The Chirping Moms

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!







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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.    

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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.
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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.

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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 ...
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Win A Trip to Costa Rica with Nature's Path!

We have one week until schookicks off here in our house.  Backpacks & lunchboxes are bought.  Supplies are ready to go in the closet by the door.  Clothes are being cleaned & sitting in the laundry room.  And this week, we are busy prepping our refrigerator & pantry for schoolunches for the two boys.  I have been trying hard to find a variety of options for the boys that are healthy, but also are things that are appealing & that they will actually eat.  Courtney told me to try the Nature's Path EnviroKidz line after trying it out several of their items recently with her girls.  

Nature's Path EnviroKidz line : The Chirping Moms

A fiercely independent, family business, Nature’s Path has been committed to organics and sustainability for almost 30 years.  The whole, extended Nature’s Path family is devoted to the values and mission: to be a trusted name for quality organic foods in every home, while being socially responsible and environmentally sustainable. The Nature's Path EnviroKidz line provides organic, gluten-free, & non-GMO snacks & foods for kids and families. So far, I have added the following items to my shopping list this week hoping that these will be hits with my boys:

Nature's Path EnviroKidz line : The Chirping Moms

Today, I am here to tell you about an AWESOME contest that Nature's Path EnviroKidz is currenty running & I highly recommend entering for a chance to win this amazing prize!  Read below for details all about this awesome trip: 

Nature's Path EnviroKidz contest : The Chirping Moms

"EnviroKidz is sending three lucky families on an EnviroTrip to Costa Rica to help save the sea turtles at SEE Turtles, a non-profit wildlife conservation travel operator in the beautiful OSA peninsula.  Three lucky winners and their families (three groups of 4 people) will get an all-expense paid trip to Costa Rica in March 2015.  They will spend three days working with Costa Rican organization Latin American Sea Turtles to catch endangered green and hawksbill sea turtles in the Golfo Dulce, a beautiful gulf located alongside the Osa Peninsula. They will help researchers set out nets, measure the turtles, and collect important data before releasing them back to the water. In addition, the winners will participate in a mangrove restoration project, helping to plant two species of mangrove trees that are critical to turtles and other wildlife of the Gulf. Finally, the winners will visit a chocolate farm to see how the world’s favorite treat is made!" 

To enter and find official contest rules, please visit www.EnviroKidz.com.
Also ten runner-ups will receive EnviroKidz gift baskets.
Nature's Path EnviroKidz contest : The Chirping Moms
So take a quick moment & head over to enter.  This is one contest that is too good to pass by!

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Compensation was provided by Nature’s Path via MomTrends.  The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions of Nature’s Path or MomTrends. 






