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Friday Favorites: FabFitFun 2016 Spring Box

Friday Favorites (3)

Fellow Mombies nod your heads if you agree with any of the following statements:

  • I wear pajamas all day and maternity clothes past their prime.
  • My meals consist of 3 times reheated coffee and leftover chicken nuggets from my children’s plates.
  • I’ve run on just a few hours’ sleep for the last five years.
  • I want to lose the weight that crept up on me but with 3 boys under 5 years old, the only thing I am losing is my sanity.
  • I am not being the best version of me!

All of these things were my life. Then something finally clicked and I wanted to start taking care of me! It’s my responsibility. I owe it to myself and my family. After this epiphany I found myself walking around Ulta Beauty for an hour trying everything on. Then I got my hair colored in a salon as opposed to my generic $6 box o’ color. And I am finding ways to budget in purchasing a couple of new outfits. Overall I am beginning to live a healthier life for me.

With the weight finally coming off I want to give myself a reward. Let me introduce my new healthy obsession: FabFitFun!

Fit Fab Fun Magazine Box

The FabFitFun box is a quarterly subscription service that sends out products each season. Each box shares full sized products from the latest in beauty, fashion, home, fitness and health. I love this subscription box! There are items in here that I would never splurge on myself with, nor would I even know about them. Each box will always contain full sized premium products with at least a $100 retail value. The Spring 2016 box is worth $282 but the subscription cost is $49.99. Read below to get $10 off of your first box, or prepay the annual subscription fee and get a $20.00 discount and pay only $179.99. Most of these products include a promo code just for FabFitFun members to use toward next purchases.

Let’s go over all my new goodies…..

Herb Garden by MakersKit –  How cute is this wooden trough? It comes complete with compost, containers, basil, mint and thyme. Instructions are also included. Perfect for Spring! ($35 value).

FitFabFun Magazine Unboxing

Contour Kit by Ish – I have watched contouring videos before and I’m too frightened to even try. I was happy to find that Ish makes easy to follow “HOW TO” videos that you can watch HERE. If contouring is still not your thing you can just use them as blush, eye shadow, or highlighter. ($32 value).

Bath Bomb Trinity by Jus ‘Amour – Confession: I don’t own a bathtub. Another Confession: After smelling these bath bombs and reading the essential oil blends, I’m being selfish and not giving these away as a gift!  I’ll use them at some point in my life during a dream vacation. ($28 value).

  • Love Potion (Jasmine, Rose & Sandalwood Essential Oil Blend)
  • Wake Up (Eucalyptus, Peppermint & Lime Essential Oil Blend)
  • Deep Breath (Lavender, Chamomile & Ylang Ylang Essential Oil Blend)

FitFabFun Magazine Unboxing

BodiPure Keratin Gloves & Socks – If you can’t go to the spa, bring the spa to you. These left my hands and feet silky soft. Make sure the kids are asleep so you can put your feet up and relax! These items are packaged separately so you do not need to use the socks at the same time as the gloves. ($10 value).

Tag Necklace by Jook & Nona  –  I typically wear silver, but I adore this 18K gold plated necklace engraved with the word “LOVE.” This is an example of something that I wouldn’t have purchased on my own because it’s gold. I’m so glad that they picked it out for me! I hear celebrities love Jook & Nona so now I feel like a VIP. ($65 value).

Jook and Nona Love in Gold

Shaving Emulation Lotion by HelloLegs – Spring means Summer is around the corner and Summer means shaving. Make this tedious task easier with this combination of body lotion and shaving cream. The website hasn’t launched yet, no full value price available.

Argan & Hemp Oil Therapy by Marrakesh – This product left my hair feeling healthier, smoother and with a shine. However, I just want to keep smelling it. It’s amazing! You need it.

Marrithew Mat Strap Plus – My initial reaction was “I hate yoga.” I do. I know that I’m in the minority but my body and brain just can’t get on the same page when it comes to yoga. If you do enjoy yoga or Pilates – this is a pretty nifty strap. It has a 3-1 versatility so I did actually get some use out of it. Use it as a strap to hold your yoga mat, to assist you in yoga poses, or resistance exercises. Great for travel! ($15 value).

There were 2 gift cards included that did not come with any stipulations so they are as good as cash!

  1.  31Bits– I used this $25 gift card to purchase a gift for my niece. After shipping I only paid $6.00. I love what they are doing to make a difference in the world with their products.
  2. Sterling Forever  I typically don’t purchase inexpensive earrings without trying first, but I made the splurge. By splurge, I mean $10 since $30 was already covered! ($30 value + free shipping).

My favorite item in the entire box is surprisingly NOT a product. It is a little note card from I AM THAT GIRL. It’s a non-profit organization but at its core – it’s a movement! Empowering girls to love, express and be exactly who they are. I AM THAT GIRL has made a difference in thousands of girls lives from all over the world connecting them both in online and offline programs and initiatives.  If you want to raise the standard on how girls treat themselves, each other and the world then consider being a sponsor. I am hanging this card on my bathroom mirror to “remind myself that I’m not alone, that I’m beautiful, that my voice matters, and that I am enough.”

