May 31, 2012

Our First Where to Wednesday

The Tweeting Moms hit the Jersey shore this week. AND as if vacation with 4 kids under 4 are not enough, we invited a friend with 2 more kiddies. So we had a fun, wild & crazy week with 6 kids under 4 under 1 roof. It was a lot of fun!

Fun in the sand
Breakfast chaos

Friends!

My favorite shot


Some quiet time on a rainy morning

Pasta night

Loving the water

May 30, 2012

A Little Update to the Blog!

So we have decided to start some themes for each day and here they are...

Monday Funday:  Giveaways, Contests, and More
For the Mom Tuesdays:  Talking about all things "mom-related"--crafts, recipes, hobbies, etc.
Where to Wednesday:  Places to visit with kids
For the Kids Thursday:  Things to do with children--crafts, educational activities, etc.
Favorite Fridays:  Talking about our favorite things of the week

So check in later today to see the exciting adventure that the Tweeting Moms are on at this very moment:) 

And don't forget to enter our special hand-crafted giveaway below!!!!!!  As of now, your odds of winning are pretty high:):)

May 28, 2012

Pinterest Night

Last week we had another Pinterest Night! It was a big success. We made the flip flops I had blogged about. Last minute I had an idea to try substituting wide grosgrain ribbon instead of fabric & loved the results!
We also made patriotic wreaths with yarn. They came out really cute, but I never realized how long "yarn crafts" can take. All of the ladies ended up having to finish this one at home. I actually just finished mine this morning so I could hang it for Memorial Day.
Our last project of the night was cake decorating. Our friend Mary is a pro & taught us all some basic skills to make cakes. No more ordering birthday cakes for my kids! We all made a cake to practice & Maggie was pretty excited in the morning to see a cake with her name on it. After talking to some of my guests it was good to find out I was not the only mom that let their kid eat the cake for breakfast!





I made a few recipes I had found on Pinterest. The cheescake stuffed strawberries were my favorite!



While your checking out our "Pins" be sure to follow us on Pinterest. Speaking of following us on Pinterest......we have another giveaway to announce (Mondays are all about giveaways now so always check the blog as you start your week). One lucky winner will win a handcrafted pair of our adorable idea born from Pinterest Night: Ribbon Flip Flops. The winner can let us know their size & favorite colors & if they prefer solid, stripes or polka dots!

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May 25, 2012

Friday Favorites

From now on, Julie & I will be making Fridays all about our favorite things. "Friday Favorites" will be a wide range of things we love, so keep an eye out!

This is one of my favorite finds for the summer so far: a mesh beach bag for the kids. I found it at Old Navy for $8.50. They have a starfish & a shark (that I convinced Julie to grab for the boys while we were shopping tonight). I like it because it holds the perfect amount of pool/ beach toys and the sides & bottom are a stiff mesh so water & sand won't come into the car & house. Maggie loves it & can't wait to bring it to the beach tomorrow.

If you didn't get the Old Navy circular this week head over to the website & print it out because there is a $15 & $10 off $50 coupon. There are some adorable bathing suits on sale for the kids too.


We are off to the Jersey Shore for the weekend. Happy Memorial Day everyone!

And the winner is......

We are excited to announce the winner of our first giveaway: SHANNON NIXON!

Please email us so we can set you up with your prize!

Also, a special thank you to KY Girl's Crafts for sponsoring this giveaway.

May 24, 2012

The Very Hungry Caterpillar

First of all, don't forget to enter our FIRST giveaway that was featured on Monday's post for the monogrammed shirt/onesie by KY Girl's Crafts.  It is SO cute and the giveaway ends at midnight!!!!!!!!!!!

One of our goals for our blog is to share weekly some activities that you can do with your children.  We are both moms who try to do crafts, hands-on activities, and other fun things with our kids.  But let's just say try, because we all know that it just doesn't happen everyday as there is always a tall pile of laundry, whining children, doctor's appointments to get to, and beautiful sunny days where we just play outside all day!!!!!!!  

