Monday, August 19, 2019

Our Favorite Kids' Brands

When I was a new Mom, I knew NADA about shopping for kids' clothing. It's definitely been something I have learned along the way, and if you know me IRL, you know that I love the thrill of the hunt. I thought I would compile a few of our favorite brands to share with our new parent friends or anyone looking for some kid-clothing-inspo:

Hanna Andersson: Often referred to as "Happy Hannas," the Hanna Andersson jammies are THE BEST. The quality is unmatched and the signature stripes are so classic and easy to coordinate for sibling sets. I buy gender-neutral so they can be passed down and after two kids, all of our Hanna Jams are still going strong and look good-as-new. The cotton is so soft and they are extra comfy. They have frequent sales and can be found on Zulily from time to time, too.

 Itty Bitty Char Char sleeping in his Hanna jams

Newborn Maddie in her Happy Hannas that were once Charlie's

The Beaufort Bonnet Co: OK, this one is a major splurge. Truthfully, I only buy TBBC during their twice yearly (Nov & May) "Pink Party" Sale. Their items are simply stunning and the pima cotton is so soft. I love the saying "Let them be little" and the sweet, timeless bubbles, john-johns, dresses, and bonnets that TBBC makes are just the most precious children's things ever. Maddie loves her play dresses from TBBC and I love how sweet they look on her.

 Maddie's fav TBBC 'quack quack' dress

When given a choice, she always picks her special 'ducky' dress

Lands' End: Growing up, my Mom always got our winter coats at Lands' End and now I know why. The quality is great and their stuff lasts and lasts through multiple kiddos. I've found some great jackets, rash guards, and basics on their website. They run amazing sales, too, if you hit the right timing. I ordered Charlie's lunch box from Lands' End for preschool and was super impressed with the quality.

Wal-Mart: Real Talk - I am a mama who loves Wal-Mart. In the town where I went to college, Wal-Mart was basically our only option for......anything. Haha. Some of my kids favorite everyday things have come from Wal-Mart. The Wonder Nation and Garanimals brands have great basics at crazy low prices. Before I had kids, I swore I would never get the tacky character stuff. Well, when you see the joy on your kid's face when he gets a Paw Patrol pajama set? Game over. The cheesy WalMart character jammies will run you about $7 bucks a pair and the joy they bring is priceless. They hold up surprisingly well, too, for seven bucks.

Carter's: Carter's has some of the cutest little designs for kids. Their fleece zip-up (a zipper is key for the middle-of-the-night diaper changes) sleepers are awesome and were truly staples during each of my kids' first years of life. They also make super cute everyday outfits that are actually so fun I wish they came in adult sizes!

The Carter's fleece sleepers are beyond cozy! 

Baby Maddie in a Carter's sleeper- simply delish!

Cat & Jack: The Cat & Jack line at Target is absolutely adorable. I love their swim suits and rash guards, especially, and they have some adorable outfits that hold up really well after several washes. Two of my closest girlfriends swear their boys' pants hold up SO much better than others so I recently ordered some for the Fall that I can't wait to see on Charlie!

This Cat & Jack jacket is a perfect color for spotting my boy on the playground

Crocs: My kids looooove their Crocs shoes and I love that they can get them on and off easily and by themselves. My sweet girlfriend passed down a pair of Crocs to baby Charlie when he was newly walking, and ever since we have been fans. They are easy to clean, super versatile, and my kids both think they are super comfy. The ankle strap helps keep them in place which is great for little feet new to walking. Maddie loves her Frozen/Elsa Crocs so much.

These two LOVE their Crocs

iPlay: This is a brand I often get on Amazon but I think several large chains carry iPlay, too. Their reusable swim diapers that double as bathing suit bottoms are SO cute while also being environmentally friendly. I also love their swim tees and hats- the sun protection they offer seems great and everything we have from this brand has held up great through multiple swims and washes. Their price point is also excellent!

