Saturday, July 26, 2014

Top 5 Practical Trends in Back-To-School Clothes for Boys

I've partnered with Carter's and The Motherhood to share this post and giveaway with you. Opinions are my own.

We haven't always been "on trend" at our house, mostly because our boys like to play rough and be outside all the time.  We seem to be stuck choosing between durable and fashionable, and I hate that we tend to go with durable each and every time.

This fall, however, Carter's has pleased me greatly with their new fall line of clothes for babies, toddlers, boys, and big boys; their clothes reflect the newest trends across all sizes -- and they are super sturdy, too!

What trends are we seeing? We were thrilled to find clothes in the following looks:

1. Camo.  I can't say enough about this. We love camo year-round, and often buy sporting and hunting clothes to give my boys the look. Carter's has incorporated camo patterns in so many of their items this year.  The camo woven button-down shirt we purchased is just one example that can be worn dressed up or as a casual layer over a tee!

2. Layers.  Did I mention that we like to mix and match?  With several tees and button-ups in a wardrobe, boys can design their own looks from preapproved pieces, and I don't have to worry about how they look when they leave the house!

3. Durable fabrics. Boys pants are so easy to care for this year! These elastic waist cargo pants are versatile and fashionable, but don't require belts or snaps.  They are also very tough, and resist staining and tearing (which is a necessity at our home.)

4. Fleece.  Soft is back!  Babies will enjoy snuggling one-piece fleece pieces like this microfleece jumpsuit. My little guy looked put-together, even though it's as easy to put on as a pair of pajamas!  It's hot now, but this winter, we'll love having a wardrobe full of fleece items in solid colors or prints.

5.  Plaid.  Are you mad for plaid? We are, especially the shirts that features some "softer" colors for boys.  (Did you know that way, way back, pink was the color designated for baby boys.. not blue?)  Kids can feel confident sporting this all-purpose woven plaid shirt with color choices that include pinks, blues, greens, and more!

While my boys claim to not care what they wear whey they go out, the truth is that they beam with pride when they get to try on new clothes.  Moses had a blast exploring our farm in his combo of the woven camo top, $5 t-shirt, and ripstop pants.  Can you tell that this usually shy and quiet boy feels powerful in his new threads?

Wanna Save? Carter's is offering 40% off their already reasonable prices between July 17 and August 5!  Save an additional 20% on select items with the below coupon.  Print it out to take it in-store, or use the code the save online. (click the image to see it!)

Wanna Win?  We are giving one lucky reader a $50 Carter's gift card to spend on their own back-to-school  shopping adventure!  This card is enough to buy the looks featured on Moses (above) or any look you please!  To be entered to win, just comment on this post with your favorite trend for boys this fall.  You have until August 5th at 11:59pm CST to get your entries in.  One entry per person, please!  U.S. 18+ only.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Books We Love: New Candlewick Press Books Celebrate Fathers!

I don't think you can ever own too many good books.  But what makes a good book? For most families, it includes an engaging story, great illustrations, and lots of laughs.  (A simple life lesson is also a big plus.)  These Candlewick Press books all contain the essential elements to earn our "Books we Love" label, and they say really great things about Dads.  Is there one that you'd like to invite into your home?

We're Going on a Bear Hunt Jigsaw Puzzle Book by Michael Rosen 

This book combines one of my older kids' favorite songs with puzzles!  The song is recited throughout the book, along with colorful illustrations and represent the fun verses.  Each page is also a cardboard jigsaw puzzle, giving the kids almost an hour of fun when done all at once.  My 4 and 7-year-olds enjoy reading and puzzling with this book together.  It's very sturdy, and the pieces fit nicely into the pages, so clean up is a breeze, as well. ($15.60 via Amazon.)

There, There by Sam McBratney 

I can't stand the sight of blood, so my husband takes on the role of "first aid" professional at our home.  My kids know to go to Daddy with any ouchies, and he does the job so well!  This cute story follows a young bear who is used to going to his dad for all of his injuries, as well.  He gets the chance to return the love one day when his daddy has a minor owie.  It's an adorable read that puts fathers in the positive light they deserve to be in! ($12.12 via Amazon.)

