Category Archives: must-haves

Monday must-have: indoor fun for kids

What a weekend…it rained…and rained…and then it was windy and cold. The sun did peek out every once in awhile but not enough to make you want to drudge the kids to the park to play in the mud. As you know, Mama always has a few tricks up her sleeve when it comes to entertaining the kids on a rainy day but sometimes, you just want do to something a bit different but way fun. Sometimes we just get stuck in a rut of how to entertain the kids when the weather is less than spectacular or perhaps you have a few things around the house you need to get done. These activities will keep them entertained at least long enough for you to brush your teeth or take a quick shower!

Happy Monday Mamas! XOXO

1. BabbaCo BabbaBox — remember last year when Mama told you how obsessed the kids are with getting mail? They live for even junk mail like the Disney Movie Club stickers or a flyer about a new hotel. So you can just imagine their delight when a package addressed just to them arrives every month that is full of activities that kids and parents can enjoy together without ever having to leave the house. Appropriate for kids ages 3-7 (although, Lily-girl is almost 7 and she still adores it), BabbaCo delivers a box of themed activities and crafts. For example, this month (February 2013) the “My Awesome Adventures” BabbaBox is available and it will get their little imaginations revving. Which is such a change from turing on the TV (EEK!). This month BabbaCo and Shutterfly have teamed up to give you gifts and prizes (SCORE!). Just sign up for BabbaCo’s newsletter which will give you fresh ideas for activities, recipes and other fun stuff and you are entered to win a great prize package: an Annual Membership to the BabbaBox ($240 value), and a $50 Gift Card from Shutterfly. Additionally, BabbaCo is also running a “Cure to the Indoor Blues” offer right now: 33% ($10) Off the 1st month of a new monthly or annual subscription. Just use the Coupon Code: FEB33 at checkout. So fun and so what the doctor ordered for a rainy day. To sign-up for the Newsletter and/or a box subscription visit, www.babbaco.com.

2. Dance Party — crank up the tunes and get the wiggles out. We always sing really, really loud and jump on the couch…because if you can’t do it on a rainy day, then when can you do it?! Oh, and the best part…it’s FREE!!

3. Window Markers — drawing on paper is so ordinary but drawing on the glass windows and doors is so boredom busting. Have them doodle away and then wipe on, wipe off with glass cleaner for easy clean-up. Crayola Washable Window Markers, $3.88, at amazon.com.

4. Game On — blow off the dust of of those board games and get the kids thinking on how they can beat you in Old Maid, UNO or Sorry. If you have preschoolers (ages 3-5), try the new Bear in Underwear game, $20, at kiddlywinks.com.

5. READ, READ…READ! — how many books do you have in your house that you haven’t read in months or maybe even years? Pull them all out and have a reading marathon. The kids will love discovering old treasured books and it may spark their imaginations for new activities like building forts out of pillows saving the world!

**This post was sponsored by BabbaCo in an effort to get your kid’s imaginations moving and creating…nothing wrong with that!

Monday must: diaper-friendly bathing suits

It’s so funny how the littlest things can make a Mama’s day. This past weekend Mama was shopping at Target (of course) and happened upon this little gem — a little girl bathing suit with snaps on the bottom for quick diaper changes. WHAT?! This NEVER has been seen before. Usually you have to wriggle your little one out of a wet bathing suit with sand everywhere and try not to make a mess of whatever is brewing deep down in that swim diaper. Not to mention that this usually takes places in a very public place like a pool lounge chair or the busiest beach on the hottest day of the year (because there are no changing tables in public bathrooms — you know with budget cuts and all).

Long story short, this bathing suit made Mama’s day. Now boys have it easy because they already wear separate shorts and rash guards so this one is definitely for the girls. Being the practical person that Mama is, Mama couldn’t just by one bathing suit for CeCe for the summer…nope, Mama bought one of each size for the next two years.

Mama has found one other company that makes diaper-friendly swimsuits after doing a bit research — however, the price is triple the ones available at Target. Mama’s suggestion…run, don’t walk to your local Target or order online NOW to secure the best bathing suit that ever happened to Mamas and baby girls.

