Back-To-School With The Disney Store

*Sponsored Post

I’ll admit that I’m that mom rejoicing for back-to-school. You should have seen me kick my heels and dance around the store once they brought out the school supplies! My kids love school and get super bored during the summer, even when I’m keeping them busy. Last year we purchased the best backpacks from The Disney Store, so we knew that’s where we’d like to get this year’s as well. We are a huge Disney family and love to watch all the classics over and over again. The toddler points out Mickey everywhere we go! So it was only fitting that we love visiting The Disney Store as well!

A huge thank you to The Disney Store for sending my kids their backpacks, lunchboxes, and water bottles for this school year! <3

In the video below, you’ll see the complete joy that my kids had as they opened their new backpacks and lunchboxes! We were all getting a little anxious for getting ready for back-to-school, but once we received their backpacks, we all got a little excited and less nervous! They knew they were coming and they were super excited when the box came! (I was happy because they stopped asking me to check the tracking number!) They couldn’t wait for me to even do the dishes, so there’s dirty dishes in the background and we’re sitting on the kitchen floor. Real life.

These backpacks and lunchboxes are perfect for kids and we already know how well they hold up! If a backpack can survive being dragged on the sidewalk everyday after preschool, it can handle just about anything! 😉 Aubrey chose the Rapunzel collection and Baileigh chose the Minnie Mouse collection. I wasn’t surprised with either of their choices, to be honest. The colors are so vibrant in both of these collections- they just make you happy when you look at them!

We love that the lunchboxes are big enough to hold their lunches and morning snack but not so big that it would be difficult for a kindergartner to carry. The girls got such a hoot out of the “purse straps” on them and love to wear their lunchboxes like a purse on their way to the lunchroom. The straps can also come un-clipped in case that’s not a feature your child adores like mine.

If you’re still searching for the very best backpack for your little ones to take back-to-school, daycare, or overnight trips to grandma’s- look no further than The Disney Store. Spider-Man, Frozen, Cars 3, Avengers, Ariel, Star Wars, Mickey- these are just a few options! With so many collections, there’s something for everyone!

And can we just talk about the fact that this kid just entered First Grade?! Seriously? Where does the time go?!

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Getting Pregnant with Growing Generations

Sponsored Post

If you’re looking to grow your family but you’re having some medical difficulties, look no farther than Growing Generations. Infertility and the waiting/trying to get pregnant can be such a difficult time for you and your partner. Emotions are strong, patience is thin and all you want is a baby. Using an egg donation to have a baby is sometimes a simpler choice for your body when looking at options like using in-vitro fertilization. Growing Generations makes the process easy for your family and allows you to be picky on the characteristics your donor has. For instance, you can choose the blood type, hair color, eye color, and ethnicity. You’ll also get to see their health history along with their family medical history- because that’s important! Once the egg is retrieved, fertilized, and placed into your uterus, you can continue the pregnancy as normal. Getting pregnant doesn’t need to be difficult for your family with the help of Growing Generations. Take a look at the infographic below and don’t hesitate to contact Growing Generations with any questions! <3

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Newlie Co. Lily Tote Diaper Bag Review

*Please note: I did receive the diaper bag and stroller straps for the purpose of this review.
No other compensation was made. All opinions are 100% my own.* 
Newlie Co. kindly sent me the Lily Tote diaper bag in the Sandalwood color for the purpose of this review. This diaper bag is not only adorable but super functional whether you have a newborn, toddler, or lots of kids! It’s made with high quality faux leather and makes me feel so stylish when I carry it! It’s super roomy on the inside and I can easily pack everything I need for the day out with the kids. It’s a very cloth diaper friendly diaper bag- that’s how much it can pack!!! There are 6 inside pockets so it’s easy to stay organized and find anything in a pinch! Because let’s be honest, most things done with kids is not slow, unless they’re looking for their shoes or cleaning their room.

This diaper bag has zipper pockets on both the front and back- they’re the perfect size for your wallet, keys, cell phone, and mommy essentials! I absolutely love that the bottle pockets are on the inside of the bag because it gives it more of a “purse” look than a “diaper bag” look. The Lily Tote also includes a detachable messenger strap so you can wear it over your shoulder cross-body. This is totally one of those bags that can be doubled as a diaper bag and a purse, or can be used as a purse after you’re done with the diaper days. I love nothing more than a bag that can be used for years!

Being a mom, doesn’t mean you need a pastel diaper bag with Winnie the Pooh on it. You can be both a mom and a fashionable you! When I carry this bag, it’s not only super functional, but it boosts my confidence! I feel like I look more put together, even if I’m just wearing leggings! 😉

Newlie Co. also sent me their stroller straps, which are sold separately. They are made of nylon webbing and faux black leather. These stroller straps are made for their bags, so they hold the bag well. But beware- don’t overload the diaper bag or your stroller may tip over if there’s not a baby in the seat to counter-weigh it! I’ve learned this from experience…. 😉 Overall, I really liked using their stroller straps because my usual ones just didn’t work right with the Newlie Co. diaper bag. While I don’t think stroller straps are a “must have,” I highly recommend them since they make life at least ten times easier when strolling. *photos to come of stroller straps*

 

 

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The Parenting Struggle

There are days that parenting is just not fun. There’s not enough coffee to get you through the day. There’s too many hours until bedtime. There are too many kids running around your house and creating chaos. This is the parenting struggle. This is life. This is the unspoken reality for many of us. Maybe we just wake up on the wrong side of the bed. Maybe we had a horrible night’s sleep. (Which is usually the case if you have kids, let’s be honest here.) Maybe we’re in a slump from the day-to-day lifestyle of forgetting who we are as ourselves and not being just “Mom” or “Dad.”

