Posts Tagged ‘sponsored’

Summer is Almost Here

Monday, May 22nd, 2017

Huge thanks to Gymboree for once again sponsoring this post and outfitting my constantly-growing children.

We are T-minus 4 days away from the unofficial start of summer around here because this weekend our lake opens! I’m not actually sure how we survived summer before we had a lake membership, but for the past few years it has been a lifesaver for hot summer days, the cure for too much screen time, a meeting place where we almost always find friends to play with and a much-needed break for me from cleaning up the same mess day after day.

But it’s not just the lake I look forward to in the summer. I’m an ocean devotee – the sand, the salt, the smell, all of it is necessary to my happiness. Just knowing I can be at the ocean in a few minutes makes me feel better. It’s why I don’t know if I could ever live in a non-coastal state. How do you handle so much dry land?

Thanks to a few true summer weather days last week we’ve already been to the beach once this May and are going back during Memorial Day weekend to share it with some flyover state relatives coming to visit. They specifically requested the ocean be on the itinerary, so we’ll probably take them to Ocean Beach where they can get the full Atlantic experience: cold water, hot sand, the boardwalk, the rickety rides, the overpriced ice cream. It’s all important. And thanks to my friends at Gymboree the kids are going to look stylish and patriotic for all our weekend plans. Their new Star Spangled Days collection is perfect for Memorial Day, 4th of July, or any summer day where you’re feelin’ the red, white and blue vibes.

Caroline’s favorites from here look are the sunglasses and her “high heel” wedges.

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You can find the shoes here, which you should definitely do because they’re so adorable. They also come in big kid sizes.

One of my favorite things about Gymboree is that they still make clothes for ALL my kids so it’s easy to match even when my cool-guy 8-year-old maybe doesn’t want to wear exactly the same shirt as the 2-year-old. Although who doesn’t want super sweet glasses like those?

My very attractive and well-behaved children are the perfect fashion models. In opposite world.

Evan has worn that hoodie every day since we got it, which is about as strong of a recommendation as anyone can give.

Four more days before Memorial Day, 18 more days before we ditch school to start our summer vacation, 43 days until the 4th of July, and my fingers are crossed every single one of those days is perfect New England summer weather. What are your plans for the holiday weekend? Is it summer yet where you are?

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Sit Back & Relax

Friday, April 28th, 2017

April shower are just about over and that means I’m excited to get my May flowers into the garden in the next couple weeks!

Wayfair sent me two unfinished wood Adirondack Chairs to customize so I could put my own spin on them and add them to our backyard patio. I’m still in the process of cleaning the space up and getting our garden ready for spring and summer. Nature does not want to cooperate. I don’t want to plant anything until I’m sure it won’t freeze. I can’t do yard clean up if all the leaves are wet because it’s been raining for days. I can’t paint chairs on the patio if it’s pouring. And also (this has nothing to do with nature) it’s hard to make my garden dreams come true if my handyman (aka husband) is always gone on work trips.

But between rainstorms and travel, E got the chairs together and out to the garage and I got them painted and accessorized.

The chairs are solid wood and really sturdy. They came in long thin boxes and it took E a little while to put them together, but they are definitely not coming apart again. (They almost ended up living in the basement though, because they baaaaaarely fit up the stairs.) They’re very generously sized, with wide armrests perfect for resting drinks.

The idea of painting in between every one of the slats with a brush was exhausting, so I went with the easier option. I bought 3 cans of the yellow and used 2.5 of them to cover both chairs. I used painter’s tape and some old paper to define the stripes I wanted to paint. To be totally honest I just did my best guesstimate and it turned out FINE – the screws on the back of the chair made it easy to line up the tape and I was trying to finish during naptime so finding a tape measure wasn’t going to happen.

How fun are those colors? Our outdoor seating is dark brown with beige cushions so that bright pop is going to be so cute out in the yard. Our old wooden table fell apart over the winter so we’re in the market for new patio furniture table too, but these will be perfect for sitting and relaxing with snacks and a glass of wine or a beer now that it’s finally warming up.

And today it is FINALLY nice out, so I moved the chairs to the yard where I can keep an eye on Linc’s dirt digging work while I enjoy the sunshine. I picked up a couple of throw pillows to make them even cuter. I got super lucky and found these at Big Lots – aren’t they perfect?

Linc definitely approves of the new chairs.

And now that the sun is shining I can mow that crazy grass. I’m so happy it’s finally time to sit back and relax in the yard!

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Backyard Campfire Fun

Thursday, September 29th, 2016

 

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It’s fallllllll! (Imagine me saying that in my best Oprah voice.) But that doesn’t mean it’s time to hide inside. It’s the most magical time of the year here in New England, where the days are still warm enough to be by the water but you have to close the windows at night or you can’t feel your nose in the morning. There’s chowder and donuts and cider and wine and oysters to enjoy outdoors. And it’s the perfect time of year to have a backyard campfire, right on our own patio.