An iPlay swim diaper with a Carter's rashguard + hat = perfect beach attire

Consignment: I LOVE a good deal, especially on children's clothing. They grow so fast so it seems silly to overspend on something that may only be worn a handful of times. My favorite 'local' sale is Just Between Friends which is held all over the country seasonally (Insider tip: the last day of each sale weekend is "half off" day- I have gotten gorgeous outfits for under a dollar. Unreal!). One Upon a Child is also an awesome consignment chain with stores all over - they have great deals on some awesome brands, too! I have found some of our very favorite items at consignment sales/shops at incredible prices.

This sweet little dress was 50 cents at a consignment sale- amazing!

What brands do y'all love for the kiddos in your lives?? I'd love to hear where you find some of your favorite kids' clothing!

Happy Monday, friends!

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Meal Planning

This week, I am being a little more casual with our meal planning. Instead of making a schedule, I made a list of meals that I had purchased ingredients for and each day we can pick what we are in the mood for. On the "menu" this week is:

-Grilled chicken caesar salads (We had this as Sunday supper)

-Grilled vegetables served over a bed of quinoa (I spray a very thin layer of EVOO over a sheet pan of mixed veggies and cook on the top rack at a very high heat- the more veggies, the better!)

-Steak on the grill with a baked potato (Steak gets marinated in soy sauce all day before Tim throws it on the grill) - family members who don't eat beef can have grilled chicken, instead  :)

-Chicken and Veggie quesadillas- a great way to use up leftover chicken and veggies

-Vegetable and Pasta toss - trying out this recipe that looked yummy

-Burgers and hot dogs on the grill served with tater tots (an easy fan favorite). The kiddos like Nathan's All Natural hot dogs- 'No Nitrates' is something we personally look for when purchasing. (If anyone has a favorite, yummy, more "natural" alternative, please let me know, too!)

I wrote out the "options" at the top of our family calendar in the kitchen

These are the hot dogs we have been buying this summer...they're good!

We have also been making smoothies a lot lately...there is just something so delish about a nice, cold smoothie on a hot summer day. Our current favorite smoothie combo is:

-Large cup + of frozen strawberries
-Large cup + of mixed frozen berries/other fruits
-Half a block of frozen spinach (you won't even taste it!)
-Small tub of strawberry yogurt (we like Stoneyfield)
-A generous splash of lowfat milk

All of these go in a blender-- no ice! The frozen fruit serves the same purpose. Add milk to gain the desired consistency you like. This is a yummy treat, especially as a mid/late afternoon snack to hold you over 'til dinner.

 In go the berries and the spinach... the strawberry yogurt

 Add milk and BLEND

The finished product is, as Maddie says, "ah-licious!"

Have a great week, friends! XO

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Weekend Recap

The theme of this summer really has been 'work hard-play hard' for us this year. We have several D.I.Y. projects around the house that we've tackled, and most busy summer days end with a family swim at the pool.

This weekend we sealed the driveway, which was time-consuming but felt so good to get DONE. Our driveway really needed it. We had a huge tree near the driveway that had been tearing it up, so we had that removed a couple of years ago. Unfortunately it left two huge cracks, so we let those settle a bit but now it was time to do some work on it. On Saturday, we put crack filler into the cracks and weeded around the edges of the driveway.

The "before" of our driveway... yikes! This project was long overdue

These two cuties helped on a Home Depot trip for supplies!

We filled the cracks and gave them a good 24 hrs to dry before sealing

After the driveway prep, we packed up the troops and headed to the pool. Nothing beats a family swim on a hot summer day and it always feels amazing to cool off and let the kiddos go down the slide 300 times.

This sweet girl was so happy she got to swim

On Sunday morning we finished the driveway; we used the leaf blower to clear any debris off the driveway then we sealed it. I did the edges with a paint brush, then Tim spread the sealer on the rest of the driveway. The biggest challenge of this project was keeping the kids on the grass and away from the driveway. Overall, it turned out well and it feels good to have this one checked off the list.

 Mama did the edges with a paintbrush

 Project Manager Charlie was supervising the project...

Daddy spreading the seal - a nice, consistent layer

 Ta Da! Looks SO much better!