We LOVE books in this house!!!!  And one of our favorites is The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle.  Since butterflies are finally arriving in New Jersey, I think this is a perfect book to read at this time of year.  My little one loves to "READ" on his own...

video


Today, I wanted to share a craft that we did after reading the book.  I have to admit that my 3 1/2 year old's time span does not last long, especially with art projects.  When we paint, it lasts about three minutes.  Coloring---one page, one colored crayon, and that's it!  Trying to do a project with this kid means it is going to have to be a quick one.  So I decided to staple four paper plates together to make a caterpillar.  And then we discussed the head and body---he noted that the body was green and the head was red.  And he wanted to add the purple ears, green eyes and nose, and brown legs.  So we got all the paint ready and he dove right into his art project...


And this is his wonderful creation!!!!


Check back tomorrow as we are going to share a few of our favorite things right now!

May 23, 2012

Traveling With Little Kids


Before we left for Ireland I got a lot of "Are you insane?" or "You are seriously going on an international flight with a 7month old & a 2 year old?!". Traveling is by far my favorite hobby. It was obviously a whole lot easier as a young single lady, but I promised myself that when I had kids I would at least try to continue to travel a little.

When Maggie was 9 months old we took her to Italy. She was an awesome little traveler. She slept through most of the touring (we have pictures of her sound asleep in the Bjorn at the Vatican, The David, Colosseum, etc), and when she was awake we discovered quickly no one loves a "bella bambina" like the Italians.

We discovered on our recent adventure that she is still an awesome traveler & her little sister is following suit. They were better then I could have ever imagined & so was the trip. Don't get me wrong there was a rough night or 2, plenty of crying (but we have that in our daily life here too), & things we had to sacrifice traveling with 2 kids.

So, since we got back from Ireland, lots of people have been asking "How did you do it!?" To be honest, the main reason we were able to do it & have a fantastic time because we had A LOT of help (4 other adults with us). In addition here are a few travel tips for traveling with babies & toddlers:

- Prepare for the worst: example bring enough clothes in your carry on that if both kids puked all over them selves you & the people next to you everyone would have clean clothes

- Now that Diapers.com is around (& ships free) order your diapers, wipes, take n toss cups, baby food, snacks etc & ship it to the house or hotel you are going to. This is a lot easier & cheaper than checking a giant bag of the stuff. For beach trips this summer you could even add sunscreen, a few sand toys from yoyo.com & other essentials for the house from soap.com 

- Have an "anything goes" attitude with things like pacifiers, blankies, snacks, iPads etc. These are all things that are only aloud at bedtime or only for very special rewards at our house......when on an international flight they can have all they want!

- Travel magna doodle

- Stickers galore! A sticker book for toddlers & for little hands: stick them on the edge of the tray table & they can grab them off

- Lot's of "time consuming" snacks. We love fruit snacks, lolly pops, pretzel sticks & mini boxes of raisens

- Individual packs of formula. Slightly more expensive but a whole lot easier.

- This little gadget if you are bringing a car seat

- If you buy your kid a seat & they are under 3 bring the car seat. I don't know about your toddler but after that family got kicked off the plane because their kid wouldn't sit down with their seat belt on I had visions of our family being next on the news.

- Flying: have tylonol or motrin on hand in case of ear pain. We did saline in the nose pre flight too(the saline gel on qtip is amazing for little ones).

- If you are flying somewhere Southwest flies - fly with them for sure! They are great with kids.

- You can bring anything you might need for your babies & toddlers on the plane. We had drugs, sippy cups of milk & juice, bottles of formula, etc. Just mention that your diaper bag is packed with "baby liquids" when you are walking through.

- Last but not least, make careful hotel selection. When I was a young single traveler I booked totally based on price. In fact when I think back to a few hostels I stayed in, I am surprised I left in one piece. With kids, spending a little more on a hotel, can go a LONG way. The concierge will be your best friend (I started emailing ours a month before the trip). Trip Advisor is a great place to read tons of reviews on hotels & you can even post questions about hotels & whether or not they are kids friendly. Besides having family on the trip to help us, the other reason our trip was so great, was definitely due to the hotel & their wonderful staff.