I will be the first to admit that sometimes I forget who I am as Amanda. I know (or at least, for the most part) who I am as Mom. I know what I want my kids to see and remember me as when they look back years from now at their childhood. I know how I want to look to other parents during playdates or online mom groups. But really, I don’t know who I want to be as just me. Not the mom to three kids, or the stay-at-home wife.

 

How do I fix this? The answer is simple, although the action of doing so may not be. Self-care. I know who I am as a mom because that’s what my mind is fixated on 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. I know who I am as a wife, because again, I’m acting as a wife all day, every day. Taking some time for yourself can be difficult- especially with little ones. I’ve learned that I need 15 minutes every day to make a plan for myself. This plan can be professionally, religiously, or just a plan of attack for the day. I’ve also found that trying to shower every day can totally lift my mood, make me feel better about myself, and give me some additional time away from the chaos that I call my home.

 

Take some time for yourself. Find 15-20 minutes where you can just be you. Take a shower during naptime, after bedtime, or while your partner is home to keep the kids out of the bathroom. Watch a show on Netflix before you go to bed. Get up a few minutes early to drink a cup of coffee or tea while it’s still hot. Lock yourself in the bathroom to pee by yourself, although be prepared for whatever mess may come with it when you get out. 😉

 

Remember who you are and just…. Be you.

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Packing Your Hospital Bag- A Little Help from Push Pack

Packing your hospital bag can be really difficult. After all, pregnancy brain is totally real and you don’t want to forget a thing when you’ll be away from home for a few days. There are so many other important things to do and think about before baby’s big arrival. When packing your bags, Push Pack has you covered!

 

Push Pack is a pre-packed essentials bag perfectly created for your maternity stay when giving birth to your new baby. The Push Pack bag includes shampoo, conditioner, body wash, facial soap, lotion, make-up remover wipe, nipple cream, toothbrush & toothpaste, lip balm, deodorant wipes, razor & shave cream, comb & hair band, baby bottom balm, nail file, breast pads, maxi pads, disposable underwear, note pad, lollypops, snacks, mints, thank you cards & pen, and a “sticky-belly” baby milestone sticker. You can choose between three color bags: pink, blue, or green.

My Experience:

I had a Push Pack when I delivered Jackson and it made packing my bag SO easy! I was afraid of going into labor and then forgetting something important like my toothbrush or deodorant. I was able to pack my bag and the baby’s bag to leave by the door with nothing else to pack! When I went to the hospital, it was so handy to have! I remember using the lip balm in between contractions and sneaking a lollipop or mints in between my nurse coming in! 😉 In my opinion, it’s a must-have for your hospital bag and would make a fantastic baby shower gift!

 

Want a Push Pack for yourself or a friend? Use the code FLUFFBUM for 10% and enter in the giveaway below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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The Truth about Motherhood

 

When you become pregnant, the “truth” about motherhood is almost hidden from you. Been there, done that moms don’t want to scare you with what is about to come.

You’ll never get to pee alone. I don’t care if your child is 5 days old or 5 years old. Chances are, you’ll never use the bathroom alone again. And if you try to, that’s when they’ll start getting into stuff (especially during the toddler phase) and you’ll regret not taking them with you in the first place.

You’ll survive on coffee. And wine. There are nights that you can count the hours of sleep you got on one hand. You’ll be exhausted. Coffee will be your best friend. And then when you’ve had a rough day- wine will be necessary to make it to bedtime. Might as well buy stock on both after you get that positive pregnancy test! 😉

Hello internet friends. Hanging out with friends with kids can be super hard. I love my Target dates and going to ChickFilA with other moms, but in all honesty, I get the most interaction from my internet friends. These moms are up breastfeeding when I am, they’re pulling out their hair midday just like me, and they crave adult interaction as much as I do. Sometimes the best mom friends you’ll have, are friends you’ve never actually met in person.

You’ll catch vomit in your hands, at least once. This is something that you never imagine will actually happen…. But it will. I can almost guarantee it! And if it isn’t your hands catching the vomit, it’ll be your hair. Your shirt. Your mouth. Yep- the real truth.

Prepare for the newborn pee/poop. On you. If you have a baby boy, you probably know this is coming. But if you’re having a girl- you can get peed or pooped on too! Just a word of advice: be quick. And if you plan on changing them in your bed at night, have towels nearby to throw over the mess so you can go back to sleep. Change those sheets in the morning! 😉

Babies get older…. And they turn into kids. I mean, I know we all know this will eventually happen. But I know I wasn’t really prepared for this. Give me a newborn or a toddler and I’ll rock that kind of motherhood! Give me a school-age kid with homework and preteen emotions at 6 years old- SEND HELP. Kids do not get easier as they get older. They get more independent, sure. But easier, oh heck no.

 

Motherhood is not for the weak. But let’s be honest- women are pretty badass so we get through it just fine. With wine. And cookie dough. What’s a “truth” about motherhood that comes to your mind?