1. Circo Infant/Toddler Girls Rashguard with Attached Swim Bottoms, $14, at target.com (it may not look like it in the photo but the snaps are THERE in real life)

2. Snapping Turtle Swimsuit, $62, at snappingturtlekids.com

3. Snap Me Swimwear Navy Polka Dot, $24, at snapmeswimwear.com

August Must-Haves

Really? Are you serious? Where has the time gone? AND how can it possibly be time to get into a regular routine and head back-to-school?! It’s true, it’s time for the kiddos to get back to hitting the books and for Mamas everywhere to start up the carpool again. August is one of those months where Mama just wishes it would hurry up and be done with already. There’s no fancy holidays to decorate for and it leaves us in limbo of wanting so much more. More summer, more vacation…Mama and crew has spent most of August out and about and now, it’s time to get serious and back to business as usual.

Mama actually thought that summer would be chock-full of crafts, beach days, having fun, eating popsicles and just frolicking among our backyard. WRONG AGAIN. Mama spent half the summer just cleaning up from the previous school year. Throwing away old workbooks, arts and crafts, school papers, etc. Then the other half was spent filling out new paperwork for new school activities, doctor and dentist appointments and everything else that you just keep putting off for another day. We did manage to slip in some fun days but really, it went by so fast. Now it’s onward and upward as Baby Boy gets ready to embark on preschool adventures, Lily-girl tackles first grade head-on and little CeCe is about to approach turning one year!!

Life just sort of happens while we stand still, doesn’t it?! Here’s a look at what Mama’s craving for August — what’s on your list?

Must-do — the circus is in town!! One of Mama’s favorite places to go has made its way to San Diego’s Valley View Casino Center, August 23-26. Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey presents DRAGONS, a show that celebrates the Year of the Dragon and features Shaolin Kung Fu Warriors, Asian elephants, tigers and Cossack riders. Mama loves the tricks and the amazement from the kids that go to see the show. In fact, Mama thinks it’s the perfect way to end the back-to-school week. Get your popcorn, your peanuts and get ready to be dazzled!! To purchase tickets, visit www.ticketmaster.com…plus tickets start at just $10!! Nothing like a great show for a bargain price :)

Must-read — nothing like a good juicy book that makes Wisteria Lane look like a good place to live. Mamas getting evil and keeping secrets is what Mama is loving about The Playdate by Louise Millar. A new Mama moves to the neighborhood and just can’t make friends. Until she does and then truth starts to come out and unravel…right before your very eyes. It’s good, it’s juicy and just what you need in a book at the end of August.

Must-do — recently Mama found herself in need of a first aid kit. We did not have one in sight. No band-aids (because the kids used them as stickers and tattoos and Mama refused to buy more for that purpose), no antiseptic, no bug spray, no creams, no wraps…nothing. This week Mama is on a mission to make sure that we have one in the car, in the house and a mini one for on the go. One such find, is WoundSeal, $6.99 at drugstore.com, which makes a natural scab should you ever come up against something that just won’t stop bleeding. For on-the-go kits, Mama loves these Ouch Pouches, $5.95 at Etsy.com, which are perfect for the car and your purse.

Must-wear — it’s so HOT where Mama lives right now that wearing anything remotely denim just sounds awful…even as we approach fall. Mama is loving lace details for the upcoming season and they look perfect on this budget-friendly dress which is great for wearing to any upcoming fall event. Pim + Larkin Lace Dress, $89, at piperlime.com.

 

July Must-Haves

Really Mamas, if you’ve been around Mama long enough you should know by now that Mama is usually always late. Not on purpose but just because life’s little messes get in the way. Too much to do, not enough time (well that and Mama probably had to clean up poop before arriving at the said destination). So for most of you July is almost over and August is coming up on the horizon but for Mama…it’s just beginning…or at least never too late to talk about July Must-Haves.

Mama thought summer was going to be easier. Not as much shuttling the kids around, long lazy days in the sun playing at the beach, park or pool…a few weekend vacations with the family. However, it’s turned into a huge rat race of going from camp to camp, getting paperwork ready for the fall and just a bunch of busy work. Mama is actually looking forward to the fall because everyone will be more on a schedule and life becomes more predictable. Boring, right?! Well, for now it’s just easier that way. However, there’s still one month of summer left to enjoy so let’s do it…stylishly, of course!

