{GUEST POST} Shoe Twins

Do you ever dress yourself as a twin with your kids? I never set out with that intention, but on some days I'll load us all in the car and realize we're all wearing blue or beach graphics or some other match inspired outfit. 

Today, Jenny is sharing a fun little post all about another way to match in a cute way ... shoe twins!
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Being a mum is exhausting; in between the constant cleaning and toddler paddies you need to have a bit of fun. Styling yourself and your child in matching outfits can be that outlet, it is not only a lot of fun for your child but for you too! And no, it isn't just reserved for Mom and daughter you can enjoy matching clothing with your son too. If you're looking for a look that is ultimately adorable or stylish-yet-sweet a matching pair of shoes is the way to go.

The wonderful thing about matching shoe is that is isn't blatantly obvious, it is subtle yet shows you belong together. It's a really great way to get closer as a family. Instead of cutesy and avant-garde shoes that you'll only wear once use casual shoes so you can ensure that you will get your money's worth out of them.

Keeping it Casual
A fabulous look for both infant boys and girls can be created with Converse.  With a matching pair of All Star high-tops you and your child can pound the pavement like you're on a catwalk whilst looking casually cool. As Converse come in a wide range of colours, patterns, sizes and designs even the fussiest child will find something they like. If worn with a skirt, jeans, leggings or summer dress this style of shoe looks fabulous, you and your child will have so much fun experimenting with your style together.

Look Pretty in Pink
Every daughter looks up to their mother - before their teenage years anyway! So it's wonderful to treasure your moments together. An excellent way to bond is to pick your shoes together, chances are that you'll end up with pink. You could take it a step further and co-ordinate your outfits as well - think of the photo opportunities!
Skater Boy
Create an edgy skater look for yourself and your little boy with a pair of adult and infant Vans. Comfy, simple and stylish they really are an excellent choice for this popular 'like mother like child' look. Team these trainers with denim and super cool pair of sunglasses for a striking yet casual (and cute) summer look.

Show the world that you and your child have superior style with a pair of matching shoes. You will make some magical memories and take a few photographs that will no doubt reappear at your child's 18th Birthday party.
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My favorite twin shoes are probably TOMS ... Jemma, Max and I all have a pair and I love that they're a unisex shoe that Jem and Max can share :)

Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post.

My Little Swimmers

"This shop is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Pollinate Media Groupand Huggies, but all my opinions are my own. #pmedia #HuggiesSwimmers http://cmp.ly/3/8vNxcO."  
Last week we had the opportunity to visit Wild Waves Theme Park for a fun day in the sun ... which is not always guaranteed in the Northwest. Fun always, but not always in the sun thanks to our ever falling rain. Thankfully we only encountered a short shower at Wild Waves. Yay for a clear June day!

Now, as most of you mamas know, packing for a family fun day isn’t always peaches and cream. It takes a lot of work to gather all the essentials and make sure you’re prepared with snacks, extra clothes and all the other “this could possible happen while away from home” types of things. Throw in a water park as the final destination and that’s another bag or two of supplies! With all the packing excitement we magically only pulled out of the driveway a half hour later than planned. And just like that, we were on our way to Jemma + Max’s first Wild Waves adventures!

I’ve got more excitement about Wild Waves (and a GIVEAWAY!) to share later this week so stay tuned, but for now, I want to give you a lil’ peek on our splish splash afternoon at Wild Waves.

After a morning full of rides we tailgated for a picnic lunch and then changed the munchkins into their swimwear. All good outfits begin with a secure base (that’s what my mama always says when we’re bra shopping!) and that definitely applies to kiddos and their swim attire. Swim diapers, Huggies Little Swimmers to be exact, were on my must pack list because, hello, this mama does not like to worry about poo-splosions in public waters. I mean, truly, I don’t like it in the bathtub either, but I’m not hoping for perfection in this life :)
Jem was a little weary of the water park, but warmed up as our afternoon progressed. Max could have cared less about the water. I'm guessing by next year that will change quite a bit! Jemma checked out the kid slides, spray guns and did a lot of marching - her favorite mode of transportation - in the water. Her Huggies Little Swimmers fit great and will no doubt be a part of all our summer water adventures.
In addition to our Huggies Little Swimmers I packed two changes of clothes for each kid (and they were all used ... imagine that!), water friendly shoes, snacks, sunscreen, towels, hair ties and a warm hat to cover wet hair. What all is on your packing list for water outings?
Use this fab $1.50 off coupon to pick up your own pack of Huggies Little Swimmers and you'll have a jump start on some summer fun sans any poo worries! Now that's a good start to a family adventure!
I was compensated for this post, but all opinions are my own. This was my first experience with disposable swim diapers and I truly rested easy knowing that they were doing their job and doing it well - thanks Huggies Little Swimmers!

