Baby Got Class with Labels for Education #Labels4Edu #cbias

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone.
#Labels4Edu #CollectiveBias

As I packed up the pool toys and folded up the nicely clean beach towels I had to sadly sigh in realization that school is back in session.  This year is different because now I have a big boy attending Pre-K.  Yes, I said it.  Pre-Kindergarten.  I don't think you understand how hard it was to type that out.  While my heart is breaking at the fact that my sweet boy is growing up, I am absolutely thrilled with his new teachers and classroom this year, as is he!  Cohen loves school these days.  He woke up on Saturday and even asked if he was going to school.  It truly comforts me to know that he loves going to school so much even if my heart continues to ache just a little bit with the reality that he is such a big boy now.  But being a teacher myself, there are some things that I really appreciate about his teachers this year and that is their open communication with us about things going on in his classroom.  On the first day of school we received a packet of information about curriculum and lesson plans, a calendar of events for the month and a few other pieces of important information about his school, including their participation in the Labels for Education program.  Basically by clipping labels on participating products I am helping Cohen's school earn points to purchase free items!  It seemed like such an easy way to help support his school even if I wasn't able to be there as often as I wished.  Plus it was a way to help out on my own time even with my current super busy schedule.

Every Sunday I meal prep food for dinners and lunches for our family for the week.  Basically I spend about an hour cutting, slicing, bagging and pouring things out for lunches or meals to make my life less hectic during the week.  My first priority is making a list and heading to the story to stock up on the items I need for my weekly preparations.  If you've been around long enough then you are familiar with the fact that I have a picky eater of a son.  The kid seems to be a creature of habit and only likes to eat the same things for lunch so I always include those on my list as well as a few new items to make sure I at least offer him the opportunity to try to something new.  So as I made my way through Target to grab my items for our weekly meals, I remembered how Cohen's school collects the labels as part of the Labels for Education program.  I was shocked to see how many of the items I normally purchase already have these labels on the back!  It kind of bummed me out to think of how many wasted labels I had thrown out prior to this shopping trip.  But I stocked up on our items and headed home only to raid the pantry and find several more items that had these labels on them.

We've started a keeping a little bag of all our labels and I decided we'd turn them in once a month so his teacher didn't have to deal with random labels here and there.  I also started keeping a list of the products that are part of the Labels for Education program to keep my mom and mother-in-law in the loop so they can save their labels for Cohen too.  I printed off several coupons from the Labels for Education to help me save big on the items my family uses and help us add to our labels bag.  When I was on the website I noticed the Labels for Education Sweepstakes in which 1000 schools can win $1,000!  I'm definitely crossing my fingers for Cohen's school to hopefully win one of the $1,000 prizes.

As much as I wish I could be more involved and hands-on with Cohen's school, my own job just doesn't allow the flexibility and time.  But now that I am aware that his school participates in the Labels for Education program I feel more connected knowing that I can help out by collecting these labels at home on my own time.  Every label counts towards points for his school and while I may not be able to attend every field trip or class party, at least I know I'm doing my part and giving back to his school that we both love so much!

I know buddy.  I am just as shocked that you are this big already.

Hey Mustang Sally! Let's Race Across America with Walgreen + Giveaway

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post.  All opinions are 100% my own.

If you live in Indianapolis then you are familiar with all things racing.  I have to be honest, I am completely fascinated with the sites and sounds of the race cars speeding down the track in the midst of a neck and neck race.  This fascination totally helps me understand Cohen's obsession with cars.  We seriously have over fifty Hot Wheel cars in every shape and size.  Each time we take a trip to the store, Cohen makes sure we take a quick pass through the car aisle to see if there are any new tracks that he wants for his birthday and Christmas.  This kid's list gets longer by the minute.

You thought I was joking?

One can only imagine the excitement Cohen had when I showed him real pictures and video of the ROUSH Stage 3 Mustang.  Recently Ryan Reed, a NASCAR Nationwide Series driver, stopped by Indianapolis to film a webisode for Race Around America.  Roush Fenway Racing is teaming up with Walgreens and their Balance Financial Prepaid Mastercard and basically building and test driving this amazing ROUSH Stage 3 Mustang around the country.  But they are using the votes from their fans to choose the upgrades for the car as well as help determine the race outcome across the country.   Together Cohen and I had a blast voting on this race and sharing our input on the different upgrades for the Mustang.  It was fun to check out the route options and vote on where we wanted Ryan and the team to take this car.  But it was even cooler to see Ryan with the ROUSH Mustang in the different fun landmarks around our own city of Indianapolis!  Cohen loves the sleek look of the Mustang and I may have imagined myself driving it down 465 with the wind blowing in my hair...

