Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Family Favorite Toys

I have favorite toys. Yes, I still enjoy playing with toys and frequently encourage my children to unplug and use their imagination by playing with toys that do not light up, talk, or play an app. I like to get down on the floor and built, destroy, capture, and create empires with my children. My children’s toys are well loved and travel frequently. We take them everywhere with us. They go to the park, on car rides, and even on trips to visit family. These toys provide my family with endless hours of entertainment, so I thought I would share a few of them with you.

A few of our favorite toys #ToysForKids #PlayTime

Thursday, July 24, 2014

My Camera and Must Have Accessories – This is what I use.

I love my camera and I love taking photographs. My favorite photos of my family are ones that I have taken myself. My children’s smiles reach their eyes and I am able to coax their personalities out of them during our photo shoots. This is something that can be hard for a stranger to do. While I am not a professional photographer – I am a mother who loves photography and who enjoys taking pictures. I get asked all of the time about my camera and my camera accessories. Purchasing a DSLR camera was a great decision and looking back at past photos I only wish that I had bought it sooner.

For the longest time I had a simple point and shoot camera and that was fine, until it broke. When I went to replace my camera I knew that I wanted to upgrade and get a really good camera. I did a lot of research, read a lot of reviews, and played around with many different cameras. After a lot of time and consideration I made my purchase.

My Camera And Must Have Accessories: Which DSLR Camera, lens, & accessories I bought.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

On the go with the Britax B-Agile Double Review

I am constantly running errands, heading to play dates, and taking someone to one class or another. It is pretty typical for me to have all three of my children with me when I am on the go – even when I am on my own. I have found that my key to a successful trip anywhere is being able to monitor all of my children easily. For me this means either babywearing or using a stroller and sometimes it means both. The newest addition to my stroller addiction is the Britax B-Agile Double stroller {Thank you Britax for providing a sample of the B-Agile Double to facilitate this review}. I must admit that I am very impressed with this stroller. 

There are days when I will babywear my daughter and have my two older boys ride in the stroller and then there are days when my oldest will help my push the stroller while my younger two catch a ride. It all depends on my children and their temperament. I love that the B-Agile Double can accommodate any child combination I throw at it. Since this stroller can accommodate children from birth up to 50lbs, even my oldest child can sit back and relax on a stroll around town.

Britax BAgile Double Stroller Review #DoubleStroller #BritaxBAgile

Thursday, July 17, 2014

An Inexpensive Dining Room Makeover

We have been in our home for a while now. We have worked really hard to make our house a home by adding, changing, and updating each room of the house. Most of these changes have been accomplished with a simple coat of paint. Some have required a bit more elbow grease. My latest project I took on and completed all by myself and I am really proud of how it turned out. I gave my dining room an inexpensive makeover.

Inexpensive Dining Room Makeover #neutral #DIY #Makeover #Paint #ChairRail #Vignette

Monday, July 7, 2014

What to wear to Disney World

When my husband started talking about taking our family on a vacation to Disney World I knew that there would be a lot of planning involved. After all - we are a family full of planners. We planned everything. We planned where would we stay, what shows we would see, where we would eat, what we would need to pack, and what we would wear at Disney World. I spent quite a lot of time thinking about what exactly our family would wear to wear to Disney. After looking online at various stores and perusing Etsy retailers I did not find what I was looking for. I soon realized that I would be the one needing to make my family matching family tee shirts to wear to Disney World.

I loved having matching family tee shirts for our Walt Disney World vacation. They were great for keeping track of each other and they provided a great ice breaker for people while waiting in lines. Cast members interacted with us wherever we went thanks to our tee shirts and the characters we met got a kick out of them too. They were a hit!