Follow FabFitFun’s Facebook page for great tips and articles!

Sign up for a subscription box here. Treat yourself, you deserve it! Use Promo Code: GLORIA for an additional $10.00 off your first box!

Thanks for reading to the end! As promised here is the Giveaway Winner for 4 Mess Fest tickets!

Congratulations Jennifer R. You will be contacted directly via email today!

Gloria DarmaninGloria Darmanin is a three time boy mom and completely outnumbered. She works hard to spread awareness for childhood cancer, authentic inclusion for persons with disabilities and gender equality. When she isn’t hiding from the kids she is off planning her annual St. Baldrick’s event and dreaming of ways to make money for charity.

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All Moms Could Use a Little Help

 

Ways to Help A Struggling Mom

Every Sunday at church I am greeted with different showings of love from my fellow sisters. From a casual hello by a rushed mom, arms overflowing with stuff, trying to get her kids seated to hugs from a mom already settled. Each week questions fly about how my daughter is sleeping, what is she eating and friends ooh and ahhh over her and request to hold her. Week after week since my daughter’s birth this has been the usual way I start my Sunday morning.

That is until one Sunday when a sister came over and sat right next to me. She looked me directly in the eyes and asked, “How are you doing?” That simple, innocent question threw me completely off balance. I was not prepared to answer.

How am I? You mean you don’t want to know about my daughter? Wait…. am I falling apart? Can you see me struggling to keep my head above water?

I struggled to hold back the tears and and to compose myself before I showed how frazzled and lost I felt. That simple phrase made me feel like I mattered. I was not just my daughter’s mother in that moment but me, just me. I existed. I was noticed!

This made me think about how many times a mom walks into a room and all eyes look directly at her children. How many times do we not see her? I mean REALLY see her. Why does this happen?  I honestly believe we often get excited to see a cute little outfit, or little a cherub face and get caught up in the awe factor.

It isn’t often enough that somebody offers to help a mom, or asks her if she needs an ear or a hug. It seems like a little thing but in that moment a mom wouldn’t feel so alone. For that moment, her burdens would be shared and lightened.

Not all struggling moms look as if they are struggling. I know I personally hide my struggles very well. So why not offer a gesture of kindness to any fellow mom? Here are some suggested ways to offer help:

  • Call her and ask to stop by for coffee.
  • Offer to watch her kids for a few hours so she can enjoy a few hours alone or with her spouse.
  • Cook dinner for her at your house.
  • Join her at the park and chat while the kids play.
  • Send her an old fashion handwritten letter telling her you have been thinking of her.

We all walk around balancing our own emotional teeter-totters. Most moms (especially new moms) are precariously balancing in their own corners hoping nothing else is added to topple them over. I can say from experience that the simplest gesture makes a world of difference. Next time you see a fellow mom, who may or may not look like she is struggling, ask her how she is doing. Or Can I get you anything? Or how can I help you in this moment? I promise you she will be relieved beyond your understanding.

Who knows the next time your own emotional teeter-totter is feeling unsteady, that mom you helped just might have the ability to balance you before toppling over. She might even become your next close friend.

 

 

deb editDebra is a first time mom to her beautiful rainbow baby Skyler, a wife, a blogger and an ordained minister. She enjoys crafting and creating educational fun for her step sons and decorating her home. Find Debra at Crossing New Bridges on Facebook and on Twitter.

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Friday Favorites – Eir NYC

Friday Favorites Fresh Eir

Happy Friday All!

As you know by now my Friday Favorites are products I personally use and love. I don’t want to review products for the sake of having a review. The products I share have to fit some purpose in my life so I can give all of you an honest review. That being said, here is my favorite products this week!

I received a full sized product of Fresh Eir by Eir NYC. A friend of mine gifted me with an amazing subscription box and this was one of the products inside! What do I absolutely love about this one? It’s organic, eco-friendly and versatile! The Fresh Air canister is made of recyclable stainless steel and is aerosol free. I have used this all around the house and in my car as an air freshener, but now I carry it in my car kit to use as a hand sanitizer. This has been a life saver at the park and I just touched some random sticky stuff, or after handling the pump at the gas station. I have also used it to spray down the soccer gear and the laundry hampers. The instructions say I can also spray on my body as a freshener… just a tip for those “shower free” days. 😉

Fresh EIR NYC

The witch hazel, aloe and sage essential oil blend smells great! I am not clogging the atmosphere with aerosol spray and my home smells and feels fresher! $20.00 for a canister is a bit pricey, but really worth it when you can use it in so many places. Interesting fact about the name, Eir is the Norse goddess of healing. All EiR products are made naturally to nourish the mind, body and soul.