Must-Have — if you haven’t already hit up the Nordstrom Anniversary sale, then you best do it now. There are some fantastic deals to be had and you’ll kick yourself come October when you want to pull out a pair of boots or skinny jeans and realize that the ones you have are so last season. It’s on NOW through August 6th and Mama has a few favorites from the sale that are just too good to pass up. Mama just couldn’t get into the floral denim trend of spring/summer but these Paige Verdugo Coated Skinny Jeans are so HOT for fall (on sale for $119.90, regularly $198!) and the savings is fantastic. You can wear these casually or on a night out…love. Then check out this Chanel-inspired jacket from Hinge (on sale for $89.90, regularly $138)…you’ll wear it all season long and it’s less than $100 and goes with everything. Mama got the pink version but the black is classic. There is so much more but one more key staple for the fall…are these boots from Vince Camuto (on sale for $169.90, regularly $258.95). Mama can’t wait until it’s time to get boots on!!

Must-Do– if you’re a local then you must, must, must hit the Del Mar Race Track for racing season. Without going into too much boring childhood history…Mama grew up at the track. Mama’s grandfather and father were/are avid race fans having owned horses that raced. We would make a day of it, bet on our favorites (Mama always chose by name or jockey…of course, children don’t bet but you get it) and if we won we would go out for a fancy dinner and ice cream. If we didn’t win, we hit McDonald’s and still got the ice cream. It is one of Mama’s favorite childhood memories going to the race track and sometimes we would go early in the morning to catch the horse exercising. You can do all of that right here. Saturdays and Sundays are Family Fun Days at the Del Mar Race Track and this Sunday, July 29th is the BIG Family Day where each child gets a special prize, a plush horse WebKinz. Gates open at 12 p.m. and the races start at 2 p.m. Wear a hat, bring sunscreen and get ready to have some FUN!! Children 17 and under are FREE too. More information can be found at www.delmarracing.com and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/delmarracing. It just so happens that Mama has 2 tickets to GIVEAWAY…WOOT!!! Just head to Mama’s Facebook page and post a comment telling Mama you’re favorite racing memory (could be a horse or you running…as long as you thought it was a race). 

Must-Read– when it comes to summer reading, Mama prefers a good chick lit book. Mama prefers to save the deep thinking material for curling up beside the fireplace in the winter. If you’ve already read 50 Shades (who hasn’t by now) then you’re ready to move on with something with a little more substance but not much. Emily Giffin’s newest book, Where We Belong, is the perfect beach read. Light hearted but with a plot. Two women that unveil a deep secret that binds them together…romance, drama, friendship…what more does one want in a good book?!

Must-Do — it’s still summer so stop shopping for back-to-school and have an ice cream party! That’s right, it’s National Ice Cream month for four more days. Get the kids in the neighborhood together and throw an ice cream fiesta. Mama is obsessed with coffee ice cream of which Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market has some of the yummiest Mama has ever tasted. However, the kiddos don’t like it but they do have flavors like Wild Blueberry and Orange Creme that one just can’t resist. MMM…Mama got a bunch of cups and cones, sprinkles and candy toppings and made it a huge ice cream social…so summery and so fun. Check out Mama’s Pinterest board for more party inspiration!

What are you craving this July?

 

May Must-Haves…

Mama is like a teenager these days…counting down the days until summer vacation arrives. Mama can feel it…it’s almost here but not quite soon enough. Take it from Mama and appreciate those preschool and toddler years where you don’t ACTUALLY have to be some where on time and when you can take the kids out of school anytime you want. You can be five or ten minutes late and not have to worry about your kids getting detention for your being late in the morning. However, in Mama’s defense…it’s never actually Mama’s fault we’re late (of course not…right?!). The kids are the ones dragging their feet in the morning to get out of bed, can’t find where they put their shoes and don’t know how to eat toast, drink OJ and make sandwiches for lunches all at the same time (that’s Mama’s job).

In fact our weekday mornings are so routine now that it almost seems like Groundhog Day…everyday…all day. Hmmm…makes you think how Everyday Mama came to be! So summer is on the horizon and Mama can’t wait for the freedom of the alarm clock, free of daily scheduled activities and the freedom to just hang out…where we want…when we want. It will be awesome. Now Mama is not entirely crazy because while we are looking forward to no scheduled activities, one week alone with the three kids is enough to drive anyone insane so we did schedule a few camps to keep the kidlets busy and Mama away from the crazy farm.

Oh, and how could one forget Mother’s Day which is coming up quick…more on that later. For now let’s think sunny days, blue skies and lots of mini-vacations in our near future for our May Must-Haves!