What to wear to Disney World with kids #Disney #DisneyVacation #MatchingShirts Mom Mart

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Summer Travel Safety Tips and a Safety 1st Advance SE 65 Air + #Giveaway

The 4th of July usually means a vacation for my family on the beach. We usually hop in the car and drive up to Wisconsin for some family fun time, fireworks, and s'mores right on Lake Michigan. The drive heading to our vacation and home from our holiday vacation is always long and there is always a lot of traffic. Obviously we are not the only ones who travel for the 4th of July holiday weekend. To help you and your families travel safely this summer I have partnered with Safety 1st to bring you some travel safety tips by Safety 1st Consumer Safety Expert Julie Vallese as well as a fabulous Safety 1st Advance SE 65 Air + Convertible Car Seat Giveaway.

Safety 1st Advance SE 65 Air +  convertible car seat giveaway #MomMart #Win #Giveaway #CarSeat

How to replace the foam parent handles on the Joovy Groove stroller:

This last spring I took my Joovy Groove stroller with me to Disney as well as the Joovy TooFold stroller with second seat. Since there was no stroller bag on the market that I felt could accommodate both of these strollers I sewed my own stroller bag so that my strollers would be protected once they were gate checked at the airport {best decision ever by the way- my strollers were dry and clean and undamaged}. But somehow while being used around the parks the foam parent handle on my Joovy Groove got damaged. There were large tears in the foam handle and although I was still able to use the stroller theses tears drove me crazy and I knew that as soon as I got home I would need to replace them. And replace them I did. After searching online for a tutorial on how to replace the foam handles on my Joovy Groove stroller I finally gave up {as there were no YouTube videos that I could find or directions anywhere!} and decided to just jump right in and do it.
How to replace the foam parent handle on the Joovy Groove stroller #tutorial

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Teaching color with a felt color matching lollipop game #DIY

As a former Pre-K teacher I enjoy bringing education into my home. I am constantly looking for new ways to teach my children without it seeming like a chore. I want them to enjoy school and love learning as much as I did. I look for way of turning lessons into games and keeping the games we play fresh and fun. Right now I am working on teaching my younger son color identification. To help with this I have created a felt color matching game. He likes to be hands-on {as most children his age tend to enjoy} and being able to hold and manipulate his colors helps to solidify his understanding. These DIY felt color matching lollipops were a huge hit with my children, even my oldest wanted to play with them!

felt color matching game #DIY #Tutorial #Homemade #FeltLollipop #Education #TeachingColors

Friday, June 27, 2014

Cilantro Chicken Skewers #Recipe

My family eats a lot of chicken. We use it for a variety of meals throughout the week and rarely do I feel that I am stuck in a menu rut. Thanks to a good marinade or a handful of spices almost every meal feels fresh and new. When I am looking for a quick and easy dinner for my family, chicken skewers is one that I know everyone will enjoy and this Cilantro Chicken Skewer Recipe has been requested over and over again!

Cilantro Chicken Skewers Recipe #Dinner #Chicken #Recipe #Healthy

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Disney On-The-Road Chicago #DisneyOTR #DisneySMMoms

Last week I was lucky enough to have been a part of the Disney Social MediaMoms Disney On-The-Road {#DisneyOTR} event. The happiest place on Earth brought a little bit of their magic to Chicago for us to enjoy, and enjoy this event I did! Spending time with fellow bloggers that I rarely get to see and companies I like is always a treat. I was also introduced to some new faces and businesses that I was not familiar with, but am so glad I was given the opportunity to learn more about. This event was fun and informative and made me want to hop on a plane and head back to Disney.
Disney OTR Celebration in Chicago #DisneyOTR #DisneySMMedia

Disney OTR Celebration in Chicago #DisneyOTR #DisneySMMedia #MomMart

Thursday, June 12, 2014

The BABYBJÖRN Baby Carrier One in Silver Mesh #Giveaway

I am a babywearing addict. There… I admit it.  I love babywearing and I love the baby gear that goes with baby wearing. I enjoy trying out different types of baby carriers, but my favorite is the soft structured carrier. I love the support and security I feel when wearing a soft structured carrier and I love the variety of ways I am able to comfortably wear my child. Since most of the time I am on my own with all three of my little ones, I need a carrier I can put on, take off, and adjust without any help and the BABYBJÖRN Baby Carrier One in Silver Mesh makes babywearing easy and comfortable for both baby and me {Thank you BABYBJÖRN for sending me a #BabyCarrierOne in Silver Mesh for the purposes of review}.