The Almost Fearless Hamilton Squidlegger by Timothy Basil Ering 

This book cracked me up.  The illustrations are a perfect combination of goofy with a little creepy thrown in.  The main character, a young creature that kids can relate to, is completely and totally afraid of the dark.  The parents deal reluctantly with this issue (to the point of getting no sleep) and the whole family comes together to figure out how to put the fearless back into nighttime -- for the sake of everyone!  This is a quirky read that belongs on the shelf for your bedtime story collection. ($12.75 via Amazon.)

*Books received to enjoy with our children and review.  Opinions are 100% our own.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Big Fights Come in Little Packages: Help Cure Childhood Cancer!

I have been so blessed with 6 healthy children. With the exception of a few minor injuries and the common flu, we have been free from hospitals and machines, treatments and tubes.

But not all of our friends can say the same thing.  A good friend of my husband (who is now a dear friend of mine) lost a child to childhood cancer.  It was a heartbreaking thing for us, in that we couldn't bring ourselves to imagine how painful the process of treatment is, much less the realization that you have lost your fight -- and eventually your child.

As we watch our friends and family, a couple of whom are fighting cancer as adults, we pray daily for advances to be made in research and treatment that would one day -- hopefully -- take cancer out of our current vocabulary and make it a thing of the past.  Auntie Anne's, who has been helping make family moments like these in our own family, is working -- once again -- with Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation (ALSF) to help make more family moments for kids with cancer!

Four of my blogger friends have joined me to tell you about this initiative, and I think it's pretty exciting!  We are working together to support a “Mini But Mighty” Hero - a child who has survived or is battling cancer. Jordan, the child we are supporting, has been fighting cancer since 2003 (when she was 4).  She lives in Santa Monica, CA and she inspires others with her drive and vow to "kick cancer's butt."

Kids like Jordan depend on the funds raised by wonderful companies -- such as Auntie Anne's (and the kind individuals who give) for new treatments, care, and support.  It costs a lot of money to fight cancer, and we want to give you a way to get involved.  From July 28 - September 15, you can give (even a little) to help these little fighters do big things! (The link won't be live until July 28th!)

In the meantime, let's do something fun: I will give away a free Auntie Anne's Pretzel to a reader who comments with a note of encouragement for Jordan!  I will take comments until August 15th, and at that time, I'll randomly pick a commenter to get the prize. (Prize awarded as a coupon for a free pretzel.)
Open to U.S. only.  One comment per person.

Let's show our support in a BIG way!  I'll be following up with again soon with news of this exciting fundraising event.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Review of Henry's Humdingers Raw Honey Products

I first heard of Henry's Humdinger's on an episode of "Shark Tank". I thought that the idea of flavored honeys with unique ingredients would be a good fit for my family. (And I was very impressed that the company started with the hard work and vision of an 11-year-old boy!) We use honey on most anything, and we also really enjoy playing around with spices.  We were given 4 kinds of the honeys to try, and they were all very well received.

Naughty Nana is a blend of honey with spicy pepper and ginger.  It was a little peppery, and my husband and sons really enjoyed it on just about anything from bread to crackers.  I don't like spicy stuff, but I could eat this.

Diabolical Dad had habanero peppers and lime.  It was too much for me, and I wasn't sure of the lime component.  The boys ate this on tortilla chips!

Grumpy Grandma was full of spicy red pepper and garlic.  Garlic and honey are a great match, and we've used this on meats as a marinade and as a basting sauce.  It's great on chicken wings!

Phoebe's Fireball has chipotle chili and cinnamon.  This is yummy on dessert breads and tortillas.

Note that these are raw honey, so you will want to avoid feeding it to babies under 1.  (Although most babies won't appreciate the spice, anyway.)

I love that this company is an effort of a boy and his family.  If you want to support small business, innovation, and amazing flavors, I recommend buying Henry's Humdingers!  The jars are cute, as well.  They make great gifts.  (And a portion of all sales goes to help save the honeybee.)

* Samples received. Opinions are my own.

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