 

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The Trick to Getting a Baby to Sleep Through the Night – The DockATot

The DockATot may have saved me. You see, like so many sleep deprived parents, I was desperate for a full night’s sleep. I wanted to sleep and stay asleep for any amount of time longer than 3 hours. Jackson just did not like to sleep. Nurse? He liked that. He would have nights where he was waking up every two hours, like a newborn, at 15 months old. To say I was tired…. well, that felt like an understatement. I was exhausted.

Enter in the DockATot. If you’re unfamiliar with the DockATot- it’s a breathable, multi-functional pillow for babies and toddlers. It comes in two sizes: The Deluxe is for babies 0-9 months and Grand is for babies and toddlers over 9 months old. It was designed to mimic the womb and offer a snuggly safe place for babies to sleep. While most families use it while traveling or for safe co-sleeping, it can also be used when transitioning a child into their own bed. The air-permeable sides offer security for both parents and child as they can act as a bed rail.

 

I had seen people rave over them. This huge pillow for babies and toddlers…. It was supposed to help him sleep through the night. But the cost?! Over $200 for a pregnancy look-a-like pillow for a toddler. Ugh. I needed sleep. I needed him to sleep. So I bit the bullet. I contacted DockATot and they sent me a coupon code to use to help me purchase the DockATot Grand- the DockATot for infants and toddlers over 9 months old. Guess what happened next…..

Ladies and gentleman…. Jackson sleeps. He sleeps 12 hours every night. Straight through. I won’t pretend that it happened the exact day that we got the DockATot. Unfortunately, I learned just how easy it is to clean the first night we had it thanks to some toddler vomit. But after about a month of use, Jackson started sleeping through the night in his bed. We even traveled with it and the little boy that refuses to sleep away from home, slept pretty darn good!

We have “broken” the rule and allow it in his crib. This is NOT recommended by the company as it is against “safe-sleep” practices. But my husband and I felt comfortable since Jackson has the capability to move his head or get unstuck if necessary. He’s old enough for a pillow in his crib at 17 months old anyways. The DockATot has given him a sense of comfort and security and will stay with him as we transition to a toddler bed, sometime this year.

I can not say enough good things about the DockATot. It is super easy to clean, super comfortable- of course I laid on it! I love how easily it travels and can’t wait to take it camping with us! (If you didn’t know- Jackson was not a fan of the pack n play, therefore we had to take the crib mattress with us when we went camping 4 times last summer! Crib mattresses aren’t so easy to just take with you….)

While the DockATot may not be the exact answer to getting your baby to sleep through the night, it certainly helped us. In all honesty, Jackson may not have been ready to sleep through the night. Maybe he physically did need to nurse and cuddle mama all night- even though he REFUSED to cosleep- little booger. But I’ll continue to praise the DockATot for getting me some sleep. 😉

 

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Pink Lemonade Shop’s Love the SKIN You’re In #Selfcare Giveaway!

Enter to win $300 in personal care products just for YOU!

Self care is important and often overlooked and this ‘Love the Skin You’re In’ Giveaway features all the products you need to treat yourself! Pink Lemonade Shop has partnered with some amazing brands and businesses to highlight some of their amazing self care products. These products will make you feel pampered, pretty, healthy, cozy, safe and feisty!

So who are these amazing sponsors and what are their prizes?

Austin Tie Dye Co-

Creator of gorgeous hand-dyed super soft swaddles, blankets and clothing, Austin Tie Dye Co has contributed (1) 47×66 Hand-Dyed Buttery Soft Adult Pastel Blanket Valued at $66

The Amber Monkey

Baltic Amber, Gemstone and Hazelwood Jewelry for adults and children that will soothe and relieve ailments and discomfort naturally and they’re stylish too! The Amber Monkey has contributed (1) 17-18 Hazelwood & Turquoise Necklace Valued at $35.99

Eclipse Sun

Eclipse is the manufacturer of 50+ UPF Sun Sleeves, Bonnets, Gloves and Sun Shawls. Eclipse products are perfect for active, outdoor families who want immediate sun protection without having to apply sunscreen. Eclipse has contributed a NEW 50+ UPS Sun Shawl Valued at $35

Elevated Body Care

Elevated by Taylor’s, the creators of Balm Baby, is a line with self care in mind. Natural, non-toxic and cruelty-free, these Elevated products will leave you feeling elevated to say the least! Taylor’s/Elevated has contributed (1) Lovers Lube Valued at $17.99, (1) Lovers Kit Valued at $19.99 and (1) Goddess Foreplay in a Bottle Valued at $29.99

Eco Sprout Soap

Eco Sprout is a family owned business based out of Arizona that has your family’s health and well-being in mind. Eco Sprout has contributed two of their most popular products, (1) 24/48 Bag of their Laundry Powder Valued at $7.95 and (1) The Coconut Stick Valued at $10.95

Pink Lemonade Shop

If you haven’t given Pink Lemonade Shop’s cloth pads a try then this is your chance! Cloth pads are more comfortable, more absorbent, non-toxic and a money-saving alternative to disposable menstrual pads. Pink Lemonade Shop has contributed (1) Set of FOUR Minky Pads in a variety of sizes, colors and prints Valued at $44

Lularoe by Sue Nichols

Sue Nichols, the owner of Pink Lemonade Shop is also a successful Lularoe Consultant! Sue has contributed (1) Pair of Buttery Soft (OS) or (TC) Mystery Leggings Valued at $25

The Giveaway

This prize pack is valued at approximately $300. This contest is open to the USA & Canada. Contest is open 2/1-2/10/17. Winner’s entries will be verified and the winner will be notified by email. Winner will have 7 days to claim their prize. Prizes will ship separately from each sponsor and delivery times may vary.