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You can check out my idea board at the end of this post for links to items (or similar items) from Wayfair. They’ve got just what you need.

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Cozy, easy care cotton throws and fun pillows gave our old furniture new life.

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Lantern string lights add ambiance and warmth while you’re waiting for the fire to warm up.

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Plastic wine glasses = no chance of shattering them on the patio stones.

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Same deal with the tray – looks like rattan, but it’s actually plastic for easier clean up and no chance of breaking it.

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We’ve had this fire pit for years now and every time we use it we think “Why don’t we do this more often?!” Now that the cool nights are mostly bug-free, I see a lot more s’mores and wine in our future.
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This metal wall art makes our outdoor space feel more like a room.

One of the best parts about a backyard campfire is the ability to leave my newborn sleeping in the house while we roast marshmallows. Newborns near the fire pit seem like a poor choice – it’s hard enough controlling a clumsy toddler near the fire pit – so it was nice to be able to relax a little. In previous years, the kids seemed to like the idea of s’mores only in theory, but this year they ate as many as we would allow.

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Those blankets are my new favorite thing and I can’t wait to use them for lots of fall photo sessions. I’m sure the wine glasses will find a way to be useful as well. A big thanks to Wayfair for sponsoring this post and encouraging us to get out and enjoy our backyard campfire!

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Game Night Get Together with Ellio’s Pizza

Wednesday, September 14th, 2016

Thank you Ellio’s Pizza for sponsoring this post. Visit your local retailer to pick up your own Ellio’s Pizza for a pizza night in!

Once a month – or more often, if we can manage – we share a game night with one of E’s coworkers and his family. We taught them a card game called Hand and Foot, which I was forced to learn before I was allowed to marry into the Davis family and which we now force other people to learn as a requirement for friendship. I mean, we don’t make ALL our friends learn, but if you hang out in our general vicinity for more than 6 hours at some point E will volunteer to teach you because he probably has the card box waiting right over here just in case there is a card-playing emergency. He’s prepared! He made a special box to keep the cards in! Don’t worry if you have never played, there is a cheat sheet right in the box to help you!

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I’m teasing a little bit, but I absolutely love our game nights. With 5 (now 6!) children between us, babysitters are expensive and hard to come by so hanging out as a family is much easier. Plus Amanda is an amaaaazing cook and baker and always feeds us super well when she hosts.

Since I was 84.5 months pregnant at our last game night, my desire to spend two days in front of the oven making a gourmet dessert for game night was missing. My desire to eat lots of delicious food was still more than available though, so I was thrilled with this chance partner with Ellio’s Pizza for a fun family dinner option.

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The husbands – who are not from New England – were puzzled why Amanda and I were super excited about frozen pizza. Amanda, who is from here, said “This tastes just like my childhood!” And it’s totally true. Ellio’s Pizza is a Northeast tradition, founded on Long Island in 1963 and one of the things parents have been feeding their kids as a quick dinner or after-school snack for the last 5 decades. Available in six different flavors and made with 100% real cheese and zero artificial flavoring, it’s super fast, super delicious, and super kid- (and parent) approved.

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Along with a plate of veggies, it was a balanced meal everyone enjoyed and I didn’t waste any precious card-playing energy to make. That’s probably why Amanda and I TROUNCED the guys in the first round (we won’t talk about the second round). I’m stocking my freezer with more Ellio’s Pepperoni Pizza (our favorite) for the back-to-school craziness combined with the end-of-summer laziness and the having-a-fourth-baby insanity that is all about to hit us at once. Frozen pizza is exactly what those situations call for. Get in on the goodness yourself and check out the store locator at the top of the Ellio’s homepage to see where Ellio’s Pizza is sold near you.

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You can follow Ellio’s on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and Instagram.

This is a sponsored post on behalf of Dr. Oetker USA LLC. I received compensation for this post, however all opinions stated are my own.

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One Big Happy Hello

Monday, September 12th, 2016

A big happy thank you to Gymboree for sponsoring this post! They’ve been delightful to work with and we’re all thrilled with the new fall clothes. Be sure to check out their giveaway for an amazing baby bundle here

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After we came home from the hospital the first time, we didn’t really have a chance to adjust to our new 4-kid family before poor Baby Finnegan had to go back to the hospital for his light therapy. When we finally did make it home, school had started and the big kids were gone all the time. It’s made our first two weeks home feel sort of disjointed and hectic, not the calm, cuddly, peaceful time I had imagined in my head. It hasn’t helped that along with school, it was the first week of soccer, E had to go back to work and the toddler has been trying to give up napping, so even WITHOUT a brand new baby things would have been a little crazy. Still, we are so excited about our one big happy hello moment – completing our family with baby #4.