Included with the Fresh Air is a sample of Uplifting Butter. The blend of coffee infused coconut oil, rosemary and cypress essential oils is supposed to help combat cellulite and water retention. Fun fact about me, I have quite a bit of cellulite covering a rather large surface area. I wasn’t sure about this tiny sample. I would need an entire vat to dip myself in! Ha, ha!

EiR Uplifting Butter

I did try it out and although I did not notice dramatic results, my skin did appear a little smoother over time. It also smells really good. Like a day at the spa good. I received a 1/2 oz sample, but the full product is sold in a 4 0z. tin for $35.00. With more ounces I might be able to target some larger areas. 😉 You can find the entire line of hand whipped body butters on their website.

I also really love that this company is based out of Brooklyn, NY. So this is technically a local company for me and after searching their stock list I find there is a store close by that carries Eir products. Looks like it’s time to go shopping!

The links contained in this post are for your convenience and I do not receive any compensation if you use them. The products reviewed in this post were gifted items, so no financial compensation was provided for this review. The opinions expressed in this blog post and exclusively my own. 

The Whatever Mom is a twin mom learning to let go of perfection. She shares her real life struggles with parenting through her blog and contributes her time and talents as a writer to Hudson Valley Parent and Masshole Mommy. When she isn’t writing you can find her chugging coffee, folding laundry and not judging other parents. Don’t forget to subscribe via email so you never miss a blog post again! You can also find her work featured on Mamapedia and The Novice Mommy.

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The Benefits of Getting My Kids Out and Moving

The Benefitsof Keeping My Kids Moving

When my kids get exercise they are a lot less whiny and a lot less lazy. When we sign them up for sports, they have a place to focus their energy and make new friends. I have four boys, and all of them but my two-year-old play soccer. That doesn’t stop him from trying to cross the white line and see if he can help his brothers out every Saturday, because he loves to kick the ball around. In the winter they play basketball.

With school getting out soon I need to step up my own game and get them moving each morning. Most days I try to take them for a walk or to the park before the sun makes the slides too hot to play on. Every time I decide to have a lazy day and let my kids watch Netflix, I pay for it. They spend the day arguing over everything and they don’t want to do anything. Sometimes when they get like that I make really dumb decisions and take them to the store just so we can get out of the house. That right there is proof that once you have kids you lose brain cells. Letting them run around outside is more likely to snap them out of their orneriness.

If I can preempt the drama by getting them outside first thing then my kids are more pleasant to be around for the rest of the day. I’ve tested this time and time again—because I like lazy mornings—but the results are always the same.

I read over this study showing how exercise benefits boys academically (in addition to saving me from excessive whining). It concludes:

Higher levels of physical activity at recess were related to better reading skills and participation in organized sports was linked to higher arithmetic test scores in grades 1-3. Particularly boys with higher levels of physical activity, and especially walking and bicycling to and from school, had better reading skills than less active boys.

Interestingly, the academic benefits of exercise was not as significant in girls. The full study can be found here.  But if you just want a run-down of the parts you actually care about, go here!

I don’t need a study to tell me that when my kids have a physical outlet for their energy they are a lot less cuckoo, but it was encouraging to see it actually helps them become better learners.

Other than participating in sports, here are a few activities that will give your kids some exercise: run through the sprinklers, go for a bike ride, play “Just Dance” on the Wii or XBox, jump rope, hula hoop, or play a good old-fashioned game of tag!

How do you keep your kids active?

Amber Amber Christensen is a mom to four boys, a blogger and the author of  Memoirs of Mayhem: The Good, The Bad, and The Hilarious. She is learning to find the humor in her parenting, which she shares on her blog Watch This Mom. You can also find her on InstagramFacebook and Twitter!

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Friday Favorites- The Muddy Puddles Project {Giveaway}

There is a strong magnetic pull between a child and a muddy puddle. Before you can stop them they are already splashing away with a smile from ear to ear. I used to shout at my kids, “No! Don’t!” whenever they approached a muddy puddle. Now, I embrace every second of it. I changed my mind about splashing in puddles when I read a blog post about a boy named Super Ty.

super ty

Ty was just five years old when he passed away from brain cancer. It broke my heart to read his mother’s story how Ty would look out his hospital room window and dream of jumping in muddy puddles (much like his favorite character Peppa Pig). Ty’s dream inspired The Muddy Puddles Project, a completely volunteer driven fundraising platform.Their mission is to raise funds to help scientists discover less toxic, less invasive and more effective treatments for children with cancer. I love everything the Muddy Puddles Project represents: celebrating childhood, finding the fun in messes and not sweating the small stuff. The more I learned about the Muddy Puddles Project and the TLC (Ty Louis Campbell) Foundation, the more passionate I became about supporting childhood cancer awareness.

whippedcream (1)
It’s no wonder Pie Face is the official game of The Muddy Puddles Project!