Enter to win using the Rafflecopter entry form below. Feel free to complete as many or as few entry methods as you’d like.​<​/p><​p> ​<​/p><​p> ​<​/p><​p> ​


a Rafflecopter giveaway

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4 Simple Reasons We Eat Dinner Together 


You could say we’re “old fashioned” when it comes to dinnertime. A majority of our dinners are homemade and we eat together at the dining room table every night. (Sure, there’s an occasional “eat wherever you want” but it’s few and far between.) Here are 4 reasons we eat dinner together as a family:


Healthier Meals.

I’m sure this isn’t the biggest reason why we eat dinner as a family- but as a family of 5 on a budget, it helps. Homemade meals are much healthier than buying take-out regularly. Sure, there are nights that we buy take-out AND eat together but it’s still few and far between. Plus: Healthier foods equal healthier kids.

 

Communication.

Now that the older two kids are in school, sometimes our dinnertime is the only time we can really sit down and talk about our day. I love listening about what’s going on at school and what they’re learning. They always have the best stories to tell us and we usually end up laughing more than eating! 
 

Unplug for 20 minutes.

My husband and I have a rule- no phones at the table. If someone calls us, texts, or emails us… they just have to wait until we’re done. This time is 100% for us as a family. We want zero interruptions in our time together. 
 

Teach manners.

Table manners are important to us too. We started teaching them to the girls pretty early. Some family members think we’re just mean- but I’m pretty proud to be raising little ladies that have good table manners. How can you teach good table manners when your kids aren’t eating at the table? 
Do you make it a point to have a meal with your family at the table regularly? What’s your biggest reason? Comment below and let’s talk about it! 🙂  

 

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Why I Love Target- The #MomLife Addiction

It’s true- I’m addicted to Target. You’ll find me browsing around the store maybe two or three times a week. Why? Well- Because it’s the magical land of the basic stay-at-home-mom. You might think I’m joking. But this is serious. I really do love Target.

10 reasons we’re all a little (or a lot) addicted to Target:

It’s basically the SAHM meeting ground. I meet up with a couple other moms for “Target dates” a few times a week. Other than hanging out with my husband after he comes home from work, this is sometimes my only other form of adult interaction.

Starbucks. I basically function on caffeine at this point. With three kids, I’m not allowed to sleep through the night. One of them is always waking me up. Starbucks in the store makes it much more worth it for me to go to Target. Plus- I earn free Starbucks because of the Starbucks rewards program!

The dollar section. Well, not everything a dollar anymore. All the items in Bullseye’s Playground is between $1 and $5. It’s super rare that I don’t have at least one product from that area. You can find holiday décor, arts and crafts, party supplies, gift wrap, toys for kids, candy. So much to choose from!!!

Baby Nap. Jackson gets some of his best naps during our Target trips. He usually ends up driving me crazy in the cart so he ends up in a baby carrier on my back. Within a few minutes, he falls asleep. Of course, this doesn’t happen every time. But it’s still a perk when it does! 😉

Cartwheel. If you haven’t heard of the Cartwheel app, then you’re seriously missing out. You can find a lot of instant coupons on your phone in this app. I save a good amount of money using it!

The atmosphere. I swear they have to be pumping something into the air in Target. It almost makes me instantly happy walking through those doors. It could be because I’m a shopaholic. Or it could be the air. Ehhhh. Whichever it is, it’s fine for me.

Clearance. Let’s be honest- Target makes it super easy to find clearance items. Again, I usually end up with at least one clearance item in my cart. I’ve found some pretty good deals through the years!

Price matching. Did you know that Target will price match? Yep. I went to purchase a new cup for Jackson and it was $3 cheaper on Amazon prime. I really didn’t want to wait 2 days for the cup so I went to customer service. They price matched it quickly and easily! I got the Amazon Prime price but that day. Oh and I got to use the next reason I love Target…..

RED Card. My RED card makes me so happy. It’s a debit card attached to my bank account. Every time I use it, I automatically get 5% off. I can also use it to get free shipping with that 5% discount on target.com. Sure, 5% doesn’t sound like a whole lot…. but using it with the Cartwheel app, printable coupons on their site, manufacturer coupons, clearance- all that savings really adds up!!!!

Awesome Stuff! You see that amazing sweatshirt and giant coffee mug in the picture above? Yeah. Those are Target purchases. Basically the best coffee mug and sweatshirt I’ve ever purchased. I love Target. <3

 

 

BONUS. I’m raising little Target lovers as well. Baileigh loves Target just as much as I do. I see this as both a good thing…. and a problem. 😉 She asks me to take her to Target multiple times a week. Thank goodness she goes to school through the week so she only goes once. Because she talks me into things like little hats:

 

 

 

*This is not a Sponsored post. At all. I received no compensation for posting how much I love shopping at Target. However, there are some affiliate links throughout the post to help make a tad bit of $$$$ to keep this website going.*

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MommyCon- Is it worth it?!

Mama- it’s worth it.

I have already gone over the MommyCon Basics & FAQS, MommyCon on a Budget, 10 Tips for MommyCon, and the latest post- MommyCon VIP. But in case you still need some convincing on just how awesome MommyCon is….