Must-Have: The beach. Mama loves the beach. Mama and the kids love building sand castles, watching the waves break and sometimes if it’s really warm out…going in for a quick dip. The beach is the place to go to have some summer fun and frolic. However, one cannot forget all the items one must bring to the beach for all the littles. Mainly lots of towels and shade are in order…not to mention snacks and sand toys for ultimate digging. Mama is L-O-V-I-N-G the idea of a new beach bag and this one is not only personalized but it’s also budget-friendly too!! Check out the beach bags from Simply-Bags.com and pick your favorite one to be personalized just for you. From striped boat bags to paisley prints to cooler bags, you can get a personalized bag for $21.99!! That’s the best deal of the month. Take a look at Mama’s…guess Mama won’t be incognito with this gem but that’s okay no-one will be tempted to steal it either. Order yours at Simply-Bags.com and come summer…you’ll be ready to hit the beach, pool or park in style without being set-back in the bank account.

Must-See: Has Mama ever told you how Mama loves musicals? So does the hubs. In fact, when we met…Mama thought it was a little odd that he knew so much about show tunes…if you know what Mama means. He loves to sing them…mainly in the shower or the car so only Mama gets the pleasure of hearing his vocal stylings (no American Idols around these parts). If you’re in San Diego or perhaps in a town where the touring production of Chicago is coming to town — go see it. Starring Christie Brinkley and John O’Hurley, the production is in town for a limited engagement starting TODAY, May 8-May 13, 2012 at the San Diego Civic Center and tickets are still available. In fact, Mama has a discount code for you which is a perfect reason to go see the show and take your favorite Mama to celebrate Mother’s Day. Use code: MAMA at checkout at ticketmaster.com. It’s the perfect way to treat yourself this month! Plus, Mama thinks Christie Brinkley looks amazing for her age and can’t wait to hear her sing…is it a hidden talent of hers?!

Must-Read: So last month one amazing Mama that Mama knows decided to start a book club for her first grade daughter. They all read the same book (Junie B. Jones), invited the kiddos and Mamas over, had snacks and beverages (wine for the Mamas) and chatted and acted out scenes from the book. How fun!! Lily-girl loves the idea so this summer Mama will be initiating one with her class and it will be a blast…hopefully. Since everyone is so busy reading Fifty Shades of Grey and the other two that follow in the series from Mama’s recommendations last month, let’s make this month about the kids. Lily-girl went into kindergarten knowing how to read and sound out the words, however, not everyone will. For summer reading and learning, Mama highly recommends the getting a few BOB Books sets that teach your child to read and sound out  the ever important ‘sight words’. Sight words are repetitive words that are in every story. For example: the, what, at, if, my, out, in, up, down, etc. Adding to their already popular sight word sets, BOB Books has just released early reader books that are actual stories with flash cards in the back. They were helpful in getting Lily-girl to start reading and we loved Cupcake Surprise! and The New Puppy. Order a few today to take on vacation with you and get your little tikes reading and not only that…excited about reading! Available at scholastic.com, $2.79 each — best money you ever spent!

Must-Do: This might seem so gross but…when was the last time you actually cleaned out your underwear drawer? Or your kids underwear drawer? It’s one of those things that you just don’t do often enough. Well, it’s time and there is no time like the present to clean out those old undies and trade them in for new ones. Don’t donate them by the way…you may want to just dispose of them. It’s one of the few things that Mama doesn’t recommend upcycling as there was a study done that says that germs live on them for years and years to come…ick! So treat yourself and your kids to some new, clean undies for the summer…Lily-girl just pulled out a few that were 2Ts…oops! Mama highly recommends the brand Hanky Panky…so comfortable!

Must-Have: You already know how much Mama loves designer collaborations…remember Missoni for Target?! Targets newest collaboration with The Webster, one of Miami’s hip boutiques, is sure crowd-pleaser and Mama is pretty sure that you’ll be able to find your size online because it isn’t as well known as some of the other big brands they’ve collaborated with. Mama picks for the collection are the Wedges, $31.99 per pair, that can only be found online and not in stores and this maxi dress which Mama is pretty sure she’s wearing to a beach wedding this summer…all for the great price of $44.99. Fantastic finds at target.com!

Happy Shopping Mamas! What are you craving this May?

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