When BABYBJÖRN offered to send me the BABYBJÖRN Baby Carrier One in silver mesh to test out I was thrilled. Illinois summers can be ridiculously hot and a breathable mesh carrier is something I have been wanting for quite some time. I like to babywear year round, but during the summer when I am constantly on the move I like to babywear so that I can get where I need to go faster and get what I need to get done more efficiently. It also makes spending time with all three of my children at the park or the flea market or the amusement park manageable.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

A Simple Summer Strawberry Salad #Recipe

I love salads. But the same old dinner salad of lettuce, tomato, and cucumber can get pretty boring. Since I eat salads pretty much every day for lunch I like to change things up and keep my salads fresh. One of my absolute favorite salads is this simple strawberry salad that my Aunt provided for me on a recent trip to Indy. It is totally delicious and since it is a healthy recipe it also helps to keep me moving me towards my fitness goal of losing those last few pounds. A total win-win situation!

Super Simple Strawberry Salad Recipe #Summer #Recipe #Healthy  #Salad Make it once, eat it four times #Organized #fitmom

Monday, June 9, 2014

DIY baby hair clips with a no-slip grip #Tutorial

My crafty sister-in-law Wendy has been at it again and I must give her full credit for this craft - as it was completely inspired by her hair clips with a no-slip grip that she made for her daughter. My daughter has had enough of headbands with big flowers on them and frequently pulls them off and discards them when I am not looking. She has fine hair that doesn’t hold clips well and when I have looked in the stores at clips none of them had an anti-slip feature… making them useless for my daughter. Then one day I noticed my niece and her adorable hair clips and I asked my sister-in-law about them. Viola, a new obsession was born. I have been quite busy making these baby hair clips with the no-slip grip and since they turned out so well I have decided to whip up a little tutorial for you. So without further ado, here is my tutorial on how to make no-slip baby hair bows.
DIY baby hair clips with a no-slip grip, #DIY #Tutorial #Homemade #HairBow

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Finding the perfect gift while shopping on Twitter? #AmazonCart #cbias #shop

I am a member of the Collective Bias®  Social Fabric® Community.  This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper amplification for Collective Bias.

#AmazonCart Add it now Buy it later #Shopping on Twitter

I am a bit of a tech junkie in that I love playing with all of the new apps and latest toys out there. I specifically like it when companies revamp and tweak their services and capabilities making programs and networks more user friendly. This is exactly what Twitter and Amazon have done with the new #AmazonCart feature. This feature is collaboration between Twitter and Amazon allowing twitter users to add items that they see on Twitter to their Amazon shopping cart without leaving their twitter feed. It is simple to use and super convenient!

I cannot tell you how many times I have seen something cool on twitter and forgotten to write it down to search for later. I love quirky gifts and innovative products and I especially love gifting them to friends and family. But if I don’t stop and search for something right when I see it I forget about it. So it should be no surprise to those that know me {and how scatterbrained I can be when chasing my three little ones around the house} that the #AmazonCart service is my new best friend.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

A unique dining experience at ALINEA in Chicago

I have a really fabulous friend that gave me a night out at the top restaurant in the world, ALINEA {according to NBC Chicago}, to celebrate my birthday. I was told to dress up and make sure I was on time. I was told it was a set menu and that I would be impressed. I was told that this was a really big deal… needless to say I was very impressed. ALINEA in Chicago delivered on all of its promises and then some. It was a wonderful evening with ridiculously delicious food and fabulous service and I would love to go back and eat there again!

The food was like eating art. It was not only delicious, it was beautifully presented. The menu is seasonally driven and there are between 18-22 courses depending on the menu at the time and the availability {ours was 14}. The wine pairings are outstanding and compliment the food wonderfully. It was a night to remember and will definitely stand out as a top dining experience.

Alinea Restaurant of Chicago: EBI: Broccoli Stem, Yuzu, Sea Grape

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