 

My goodie bag from Columbus 2015

The Goodie Bag

In case I didn’t write enough about it, did you know that every attendee will leave the MommyCon event with a super awesome goodie bag filled with stuff?! The sponsors have been pretty generous in the past. While this shouldn’t be your #1 reason to attend MommyCon- I can tell you that in my experience, the goodie bag is worth more than your general admission ticket price. It’s filled with samples, coupons, and full sized products.

 

The Sessions

The sessions and seminars you’ll attend at MommyCon will probably leave you with some awesome new knowledge. And in my experience as a parent- knowledge really is power. Whether you’re taking away facts from Cloth Diapering 101 or from Kim Rosas’ Reusable Menstraul Products- that’s up to you! I highly recommend attending as many sessions that you can squeeze in!

 

Jackson wearing Cotton Babies’ Exclusive MommyCon Flip Diaper for 2016

Exclusive Products

Did you know that many vendors go to MommyCon with “MommyCon Exclusives?” Cloth diaper companies like Cotton Babies and Smart Bottoms have had exclusive diapers. Pink Lemonade Shop had an exclusive pad print. Eylas had an exclusive water bottle last year. Tekhni typically has an exclusive wrap for each MommyCon event. Basically- lots of things you’ll find ONLY at MommyCon! 😉

The Giveaways

Now, I know I didn’t talk much about this. Did you know that at the end of event day- MommyCon does a HUGE giveaway?! I mean like $10,000 worth of products huge. It’s really easy to enter- go to MommyCon! When you check-in at the beginning of the day, you’ll be given a badge with a number. That number is your “ticket number” so to speak. If you hear/see your number called- YOU WON! You’ll get additional entries for any VIP tickets you purchase. My first year, a few moms couldn’t stay for the giveaway. They handed me their badges since they wouldn’t get to use them. I won a set of RePlay, even though it was with my own badge number. But I was super excited!!!! You can not win a giveaway if you are not present. So if you can stay the whole day- I suggest you hang around. (There have been car seats and strollers given away! 😉 So yeah- be there.)

The Experience

I have only given you some tools to make your MommyCon experience great. Now- it’s completely up to you to make it great. Take pictures. Meet new mom friends. Meet some of the small businesses that are exhibiting there. Buy yourself something. Buy something for your kiddos. Learn some new information. Take the day to be “free” if you go without kids. Take the day to bond with your significant other, if they go with you. The experience will vary from person to person since no two people will visit the exact same sessions, meet the same people, or buy the same things. The “ideal” MommyCon experience is unique to everyone and really- your overall experience is up to you!

 

Still need to buy your general admission ticket? Use the code FLUFFBUM17 for $5 off, combine this with the social sharing discount at checkout for a total of $7 off!

 

 


 

Don’t forget to check out the rest of the posts in my MommyCon Series! And be on the lookout for a GIVEAWAY of MommyCon tickets! EEEEK!

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MommyCon VIP Sessions- A Community Post

I have not personally attended any of the MommyCon VIP sessions- although I have heard many great things about them! VIP Sessions take place the day before the event, so on a Friday, and they are small seminars with some amazing people. Because I can’t personally tell you about my experience and why they’re so great- I asked some of my blogger friends to help with this post! 🙂

Want to purchase a VIP upgrade? VIP sessions are typically announced 30 days before your city’s event.

** Still need to buy your MommyCon ticket? Remember to use the code FLUFFBUM17 for a $5 discount! Please not that this code is not valid on VIP ticket upgrades. **

 

Cotton Babies VIP Session

I attended the Jen’s VIP session at MommyCon OC 2015. It was a small circle of about 15-20 women with babies having freeplay in the middle of the circle. We had light snacks and drinks and it felt very inviting. Jen had everyone introduce themselves and share what we wanted to get out of the session. We were able to ask questions and it never felt rushed it was very natural like a group of friends. Xza was in and out of the session visiting too. We each got a tote from catbird baby, and inside was a bum genius diaper, wet bag, wipe spray, maxaloon style pants, and several samples of other cloth diaper safe products. The products we received were well over he $40 session price, the inspirational message from Jen was worth more as well. I’m still friends with some of the moms I met there 2 years later.

– Hannah

 

Mommy-con Atlanta 2016 was my second mommy-con experience and my first time going all the way and doing a VIP session as well as breakfast with Jen before my VIP session. My sister in law and best friend took the plunge with me as my twins and her son are 10 days apart and we share many parenting values. She had also been by my side during our first mommy-con in 2015!
Bright and early on Friday morning I picked her and my nephew up and we drove to the hotel that the breakfast was scheduled at. When we arrived Jen and Jimmy were already seated and there was coffee ( a twin moms lifeline 😂) ready to drink! We were joined by a few other moms including both Dona from black women do cloth diaper and Deja from sunshine fabric and designs. We had an excellent conversation about race and equality in the diaper industry over an amazing breakfast. We talked until it was time to head over to the convention center for the first VIP session of the day With Jen!
When we got to the convention center I had a good idea of the layout as I had been there before so we knew where to park and walked right in. The mommycon shoppe and the tekhni booth were both open allowing us first pick at all the merchandise as well as the tekhni exclusive which was amazing! We got there about 30 minutes before our VIP session was set to begin so we mingled with eachother as our kids played with the amazing variety of toys set out for them. I will admit I was attempting to wrap one twin when the other ran through my legs and toward the door but was thankfully quickly caught by another mom and returned to me.
I’m not going to lie I attended Jen’s session purely because I wanted to see her not because I have any interest in running my own business. The session was however amazingly interesting and informative! My twins were pretty interested in the toys which was nice so I even got to listen to her talk without one of them yelling in my ear. We also got some amazing swag in our bag (which was it’s self super cute) including a cloth diaper and wet bag, doodle pants, mother love diaper and thrush cream, a tekhni head wrap, and other fun goodies from mom owned businesses! I’m so glad I chose to do a mommy con VIP session it added so much to my weekend!!!!