August 23, 2014

Back to School Style

Maggie and Alex are getting so excited to head to school this year. It's the first year Maggie wants to pick things out for herself and her little sister is following suit. They both picked out their own backpack and lunch box. Another new thing for this school year: they both love accessories. I never thought preschoolers "accessorize" (i'm sure most don't), but my girls love lining up all the shoes, headbands, necklaces, etc for school and are already talking about "trading" with each other. Today we're sharing some of our favorite school styles, from hair accessories to shoes. We have some great coupon codes to share, so be sure to check out the full list at the end of the post. 
Starting at the middle of last year, Maggie started getting very particular with what she wore to school. I don't mind them picking out their own outfits, but wearing a tank dress up gown with no pants and flip flops when it's snowing out, is just not ok. Alex typically doesn't care what she wears, but has started to take big sister's lead. Here's a few tips that worked for us, that I plan to implement again with the start of this school year:
Tips for Making Mornings Easier: 
1. Get outfits ready the night before
2. Give the child just 2 choices. Then they still feel like they are choosing their outfit but you don't end up going through 30 different items, including the summer or costume drawer. 
3. Bring the clothes, shoes accessories into a "neutral" area. Again, then they are not tempted to rip through all the drawers every morning. I bring the girls 2 choices into the family room. Then they pick what they want and get ready. 
4. Let them know that as soon as they get home they can change into whatever they want. Nicole, from Momtrends, gave me that idea when I was struggling with Maggie last year. Maggie liked this idea, and as soon as she walked in the door after school, she'd take her "winter outfit" off so fast, it looked like she thought her clothes were on fire! But, at least she'd wear a sweater and leggings to school with her dress when it was 20 degrees out.
5. Have a bin of school shoes right by the door so they can get them on themselves before leaving and put them back when they get home.
6. Another way I give the girls more freedom with getting ready for school is letting them pick out accessories after they are dressed. They don't mind getting dressed when they know they can get their own headbands, necklaces, etc on after. 
Now onto our favorite back to school styles! 
Here's a list of some of our tops picks for this school year:
Maggie's Picks:
Sign: Fly on the Wall Ink
Backpack & Lunchbox: Beatrix New York
Shoes: Umi
Arrow Skirt: Etsy shop Vivie & Ash  (chirping10 for 10% off)
Cat Headband & Turquoise Sweater Dress: Gymboree  (HOORAY for 20%, details below)
Dog Dress: Mini Boden  (CHRP for 15% off + free shipping)
Floral Dress: Tea Collection (Save Up to 25% until tomorrow)
All other accessories shown: Peppercorn Kids
Headband // Bow Necklace // Pompom Headband// Crown Sweater Headband // Doll Necklace 
Alex's Picks:
Sign: Fly on the Wall Ink
Backpack & Lunchbox: Skip Hop Zoo Pack and a Zoo Lunchie
Boots: Umi
Fox Hat & Flower Blouse: Mini Boden  (CHRP for 15% off + free shipping)
Colorful long sleeve tee: Hanna Andersson 
All Accessories: Adelaide New York
Cat Ear Headband // Liberty of London Bow Headband // Apple Clip // Pencil Clip
Stay tuned for more info on Adelaide + a fun giveaway!
Skirts shown: Vivie & Ash  // Shoes: Umi
Recap of Coupon Codes:
Boden: Use code CHRP for 15% off + free shipping
Tea CollectionBuy 3 items, get 15% off, buy 4 items, get 20% off and buy 5 or more items, get 25% off at Tea's Cool School Event. Sale ends 8/24!
Vivie & Ash:   Use code chirping10 for 10% off
Fly on the Wall Ink:  Use code BACK2SCHOOL for $5.00 off a $30.00 purchase
Gymboree: Use code HOORAY for 20% off orders over $100 + free shipping over $75

Visit our Facebook post and comment with your favorite style, product or tip in this post and you could win a Packit Freezable Lunch Bag
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August 21, 2014

Tips & Recipes For After School Snacks

With "back to school", comes planning school lunches and also lots of after school snacks! 
My kids always come home from school hungry! This year, Alex will get out of school right around lunch time and eat lunch at home, but Maggie will get home around 3pm. I know she'll be ready for a snack right away and Alex will hungry again by then too. I like to try and have snack time right around 3pm, otherwise they are not hungry for dinner. This year, I'm trying to have some snacks ready to go at 3pm, and some that they can make themselves, so snack time doesn't linger too close to dinner. 
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" 
- 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 (recipes below).
2 recipes for fun after school snacks kids can make:
Peanut Butter Smiley Faces 
Ingredients: muffin cut in half (we used an english muffin), bowl of peanut butter and dried cranberries or raisins. 
Directions: Give the child a plate with the cut muffins, peanut butter and dried cranberries or raisins. Give them a child safe knife or spoon. Let them put on the peanut butter and arrange the "smiley face". Their snack is now ready to enjoy!
Silly Shapes Cheese and Crackers 
Ingredients: cheese cut into silly shapes using cookie cutters, crackers
Directions: For younger kids, cut out the cheese shapes ahead of time. Older kids can use the cookie cutters on the cheese to make the shapes. Let them put the shapes on the crackers and enjoy!
An easy way to stay prepared with healthy snacks is by using Door to Door Organics. We enjoy Door to Door at our house, because of the convenience of having healthy food delivered right to us weekly (or every other week). You can get a box of organic fruits and veggies delivered year round. Then, you can add on tons of other delicious foods to the order too. The prices are great and they really help busy families stay on top of healthy eating. You can follow along with their Back to School #SnackAttactics program on social media. They are sharing tons of great recipes and tips. 
Facebook // Twitter // Instagram // Pinterest 
Giveaway! 
Now for a yummy, healthy giveaway! Door to Door Organics will send 2 lucky winners a prize pack including:  
$50 gift certificate to Door to Door Organics
Klean Kanteen water bottle
To-Go Ware Bamboo utensils
Eco lunch bag
Cuppow mason jar sippy lid
Organic Pomegranate Lip Balm
Coloring Book 
*Winner must live in an area that Door to Door Organics services. Check website for details. 
To enter, please comment below with your favorite healthy snack ideas. You can also enter by commenting on the giveaway Facebook post with your healthy snack ideas. Visit that post here:
You get 2 entries for commenting both places. Good luck and happy healthy snacking!
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