My family will again attend the Muddy Puddles Project’s Mess Fest held at Kiwi Country Day Camp in Mahopac, NY. This year the 4th Annual event takes place on Saturday July 30th from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. It is an all day adventure of messy fun! Your kids will love getting to splatter paint, run the “slopstacle” course, toss a cream pie, enter food fights, toss water balloons, zip line, climb walls, paddle boats, enjoy live entertainment, play games, jump in bounce houses and swim in the pond or pool. There is so much more! Like the crowd favorite GIANT MUD PIT where you can sign up the whole family to take the “dirty dunk.”

mess fest flyer
4th Annual Mess Fest Flyer

The dirty dunk takes place from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. at the main Mess Fest event. Your $100 donation (per participant) will include your ticket to the event, a professional photo capturing your moment and a fun memory to last a lifetime. Raising the $100 donation amount is easier than you’d imagine. My family held a garage sale and lemonade stand and we easily raised more than half of that in just a few hours. Don’t forget it all goes toward helping find a cure for childhood cancer (which is priceless!).

Muddy Puddles Dirty Dunk
Taking the dunk with my son in 2014

Tips Before You Go:

  • Print out your tickets ahead of time to avoid lines.
  • As messy as this event is, there are plenty of chances to clean up before heading home. Stop by the fire truck to hose off, or towel off and change in one of the onsite bathrooms.
  • All parking is off site with continuous shuttles via school bus. (We were able to bring our stroller with us).
  • Bring a change of clothes, a bathing suit, towel and sunscreen.
  • No coolers are allowed on site, but you can bring water bottles and small snacks for the kids. There are multiple food vendors where you can get lunch, treats and extra drinks.
  • Check out the map before you arrive to get an idea of how everything is laid out.
  • Bring a camera! There is a pretty good chance you will run into Peppa Pig this year’s Celebrity Ambassador and charitable partner!
Kiwi Country Day Camp
Map of Kiwi Country Day Camp

Visit the Muddy Puddles website to learn more about how to host a mini-mess fest in your own back yard or local park and other ways to get involved. Getting kids involved with Mess Fest is a great way for them to engage in philanthropy and it encourages them to have fun while doing good!

********EXCLUSIVE GIVEAWAY*******

Just for being a reader of the The Whatever Mom you could win a FAMILY 4 PACK of tickets to the 2016 Mess Fest happening on Saturday July 30th in Mahopac, NY! Winner announced in my next Friday Favorites blog post on June 17th.

Get ready to feel like a kid again! Enter to win below, or click here to purchase your tickets. (FOR A VERY LIMITED TIME you can get early bird pricing of $10 off the regular event admission price!).

“Let your kids jump in muddy puddles whenever they want. Let them get wild with finger paints and glitter. soon they’ll be all grown up and see the dirty clothes and wet shoes as nothing but a nuisance. It’s beautiful that children can find such joy in the simple things that we no longer appreciate as adults.” -TLC Foundation

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Gloria DarmaninGloria Darmanin is a three time boy mom and completely outnumbered. She works hard to spread awareness for childhood cancer, authentic inclusion for persons with disabilities and gender equality. When she isn’t hiding from the kids she is off planning her annual St. Baldrick’s event and dreaming of ways to make money for charity.

 

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My Night Away In Lake George

Mom Spends One Night Away Everyone Survived

Last week my friend Dianna and I got the chance to take a moms only over night trip to Lake George. It was so much fun! Dianna and I have known each other for 20-years. We’ve gone away together for spring break, made it through the heartache of boys, watched each other get married and now we get to witness each other’s journey through motherhood. We get so busy with life that it was so great to get some time to reconnect!

I want to share with you all the fun things we did, but I also want to share with you that going away by yourself is a wonderful thing. I didn’t want to leave my babies behind, but I wanted to get a break from the constant care and routine. Being a stay at home mom running the household and spending 24/7 with the kids IS my job. When my husband takes a vacation he gets to leave his work tasks behind for a week. I just wanted one day.

A one night stay not too far from home was just what I needed to recharge. I came back feeling like a more patient and replenished mom than when I left. Plus dad’s need time to connect with the kiddos too! I get the kids to myself all the time, he deserves to have them all to himself too. Now, I feel like he understands a little better why I am so stressed most of the time. If you’ve ever wanted to make a quick get away but were afraid to leave the kids with hubby- your kids will be fine! So will hubby!

After I realized how much my kids and my husband get out of this situation too, I felt more at ease taking some time for myself. I enjoyed every minute of shopping in the outlets and taking my time trying things on! No one was tugging at my shirt screaming, “mama! mama! mama!” or jumping out of a cart. I even walked through a candy store at a leisurely pace without having to drag a disappointed, tantruming child away. It was simply relaxing.