Two in Tugaboos

Tracking PixelThis is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Rite Aid Tugaboos diapers

Two in diapers is quite the adventure. I know a few mamas out there who have even experienced three in diapers and I literally have no idea how they do it. As is, I change at least 15 diapers every day and do cloth diaper laundry every other. That's with disposables most night and always on long outings! Jeepers - baby bums keep me busy!

For the last month or two, Jemma + Max have been in the same size diapers - size 4. I never would have guessed my 2 1/2 year old and 10 month old would be rockin' the same size, but sure enough they do! Jemma is obviously just growing up, mostly in length. She's on the brink of potty learning (we talk often about how totally fab the potty is and how she gets to wear her Dora panties whenever she decides to) and I kind of can't wait to begin/end the potty journey. And Max, his chubby little buns are just so him. They match his rolls everywhere else and he's such a boy seeing that he giggles when he toots. Oh boy, I have some fun years ahead!

I'm not really tied to any one brand of disposables since we use them so sparingly, we've run into a few doozies, but just the same we've found some real winners. I usually take a peek a Baby Gear Labs reviews, but mostly rely on other mama's insight. I mean, mamas are the ones in the trenches doin' the dirty everyday. The diaper dirty, obviously. So mamas usually know what works best. For me, I've got a heavy wetter, a frequent wetter, toddler poo, breastmilk poo, a boy, a girl and one who sleeps through the night - so pretty much, I expect a lot from diapers.

My most recent diaper try was Rite Aid's new and improved Tugaboo diapers. From a mama with a tall toddler girl and a chubby little man I can honestly say Tugaboos have got it covered with function and fit. No leaks, no rashes, totally reliable and a super value - just what I'm looking when we use disposables. 

And, Rite Aid has an awesome sweepstakes going on right now:
Be sure to enter! Oh, and just out of curiousity ... if you use disposables, what kind do you use? Have you tried Tugaboos? What did you think?
For the month of June, all Tugaboos purchases will earn an entry into the Tugaboos and Vera Bradley Sweepstakes!
With every in-store purchase of qualifying Tugaboos products using your wellness+ card at any Rite Aid store between June 1-30, 2013, you will receive an entry for a chance to win one of (25) Vera Bradley Designer Diaper Bags filled with select Tugaboos products.
To enter without making a purchase, complete this entry form now: https://riteaidtugaboos.dja.com/.
This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Rite Aid.

{GUEST POST} DIY Ruffled Pillow

Instead of toys and other gifts, for Max's first birthday Dominic and I are planning to complete a house project in his honor ... the understair hideout room! It's going to be decked out with toy and game shelves, an IKEA spice rack book display and best of all, a super cozy reading corner. As soon as I unearth my sewing machine I'll be starting on some homemade pillows ... much like the ones in this darling DIY from amykathryn! 
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Using this season’s sealife-inspired amykathryn fabric in coral, we made this cute ruffled accent pillow.  Below are instructions on how we did it –  join in on the fun & creativity!

What you will need:

Cut two 19” squares of fabric for front and back panel of pillow.  Then cut four 38” x 4” pieces of fabric for ruffled edge trim.  Once you have all of your supplies and your materials are cut & ironed, you’re ready to start!
  1. Take one trim piece and fold the short end of trim ½ ”. Fold in half lengthwise to show a folded edge at short end.
  2. Sew a long stitch lengthwise ½” from cut edge without backstitching at either end. Leave about 5” of thread hanging off each end.
  3. Hold one thread and scrunch the fabric gently along the other thread towards the middle to get a ruffle. Be careful not to break the thread. If that happens, you must start over with Step 2.
  4. Pull your fabric so it has an even gather throughout the length and so that it fits along one 19” edge of your square pillow. Repeat four times and pin ruffles in place. Folded edge of ruffles should face the center of pillow. Sew trim to pillow facing over the existing stitch line on ruffle. 
  5. Sew second panel to facing with ruffle. Make sure fabric is right sides facing each other. Sew to the inside of your existing stitch line. Do not sew almost all of one side. Just sew about 2″ in from the corner on the final fourth side of the square. Then, turn pillow right side out and place pillow form inside case.
  6. Fold and pin the fourth side together. Topstitch the opening closed.
Viola! Now style up a cozy space with your very own, handmade ruffled pillow.

