breast is full and firm with your milk coming in.  The use of a nipple shield can be extremely helpful for these situations, however you should not do this alone and without the help of a Board Certified Lactation Consultant.  Using it improperly, using the wrong size, or not ensuring that your milk is adequately transferring through the shield can lead to even more issues. Getting the proper support and help can alleviate even the most challenging issues, both quickly and easily.

What can I do to ensure I have enough milk supply? Or what can I do to boost my milk supply? I've seen a lot of teas/drinks on the market, but I'm not sure if they're worth it.
The number one best way to ensure a good milk supply is to BREASTFEED frequently and get the right latch and positioning so that your baby is adequately removing the milk from your breasts.  By nursing “on demand”…whenever your baby is hungry…and not allowing more than 2-3 hours to go by between feedings or pumping sessions, your breasts should be able to produce just the right amount for your baby’s needs.  There are times where even with frequent nursing your supply could use a bit of help and there are teas and tinctures with herbs like Fenugreek on the market that can really help.  One of my favorites is Milkmaid Tea from Earth Mama Angel Baby….2-3 cups per day can really support and boost your milk supply.  The other way to increase your milk supply would be to use a breast pump between or after feedings to help stimulate the breasts to make more milk.  I recommend the Evenflo Feeding Advanced Double Electric Breast Pump since it has 32 settings, individual speed and suction control and a “closed system” which will prevent milk from backing up into your tubing and pump which can cause mold and bacteria to grow.

How will I know when the baby has had enough milk during each feeding? 
This is something all new parents are concerned about when they first get started with breastfeeding. Most people will think that by looking at the clock they can determine how much they're feeding on each side. This is simply not true. Babies can be sleeping or improperly latched onto your nipple and not getting proper flow. The good news is there are several ways you can definitely tell your baby
is getting enough and it has nothing to do with time. First, feel your breast at the beginning of the feeding. If your breast is noticeably softer and emptier at the end of the feeding, you know milk went into the baby. Next, listen for audible swallows. Lots of gulping and swallowing, means lots of milk going into your baby! Your best indicator is wet diapers, at least 6 to 8 wet diapers in a 24-hour period. This is a sure sign your baby is well hydrated and getting enough breast milk. Look for signs that your baby is satisfied when done at the breast. Most babies will not be quiet if they're still hungry!

 I've noticed a lot of daycare centers now have a breastfeeding rooms. Is there a benefit to visiting over my lunch break to breastfeed instead of bottle feeding for all feedings during the day?
Absolutely!!  This is great, if it is possible. Any time that you are able to spend more time with your baby and breastfeed directly from your breast the better.  Breastfeeding is more than just about the breast milk, and that time that you spend with your baby, skin to skin, has immeasurable benefits to not only your baby, but you too.  Of course this is not possible for all working moms and that is okay.  What I recommend is that you arrive to your daycare a few minutes early in the morning and a spend a few minutes at the end of the day when picking up to sit down and nurse before rushing off to work or back home.  This will increase the amount of feedings at the breast, help to maintain a better supply, require less amount to be pumped while away…and lets face it YOU MISS EACH OTHER!

How should I set up a pumping schedule for myself once I'm back at work?
It is important to create your feeding and pumping schedule before you go back to work. Try to create a schedule for pumping that closely mimics your breastfeeding schedule with your baby as much as possible. First thing in the morning start with breastfeeding.  Then pump your feedings while you’re at work. Typically three times a day is the average number of pumping sessions for a full eight-hour workday. Plan to breastfeed the baby directly when you get home from work and again before bed and during the night.  Most importantly, try not to go too many hours without feeding.  It’s going to make you engorged. It can lead to plugged ducts and mastitis and can start to decrease your milk supply. It’s so easy to get caught up when you’re back to work and let hours go by.  You do need to make this the priority if you want to maintain your milk.  Be flexible and see how your body responds, everyone is different and you will start to understand quickly what you need to do in order to be successful with this. Create a schedule and then see what works best for you.