Traveling with kids is a favorite topic of mine, so if you ever have questions ask away!

May 22, 2012

The Never-Ending Debate...

Every mom needs a moment to rest and relax.  And for me it's a daily battle for my last evening hour...book vs. television.  I would love to say that the book wins out every night, but that's not the case.   Sometimes, I'm just too tired to even read, so sadly I fall asleep to the sounds of the Real Housewives squabbling or the never-ending drama of 90210 on the CW.  But no matter what, these last moments are important to me to have just a few moments to just chill.  

I wanted to share some of my latest books that I have been reading.  At this very moment, I am reading The Beach House by Elin Hilderbrand.  This book is a perfect read for the start to summer, as it is set on the shores of Nantucket.  All her books are quick, easy reads that are perfect for lounging on a hot summer day!


Other books that I have read in the past few months are:



All four of these I have LOVED and highly recommend them.  
  • If you loved the Hunger Games, then I recommend Divergent by Veronica Roth.  The second part of the trilogy just came out earlier this month, but I have yet to read!  
  • I LOVED, LOVED, LOVED Unbroken.  It's a true story about a man, Louis Zamperini, that was stranded out in the sea for 47 days during WWII. Then, he miraculously survived a very long stint in a POW camp.  It really is an amazing story to read, I put it on my MUST READ list for others...
  • Night Road is written by Kristen Hannah, who was an author that was recommended to me from a friend.  I was actually at the library to find another one of her books, but the description of this one intrigued me.  This is another quick read and makes me a little fearful of raising my boys into teenagers, as I read the battles that these teenagers faced in the story!
  • Two Kisses for Maddy is a memoir about a young family.  The mom, Liz, died from complications from birth the day after her daughter was born and the dad writes about his journey on raising his daughter on his own.  You will really feel all emotions while you read this book-a few tears and many laughs.  Definitely, definitely worth reading!
I'm sure that the American Idol finale will be my top priority tonight!  And the Revenge finale tomorrow! But as the spring tv seasons start ending, I am hoping to get a little more reading time as summer begins, especially when I head to the beach next month!!!! I'm always looking for more books to read, what are some of your favorites?


I've had a request from a friend to share this awesome recipe!  To quote her husband, "Holy!  They taste like chocolate donuts!"  They aren't fried like donuts, but they do contain a good amount of cream cheese and butter which helps all of our healthy diets!!!!  But it's worth every bite, they are delicious.


Chocolate Gooey Butter Cookies

Ingredients
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Confectioner’s sugar, for dusting
1   (18 ounce) box moist chocolate cake mix
1   (8-ounce) brick cream cheese, room temperature
1   egg
1   stick of butter, room temperature

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a large bowl with an electric mixer, cream the cream cheese and butter until smooth. Beat in the egg. Then beat in the vanilla extract. Beat in the cake mix. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours to firm up so that you can roll the batter into balls. Roll the chilled batter into tablespoon sized balls and then roll them in confectioner’s sugar. Place on an ungreased cookie sheet, 2 inches apart. Bake 12 minutes. The cookies will remain soft and gooey. Cool completely and sprinkle with more confectioners’ sugar, if desired.




And don't forget to enter our first giveaway below!!!!  We are so excited to be hosting this awesome giveaway from KY Girl's Crafts:)   

May 21, 2012

Our First Giveaway!

We are so excited to announce our very first blog giveaway! It's from my favorite Etsy shop: KY Girl's Crafts. I was looking for a cute monogram onesie for a baby gift & found her shop on Etsy. Since then I have ordered many great gifts for babies, toddler & kids of all ages! Her shirts are super soft & so adorable. The monogram or name is always included & she has so many beautiful fonts & colors. I had to get these cute tanks for the girls for the summer.
KY Girl's Crafts is sponsoring our first blog giveaway. On Friday, one lucky winner will receive a shirt/ onesie of their choice with their little one's name. Check out her awesome shop!