Now To The Fun Stuff

After we spent time shopping at the Lake George Outlets, we grabbed a late lunch in nearby Queensbury at the Recovery Room Sports Grill. Thankfully my friend was driving so I could enjoy a mid-afternoon cocktail. The food was really good. I discovered later that kids eat for $2.99 all day every day. We will have to remember this on our next trip back to the area.

Out in Lake George

After lunch we checked into our hotel room. Well, it was actually a motel room and a very run down one at that. We stayed at the Fort William Henry Hotel and Conference Center. We were situated in the motel area of the property instead of the main building. Our room appeared clean, but really run down. Call me crazy but, I expect when I pay money to stay someplace the towels they provide should not be threadbare. I had to search through the pile to find one that was acceptable. The rest of the property seemed well maintained and I may return for one more try because it is a great location, but only if we can get a room in the main hotel.

Once we were all checked in and got ourselves all dolled up, we took the short walk through town to the Adirondack Winery where they treated us to a premium wine tasting. We enjoyed a “slate plate” showcasing local cheese, jellies, crackers and chocolates. We enjoyed seven samples of wine, plus a dessert wine and a full sized wine slushy. I was left wondering where this cocktail has been all my life. Thankfully they sell the slushy mix in-store, along with full sizes of the other treats we sampled. The staff was so wonderfully friendly and knowledgeable about each wine and the source of each local taste. It was a really great start to our night!

Adirondack Winery

The night was still young so we decided to catch some live music and hit the dance floor. There were several places with live bands and DJs. Since it was an off season weekend, most of the places were filled with locals rather than the litany of tourists. We found some place that was fun and vibrant. Even though I was surrounded by college kids half my age, it was still nice to bust a move. Yes, I still got it!

I think a once a year getaway will be a really great way for us to reconnect as friends. We are moms now but we have a deeper history than just motherhood. It’s nice to laugh at all the crazy things we’ve done and catch up on where we are now.

Here are a few tips on planning your own moms only getaway:

We took advantage of a Groupon deal during an off season weekend. This made it affordable for us to stay.

Decide ahead of time the purpose of your stay. Are you looking for adventure? Are you looking to chill by the bar, take in a show or just spend time in the room? Making sure everyone is on the same page ensures no one leaves disappointed.

Bring hotel snacks! It doesn’t have to be fancy, or it can be really fancy. I traveled with someone once who thought sushi and wine are perfectly acceptable tailgate foods. Decide between friends who is bringing what. It could be really indulgent chocolate, or cupcakes and wine.

Take as many photos as you can. It is a lot of fun to look back on your time together.

Don’t feel guilty leaving your husband solo for a night. He is your co-parent after all. Expect that the house WILL be giant mess when you return, or that he will NOT do things exactly as you will. But everyone is going to survive!

Find out what is in the area to see and do. I found the Adirondack Winery on a Pinterest post which lead me to their website. I set up the tasting from there.

Leave a list for hubby. I left behind a list of names and numbers hubby could call for questions, or back up if necessary. This eased both of our worries. Thankfully, he didn’t need the list and he had a great time with the kids!

If going away over night seems like too much don’t feel bad. Until now I only ever dreamed about taking a night for myself. But scheduling time to connect, even over a cup of coffee, is a great way to strengthen your friendships and nurture who you are as a person, not just who you are as a mom. Whether you work outside of the home, work from home or stay home with the kids you deserve some guilt free time to yourself.

Where would you go if you had just one night away from the house and kids?

Promotional links provided in this post are for your convenience. No affiliate links are included and I do not receive financial compensation if you use them. All opinions and reviews belong solely to The Whatever Mom.

The Whatever Mom is a twin mom learning to let go of perfection. She shares her real life struggles with parenting through her blog and contributes her time and talents as a writer to Hudson Valley Parent and Masshole Mommy. When she isn’t writing you can find her chugging coffee, folding laundry and not judging other parents. Don’t forget to subscribe via email so you never miss a blog post again! You can also find her work featured on Mamapedia and The Novice Mommy.

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Friday Favorites: Top Picks for Summer Skin Care

SAFE SUN

Did you know the first official day of summer is June 20th? But many of us are already enjoying some fun in the sun now! I spend hours outside in the back yard, or at local parks with my kids. I want to be sure each of us is protected from sun damage or sun burns. I am really careful about what I put on our skin. I also like products that multi-task and save me a little time.

Before I share my favorites here’s a quick word about SPF. The Sun Protection Factor, or SPF, estimates how long you are protected against sun burn. For example, if you know your skin starts to redden after 20 minutes in the sun, a product with an SPF of 15 will keep you safe approximately 300 minutes before you start to burn. The higher the SPF the longer the protection time. But it is important to apply properly and reapply in time to get the most benefit from your sunscreen.