We challenge you to give this DIY a try…

xo, Victoria
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Isn't this an awesome DIY? I love the spunk the ruffle gives - totally something new I'm looking forward to attempting as I grow my sewing skills!
P.S. I'm absolutely smitten with amykathryn's handbags! This one is by far my favorite!

{GUEST POST} 7 Fashion Tips For Sassy Mums

Today, I'm sharing a lovely guest post with some British flair all about mama fashion. Some fabulous tips that have for sure inspired me to think about getting out of my yoga pants one of these days :)
Is it time for you to refresh your family’s wardrobe? If so, look no further: we have compiled a list of seven tips to help you complete your look for the season. From layering your accessories, finding the perfect lipstick to purchasing a great leather jacket, here are our fashion tips and tricks for sassy mothers.

1. Layer your accessories. Now that you don’t have to wear quite so many layers of clothes in this warmer weather, try and layer your accessories instead! Do not wear one necklace, but two or three - and throw on a few different bracelets for a fun and festive look.

2. Buy yourself a sleeveless jacket. Elle has recently selected their favourite sleeveless jackets to conquer the “tricky transeasonal period”.  We agree that this is an essential item for your wardrobe this year, and it will look gorgeous combined with a dress and pumps.

3. Find yourself a beautiful shade of lipstick. Do not hesitate to walk into a cosmetics store and ask one of the advisors to help you pick out a shade that compliments your skin and eyes. Once you have found your perfect shade of lipstick, try and stick with it for at least a season. It will be your trademark colour and wearing a perfect lipstick is a rare occasion for many women, so make it endure!

4. Get yourself a pair of nude shoes. Having a pair of nude shoes at the ready, whether we are talking about heels or pumps or even flip-flops, is the best choice a mother can have. When in distress about what shoes to wear to complete your outfit, nude shoes always match and therefore will always be good to have to hand.

5. A good leather jacket goes a long way. It was Marlon Brando who popularized the leather jacket in the early fifties, and The Ramones followed in his footsteps in the seventies. The trend has never gone away, with celebrities like Kate Moss wearing them regularly. You can find some stylish leather jackets for women here and purchase an affordable bomber jacket for yourself!

6. Opt for prints. Some people love prints, whereas other people think they are too loud. We think prints are great as long as they are either balanced or over the top. Either pick one item for your outfit that has a crazy pattern on it (stripes, circles, animal print), or mix and match different patterns throughout your entire look.

7.Treat yourself to a new clutch. The brighter your clutch bag is, the better! This way it will always be within sight, and you will make a colourful and positive statement to the people who get to catch a glimpse of your purse. 

Disclaimer: Consideration was received for the editing and publishing of this guest post, but I wouldn't have passed on these words if I didn't wholeheartedly agree with these tips! I for one have been loving my nude flats and I totally heart the idea about picking a signature lip color for the season!

Top 5 Things To Kick Off Your Father's Day Weekend

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Warner Bros.

Man of Steel Horizontal Billboard Image

When it comes to holidays and celebrations our family is all about going big. Birthdays aren't just days - they're weeks (sometimes we even talk it into being a month of celebration)! Holidays like Father's Day is definitely a weekend worth of acknowledgement. And this year is no exception!

Dominic is pretty lucky in that he basks in a good 2 months of celebration in his honor between his birthday in May and Father's day in June. Yep, the end of Spring is his golden season for sure.

To make sure I don't forget anything I always make a to do list. Because yes, if it isn't written down, it ain't gonna happen! Between my list and our family calendar there is no missing out on any of the five keys to a successful celebration. 

Here's the breakdown for Father's Day this year ...

Hello! No celebration is complete without good food. For Father's Day, Dominic requested homemade hot wings. He knows to pull this favor for his birthday or Father's Day because I hate frying food at home - so messy. But, for Father's Day, I'll don my apron and get to it. I can't wait until Jemma is old enough to take this job over. I think we're going to grill corn (delicious!) and I'll be making Reese's Peanut Butter Chocolate Cookies. 

This year we have two activities going on. One with the kids and one without. Since the babies are still, well, babies, going out is more high energy and less relaxing. Hence, two activities - a family one and a date night. For our family event we're going bowling with our extended family and for date night ... get this, we're picking up tickets to the exclusive Walmart Premiere Night Screening of Man of Steel that debuts at 7pm on June 13th. Tickets to this exclusive event are available only at Walmart in the Electronics department, so add a Walmart stop to your errand list - it's on mine!
Walmart MOS Tickets

Here's the Man of Steel preview ... I'm even excited for this one! Well, that and a big ol' tub of buttery popcorn and a SKOR bar :)

We make it a point to give meaningful cards on special days. Dominic and I both have keepsake boxes in our closet that we store these sweet words in and Jemma loves decorating our group card. It is so fun look back at cards and pictures from over the years.