The finished product

We were done with the driveway by noon, so the boys headed to a 1:00pm Phillies game against the Braves. If you know anything about Tim, it is that he LOVES sharing his passion for sports with his sports-loving son. This is totally their thing and they always have a blast on their 'Boys Trips'. It was even a promo day, so Charlie got a Bryce Harper jersey. They had great seats, brought tons of water since it was a scorcher, and had a blast! The icing on the cake was a Phillies win!

Charlie watching some pitchers warming up

 These two love their special 'guy time' together

Big kid Charlie staying hydrated with his water

A true fan

Mommy and Maddie stayed home so Maddie could nap, then the girls headed on a grocery run. Maddie was an excellent helper and specifically wanted every pink and purple bottle of vitamins because, hello, pretty colors!!!

Pink, purple, pink, purple. Only pretty colors allowed in her cart! (Plus some Annie's Bunnies...hehe)

This girl loves her produce! Always her favorite section of the store

Now that the week has started, Charlie has begun a new session of swimming lessons. These will be every day for the next two weeks. He was timid at first, but after ten minutes joined the fun. Water safety is a MAJOR priority, so we always make time for swimming lessons. Maddie was too young to join this group, so we are hoping to find a group for her over the winter.

Charlie at swimming lessons - so focused!

Hope everyone is having a great week so far ~ Sending love to our friends and fam near and far! XO

Friday, July 26, 2019

Our Week in Pictures

On Monday, both kiddos had dental cleanings. They have both been going to the dentist since they were tiny babies (they both had a mouthful of teeth very early on!) and love it. Miss Jessie, the dental hygienist, is so sweet and so good with them. It is such a relief they both love going to dental visits. They were so good and earned lots of treats from the treasure chest.

Cool sunglasses, too!? The dentist is awesome!

Miss Maddie got a cleaning, too. She is a pro!

 "OK I'm done. Where's the treasure chest?"

Charlie has been a diligent tooth brusher....

...and it paid off! GREAT visit! Thanks, Miss Jessie! See you in 6 months!

The pool we go to has a huge area of land that has a barn with small farm animals. You know our little animal lovers are OBSESSED. If they have good behavior at the pool (good listening, no running, no splashing, etc.) they can visit the animals afterwards on the way to the car. This is a great incentive for good behavior and a visit to their animal friends always results in lots of smiles.

 "Look! He came to say hi to me!"

 This sweet little goat is adorable

 "Him my friend!!!" 

Maddie saying 'hi' to her animal buds

Another favorite summer activity is the water table- we never tire of this one! Playing with some cold water is always nice on a hot day and the kids love to pour water into all of the things. This water table has been one of our best toy investments- they absolutely love it! 

 This day was super hot so we kept the table in the shade

 BFF playing so nicely together 

 Two busy bees hard at work

 You pour, I pour, You pour, I pour...

And......More pool fun!!! The pool has been our favorite place to hang out on hot summer days. The kiddos LOVE to swim. Charlie has swimming lessons every day for the next two weeks - Yay for our two (adorable) super swimmers! 

 Sweet Madeline loves the water... and chatting with her lifeguard friends 

 Maddie goes down the frog slide repeatedly...she is so tiny she flies down it!

 Charlie's turn!!! Everyone loves the slide

 This girl is truly living her best life with all of the pool days this summer

Future Lifeguards: Super Swimmer Charlie & Super Swimmer Maddie...Ready for action! 

No week is complete without a group grocery run. I have two of the very best helpers who help me get everything we need for the week (and maybe a few extras....hehe). They both like their own cart nowadays. The Snee kids have made lots of friends at our local Giant...they are so kid-friendly there which makes grocery shopping actually pleasant!

 Two super shoppers! They fill their carts with lots of goodies.

 When we do an 8:00am grocery trip - some of us opt to wear jammies :) 

 "Look at my bracelet!" A fashionista who grocery shops :)

 "Let's go, Ma!"

 While Mama checks out, the littles hang out at the coloring table 

A grocery store masterpiece- 'Marty' the friendly Giant robot