The Chirping Moms

June 28, 2016

Weddings With Kids: Tips & Attire


Our kids have been in quite a few weddings over the past few years. We have another wedding later this summer that the whole family will be in and another next year. It's always so special getting to see them involved and it's also fun picking out the outfits. Below are some tips I've come up with for having kids in weddings along with some favorite attire. 


1. Consult the Bride: Be sure to consult the bride on how involved she wants the kids in the wedding day. Remember it's her big day. Even though she wants a flower girl or ring bearer, she may not want them involved in everything. It's best to talk to her in advance to see what she would like. 

2. Leave Them Out of Some Photos: There will be A LOT of photos on the wedding day. For the kid's sake as well as the bride and groom's sake, let them skip out on some of the photos. 

3. Skip the Reception: My kids have been in 3 weddings and have never been to a reception. By the time the reception gets into full swing, it's late and they are ready to get in pjs and relax in a hotel room with a babysitter. The wedding day will include: getting ready with the wedding party, photos, a ceremony, more photos, a cocktail hour, meeting tons of people, etc. Not only will the kids be worn out before the reception, the parents will be too. There's no shame in having the kids skip out on the reception so you can have a blast at the wedding yourself! 

4. Bring Toys: A wedding day (and sometimes a whole wedding weekend) can be long for kids. Bring some fun little toys, stickers, etc to entertain them. I try and find a few new things that can act as a special surprise and something fun to keep them busy. We've done sticker books, Wedding Barbie and toy animals. Skip the coloring sets! I learned that after one of my girls got marker on her white wedding tights. 

5. Well Fed: No matter what the occasion, hungry kids are grumpy kids. Plan ahead with meals and snacks for the kids before the ceremony. There will be hours of wedding prep and festivities before dinner is served, so plan to feed them on your own. Snacks that won't dirty their wedding attire are great too. Have some on hand for the typical "I'm starving" minutes before they have walk down the aisle! 

6. The Attire: Be sure to try on all of the clothes and shoes ahead of time. They are probably not going to be as comfortable as the clothes they are used to playing in. Have them wear them long enough to find out if there are "itchy parts" or if the shoes slip off. 

Speaking of wedding attire, here are some of my favorites: 

Boys: For boys, my favorite suits are Appaman. They have a great selection, are well made and comfortable too. They come as small as 2t. Tommy has the Mod Suit in Navy Seersucker and actually likes wearing it. It's so soft. Appaman also has great button down shirts and bow ties. We've used the seersucker pants on their own for an event and later this summer, we'll pair the navy jacket with red shorts for Tommy to be the ring bearer in my brother's wedding. The suit is really well made. We got it a touch big and took up the pants and sleeves so we can let them out and he can get more use out of it. Right now there's a great suit sale on the Appaman site. 


Girls: The girls have had quite the assortment of flower girl dresses. We found Maggie's first flower girl dress at Gap Kids. It was part of their dressy holiday collection and was perfect for a winter wedding. We just added a black sash to match the wedding party. It was great because it fit like her other Gap Kids dresses and she was really comfortable. Mini Boden also has great special occasion dresses now. For another wedding, my mom made the girls flower dresses, which was really special. For the wedding they'll be in late summer, I needed a navy flower girl dress. I searched Etsy and couldn't believe how many cute options there were. We ended up with dresses from the shop, Sweet White Peony. They came out great and the price was awesome. Stay tuned for photos! 


The wedding the girls were in most recently (all the pictures in this post) are from my cousin's wedding. She is the most fashionable person I know and created the most beautiful wedding. She thought of having the girls wear leotards and tutus. They were so comfortable and looked adorable. She presented them with giant boxes the day of the wedding and they were ecstatic when they saw what was inside. I'd highly recommend leotards and tights for flower girls. They are simple, comfortable and you can find any color. 