But as we were admiring the beautiful ROUSH Stage 3 Mustang I noticed more information about the Balance Financial Card from Walgreens.  Basically it's a prepaid card you can use anywhere that accepts Debit Mastercard but with all the the perks and rewards -- like a chance to win this super fancy ROUSH Stage 3 Mustang!  So I can stock up on school supplies for my classroom or grab Kleenex and snacks for Cohen and purchase my items with my Balance Financial Card which then automatically enters me in the sweepstakes once I've registered my card.  It's a win-win situation!  You know how I will be using my Balance Financial card this Back to School season.

Head on over to Race Around America to cast your vote on the upgrades for this fancy ROUSH Stage Mustang and help decide where it will travel to next!  Don't forget to register your Balance Financial Mastercard for your chance to win the Mustang...because you know I already have registered mine!

What? A girl can dream...

Be sure to catch Ryan Reed's webisode too!

Ready to grab some Back to School must haves at Walgreens?
One lucky winner will win a $25 Walgreens gift card and some autographed Roush Fenway racing merchandise!

Miss Lola is 9 Months Old

Oh my sweet little punkin!  How I can't get enough of her these days!  Going back to school has been really hard this year.  Both Lola and Cohen are growing up so fast it breaks my heart just thinking about it.  After each month that passes I am always thinking, "Woah! Already?"  But this is my favorite age and lately it is all coming back to me as to why I love it so much!  Plus one look at this face and you will understand why I have such a hard time leaving her.

Size: Lola girl is a little thing - just 17 lbs 8 oz.  She is 25% in her weight and height...but 90% for her head.  Big brains I will assume of course  She still fits in 6-9 month clothes with ease and she has a few 9 month outfits but she still has room to grow in them.  We are still sporting the size 3 diapers and Target you still have not failed me with your diapers!  

Eating:  Lola gets 4 bottles a day and will eat anywhere from 18-22 ounces a day.  Her morning bottle is her favorite and I love laying her in the Boppy pillow and feeding herself.  I'm basically done pumping and will move to formula within the next few weeks.  My friend asked if I was sad about it and really I'm not sad to stop pumping but I will be sad when I start paying $25 a week for formula.  Wah.

This kid loves her food!  She is now eating more table foods and it is so fun to try new ones out with her.  I love to cut up string cheese, avocados, bananas or steam corn and peas and put them on her tray.  She will go to town while I cook dinner.  Then I will giver her a bit of chunkier pureed food for a little bit more.  The past few nights she had quinoa, zucchini and spinach and girl loved it up!  The diaper the next day however...

Sleeping:  The kid is ready to zonk at 7 if not earlier.  She isn't napping as long at her babysitter's but I'm hoping that will change once she gets used to it more.  Sweet girl is battling a little cold as well as some teething so last week was a bit rough.  But she still sleeps 7 to 7:30, if not longer!

Milestones:  This has been a huge month for my baby girl!  She is officially crawling and into EVERYTHING.  I'm constantly closing doors after people, picking things up off the floor and saying, "No no Lola!"  She can also go from belly to sitting and has been trying to pull herself up on things.  Kurtis walked into her room last weekend and she was just standing up in her crib happy to see her dad!  Shortly after the crib was lowered all the way down.  Lola loves to dance to music and will clap along with people.  She also loves to wave and when you tell her no, she shakes her head letting you know she heard you.

Likes:  Lola loves bath time!  I have put away the baby tub and let her sit in the tub like a big girl.  She gets so mad when I take her out and has this little fake cry she lets out to share her frustrations.  Apparently she likes popsicles too as I caught her brother sharing one with her the other day.  He looked at me said, "What mom? She likes it."  Lola also loves her swing on the swing set in the backyard.  She looks so cute swinging and smiling away.

Dislikes:  Don't walk into a room and ignore this kid that's for sure!  It's kind of funny because Kurtis and I will walk in and if she sees us she will put her arms up for us.  We have started not making eye contact with her or then you will be sucked into picking her up.  

She also hates, I mean HATES getting her face or nose wiped.  Bring on the tears whenever I wash her face or wipe the running snot off her nose.  

It's crazy for me to think that in three short months we will be celebrating this little punkin's first birthday!  What's even crazier is to think that her brother is turning 4 in two months...but I'll save those tears for another post.

Sweet Lola girl how we love you so much!  Thank you for being such a sweet and precious little baby who puts up with anything -- including your rough big brother.  Now stay little and sweet forever and don't ever turn into a diva.

Photos courtesy of ChixpixPhotography -- local Indianapolis peeps check her out!