– Colleen Walker Sondergaard

 

The first VIP session I attended was hosted by Jennifer Labit the creator of Cotton Babies who shared insight into her life journey. She spoke openly about how she transitioned from a mother struggling to balance the home budget, highlighting how her struggle was the catalist into becoming an entrepreneur and founder of a successful business. Her honesty was refreshing and encouraging. We all struggle and fall; hearing how the most difficult times of her life.

– Patricia @ Dr Mommy Rx

 

Pool Party

At the Baby Safe Pool Party with Mat York from that That Dad Mat we were treated to a full table of Babyganics goodies and a bag absolutely stuffed with poolside treats including a Beachfront Baby ring sling. Mat helped everyone get comfortable with the slings. Unfortunately we were inside because of Hurricane Hermine. It was a good thing the session was hosted by Mat because it was the most fun pool-less pool party ever!

– Alexandria Lawrence @ Naturally Made with Love

 

Feed the Baby

The Feed the Baby VIP with The Leaky Boob’s Jessica Martin-Weber was something I’ll never forget. We had a rap session about how not every experience is a “rainbow farting unicorn one”. The swag bag for this session had some seriously cool gadgets. Gootensils, and EZPZ mat, Bitsizers, a donut rattle from Pebblechild, a gift voucher for Undercover Mama, a Re-play set, a reusable squeeze pouch… and more! A lot of these have become regular daily use items for us, that I can’t imagine our life without.

– Alexandria Lawrence @ Naturally Made with Love

Babywearing

Laura Brown from Ergo and Angelique Geehan of Beco gave us some helpful insights at Babywearing VIP. I got an Ergobaby organic SSC (which is still my favorite carrier to date!) in my swag bag. After a run down on the carriers with how to-s and safety features we played two rounds of a game like heads up. All of the cards had terms used during the session. What an exciting way to use the knowledge we gained from our fun instructors!

– Alexandria Lawrence @ Naturally Made with Love

 

The second VIP session I attended Friday afternoon was called Babywearing. This session is very popular because each attendee is randomly given either an Ergo or Beco baby carrier. Hosted by two industry professionals, including Laura Brown of Ergo, this session focused on proper ways to wear Ergo and Beco soft structured carriers. Additionally, they were more then happy to take the time to help parents trouble shoot any struggles they are having with their own person baby carriers (of all forms). 

– Patricia @ Dr Mommy Rx

 

 

Want to see more posts about MommyCon? Here are some other posts a part of my MommyCon Series:

 

~ MommyCon Basics and FAQS ~

~ MommyCon on a Budget ~

~ 10 Tips for MommyCon ~

 

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10 Tips to Make Your MommyCon Experience Amazing!

 

Another post for the MommyCon Series! Can you tell I’m a little excited? I’ve been to two MommyCon events so while I wouldn’t consider myself an expert MommyCon attendee- I’ve been around the block twice so I’ve learned a few things. Here are 10 tips to make your MommyCon experience amazing, fun and the best that it can be!

 

10 Tips as a MommyCon Attendee

Plan your day ahead of time. MommyCon is very fast paced and a lot goes on throughout the day. There are multiple rooms with different sessions going on plus the vendor area. Writing out your schedule ahead of time on paper or your phone is a great idea. You don’t want to miss the seminars you wanted to attend because of mom brain! (I highly recommend attending Cloth 101 with Jennifer Labit and Kim Rosas’ Reusable Menstrual Products seminar!)

 

Grab your tickets early. While MommyCon is a huge event, there are restrictions to how many people can attend due to the location. MommyCon  events tend to sell out, so waiting until the day before isn’t the best idea. MommyCon offers Presale tickets at a super discounted rate, some promotions throughout the year for discounted tickets, and Bloggers/Street Team/Parent Squad members have discount codes. (You can find mine here.) If plans change and you can no longer attend the event, MommyCon does not refund your ticket BUT they do allow selling of your tickets on your location’s Facebook group.

 

Join the Facebook Group. Speaking of the Facebook group- did you know that MommyCon has Facebook groups for the different locations? This is a great place to be to find out important information. This is also where they’ll share volunteer opportunities and sneak peaks to the event behind the scenes. Like I mentioned above, this is also the perfect place to find a buyer for tickets you may no longer need or where you may be able to find tickets yourself if the event has sold out! (You may even be able to grab a VIP ticket this way!)

 

Get your goodie bag later. The goodie bags will not run out. (Usually there’s actually some extras at the end of the day.) But they will get heavy. And bulky. And you can’t just check them in somewhere for later. If you don’t want to carry them around all day, wait a little bit to get them. Just before lunch is the perfect time because chances are- you’re going to your car or hotel room anyways. And if not- its the perfect time to dip out and head to your car or hotel room since you won’t miss any sessions.