Shari Criso’s Top Breastfeeding Myths:
Myth #1: A large percentage of our population just can't make enough milk to fully nourish their babies.
Fact: Our bodies were made to breastfeed and our species has survived for hundreds of thousands of years this way. It is actually UNCOMMON for a mom to carry a pregnancy, deliver a baby, and then just not be able to feed it. It does not make sense. There are some moms who may have issues with milk supply, but most of the time it is due to inaccurate advice to supplement with formula because of a "perceived" low supply issue instead of a real supply issue.
Myth #2: That if your mom or sister couldn't breastfeed, that you won't be able to breastfeed as well.
Fact: I don’t know what happened with a woman’s mom or sister, but I do know that their mother’s mother, and her mother before that, and so on…were able to breastfeed or they would not be here. We come from a line of women that were able to produce enough and feed their babies because that was the only way. Although the ability to breastfeed can have a genetic factor, this is usually not the case. Most of the time the reason that the mom or sister was not able to breastfeed is due to reasons that were not medical issues, but rather misinformation or assumptions about their bodies ability to make enough milk.
Myth #3:  That you have to have the perfect diet and lifestyle to make good and enough milk.
Fact: This is just untrue. If having the perfect diet, enough rest, not too much stress, etc. were major factors in your body's ability to feed your baby then our species would have died off long ago. People throughout history have lived through some of the most difficult situations and still were able to feed. Although our own health does make breastfeeding easier, it is not critical in making enough or good "quality" milk.  A good diet will keep you healthy, but regardless of what you are eating your milk is rarely effected except in the most         extreme cases.
Myth #4:  Breastfeeding will change the shape of your breasts.
Fact: Breastfeeding itself is not the culprit.  Other factors that can change your breast appearance more than breastfeeding includes BMI, age, history of smoking, large pre-pregnancy breast size and number of pregnancies.
Shari Criso’s Top 3 Breastfeeding Tips
Tip #1: Become as knowledgeable and educated as possible about breastfeeding BEFORE you have your baby. Trying to wing it after the baby comes or rely on the staff at the hospital to teach you could be a disaster and the reason why breastfeeding was not successful.
Tip #2: Purchase what you will need to make breastfeeding more comfortable and easier especially in the first few weeks when you are first adjusting and it is usually the most difficult time.  You don't have to spend a lot of money to accomplish this, but assume that you WILL be successful and get what you need. You may be able to get help with breastfeeding at no cost, since your health insurance plan must cover the cost of a breast pump – and may offer to cover either a rental or a new one for you to keep.  I like the Evenflo® Advanced Double Electric Breast Pump: $99.99-$159.99 
Tip #3:  Make sure you are surrounded with support. One of the biggest challenges and reasons for moms not having the success that they want with breastfeeding is not getting the support from the people around them.  Get your partner on board with education and information. A supportive partner is one of the biggest reasons for breastfeeding success. Find friends and other breastfeeding moms who were successful to speak to and line up a lactation consultant before you deliver so you can reach out for help as soon as you need it.
I'm so thankful that Shari was willing to share so much of her knowledge on our blog. With 8 weeks to go, I am focusing on her 3 top tips right now. I recently got the Evenflo Advanced Double Electric Breast Pump Shari recommended. The price is great and (from what I can tell) it's very easy to set up and use. Along the new pump, I'm gathering as much info as I can and finding a good support network that I can talk to this time, instead of ignoring the questions that pop up along the way. Getting tips and help from a lactation consultant can be the key to your breastfeeding success, and so can the support of other moms. 