One thing that HAS been just as good (or better!) than I could have hoped is how Evan, Caroline, and Lincoln have all fallen in love with their new baby brother. They adore him completely. It’s such a joy to see and makes my heart want to burst every time I find one of them patting his head or singing Twinkle Twinkle to calm him down or saying “I just LOVE Baby Finn!” Obviously, this isn’t my first new-sibling rodeo and I’ve learned a few things over the past 3 kids. I think applying them all has really made this transition easier. Here are some of the things that have worked for us:

  1. Don’t change anything you don’t have to in the days before the baby comes. Linc is 2 now and probably getting close to potty learning, but we didn’t even consider trying right now. That’s a big change for a small person and adjusting to sharing Mommy with a baby is hard enough. I couldn’t avoid sending the big kids to school the same week the baby came home, but we kept our routine as normal and typical as possible. No new expectations or demands, no new charts or schedules, and I cut back on this year’s fall enrichment activities so they have more time at home in the evening to relax.
  2. Bring the kids to the hospital to meet the new baby. The kids visited us twice before we got to come home, which gave them a chance to interact with Finnegan without having him immediately in “their” space. It also helped them build up excitement for the moment when he (and I) would be released  and back under the same roof with the rest of the family. We let them all hold and cuddle the baby as much as they wanted in the hospital and made a Big Deal about how proud we were when they were loving and gentle.
  3. Put them to work! “Helping” with the baby is a favorite chore around here, especially for Lincoln. He loves bringing diapers and burp cloths for Finn or snacks and drinks for Mommy. Caroline and Evan are expected to do the same stuff, as well as contribute to general household well-being by feeding the dog, picking up after themselves, and helping Linc with things that are slightly above his abilities. Everyone likes to feel useful and important, and they all love their Big Kid Helper status.
  4. Do your best to give everyone some one-on-one attention. I know that’s easier said than done, especially if you’re adding a 3rd, 4th, 5th, etc etc child to the family. Just do your best. I’ve taken Caroline alone with me to do errands or pick up food, E took Linc with him to Home Depot and watched a movie with Evan, my mother reads endless books patiently to anyone who asks. Even if I am holding or feeding Finnegan, I try to make room next to me for whoever needs a snuggle.  It’s easy to get touched out, exhausted and want nothing more than 10 minutes of quiet, but try to remind yourself it’s not forever and some day you’ll kids who don’t even want to be seen with you, let alone sit in your lap. This too shall pass, and probably way faster than you want it to when you look back.
  5. Accept help. The more time you can spend with the kids – or the more people around who can also spend time with the kids – the less likely they’ll see the baby as an attention-stealing monster. It can be tempting to try to prove you can do everything on your own (and you probably can, Supermom) but you don’t HAVE to turn down help. Try saying yes. A freezer meal means you could spend that time snuggling instead of cooking. Someone whisking away older kids for a playdate means you can take a nap while the baby does. Someone who wants to come over and just hold your baby for an hour means you can take a shower. I am one of those people who says “No, really, I’m fine! We’re good! I don’t need anything!” but when people ignore me – and I’m so lucky to have people in my life who ignore me – and help anyway it’s amazing. The less stressed you are, the easier it is to make a smooth transition to +1 more kids without major meltdowns.

Another way to get ready for baby is to shop for newborn essentials like onesies, socks, bibs, blankets and hats. Gymboree has all that and more covered with 100% combed cotton baby items, which are crazy soft and incredibly cute too. The newborn styles are easy to mix-and-match (who has time to hunt for the ONE pair of matching leggings on 3 hours of sleep?) and reversible bibs and blankets mean you can get twice the use out of them.

One of my favorite things about Gymboree is their kid clothes LOOK like kid clothes, whether you’re just looking for comfy play outfits or dressier looks for family photos. I also love matchy-sibling stuff and they are super great at carrying a theme/styles through their baby, toddler and kid’s collections each season. I had so much fun putting together looks for each of the kids and then surprising them with these fun orange boxes.

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After everyone tried on their new clothes, they helped Baby Finnegan open his box and see what his new outfit looked like.

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They are DELIGHTED with the outdoors/wolf theme, and I think it’s so cute that I have a whole “pack” of kids.

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You can expect to see these clothes in our weekly photos a LOT this fall – soft, comfy, and stylish (plus easy care) check all the boxes for the things that become instant favorites. Linc’s outfit comes from the Mountain Trail collection for toddlers, and Evan’s is from the matching boy’s stuff. Caroline’s owl dress and leggings are part of the mix & match collection.

And now for a GIVEAWAY!

Did you know September is one of the most popular birth months? To celebrate, Gymboree teamed up with 6 popular brands to bring parents the ultimate bundle for baby. They’re giving away over $2,000 in prizes from Gymboree, Land of Nod, Seventh Generation, 4moms, Baby Bjorn, and munchkin. You can enter to win this AMAZING prize pack by clicking here. It’s an AMAZING bundle, don’t miss out!

www.gymboree.com/babybundle

I will also surprise and delight one person who comments on this post with a $50 Gymboree gift card. (I apologize for taking down the Rafflecopter, I misunderstood some directions in my new-baby exhaustion fog and it’s totally my fault. I’ll still choose someone at random who comments on this post between yesterday and Monday Sept 19th with a $50 gift card.)

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