Shoes: When selecting wedding shoes for kids, make sure they are comfortable. Sometimes fancy kids shoes can look adorable, but not fit their feet well. We've had great shoes from Babychelle. They have a whole wedding section. Another place that has great special occasion shoes is Stride Rite. A plus there is if you're kids are used to Stride Rite shoes, you can probably find a similar fit. For the wedding my girls were in this past spring, the girls wore ballet shoes. These were perfect because they looked so pretty but were also super comfortable for the girls. They got them the morning of the wedding and I presented them as a "special surprise". They were thrilled to get real ballet shoes and then eager to wear them down the aisle. You can get ballet shoes in pink and white and sometimes other colors too. 


Shoes pictured from Babychelle.com 

Most of all, enjoy seeing your little ones involved in the wedding. Before you know it, their own wedding bells will be ringing! 


This photo and a few others courtesy of the fabulous Ashley of Sparkle Sense. 
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June 27, 2016

7 Cool Baby Products and A Chance to Win Them All

I always shocked how many cool new baby products there are to try. Miles (my youngest) and Maggie (my oldest) are only 6 years apart. I can't believe how far baby products have come in just 6 years and how many neat new things there are to try with Miles. From design to functionality - there are always new products I see and want to try. Today we're sharing 8 cool baby products and a chance to win them. For this week's giveaway, one luck winner will receive all 7  prizes. 
1. Tiny Love  Spin ‘n’ Kick Discovery Arch
This toy is awesome! It's perfect for summer travel and outdoor stroller rides. The Spin ‘n’ Kick Discovery Arch is the only stroller arch on the market with stimulating activities for both hands and feet. There's a 7-page crinkly book, mirror, multiple detachable clip-toys and reversible rattling paddles. Miles goes crazy for this thing! 

2. Tiny Love Gymini "My Musical Friends" 
My kids have all loved play mats like the Gymini. Tiny Love's newest mat is the most interactive I've seen! The Gymini My Musical Friends is musical-themed activity mat. It features all musical instrument-themed toys including a mirrored turtle that can act as a hanging tambourine or floor drum with rattling feet, a parrot wind chime, monkey cymbals, hippo castanets, giraffe maracas, a baby-activated elephant xylophone and a musical note teether. Tons of fun and lots of musical sounds! 

3. MAM Feed and Soothe Set 
We've been using MAM pacifiers since Maggie was a baby. All 4 babies have loved them. With Tommy we started using MAM bottles as well. This time around I wanted to stock up on some MAM essentials and discovered the MAM Feed and Soothe set. It has the perfect amount of pacifiers, small and large bottles to get you started. This would be great for baby registries. 

4. b.box Diaper Caddy
I tend to keep diapers and wipes all over the house. With two in diapers and four kids spread around the house, I am never in the same place to change diapers. While I like having supplies on hand, I also like trying to stay organized. We recently got a b.box diaper caddy and really like it. It's the perfect size, keeps things organized and it's easy to move around the house. 


5. Covered Goods  Nursing Cover 
Until finding Covered Goods, I had never found a nursing cover I really liked using. So after nursing 4 babies, I finally have a cover I like! I have the navy pinstripes which makes the cover go with my personal style, along with being functional. 

6. ErgoPouch
All of my have slept in swaddles and then sleep sacks. Tommy, who is 20 months, is still in a sleep sack. We've tried a number of brands and I really like the ErgoPouch. They have a cool feature where you can have the baby in it with arms tucked in/swaddled and then you simply unsnap at the arms when they are ready to sleep with their arms out. The colors and patterns are neat and the fabric is skin friendly and all natural fibers. 

7. NurturMe
NurturMe is line of certified organic, gluten free, non-GMO, kosher foods. It includes dried organic baby food and healthy toddler & kids snacks. The winner will receive a prize pack of $55 worth of NurturMe food to try.

Now for the giveaway! One lucky winner will receive ALL 7 prizes mentioned above (colors/sizes based on availability). Please enter using the Rafflecopter form below. Good luck! 
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a Rafflecopter giveaway

June 25, 2016

Friday Favorites: 5 Hot Summer Toys

If you're looking for summer birthday gifts or some outdoor entertainment for the kids we've got details on some new, hot toys this summer. 