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May 17, 2012

A Very Loved "Lovey"

For Andrew's first Christmas (one month after he was born), he was gifted this adorable, funky dog lovey called baby Nonos made by the company Les Deglingos (can be purchased on Amazon):


My first child, Aiden, never got attached to anything when he was a baby.  But like most moms, I placed all such lovies in Andrew's crib once he got old enough because what else do you do with them?  Little did I know how much Andrew would grow to love this animal, now named Dog Dog.  He sleeps with it, asks for it throughout the day, and it's his best buddy (besides his older brother).


A few weeks ago, I went to put Andrew down for his nap and could not find "Dog Dog" anywhere.  I tried to put him down without it, but he cried...and cried...and cried.  (Which never happens, he has always been a great napper!)  Nothing worked to comfort him-he threw out any other possible lovies given to him and just cried even harder.  I looked everywhere-through couch cushions, dug through all the toys, and even put the kids in the car to retrace the running route that I did with our jogger thinking that he may have been holding it and dropped it during the run.  No luck and one very unhappy child.  Finally after some complete exhaustion set it, I got him to fall asleep in my arms on my bed in the late afternoon.  
Knowing that bedtime was going to be that much harder, I did the only thing I knew how and started calling toy stores in the area.  Now this adorable lovey is NOT easy to find.  I found one store in driving distance that sold Les Deglingos, but after a quick phone call, I quickly discovered not the one we needed.  Since my husband works in the city, I started to call any toy store in Manhattan that may possibly carry this item and once again, not one store had this beloved creature.  While I was on the phone scrambling to find any possible replacement, my husband had already put our Amazon Prime membership to use by placing an order for not one, but two more to arrive within the next two days.  
But still, what was I going to do about bedtime?!?!  Our evening went by with not one glance of Dog Dog and no luck of finding a replacement.  Well, what do you know, but right when I was heading up the stairs for our bedtime, there out of the corner of my eye, I see Dog Dog's ear just barely hanging out the side of one of our craft baskets!!!!  The reunion of Dog Dog and Andrew was one of the happiest moments in my baby boy's life, and his mommy's too!

Fast forward a month or so later...
The extra lovies were stashed in one of Andrew's back drawers behind his diapers, not easy to find!  Grandma and Grandpa were out to visit for an extended weekend.  Chris, my husband, and I headed into the NYC for a couple days while leaving the boys behind with their grandparents.  We arrived back home to our sweet little boy hanging on to TWO of his Dog Dogs.  He somehow discovered the extra lovey (thankfully just one of them!) and couldn't let it go.  And ever since, he has to have twin Dog Dogs wherever he goes.  

I don't know how long this love will continue, but I have to say that I think it is so cute and I hope he loves his Dog Dogs for a long time.  Does your child have a lovey?  How long will this attachment continue?  Have you ever lost a lovey?  Any other lovey advice for this mama?????

May 16, 2012

A Few of Our Favorite Things

As any mom knows, kids change their "favorites" day by day. Every now & then you find a toy that keeps them busy for a few days & sometimes even a few weeks or months. These are two of our favorites:
Pottery Barn Doll House. This was Maggie's Christmas gift from her great grandmother & it's been keeping her busy since December. Maggie loves it because it's big enough to fit just about any of her things. A regular dinner party in the dollhouse includes Little People, Barbies, Batman & various stuffed animals. I love it because it's pretty and will grow along with her. They make all kinds of great accessories that she can get as she gets older. It's very sturdy & well made.
Imaginarium Bouncy Horse (red horse behind Alex): This was a birthday gift from Maggie's pal Keifer. Both girls love this horse. Maggie rides/ bounces on it around the house. Alex would sit on it and chew the ear all day if I let her. It comes in a small box but don't be deceived. The pump that is included inflates the horse in minutes. Its also easy to deflate if needed.
One of my favorites right now is their DVF Baby Gap rompers. They are so soft & adorable. They look like dresses from the front but they are actually shorts. They are on sale right now!

May 15, 2012

Rain, Rain, Go Away! Come Again Another Day...

If you live anywhere in the Northeast, then you know what it is like to be rained in for the past two weeks!!!!!  I found myself singing "Rain Rain Go Away" in the car on the way home from preschool today as we face yet another rainy day around here.  These are some really simple ideas on what you can do to help fill your rainy days...