Ha - it's not always awesome. Sometimes just practical. This year, Dominic is getting a taste of both. An autographed Kansas Jayhawks picture thing. I'll admit, I don't even remember what it is without going to look at it. He emailed me an eBay link awhile back and I won the auction, so fabulous! For practicality ... new socks. But not just any socks, Nordstrom socks. Apparently they are the best and don't get holes in the toes.
The simplest ingredient to any successful celebration is being with the fam, plain and simple. 

So, what's in store for your Father's Day? Is Man of Steel on the docket?

Purchase tickets to the exclusive pre-screening of Man of Steel [PG-13] on June 13th, 2013 at 7 PM at your local Walmart! Tickets can be purchased in the Electronics Department and include an exclusive digital comic book written by David S. Goyer, author of “Man of Steel”, as well as an exclusive opportunity to pre-order an HD digital download or Blu-Ray copy of the film.
  • Go to your local Walmart
  • Visit the electronics department
  • Purchase your EXCLUSIVE Man of Steel prescreening tickets (available in 2D or 3D)
  • Take your family to the theater location noted on your ticket and watch the EXCLUSIVE 7 p.m. premiere of Man of Steel on June 13th!

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Warner Bros.

Leak Free Is the Way to Be

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Parent’s Choice Overnight Baby Diapers.
This month I embarked upon my 31st month of diapering. It's been a wild ride filled with fluffy bums, messes, research, lots of laundry and a hefty dose of trial and error. Diapering children definitely has a learning curve - one I still seem to be figuring out most days!

At 9 months, Max has been much easier than his sister in the diapering department. No rashes, rarely leaking and an overall pro when it comes to regularly pooing. Or "pooting" as Jemma has started calling it :) I assumed he would be a chunky baby like Jemma - he was - which made all of our cloth diapers fit well and the second go around of most adventures, diapers included, seem to have less bumps.

But, it may not always be easy with Max. Toddler diapering with Jemma has been a whole new ball game. For one, we talk about diapers and poo and pee way more than a normal person should. Dare I say a sign of potty learning interest? But most of all, we've struggled with leaks. Around her second birthday something in her switched (or maybe matured) and instead of trickle baby pee, she started emptying every drop in her bladder in one fell swoop. No matter the brand/type/style of cloth she was in, I inevitably ended up with not only a wet girl, but a wet stroller or car seat too. I amped up her diapers with doublers and hemp - no luck. It's almost like she pees so quickly with such force the cloth diaper literally can't absorb fast enough and it spills out the sides. These is the graphic reality of my life. I've succumbed to calculating the rate in which my daughter pees and what material can best retain the flood. Kind of sounds like physics, which, might I add, is the only science class I've ever earned an A in. 

So, what to do, what to do?
To bide our time until she eagerly runs to the potty (which is a whole other post of its' own on why I'm choosing not to force potty learning on my time frame) we've started cloth diapering Jemma part-time. For long outings and night time she is currently wearing a disposable. And let me tell you ... after my months of research and experience with cloth diapers, disposables are a whole other thing to learn! We've tried some green options, some pretty patterns and deluxe brands specifically for heavy wetters - there are perks about each, but when it comes to night time we've had 0 (as in z-e-r-o) leaks with Parent's Choice Overnight Baby Diapers. Winner! Plus, you can't beat the price. 
I'll be honest, it's been a bit hard to go from 100% cloth diapering to part-time - I much prefer the health benefits of cloth as well as the savings, but a dry girl is a happy girl, especially at night. And a happy girl at nights equates to a sleeping girl. And a sleeping girl means a sleeping mama. And this mama needs to get all the sleep she can get! So we're compromising in these final months of diapering and I'm ok with that. I'm thrilled to have found a great disposable option. It's making night time and long outings leak free and there is no doubt that leak free is the way to be!
Night time protection for babies is an important consideration for parents as their little one grows. Ordinary diapers may not have enough absorbent capacity to handle multiple voids over long periods of time with older babies. When wet mornings become the norm, parents start looking for more protection to guard against overnight leaks.

Parent’s Choice Overnight Baby Diapers are super absorbent for overnight and long-trip protection. This is an overnight diaper at prices that everyone can afford!

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Parent’s Choice Overnight Baby Diapers.