1. Bunch O Balloons Launcher (see bottom of post for a fun contest!)
The global Kick Starter sensation Bunch O Balloons (which lets you fill and tie 100 Water Balloons in less than 60 seconds) has expanded with the Bunch O Balloons Launcher! Throw water balloons up to 60 feet with this light weight and aerodynamic launcher. I was honestly a little skeptical as to whether or not these actually fill 100 water balloons in less than 60 seconds... but it really works! They are filled AND TIED in less than a minute. I was amazed and thrilled the first time we used it and the kids had an absolute blast using the launcher. This is a summer party must! Ages 3+, SRP $12.99 For tips on filling the balloons, check out their YouTube video.
2. Finding Dory Robo Fish 
Finding Dory is definitely going to be the hit kid's movie of the summer. Along with a new movie comes lots of cool new toys and accessories. The new  Finding Dory Robo Fish Collection is really neat! It recreates all the best scenes from the movie. When kids submerge the swimming Finding Dory Robo Fish characters underwater they begin to move just like a real fish.  From individual characters to complete playlets. Ages 3+, Line SRP range from $11.99-$29.99

3. Big Wheels 
One of my favorite toys as a kid was my Big Wheels. I love that they're back! This summer, the classic 16-inch ride-on now features kids favorite Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle character or Marvel superhero.


4. Hamsters in a House 
So my kids have been begging for a hamster lately. We are not getting any pets any time soon. When I saw the new toy Hamsters in a House I thought this might buy us some time on getting live hamsters to take care of. The kids love them! They are fun, multi-colored, unpredictable miniature Hamsters that buzz, scoot, scurry and zoom through their customizable “hamster-sized” worlds. The tracks are a lot of fun to built and change. The girls love setting these up and play for hours with the hamsters. Their little brother thinks they are hysterical to watch. Ages 4+, Line SRP range from $9.99-$29.99

5. Jakks Pacific Character Wagons
These little wagons are perfect for toddlers to wheel around the yard and great for the beach too. Tommy loves filling this wagon with toys and pulling it all around the neighborhood. His sisters like to use it to pull their dolls around. The wagon comes in a variety of characters like Frozen and (soon) the new Lion Guard. 
Back to Bunch O Balloons! This summer Bunch O Balloons as an awesome contest on Facebook and Instagram. Here are the details: 
1. Enter the   Bunch O Balloons Facebook Video Contest
  • Create a video using Bunch O Balloons, post it to either Instagram or YouTube, using #BOBSecretWeapon, and then upload the link to the contest form. Share with their friends to get votes. 
  • Contest is open only to USA and UK
  • Contest period ends on August 21st at 11:59pm EDT
  • Prizes:
    • 1st place: $2500 USD
    • 2nd place:
      • Pack of 10 Bunches + Pack of 2 launchers, 4 Bunches and 2 Bags + Pack of 3 bunches (525 Balloons Total)
    • 3rd place:
      • Pack of 2 launchers, 4 bunches and 2 Bags + Pack of 3 Bunches (210 Balloons Total)
2. Enter the Bunch O Balloons Instagram Photo Contest
  • Users post photos with hashtags #BOBSecretWeapon and #BunchOBalloons to Instagram.
  • 1 Winner per month for 3 months.
    • 1st Winner: June 20th
    • 2nd Winner: July 18th
    • 3rd Winner: August 22nd
  • Prize packs:
    • Set of 2 Launchers, 4 Bunches and 2 Bags + Pack of 3 Bunches
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June 24, 2016

Friday Favorites: Lamaze Toys

Four months old is one of my favorite ages. At 4 months, Miles is still a sweet, cuddly infant. At the same time, he's suddenly very interactive and has started to play with toys and really respond to his siblings. He cracks up when they do silly things and loves when they show him toys. I've actually kept more baby toys on hand this time around than in the past because if there aren't baby toys nearby, I'm afraid they'll pass him something else. Tommy is only 20 months, so he tends to snatch most of Miles' toys for himself. The girls are great with showing Miles his toys and helping him make the sounds, grasp they toy in his hand, etc. Right now we're all loving Lamaze toys. They are soft, fun and colorful. Lamaze is known for creating infant toys in conjunction with child development experts, so I feel comfortable that they are encouraging healthy play and learning. Here are our 3 favorites, or better yet: Miles' 3 favorites!
1.) Lamaze Mortimer the Moose
Miles loves this moose. We take it everywhere. It also easily clips onto a ring on his bouncy seat. He will sit and grab at it and play on his own. He also loves when we help him make the squeaky sound. Now that Miles is teething (2 teeth already!) he loves chomping on Mortimer the Moose's teeth able antlers. It's a really soft toy with bright colors and multiple textures for baby to explore.