 

Bring snacks or get lunch close. Lunch break is an hour long. This may seem like a lot of time- but once you take your goodie bag to your car and scope out the nearby places, lunch will be over in a flash. Just like planning your day ahead of time is important, figuring out your lunch plan is important too! It’s a long day so you’ll be starving. (Trust me on that.) Have a plan for lunch and a backup plan in case the first place is too busy or closed. My first year, the places we wanted to eat were closed. (Silly large cities.) And my second year, lunchtime is when I discovered I locked my keys in my car. Ended up eating lunch at the hotel’s Starbucks while waiting for AAA. You better believe I’ll know what I’m doing beforehand this year! 😉 Also scope out the nearest coffee shop. If you’re lucky enough to have a coffee shop in the connecting hotel- take advantage of that. You may be wired with caffeine, but it’ll keep ya going all day long!

 

Take pictures! Take lots of pictures! The day flies by so fast and you’ll want to remember the cool toy your kiddo loved at the event, meeting somebody you follow on social media, and just your overall experience. I highly suggest you bring your phone charger too just in case. If you have service or wifi at the event’s location, put your pictures on social media and tag MommyCon and/or use the hashtag for the event! All the mamas at home are waiting to see/hear about your day! 😉

 

Wear comfortable shoes. It really is a long day. And while you think you’ll be sitting a majority of the time while attending sessions, it’s still a lot of walking. Don’t wear heels unless you’re a pro at them. And don’t wear brand new shoes unless you want blisters. Be comfortable.

 

Pack light & babywear. Chances are, you’re going to be shopping for a few things during the event. The vendor’s hall is usually pretty packed with your favorite vendors and full of ones you’ve never heard of before (and will also love!). If you’re going by yourself, pack a small bag with just the necessities. And if you’re going with a little one, pack only the things you will need and leave the “maybe needs” in the car. Try to not bring a stroller if you’re bringing a little one too. While MommyCon doesn’t have a “no stroller” policy, they may ask for you to park it along the outskirts of the room or ask you to fold it up if it’s too crowded. There are so many little ones crawling and walking around that you really need to be careful. While going stroller-less isn’t an option for all parents, if it’s an option for you to just babywear- please do that.

 

 

Bring a friend! My sister in law and I have made it our thing. We love going to MommyCon together and making it a “Mom’s Weekend Away.” There are so many other parents to mingle with at the event sp there’s always the option of making new friends! But if you know someone expecting, trying to conceive, or another mama with little ones, why not ask them to come along??? You may be able to convert someone into cloth diapering, show them the awesomeness of babywearing, or give them a day kid-free!

 

Snatch a VIP spot! I’ve never attended a VIP session so I really can’t speak much on this topic. You can totally have an amazing time at MommyCon with a general admission ticket and no extras. But if you have the funds and the availability to attend a VIP session (or two!) then go for it! VIP sessions have extra goodie bags and they’ll also snatch you another entry into the giveaway! (Look for a “MommyCon VIP Sessions 101” post later this week!)

 

Need more MommyCon Info? Check out the other posts in my MommyCon Series! This series of posts is leading up to a MommyCon ticket giveaway!!!!! 😉

 

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Eight Easy Tips To Reinvent Your Toddler’s Bedroom

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It’s hard to know how exactly to decorate your toddler’s room. It’s that time where they’re starting to form their own distinct little personality, and knowing how to reflect that in their space is a tough challenge. Thankfully, there are some solutions…

 

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Pick A Colour Scheme

First of all, it’s important to choose a colour scheme. Toddlers’ rooms are crazy enough with scattered toys and possessions to have a mishmash of decorations too, so if you try to make it as clean and simple as you can to begin with, the mess will be easier to deal with. Go for a cool, calming colour like duck egg blue (yes, for girls as well!) or pale yellow. Colours like red and purple might be bright and fun but you should bear in mind that you want this room to be somewhere where you want your toddler to sleep well so it shouldn’t be too over stimulating.

Invest In A New Bed

If your toddler hasn’t moved up to his or her big boy or big girl bed yet, now is the time to make that transition. Every child is ready for their big bed at a different age – but if your toddler’s been trying to climb out of his or her crib, now is definitely the time! You might feel a little nervous about it on the first night so make sure you put some pillows on the floor next to the bed to break your toddler’s fall if he or she rolls off the bed during the night. Chances are, they’ll be absolutely fine! Look online for the best toddler beds that will suit your needs.

 

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Try Out More Storage Solutions

One of the biggest problems that we all have – and will always have – with our homes is storage. Especially if you have kids, it’s almost impossible to know what exactly you want to keep. Random objects become imbued with more sentimental attachment than they really deserve. It’s not necessarily time to throw away all of your kids’ old childhood toys – but it is time to install some decent shelving so that you can put certain things on display, Put some covered baskets or bins on the larger shelves and use them to keep toys in.

 

Change Your Windows

If your toddler’s having problems sleeping – and staying asleep – it’s probably destroying your sleeping patterns as well. Although you expect new-born babies to be up a lot in the night, it can be really difficult if your toddler continues these patterns. Purchase some blackout blinds or curtains so early morning sunrise doesn’t wake up your child. You can also get soundproof drapes that will block out any noises from the street below. Make sure that you tie up the end of the blind string so there’s no way your toddler can reach it, as this can be a huge hazard.