The Happiest Moments Are Often The Messiest

Parenting can be pretty messy. If there's one thing that I've certainly become a lot more "ok" with over the past 4 years, it's mess (with less sleep as a close 2nd). Before kids my house clean, the laundry was perfectly folded and at the end of the day, my clothes were stain free. Now, my house rarely looks clean, the laundry often goes from the right from the dryer to wearing it, and at the end of the day, you can usually tell by my clothes if we painted, baked or attended a birthday party that day. The messiness drove me crazy at first, but over the past four years, I've learned to let go quite a bit. My over-cleaning and organizing self if long gone and i've embraced the messiness of parenthood. 
I've also noticed that some of the messiest moments are often the happiest. Kids' love getting messy, and when their having a lot of fun, the last thing they want to do is stop because they are getting too dirty. I have two little girls that insist on wearing dresses and a tiara outside to play, but that doesn't mean they don't come in covered in dirt! That's why when we were asked to participate in Delta's #HappiMess program, I jumped at the opportunity. I knew it would be fun to share some of our happiest, messiest moments and have a chance to see other people share theirs as well. 
When my kitchen it as it's messiest, it's because I let the girls help me bake or cook dinner, and their hands are messiest after an afternoon of finger painting.  When their faces are covered in a mess, their covered in smiles too, because it's usually a mess made from an ice cream sundae. 
We've partnered with Detla to embrace all of these fun, #HappiMess moments, knowing Delta's innovative new products will be there to help clean-up easily! You can share your #HappiMess moments with Delta for a chance to win a Delta kitchen and bath prize package valued at more than $2,400. Visit Delta on Facebook and Twitter for more details.  
Through the #HappiMess campaign, Delta is encouraging people to embrace mess with confidence. Two ways Delta's new technology helps make clean up from messy moments easier:
1. Delta Touch2O: This new faucet allows people to turn on the water by simply tapping anywhere on the faucet spout, hub or handle. This helps reduce the spread of dirt and messes from hands to the faucet. 
2. Delta Temp2O:  This new technology is a digital temperature display that features LED color indicators to signal different water temperature ranges. This gives the comfort of knowing the temperature of the water before getting in. 
Two #HappiMess moments that I enjoyed with both of my girls, were when they first started eating baby food and their first birthday "cake smash". They both got really messy, but that was part of the fun! 
As summer comes to an end, and I ask my kids about their favorite things we did, I am pretty sure they would say playing in the mud puddles they made. An afternoon in the backyard with the sprinkler and baby pool somehow turned into mud puddles and a mud slide. At first I was cringing at the site of the girls rolling in mud, but their laughter and ear to ear smiles made me embrace the mess and just let them have fun.  I'm glad I ran in the house to grab my camera, because someday, when my kids have grown and my house is back to being immaculate, i'll look back at happy, messy memories like this and smile. 

“Why do people treat mess like it’s a bad thing? It’s actually the evidence of a life well lived. When you’re out there making, creating, doing and playing, embrace your #HappiMess and let Delta kitchen and bath innovations help clean up so you can do it all again tomorrow.”
Disclosure: Compensation was provided by Delta via Mode Media.  The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of Delta.


August 27, 2014

The Ultimate Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Party!

We are so excited for today's guest post! Our friend Lexi hosted an awesome Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle Party. The party was my girls' first introduction to the Ninja Turtles and after Lexi's exciting bash, even my princess loving ladies now want to play TMNT. We're so glad she's sharing her party tips, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle snack ideas, crafts, costume ideas and top party supplies. 

Guest Post: The Ultimate Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Party
Lexi Kiriakatis

It’s tough being the youngest in a house of three boys. My son Alex wanted to have a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle themed party for his 3rd birthday in February. Because of the time of year, I was having a small party at our house and wanted to use up some of the superhero supplies from the bash I threw his twin brothers the previous fall. So we convinced him that he wanted a superhero party. He had a great time but I always felt guilty about not throwing him the party he wanted. When Courtney offered me the chance to throw a TMNT party this summer, I couldn’t pass it up.
My boys LOVE those four heroes in halfshells. From the moment they wake up to the time they go to sleep, there are ninja moves happening around this house. I hear the boys tell each other something is “totally rad” or to “chuck this out”. They even tell me that I look like April O’Neil when I wear my hair in a pony tail. 
Pulling this party together was a lot of fun because I knew the boys and their friends would love all of the details!
To set the theme, I ordered supplies from Birthday Express. They had so many choices and when the box arrived, everything I needed for a great party was all there! From tattoos to a pinata, it truly was a party in a box. The centerpieces livened up our kitchen immediately and the water bottles made perfect favors. I set out masks for each kid to use for dress up when they arrived.