  • Do a little dress-up
  • Pull out every toy you own and go crazy.  Just be prepared that your house will turn into a disaster:)
  • Make bath time extra long!  My two boys love to play together in the bath-they have so much fun that they completely ignore me.  Sometimes while they play in the bath (on those nights that Daddy is working super late and I need just a short bit of "me" time before putting the kids to bed), I pull out a novel and sneak a few pages in while the kids are splashing away!
  • Read, Read, Read.  I love Jackie Kennedy's quote, "There are many little ways to enlarge your child's world.  Love of books is the best of all."
  • Crafts...Play-doh is one of our favorite things to do around here!
  • You can always recruit your kids to help around the house...my boys love the vacumn!
  • Crank up the music and DANCE!
  • Finger Paint with pudding, and since it is there, why not just eat it?  (See above!)
  • This is a new one I found on Pinterest, thanks for filling some time while I got dinner prepped!  http://www.hellobee.com/2012/04/25/food-coloring-vinegar-baking-soda-4th-grade-science-project/
  • Hide-and-Seek is always a favorite around this house...

And when the sun finally shines, hurry out and ENJOY!!!!!!!


So what's your favorite rainy day activities?  We would love to hear what you have to share!

May 14, 2012

Fabulous Father's Day Find


A few of my favorite things are personalized stationary, photo cards & photo gifts. My new favorite site for all of these great things: Paper Coterie. I ordered Mother's Day cards and must say they are the best I have gotten. The quality & price can't be beat (when you have some of their great coupon codes) and their customer service is the best I have experienced. 

I was browsing their site last night and saw a fabulous Father's Day gift idea. You can make an "All About My Dad" book with your photos. Then, your kids fill in a bunch of questions, draw pictures, etc. 
They are adorable and for $9.60 (see coupon below) it's a great find! 
While your on the site check out their journals too. They too would make a great gift (or treat yourself)!

Here are some coupon codes to enjoy on their site: 
60% off anything with code FORDAD
Any journal for $6 with code BIRTHDAYJOURNAL

May 13, 2012

What A Mama Wants...

Like most mamas, I knew that I had to send my husband some "hints" on what to get me for Mother's Day.  It's funny that when you wander through Hallmark, the gift options for Mother's Day include a "Supermom" plaque, or a "I love you mom"coffee mug, or a book of "Reasons We Love Our Mom...".  Not that those aren't great items, but I can tell you that moms want something different.  We want to feel loved, appreciated, and cared for by our families!

And without further ado, here's my requests for Mother's Day...

1.  Sleeping in, and could we say, maybe even a potential nap?!  (Although as I'm typing, I did end up getting earlier than planned, but I'm still laying in bed enjoying a few quiet moments.)

2.  No cooking...I don't even care if we eat fast food all day, I just don't want to cook or clean!

3.  No cleaning...just one day, please!

Now these are a little more specific to our family...
4.  Clean Windows!!!!  We moved into our house about 1 1/2 ago and I hate to admit, but we have never cleaned the outside of the windows and most of the inside windows continually are covered with handprints.  I am begging for my husband to clean them, please!  I found this tutorial on Pinterest, http://chaoticallycreative.com/2012/03/16/washingwindowslikeapro/, that I think may be the key to my solution.

5.  A 5 mile run on my own, WITHOUT my boys and HUGE jogging stroller.  I have to say that my days running with a jogging stroller are starting to get limited-it's just so heavy!  I calculated that the stroller weighs 34 pounds, Andrew weighs 20ish pounds, and Aiden weighs 25ish pounds.  That's 80 pounds right there.  On Friday, we headed for a run before Aiden's sports class and a trip to the library, so add the ten library books we were returning, three movies, snacks, water cups and I think we were nearing 90-100 pounds.  WHAT?!?!  I have to say that it is an amazing work out in a short amount of time (you feel as if you may pass out at any moment), but I will be cherishing a solo run with just me and my Pandora music today!

Glad someone is enjoying the ride...