Wise Words of Lola: Keep Baby Happy with Parent's Choice Diapers

Monday, August 18, 2014

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone.  #BabyDiapersSavings #CollectiveBias

This past month has been a big one for me!  I turned nine months old, started eating some of the same foods as my brother and figured out that I can get to places much faster by crawling.  While I really don't mean to, I think I constantly keep my mom and dad on their toes with my moving.  Everything is just so interesting and fun to explore!  I heard my mom say the other day that with all my moving she is tired of my diapers leaking or not meeting my absorbency needs.  She really wants to find diapers that have great absorbency and are just as great as the national brand of diapers but at an affordable cost.  I'll be honest, I just want a diaper that will keep up with me and my new skills.

My new favorite area in the house is the dog bowl.  I mean that water is just so much fun!  But I guess I'm not supposed to put the chewy pieces in my mouth, so Mom said we had to go to Walmart to get a few things to keep me from getting in Brady's food bowls.  While we were there we made a pit stop in the baby aisle to grab some diapers for the week.  I'm not sure how Mom can decide with all of the different types of diapers to choose from there!  However, she had a coupon for Parent's Choice diapers so she grabbed a couple of packs.  She said it was a great deal with the already low prices plus the coupon on top of it and was able to grab two packs for the price that it would cost for just one pack of the national brands. Let's be honest - I will be the one who can truly put these diapers to the test!

When we got home, Mom changed my diaper into the Parent's Choice diaper, put up the new baby gates and let me go explore.  I got to do it all -- crawl, jump, climb, sit.  Boy I sure have fun!  We even got to spend the warm summer evening playing in the grass in nothing but my leg warmers and Parent's Choice diaper.  But I noticed my diaper stayed put even with all of my moving and grooving around. These Parent's Choice diapers have flexible sides that move and stretch with me as I go.  Mom also knew right away when it was time to change my diaper because of the wetness indicator stripe that's on the front of the diaper.  I liked that because nothing is worse than a saggy diaper!

Later that evening I overheard Mom telling my friend's mom what a great quality and price these Parent's Choice diapers are for our family.  I think I have to agree with her.  I mean if I can stay comfy and Mom can save some money (an average of $240 a year!) then Parent's Choice diapers are a great fit for us.

Now let's see if I can find that dog bowl...

Love,  Lola

Wordless Wednesday: Rub a Dub Dub

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

As we set out our clothes for the new week and prepared for our first day at school and daycare, Cohen decided it would be fun to take a bath with Sissy and share his toys with her.  (If you have a threenager you know that one is a big lie.)  However, it was the first time for Lola in the big tub so I thought I'd kill two birds with one stone and bathe them both at the same time. 

It turned out to be a super sweet moment for these two.  You can tell how much Lola loves everything her brother does...even if he does pour three full cups of water over her head.

Happy Wednesday!

Laundry Detergent Pure Enough to Drink?

Awhile back I had shared my review for Vaska laundry detergent tablets.  With a household full of little ones and sensitive skin, a hypoallergenic detergent is a must!  So when I heard that Vaska came out with a laundry detergent for babies I was super excited!  I'm extra careful with the soaps that I use when washing Lola's clothes, blankets and even burpie rags.  Vaska Baby is scent free with simple ingredients such as lavender extract and filtered water.  It is nice to look at a label and not see any of the scary chemicals like phosphates or chlorine.  

Another great feature of Vaska Baby is the fact that it is 100% biodegradable and hypoallergenic yet are tough on stains.  Let's get real -- we know how babies can stain a onesie something fierce.  Miss Lola had the world's worst blowout during her nap last week and covered her precious little blanket in what we refer to at school as "Code Brown."  Touching it as little as possible, I threw it into the washer on hot with a Vaska Baby tablet.  After one load her blanket no longer reeked of the "code brown" and was soft and stain free, ready for a new night in her crib.

Vaska Baby contains no enzymes, has no chemical residue and is not tested on animals (yeah!).  Remember how sensitive your sweet baby's skin is so be sure to protect it without all of those scary chemicals.  Vaska Baby laundry detergent is one of the most effective organic detergents out there, but without the yucky harmful  chemicals that are harsh to your skin, clothes and most importantly the environment.

Fore more information, be sure to check Vaska's website!

Buy It!
Vaska can be purchased at select Babies R Us stores and Costco.  Check out the store locator to find a retailer near you.

Disclaimer:  I was provided a product sample from Vaska for my review.  All opinions are 100% my own.