Here are my favorite can’t live without summer skin care items:

Tinted Moisturizer with SPF 

I rely on my tinted moisturizer for a casual coverage that evens my skin tone. Using a tinted moisturizer with an SPF protects me  from damaging UVB and UVA exposure. I personally like Mary Kay’s CC cream with an SPF 15. The coverage is great and it is light weight enough for me to wear while at the park with the kids, running my errands or even working up a sweat at the gym. Not only does the SPF keep me from burning quickly, but it is the first line of defense against aging. (Sun damage = wrinkles). You can locate a Mary Kay rep online and purchase for $20.00.

cc cream

Lip Balm with SPF 

My absolute favorite is Kiss My Face Lip Treatmint with SPF 30. This water resistant lip balm keeps my lips smooth and tastes amazing!  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gotten a sunburn on my lips just standing at the park with my kids, or playing outside in our yard. Too much sun exposure to your lips can cause dehydration and aging. The antioxidant formula re-hydrates and heals dryness. I also love that it is gluten free and cruelty free. Kiss My Face also has a really great line of organic lip balms that I buy for my girls to enjoy. You can purchase online for around $2.50, or find in most retail drug stores.

kiss my face lips

Sunscreen with SPF 

I go with Kiss My Face Organic sunscreen. It is gluten and cruelty free and made with 87% organic ingredients. It is water resistant for up to 80 minutes which means I can run through the sprinklers, or take a dip in the pool with the kids without worry. It is broad spectrum which means it protects against UVA and UVB rays. It may seem pricey at $13.99 a tube, but worth the peace of mind I get knowing it’s less chemical exposure for me and my kiddos.

kiss my face sunscreen

Sun Protection Tips:

To get the most benefits from your sunscreen you should apply 10 minutes before going out in the sun. It takes that long for the minerals in the cream to settle into your skin and create a barrier of protection. I apply my tinted moisturizer and lip balm as part of my morning skin care routine so I am set for the day. I try to cover the kids just before we leave the house, or before they leave for school.

Getting a little sun isn’t a terrible thing. It is actually medically necessary to get enough sun to help our bodies convert proper levels of Vitamin D. We only need about 15-20 minutes a day of unprotected sun exposure for good health. You want to be sure you are protected during the peak times of day which is 10 am – 3 pm. That is when the suns rays are most intense and you are more likely to get a sunburn. If you know you will be out in the sun for longer, say a day at the beach or at the pool, be sure to cover up and use your sunscreen!

Product links provided in this post are for your convenience. No affiliate links are included and I do not receive financial compensation if you use them. All opinions and reviews belong solely to The Whatever Mom.

The Whatever Mom is a twin mom learning to let go of perfection. She shares her real life struggles with parenting through her blog and contributes her time and talents as a writer to Hudson Valley Parent and Masshole Mommy. When she isn’t writing you can find her chugging coffee, folding laundry and not judging other parents. Don’t forget to subscribe via email so you never miss a blog post again! You can also find her work featured on Mamapedia and The Novice Mommy.

 

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Getting Over The Embarrassment About Speech Therapy

I have four kids who have basically been on track developmentally their entire lives. They all had to do some time in the NICU when they were born due to being premature, but it was never anything life threatening. There were differences in the ages of when they rolled over, crawled, and took their first steps, but nothing outside the norm.

Then our youngest daughter Alexis still wasn’t talking at 2 years old. And I don’t mean not putting words together, I mean she had a handful of words she used and everything else she said was unintelligible, even for me, who was home with her all day. She understood everything we said to her, but she couldn’t talk to us beyond ma, da, up, and that.

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Our pediatrician originally brought up Alexis’s lack of talking at her 18 month check up. It wasn’t a concern yet, just as something to watch for as she got closer to turning 2. When we went in for her 2 year check up I wasn’t surprised when the recommendation came to have her tested for speech delays, but I wasn’t ready to say she needed help. My older two kids had a big verbal breakthrough at just over 2 years old, and so I waited to see if the same might happen with Alexis, even though I knew she wasn’t picking up on everything like my other kids did.

By December, Alexis was almost 2.5 and still hadn’t made much progress. Her and I were getting into serious meltdowns because I couldn’t figure out what she wanted, and she couldn’t figure out how to tell me what she wanted besides just pointing, babbling, and then crying and screaming when I had no idea what she meant. Luckily we came across Zia Therapy, and got her tested. She qualified for services, and although I went back and forth a lot on actually signing her up, I ended up enrolling her.

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I know there are plenty of kids that need help learning to do things. That’s why they go to school, and parents teach their kids things constantly, but I was stuck on the fact that Alexis needed outside help. She was going to be in speech therapy. Therapy. For some reason that word just lodged in my brain and I couldn’t shake all the negative associations I had with it.

Intellectually I know there’s nothing wrong with therapy. It’s there to help people until they don’t need it anymore, not a sign she’ll wear for the rest of her life. Everyone I told reacted positively and was excited that it was going to help her, and one friend even said she had been thinking of testing her daughter because she wasn’t talking either.