 

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Decide What You Want The Room To Be

When you’re decorating a room, it’s important to consider exactly what sort of space you want it to be, so it doesn’t turn into a mess of different ideas. If you’re lucky enough to have a separate playroom where your child spends most of their time, then you might want to make the bedroom into a place mostly for sleeping and napping, so you might be focusing on turning it into a relaxing space where it’ll be easy for your toddler to fall asleep and to relax. In that case, you might focus on soft, cosy furnishings, and shelves of books that you can reach for when it’s time for bedtime stories. If you want to make it a more stimulating environment that encourages creative independent play, go for more bright colours and plenty of toys within easy reach, along with a surface where your toddler can create his or her amazing works of art.

 

Give Your Toddler Some Choices

Your child is starting to reach the sort of age where he or she is forming their own personality, with distinct likes and dislikes, so it’s time to start asking them what they might want in their new room. Obviously it isn’t a good idea to decorate the whole place based on a whim – in six months, chances are your daughter won’t love Frozen quite as much as she does now, so the life size statue of Princess Elsa might turn out to be an error in judgement. Give your child choices between a couple of parent-approved options, so they feel as though they have control over their new room but you also know it’ll turn out the way you want it to.

 

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Make It Eco Friendly

In this day and age, it’s crucial to consider what changes you can make to your home to help save the planet. It’s even more crucial to ensure that you include your children in these choices so that you raise them in a household where it’s the norm to consider the rest of the world and how exactly to do the best and greenest thing to help save the world. Make sure that you paint the room using non toxic environmentally friendly paint, and if you’re disposing of any old furniture, consider freecycling it instead or donating it instead of throwing it away. With new furniture, try to use sustainable, recyclable materials like wood, glass and metal instead of plastic. Replace old light bulbs with new LED ones, which will use less energy and also have the added bonus of bringing down your energy bill!

Add Decorative Touches

Finally, add some decorative touches just like you do in the rest of the house. If you’re a fan of taking plenty of family photos, get your Instagram pictures printed and blown up onto canvases so you can put them onto your toddler’s walls. Go for a bright, cheerful rag rug – not only are they pretty, but they also aren’t too expensive, so spillages and mess won’t matter – and as a final touch, stick some glow in the dark stars on the ceiling.

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ezpz Placemat Review

ezpz mats have become a “must-have” product in my book for toddlers. We currently have the Mini Mat, the Happy Mat, the Snack Mat, and the new book- Making Mealtime ezpz: Fun Ways to Fill the Happy Mat.

Some of you may be wondering…. “What is ezpz?” ezpz placemats are silicone placemats marketed for kids that suction to most tabletops. These mats are made of food grade silicone that is BPA, BPS, PVC, latex and phthalate free.

ezpz placemats are super handy once your child has reached the age of eating food, but wants to play and throw their plate or bowl on the floor. The Happy Mat suctions nicely to tabletops, while the Mini Mat is designed to fit on most highchairs.

 

I will admit that I’m not a Pinteresty mom in any way, shape, or form. This is one reason why I love these mats. Jackson’s food can look so fun with very little effort. And let’s face it- kids seem to eat more when their food looks fun. I don’t understand the logic behind it, but we all know it’s true! These placemats are also dishwasher safe, microwave safe, and oven safe (up to 350 degrees) so cooking with them and clean-up are easy!

 

Jackson really likes to snack, but he doesn’t want to sit in his highchair during snack time. The Snack Mat has become a favorite, and was actually our first ezpz mat! I can put his snack in the bowl, suction it to our floating floor, and he can play while snacking- and I don’t have to worry about him just tipping the bowl over for fun!

 

Now this may sound silly…. But I’m a mom on a budget. These mats aren’t exactly cheap, although I wouldn’t say they’re expensive either. Because they’re made of silicone, they won’t show signs of wear. This means that they really won’t have to be replaced. The ezpz mats that I use for Jackson now, can be stored away for any future babies. It doesn’t hold onto bacteria either since it’s a nonporous material- and it also shouldn’t stain! (although, I’m sure cooking some red sauce in it may be harder to get out!)

 

We really like to take the ezpz mats with us when we leave the house. Jackson has used his mats at restaurants and family member’s homes. We put the Mini Mat into a Smart Bottoms wet bag and the Happy Mat fits perfectly in a Smart Bottoms On-the-Go wet bag. It really depends on where we’re going, what’s clean, and what we’ll be eating for me to decide which one to take. If it’s super messy food, I’ll take the Happy Mat (for example) because sometimes my Mini Mat doesn’t want to stick to all surfaces. If it’s somewhere that he’s eating chicken and fries or something just not messy, and maybe it’s a quicker meal, then I’ll probably bring along the Mini Mat.

 

You can see in the photo above that there isn’t much size difference in the actual plate portion of the mats. A Happy Mat’s portion sizes (designed with toddlers in mind) are 4oz, 4oz, and 10oz while the Mini Mat’s (designed more for infants) portion sizes are 2oz, 2oz, and 4oz.

 

All in all, I’m really happy that I decided to try these ezpz mats and I like that they do make my life a bit easier. Jackson also likes them and in reality- that’s really all that matters.

 

 

*Please note: I purchased the Mini Mat and Snack Mat myself. The Happy Mat and book were provided by my participation as a Guidance Guide Ambassador. All opinions are 100% my own.

 

 

 

 

 

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