6.  To paint our front door...I love our door but it needs to stand out!  So I think today may be the day...we are thinking red????  I was really against painting it for a long time as I love it's antique style, but the more I drive around and see all the beautiful painted doors, I think it's going to happen.  Maybe today?
Maybe this shade of red?!?!

7.  Some time to get my garden planted.  We don't have a lot of garden space, but I will use every square inch that I do have.  Fresh zucchini, tomatoes, jalapeƱos...yes please!
This is one of our massive zucchinis from last year.


Now, don't get me wrong...I would also love a trip to a tropical resort, or a funky bracelet, or a new novel to dive into.  Or I would LOVE to be able to magically transport to one of our families (both of them live many miles away) to spend time with our own mamas and grandmas, but that's sadly not going to happen.  
So as you can see, I think a trip to Home Depot may be in order today.  Not most mother's dreams, but I think it sounds wonderful, especially with my husband and two wild, loving boys!  And other than that, I just want to enjoy my little family, that's all a mama really wants!




May 12, 2012

Friday Fun at the Park

Here's a shot of our "big kids" pushing the little ones on the swings!

May 11, 2012

Super Simple Last Minute Mother's Day Gifts

Need a last minute gift for Grandma? These 2 projects took under 20 minutes & came out really cute. I'll start with the simpler one: Hand print flowers. Maggie is blessed to have 9 ladies to celebrate with on Mother's Day (me, grandma, great grandma, aunts, etc). So we wanted a little something to go on each lady's plate. Maggie had a blast making her hand prints & then you can see how I made the rest. Just some cut out colored paper!

Next gift: Photo Plaques
- Buy wooden plaques ($1), tube of paint ($1), foam brushes ($1), any ribbon and some Modge Podge ($6)
- Paint the plaques
- Stick your kid's picture on it
- Brush a few layers of Modge Podge over the picture (it dries clear)
- Staple or hot glue ribbon on back





May 10, 2012

Mornings and Messes...

These boys wake up EARLY, and I mean early!  

  Aiden, my three year old, starts our day as he comes buzzing into our room right around 6:30 hopping into our bed.  Shortly after, Andrew starts stirring and our day begins!  We usually read a few books in Andrew's room (more than likely he chooses books about trucks, trains, or airplanes)  before heading downstairs.  And this is what usually happens...
Snuggles with brother while watching one of our favorite shows!  They usually snack on a little cereal, have some much-needed milk, and wake up for the day.  I have to admit that I need this television time too, in order to check e-mail, unload dishes, make breakfast, and get anything ready for the morning!  And this all happens before 7:30-when I believe we really should start waking up.

Now today we had one of those rainy, gloomy, don't want to leave the house kind of days...

Although we did leave the house for some library story time (and jumping in puddles), I used my extra time at home to clean out our toys!!!!!  I have to say that I love to be organized and the mess that comes with toys drives me crazy.  So instead of getting stressed out daily about mismatched/scattered through the house toys, I resort to cleaning through our toys about every six weeks.  So I spent the morning sorting, moving toys around, storing toys that the kids have outgrown, and sorting some more!

And I have to say that we use up every square foot in our little, old house, so I have to be extra careful on how toys are organized because they could quickly overtake our house!  Space is a premium around here.

And here's the end result...our shelf in our main floor side room..  
These baskets are in our living room.  Two of these contain miscellaneous small toys.  One of them contains books on cd.  And another contains those leapfrog magnetic toys that are supposed to go on the refrigerator, but instead of them getting tossed all over the kitchen, I decided to keep them contained here!
 And this is our basement playroom shelf.   The baskets all contain different items (cars, dress-up items, toddler toys, little people figures, etc.) while the bottom shelves hold all the bigger items!  (And do you know how much I love our basement?  It's amazing the kids can make a big mess down here and I don't care because I don't see it!!!)

I have to say that after spending the morning doing all of this, I feel SO much better!  There's something about having all of the toys straightened that makes a mama feel happy!  

So two questions for you all...
1.  What do your mornings look like?
2.  Any other tips on how to keep all of the toys organized?!?!  

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