So what was my deal?

I’m a little embarrassed I’m even saying this, but I was embarrassed she was in therapy. It’s 100% all in my head, but I was embarrassed she needed help. I didn’t want to admit to anyone that everything wasn’t just going along perfectly in our little idyllic life. I also think part of it came form her being a twin. Her brother is off the charts verbal, and I was so worried someone would compare them and she would be the dumb twin because she was in therapy and he was telling me about the purple umbrella in the picture he’s coloring.

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But once I opened up a little, I was rewarded with so much support from all our friends and family. They have all checked in with us periodically to ask how it’s going with her, and how she’s doing. The friends we see regularly have commented on how much clearer she’s talking and how well she’s doing. There’s no backlash on her for needing this, and I’m 100% convinced it was the right choice for her.

I’ve gotten over everything now, and she’s made amazing progress. 4-5 word sentences, dozens of words, and most importantly to me, she can communicate what she wants. She’s still stubborn as a mule when she wants to be but I think that’s just the personality of our little spitfire. No amount of speech therapy will change her saying ‘No, I do it!’ into something else 🙂

Jennifer at Sweet Discord Jennifer is a stay at home mom with two sets of twins. She copes with having four kids ages 5 and 3 with wine, desserts and cooking. But at the end of the day she wouldn’t trade her crazy life for anything. You can read more from Jennifer at Sweet Discord.

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Friday Favorites- Smarty Pants Vitamins

Smarty Pants Vitamins

Such a great name for a vitamin. If I had to describe myself in two words it would be “smarty pants.” Once I read the label to see what was inside the vitamins I knew I had to give these a try. I appreciate the companies efforts for sustainability and commitment to making a good gummy.

I have been resistant to giving my kids vitamins for years because I was adamant about giving them nothing but whole foods. Well, when you have two picky eaters who barely eat anything that isn’t cheese, you start to worry they aren’t getting enough vitamins. Thankfully, my girls are thriving and they eat more veggies than they know about. Just check out my sneaky mac and cheese recipe. Since they won’t eat a wide variety of veggies I think they need a vitamin to help fill in the gap.

Smarty pants vitamins

We received some free samples of Smarty Pants vitamins for kids and for adults. My girls and I gave them a try and here is what we like so far.

Taste

This is probably the most important factor when picking chewy vitamins for picky eaters. I am not thrilled these little drops are coated with sugar crystals. And I am just not a fan of anything gummy. I feel like it is so bad for kids teeth. But my kids are still too young to swallow anything in pill form. There is a total of 5g of sugar for 4 gummies- 1 gram comes from organic cane sugar and the other 4 grams from fruit. However, all that sweetness definitely balances out the sardine oil added for Omega 3s. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve wasted money trying to get my kids to take fish oil. I even tried the flavored kind and added into smoothies. They discovered it and dumped it every single time. The good news is they will eat these vitamins without an argument. That’s half the battle for me right there. Smarty Pants also makes a no added sugar, fiber gummy for kids which I think we will try.

Smarty Pants Vitamin Samples

Nutrition

The kid gummies have Vitamins C, D3, E, B6, B12 and folic acid. My kids eat a limited variety of veggies (called carrots) and are currently boycotting all meats. So I am sure they are lacking in the folic acid and B vitamins. I like that the ingredients are sourced from non-GMO places. I like there is no high fructose corn syrup, or artificial colors. I often fall in love with a label on a vitamin just to find out one of the main ingredients is high fructose corn syrup. These are also gluten/dairy/nut free.

Commitment and Compliance

I like that every bottle receives a certificate of compliance before it leaves the production line. You can track every bottles certification by using the batch code on the bottom of the bottle. Although the label lists eco friendly Omega 3’s I could not find any certification, or labeling on the packaging or website that certifies the source. I do believe in the power of fish oil! But I want to be sure it is sourced and filtered properly before ingesting.

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Price

I am a huge fan of their sponsorship of Vitamin Angels. Every time I buy a bottle of vitamins for my kids, another kid in another country gets a bottle of vitamins too. That’s a hard thing to pass up. Walgreen’s carries this line of vitamins for around $10 a bottle for a 30 day supply. I am sure you can find other deals online. Overall, Smarty Pants vitamins are affordable, kid friendly vitamins from a company with any eye on sustainability and commitment to helping kids (and adults) get the most healthy nutrition possible.

My kids enjoyed the samples and took them without rejection. I think these will be our favorite vitamins… for now. 😉

No financial compensation was given for this review. All opinions belong solely to The Whatever Mom. This post does not contain any affiliate links. 

The Whatever Mom is a twin mom learning to let go of perfection. She shares her real life struggles with parenting through her blog and contributes her time and talents as a writer to Hudson Valley Parent and Masshole Mommy. When she isn’t writing you can find her chugging coffee, folding laundry and not judging other parents. Don’t forget to subscribe via email so you never miss a blog post again! You can also find her work featured on Mamapedia and The Novice Mommy.

