Tag 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?


Road Trip Must-Haves…Are we there yet?!

As much as Mama complains about flying on an airplane with kids, there is something so daunting about going on a road trip with them. Road trip for Mama = anything over 2 hours. Anything beyond 2 hours is bound to give way to hours of complaining, asking the ultimate “when are we going to be there?” question (repeatedly every five minutes so you want to bang your head against the wall), multiple spills of snacks and drinks, too many potty stops and at the end of the 12 hour trek…squealing of overtired kids and the thrill of actually getting there.

We are about to embark on this journey believe it or not and Mama is getting prepped by gathering the Road Trip Must-Haves that will keep the kids occupied, entertained and quiet (one can only hope!) during this 10-hour car ride. The hubs solution is to mostly drive while they are sleeping but leaving at 4 a.m. is not Mama’s idea of a good time…we’ll just have to see how this battle plays out in a couple of weeks but for now, here’s Mama’s go-to list. Let’s start with the obvious…

DVD player — yes, movies are must now days. When we were kids we would be fun playing the license plate game, Slug Bug and 99 Bottles of Soda on the Wall. However, times have changed and kids expect movies to be played in the car like goodie bags to be handed out at a party. It’s a given. Mama only allows movies to be played on road trips. Our cars happen to have built-in DVD players but you can also use the portable ones that attach to the back of the seat’s headrests or you can have them on their individual laps. Each kid gets to pick two of their favorites and they can’t complain about the others picks otherwise, their movie gets skipped. How’s that for keeping them quiet?!

Headphones — sometimes you just want the Justin Bieber music to STOP or the annoying bleeps from the game they’re playing on the Leap Pad. Therefore, headphones are a MUST! Mama loves these headphones from Pottery Barn Kids that fit them just right and also fit Mama too (small heads run in the family), $39.50.

Dollar finds — Mama’s favorite section of all stores (Target, Michael’s) is the Dollar Section. Not only can you find amazingly useful stuff but you can also find lots of cheap entertainment for a car ride. Mama took $20 and let each child pick out ten items. They came up with coloring books, notepads, puzzles, reading books, molding clay and other assorted goodies. Packed in their backpacks, they’re ready to hit the road.

Games — while you don’t really see as many Slug Bugs (VW Bugs) as you used to, you can still play road trip games. In fact, Mama thinks it’s a great opportunity to reconnect as a family. Try games like the Melissa & Doug Family Road Trip Box of Questions, $8.32, to get the games started. Or perhaps your kids are not big talkers…try the Melissa & Doug Travel Bingo, Flip-to-Win Memory or Hangman games, $11.32. For other kids, Mad Libs are always a good time and can be read aloud for a whole car full of laughs.

Snacks — oh, the snacks! We always pack tons of snacks and snack cups so that each kid can limit the number of spills. There’s nothing worse than starting a road trip with crunching crackers on the rug! Mama loves the Munchkin Snack Tower, $5.99. Non-perishable items are best but if cheese and yogurt are on the menu for a dose of protein, bring along an ice pack to avoid any unnecessary “potty” stops. Also limit the drinks that you give the kids — water is best to keep everyone hydrated.

And last but not least…in fact the most important aspect to a road trip is the travel tray. Kids cannot do all these activities sans a tray! Mama loves the TrayKit Carry Case and Travel Desk, $39.95. Kids can pack it full of their travel toys and coloring books and attaches to the seat of the car to fold down into a functional play desk. Perfect for planes, trains and automobiles!

Okay, now you spill…what’s your favorite road trip tip when traveling with kids?

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