2.) Lamaze Gardenbug Foot Finder & Wrist Rattle Set
This set is great for travel. It's tiny but allows for tons of fun play. This set would also be great for a baby shower gift. We started using this set with Miles when he was 3 months old and he was in awe at the bright colors on his feet. He still loves it and now that he can really reach and grab, he pulls the socks right off himself and continues to play with them. His sisters enjoy putting his "bracelets" on and call him "fancy". He likes the wrist rattles because he can easily make the sounds himself and giggle at them! 



3.) Lamaze Octotunes
Now this one is a blast for the big siblings to help with! This bright, fun octopus has eight tentacles that each play a different note when squeezed. Miles loves when his brother and sisters play songs. He is just starting to be able to grab and pull the legs himself. I also learned that the large, friendly eyes on the Octotunes invite baby to focus on a single object, supporting healthy eye development. This is a really fun toy for babies. 

You can find all of the toys mentioned at buybuyBaby:
Disclosure: We were not compensated for this post. We received toys from TOMY for the purpose of review. As always, all opinions are our own. 
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June 23, 2016

Walking 101: Finding the Right Shoes for Toddlers



Babies require a lot of "stuff". What I'm finding is toddlers and kids require even more. It's easy to get overwhelmed by "stuff" and also confused on what's really necessary. I've also found that there are certain items you can just "grab anything" and it will do and certain things that require a little research and investing in the "right one". One of these important items to take your time in choosing, is their shoes. When they are little, your children's feet grow so fast. This might seem like a reason to not invest in great shoes but it's actually one of the reasons you should. Their shoes will be what they are wearing as they learn to walk, run and play. They'll be the shoes on their feet as they grow and their little feet are forming. 

For the kids' first shoes, we've always had a pair from Stride Rite. I can remember going to Stride Rite when I was little. My mom would take me and my brothers each time we needed new shoes. When Maggie was about 9 months old and starting to pull up to standing I figured I should look into some shoes for her. I had no idea what kind of shoes to get her, but I was walking through the mall and spotted a Stride Rite store. I figured if they were still selling kids shoes since I was little, they must be doing something right! I can still remember the first time her tiny little feet were measured and how fun it was to buy her shoes. 
A year and a half later, I was back at Stride Rite getting Alex shoes. She toddled around in hers forever. 
Now I'm on toddler number three and he's loving his Stride Rite Soft Motion shoes. He's my most active toddler yet and needed great shoes to keep up with the miles and miles he puts on those tiny shoes. Tommy is on the go from the minute he wakes up in the morning. He climbs and runs non stop. It's actually really tricky to take a picture of him lately, because he is never still. Unless he has an ice pop of course! 

So why Stride Rite Soft Motion for first shoes? The brand is especially known for their first time walker shoes. They make each shoe with a child’s foot in mind and are designed to encourage natural movement. The inside of the shoe is really soft and the soles are flexible (for natural movement). The outside of the shoe is smooth and rounded – just like a baby’s foot.

Four other features to note about Stride Rite's Soft Motion shoes:
·         The rounded soles improve balance
·         The oversized openings make it really easy to get them on
·         They have memory footbeds for comfort
·         There are secure closures to keep the shoes on
 
Here's something else that's awesome about Stride Rite that I recently discovered: they have a Walking 101 page. The page is geared towards parents with new walkers. It's like a "must know guide" for toddler shoes. My favorite part is reading the Q&A on what parents are asking. You can check it out here: Walking 101

Getting first shoes is such a fun milestone. I've saved all of my kids first shoes and know I'll love looking back someday and remembering how tiny their feet once were. 
 