Stay Organized this School Year with Kidecals Personalized Labels +Giveaway

Monday, August 11, 2014

While last week was my first week back to school, this is the official first week back to the daily grind for both Cohen and Lola.  Cohen is officially in Pre-K (I know, I'm holding back to the tears) while Lola is starting her first real week with the babysitter.  I have been really lucky to keep her home until she was almost 9 months old but I know the social aspect of it will be great for her.  The girl loves to make friends.  However, since she is now going to a babysitter she needs a whole set of things to take with her.  So I've been spending the last few weeks gathering the things she will need.  I'll be honest, babies need a lot of stuff.  And we all know that the more stuff there is the better chance it has to get lost or misplaced.  Since I already went through this once with Cohen, I got smart and decided to get myself organized by ordering Lola her own set of personalized labels from Kidecals.  I use these labels on everything!

From bottles:

To pacifiers:

And even on her sweet little backpack:

Kidecals are the perfect labels to help keep you organized and avoid the annoyance of losing your kiddo's things at school or daycare.   These labels are waterproof which means they will stay on in the washer and dishwasher.  In past two years that I have used Kidecals I have had maybe 2 labels fall off of Cohen's things -- these things won't budge!  

I was super excited to pick out Lola's new labels from Kidecals.  It must be the teacher in me that enjoys organizing and getting cute materials to help me stay organized.  Kidecals offers a huge variety of colors, patterns and themes so you will definitely be able to find one to fit your individual kid.  When I ordered my first set for Cohen I got him adorable little fire trucks.  I decided to go basic yet colorful with these cute chevron stripes for Miss Lola.  I love the two different sizes that Kidecals labels offer with their mega set.  The bigger ones are perfect for things like her bag and lunch box while the smaller ones fit perfectly on her blankets and extra sets of clothes.

Be sure you add Kidecals to your Back to School list this year!  Stay organized and ensure your kids won't lose their cool school gear with these fabulous personalized labels.

Win It!
One lucky winner will win a mega set of Kidecals labels of their chocie ($28 value).  Enter the Rafflecopter below.

Disclosure:  I was provided a product sample for my review.  All opinions are 100% my own.

Wordless Wednesday: Family Night Lights

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

I'm back to the daily grind my friends hence my last of existence on here lately.  Let me get back into the groove and then I promise to be more relevant.  

Last week Cohen and I went for a bike ride and ended up finding a little path that led to the Catholic school that backs up to our subdivision.  We just happened to fall upon the junior high's football practice and of course Cohen ate it up.  Now it is our new evening tradition to take a walk over there and sit in the grass, playing with the sticks and watching the football guys practice.  It's these little moments that remind me how much more time I wish I had to spend with my family.  I hope these are the nights Cohen will reminisce about when he gets older.  

Send a Card and Celebrate in a BIG Way with Hallmark Kids Poster Cards

Monday, August 4, 2014

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 and its advertiser.#kidscards #CollectiveBias

Today is the first day of school for my students.  As a teacher it is a bittersweet time for me because I have to leave my own children and go back to work.  However it also an exciting moment because I get to meet the new twenty-five faces that I will spend enriching and teaching for the next 181 days of school.  I can only imagine the anxiety that back to school creates for children - especially if you are starting a new school.  Recently one of Cohen's friends from school moved to a new city.  This year is a big year for him because not only did his family move but he is also starting Kindergarten!  Since his birthday is coming up at the end of then month,  Cohen and I decided that we would send a card and a fun package to get him excited and feeling more confident about starting a new school as well as let him know how much we miss him here in Indianapolis.

I had to grab a few things for my classroom so we headed to Walmart to grab the items on my list as well as get a head start on our care package.  Cohen is constantly talking about his little buddy so I knew he would love to be able to choose the perfect card to send to him.  The choices seemed endless and Hallmark even has a specific section just for kids!

One card that really stuck out was the Batman card.  As soon as Cohen picked it up he realized that not only was it a card with his favorite super hero on it but it also turned into a poster!  This was the perfect choice for his friend's birthday.

This Hallmark Kids Poster Card was really neat and different from the other cards. They go from a big card to a poster just like that!

What makes purchasing this card even better is the Hallmark Card Reward Program.  When I purchase five Hallmark cards at Walmart (including the Hallmark Kids Poster Card), you earn a free card!  So now I'm just four cards away from a free one.  Gosh I love a great deal.

  After helping Cohen make his decision, we headed home to put our little package together for his buddy  We decided to include a fun coloring book with crayons, a notebook and pictures of Cohen to help the transition back to school seem a bit easier.  The Hallmark Kids Poster Card made the package because it was it was that extra special touch to let his friend know we were thinking about him on his birthday as well on his big day at his new school.

Now it's time for me to start prepping for my first day back at school.  
Wish me luck!

Make sure you check out Connections from Hallmark to sign up for Hallmark Rewards, and to see great content from other bloggers. 
Join in the #kidscards conversation on Twitter!