Speaking of dress up, in this house we have all of the shells and weapons to be their favorite dudes. But we don’t have extras so the costumes that came from BuyCostumes were the perfect answer! Nicholas was thrilled with his Michelangelo costume and Alex hasn’t taken off the Raphael sweatshirt. It’s the perfect costume for the boy who doesn’t love the full costume and mask the way his brothers do.  The biggest hit of all for all three boys are the sweat bands. They work for any outfit and we have worn them to the pool, beach and grocery store this summer!
The best part about a TMNT party is the food.....PIZZA! With dinner taken care of, it was fun to focus on desserts. The cookies that came from Birthday Express caused such squeals of delight! And not only did they look good, they tasted good too! 
I also used green Jello cups with red fruit rollups looped around as a fun addition to the party.
My boys don’t consider it a party unless ice cream is involved. Another easy dessert was serving vanilla ice cream with sprinkles in the cute colors of the turtle’s masks.  

For our activity at the party, I cut out simple green turtle heads, the masks in different colors and the eyes (who knew each Ninja had different color eyes?). Each child glued the ninja face together and then we put them on popsicle sticks. The kids loved using them as “masks” and it was a safe, fun way for everyone to play ninjas! 
If it is possible, we are only more obsessed with the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles after this party. Thanks to our awesome new costumes, the boys are planning on being Raphael, Michelangelo and Donatello for Halloween. The only issue for that they claim they need a little brother by then to be Leonardo. That is one request I won’t feel guilty about not fulfilling!  

I'm Lexi....wife to Chris and mom to twin boys Dean and Nicholas and our surprise-third-very-soon-after, Alex. I was born in Cleveland OH and raised in Cranford NJ. In my past life, I majored in Elementary Education at Ohio University and then put that college education to good use by working in public relations and special events for luxury fashion and jewelry brands. If you had told me back then I would end up back in my hometown, with a  family of five, I never would have believed it. But here I am - a stay at home mom, loving the ups and downs of raising three boys and trying to do the best I can!

First Day of School Signs (FREE PRINTABLE)

We love the seeing all of the "first day of school" pictures! It's fun to see the kids holding a sign showing what grade they are starting. It's makes such a cute, memorable picture. Maggie is starting her last year of preschool and it's great to look at the pictures from the past 2 years to see how much she's grown. Today we're sharing some FREE printables for the 1st day of school. To download, just click on the picture to make it larger and then "save" and print. Is there a grade you wish we posted? Leave it in the comments and we'll add more grades to the post, as requested. For more personalized signs, visit our Places to Shop tab for places to order personalized signs to download. Enjoy!


August 26, 2014

Ice Cream. Ice Cream. We all Scream for Ice Cream.

Ice cream.  One of the few things in my life that I could never have enough of, seriously.  My true love for ice cream started in high school when I took one of my first high school jobs at the local ice cream shop.  My ice cream knowledge & love grew quickly as well as developing some major awesome arm muscles thanks to scooping ice cream all night long.  My love for ice cream has never ended, even as I said good-bye to my high school job and made my way to college.  My roommates & I had a weekly Dairy Queen date scheduled in.  I spent my summers during college working in upstate New York at a summer camp for kids.  One of the highlights of our limited time off at night was trips to get ice cream at Ben & Jerry's.  After college, I have enjoyed ice cream places up and down the East Coast and let's not talk about how much ice cream I ate during pregnancy.  Oh my!  Now that I have my own three little ones, there is a lot of things I still have yet to teach them but I have already managed to help them develop a love for delicious & tasty ice cream!  

Walgreens Ice Cream : The Chirping Moms

One of our favorite things about living in New Jersey was watching (& occasionally shopping from) the neighborhood ice cream truck.  But here in Virginia, there is not one.  Seriously not one ice cream truck has ever driven by our house!  So with the hot summer nights here in Virginia, I often sit outside with the kids after dinner & realize we don't have anything for  dessert.  So what do I do?  Beg my husband to go get ice cream.  (Please tell me I am not the only one who does this?)  He has learned all the places to get ice cream around here.  The local ice cream shop.  Dairy Queen.  But when he wants to make a super quick trip for ice cream (especial with bedtime fast approaching), there is one place that is easy & convienent for him to shop:  the locaWalgreens down the road.  At Walgreens, you can get all the true ice cream favorites in one shop.  Popsicles for the kids, a carton of Breyer's chocolate chip for me , & a Klondike bar for himself.  