This is a sponsored post. As always, all opinions are my own. 
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Fun Patriotic Crafts for Kids

4th of July is just 10 days away! Let the kids help make your house look patriotic with these 3 fun crafts. I did the following crafts with a group of kindergartners and they were able to do them all on their own. They could also be fun for younger kids too, but they may need a bit of assistance. These crafts are also a fun gift for kids to bring along as a hostess gift if you'll be heading to a 4th of July BBQ. God Bless America!


1.) Paper Towel Roll Fireworks 
Supplies: paper towel or toilet paper roll, tissue paper, red/white/blue pipe cleaners & sparkle stars
Directions: Use the toilet paper roll or cut the paper towel roll to about the size of a toilet paper roll. Put glue (we used glue sticks) all over the roll. Roll it into the tissue paper to cover the roll, leaving some tissue paper longer than the roll on both sides. Tuck the extra tissue into the roll. Stick the pipe cleaners and sparkly stars into the roll. Now you have a fun, festive firework! 


2.) Patriotic Metal Bucket 

Supplies: metal bucket (I found in the Target Dollar Spot), patriotic ribbon and star stickers 
Directions: Use the stickers to decorate the bucket. Tie some patriotic ribbon to the handle. 
This is fun to give to someone hosting a 4th of July bbq or even use to collect candy at a parade. 


3.) Star Punch Flags 
Supplies: small star hole punch, glue and red/white/blue card stock. 
Directions: Use the hole punch to make blue stars. Cut strips out of the white paper. Glue the white strips onto the red paper to make stripes. Cut a white square and glue on. Last glue the little blue stars onto the flag. 



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June 22, 2016

Miles' Milestones: 4 Months


I've meant to blog about monthly milestones since Alex was a baby and this blog first started. She's almost 5 years old and two more babies have arrived and I never sat down to do it. Then, we recently reached out to moms to find out what more they'd like to see on this site. More than one mom requested monthly milestones and what babies are doing month by month. For me, this will be a special place to record what Miles is doing month by month and for new or expecting moms, I hope it gives a little info on what's to come! 


Four months is always one of my favorite ages. It's when babies start to become much more interactive but they are still tiny, sweet infants. This month Miles has started reaching for toys and putting them in his mouth. He's also drooling like crazy. I was shocked to discover he cut two teeth. All of my other babies were between 8-12 months when they got their first tooth, so I couldn't believe Miles got 2 teeth at just 4 months. I have heard that when babies get teeth early there's less cranky teething/ pain for the baby because their gums are still really soft. I'm not sure if it's an old wives' tale or not, but it certainly rang true for us. Miles wasn't a bit cranky any time near cutting those first two teeth. 



He's starting to enjoy being on his belly more, especially if one of his siblings is on the ground playing with him. He loves seeing his siblings and giggles and smiles at everything they do. 


At four months Miles is just starting to nurse less/ going longer between feedings. He's also much more predictable this month and I see a glimmer of a nap schedule in the near future. I can usually get him to take a long nap (1 hr) at some point when Tommy naps so they overlap. I forgot how much I enjoyed they beautiful thing that is "the double nap". When Maggie and Alex started to nap at the same time I remember it honestly being life changing after the first few months of chaos. Miles goes to bed around 9pm and sleeps until about 5 or 6am. My favorite thing right now is how he wakes up smiling and cooing every morning. It's the sweetest thing to wake up to. He's still sleeping in our room. I'm just starting to stop having him sleep in his swaddle and trying to switch to a sleep sack. It's  always been a tough transition for my kids because I feel like their waving arms wake them up! 



Miles isn't rolling yet but I feel like he's on the verge. I think many babies are rolling by this point but honestly I am not quite ready for another child "on the move". He's holding himself up really well so we are about to put away the baby swing and take out the walker and Jumparoo. 


At 4 months, Miles is an absolute joy. He hangs out with Tom and I at night when his siblings are all asleep and just looks at us smiling, cooing and giggling. We love this time with him at night. Miles smiles all day long and makes us all smile too. 

Some of our favorite baby items right now can be found here. Stay tuned for next month, for more milestones! 

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