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That Time I Was a Perfect Parent

perfect parent

Hi! My name is Roxanne and I am a recovering Perfect Parent. [Welcome Roxanne!]

Before my twins were born and threw my life into an absolute whirl of chaos, I was the perfect parent. No really. I was. I didn’t need to experience the challenges of a high risk pregnancy, or to pull an all-nighter with screaming babies to figure it all out. I KNEW exactly what I needed to do to get the job done! Here’s why I thought that:

No Point of Reference

I had zero idea what it felt like to try to make a coherent decision armed with only 15 minutes of sleep. All the parenting choices I made for other people’s children were made after a full night’s sleep and a complete breakfast after a 30 minute hot shower. I was primed to make good decisions! After weeks of no sleep I can remember calling our doctor at 3:00 a.m. begging her to tell me what to do with a baby that just would not stop screaming. I had read all the books about how to soothe a baby and how to attend to their needs. None of them worked. I gave into panic and drove my newborn to the ER. It turned out nothing was wrong. I was so tired and worn out that the ER seemed like the best idea. Before having my own children I thought I knew exhaustion. I thought I knew everything about getting a baby to sleep because I had done it a thousand times. However, I never had to do it in the middle of the night with a teething babe.

The Struggles Are Real

I remember my niece was a super picky eater growing up. To the point we were all convinced she would never learn to eat a proper meal in her life if we didn’t constantly intervene. I scoured the Internet for recipes and sent printed copies to my brother and sister in-law insisting this would be the recipe that changed their lives! (Yes, I see now how obnoxious that was). What I didn’t know is having a picky eater is painful. I now have two very picky eaters who are healthy and doing well. But it is a grueling process making food you can only hope they will take even JUST ONE bite before rejecting it. I hear other parents and non-parents say all the time, “well when I was a kid we either ate or went without,” or “no child ever starved themselves, they’ll get the message.” Ehem. Mine haven’t. They have literally made themselves vomit because they’ve refused my offerings and I have refused to let them have an alternative. That is a very real struggle in my house.

Life Under a Microscope

When I was a perfect parent I had no idea how much input other people would like to have in my parenting choices. I had no idea how many times a day strangers approach parents with their two cents and values on child rearing. I had no idea I was even one of those people. Well, I never approached strangers. But I certainly had all the answers for my sister. I was the fun, cool aunt who never had to raise her voice. What a false sense of parenting that gave me. I remember telling my sister specifically, “it’s simple all you have to do is,” and before I could even finish she shot back with, “you don’t even have a clue what it’s like to be a parent. You’ve only ever read about it in books.” That stung my ego pretty deep. Now as a parent I completely understand her irritation with my know it all attempt to “fix” her problem.

I Knew Kids at Their Best

I worked with kids of all ages in a school setting. I knew how to keep kids busy. I knew how to make them laugh and I knew how to make the shy kid feel like part of the class. The time I spent in the classroom was approximately 4-6 hours per day. Just enough time to enjoy kids at their best. I spent years baby sitting and really enjoying a positive connection with my nieces and nephews. They stayed with me every summer for vacation. I had experienced it all right? Nope. I did not experience kids at their worst when they are melting down and fighting bedtime. I had never experienced the heartache a parent feels when their child is sick through the night. As a perfect parent I was able to just crawl into my bed at any hour of the night. I’d pull my covers up tight before I drifted off for that luxurious 8 hours of slumber. Perfect parents you enjoy that sleep while you can. Once you become one of us imperfect parents you will never sleep as luxuriously again.

What I Know Now

What I know now is that there is no such thing as a perfect parent. There is no such thing as a once size fits all approach to parenting. Every kid is different. Every family has its own set of struggles. What works for one family may not work for another. It’s safe to say, “I can relate to your struggles and if it helps here’s what worked for me.” But to offer adamant advice or suggestion on how a parent should approach their struggles is guaranteed to piss off any parent, and put them on the defense. That defensiveness is guaranteed to bruise someone’s ego or feelings for trying to help.

So to perfect parents everywhere, we respect you may know a lot about taking care of kids and understand how to have fun with them. But you are not the experts in our struggles. And to all of my fellow imperfect parents let’s cut the perfect ones some slack. We know they mean well just like we did when we had this parenting thing all figured out … you know before we became actual parents.

The Whatever Mom is a twin mom learning to let go of perfection. She shares her real life struggles with parenting through her blog and contributes her time and talents as a writer to Hudson Valley Parent and Masshole Mommy. When she isn’t writing you can find her chugging coffee, folding laundry and not judging other parents. Don’t forget to subscribe via email so you never miss a blog post again! You can also find her work featured on Mamapedia and The Novice Mommy. 

 

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