Walgreens Ice Cream : The Chirping Moms

One of my favorite summertime sayings is:

"You can't buy happiness, but you can buy ice cream.  And that's kind of the same thing."

So next time you are in a serious mood for ice cream QUICK, don't wait for the ice cream truck to come by your house, instead take a short ride & check out your Walgreens for all your ice cream needs.    


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

August 25, 2014

It's Time For Fall Shoes & A Stride Rite Giveaway

Courtney & I have shared a ton of Back to School tips & favorites on the blog these past few weeks.  Today, we are excited to kick off the week by bringing you a fun & awesome Monday Funday giveaway from one of our Back to School shoe shopping favorites, Stride Rite!

Stride Rite is an one-stop shop for all your shoe needs in the family, ranging from the crib shoes for little sweet newborns up to the big kids.  Stride Rite carries their own line of shoes, but also offers a variety of brands including:  Sperry, Merrell, Crocs, Saucony, and more.  Today, we are going to share our Back to School pics for each kid.  First, let's start with the oldest, Aiden:

Aiden is wearing the Stride Rite Declan shoe.  Aiden is heading to kindergarten in one week so when I am shopping for a shoe for him, I am looking for a casual shoe that is durable & comfortable enough to last a full day of play and fun at school.  Another thing that I needed was Velcro fastening as we haven't quite mastered the shoelaces yet!  So when I came across the Stride Rite Declan shoe, I thought this would be the perfect shoe to hep kick start the school year!

Andrew is my "character" guy right now.  He loves anything fireman, superhero, and Transformer related & begs to wear something every day to showcase his passion.  He owned something similar to the Superman Slip-ons this past year & absolutelloved them.  We were browsing Stride Rite online together and as soon as I came across the Stride Rite Transformers Bumblebee shoes that light up, he knew that these were the ones that he wanted.  These shoes look like a Bumblebee car for your feet with the front lighting up like headlights. He could not be more excited about his new bright sneakers to head to his first day of preschool.  

With Abby being my only girl, it was time for this mom to shop a little "pink & purple".  Athough Abby won't technically be going to school, she will join with me as we walk & drop her brothers off every day!  There are tons of girly-girl shoes that are fun to buy, but it's important for me to get her a fall shoe that is durable for this active baby girl to play outside and on the playground with her big brothers.  I browsed through the toddler girl's section & settled on the Stride Rite Sofia shoe as the perfect shoe for back to school season.  It is durable and built to last, easy to put on and take off, & super cute with the pink & purple polka dots flower appliqué.

My girls have started to get excited about new shoes, just like their mom! I was so glad to see the fall line from Stride Rite, because I knew there were so many styles the girls would love and be excited to wear to school. At the same time, I knew they would be getting great shoes to support their growing feet, no matter which shoes they picked. 

I let Maggie pick out her shoes, but I was pretty sure I knew which ones she was going to choose: the Stride Rite Haylie in in pink. She said "I can't believe they are pink, have glitter and a flower"! I was thinking: A fancy looking Mary Jane my little girl will love, that's safe for running and playing. Plus it has an easy hook-and-loop closure that provides easy on/off wear. 

Alex likes brights colors, mainly pink like her sister. She also likes to RUN everywhere. She is always on the move and practices her "super running races" in the yard at every chance she gets. I knew she needed a good pair of sneakers this fall. Alex also has an very narrow ankle. It's tough to get shoes to fit her. She's always worn the Stride Rite SRT line, but she just grew out of the biggest size. I decided that a good pair of sneakers was our best bet for our active little girl. After browsing the sneakers, Alex chose the, very bright, Stride Rite Propel A/C. They are easy to get on and then stay on her really well while she runs around. Besides being a good fit for Alex to run in, the Propel features a lightweight outsole for flexibility and a mesh lining to keep your little one cool and comfortable.

Giveaway & Coupon Codes:
Right now Stride Rite is running some great deals to help save money this Back to School season.  You can get 20% off one single item (online only) through August 27th with coupon code: TWENTY14 OR you can shop the deal, Buy One, Get One 40% off through September 2 using code:  BTS2014.  Today, we are excited to announce that one ...
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