Friday, May 22, 2015

The jig is up

Let's start this blog post off by paying tribute to a little lost part of my children's innocence and say farewell to two beloved characters: the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy. May you always hold a special place in their hearts from when they were still naive enough to believe in you guys, because the jig is up and the truth is out!

The whole Easter Bunny/Tooth Fairy/Santa Claus thing has been a tricky business for me. I mean, sure, it's fun and all. I've always loved seeing my kids' faces when they thought a giant, mythical bunny brought them candy and plastic eggs on Easter morning, or when a tiny little fairy flew into their rooms at night to steal their lost teeth. Santa's the best one, right? A big fat guy who breaks into your house and leaves good children presents every year? I'm in. But what about when the kids grow up and start asking real questions? What do you say to them? My kids are 10 and 7 now, and I've been dreading these conversations lately. Easter this year was when the sh*t hit the fan.

We were on the way to my brother's house for our annual Easter egg hunt with his family, when a little voice piped up from the back seat. It was Lily, my first grade daughter, and she said "Mom, is the Easter Bunny really real?" (I have to add that I'm totally not cool with this new "mom" thing- they've always called me "mommy" until they recently decided they were too cool for that). Anyway, there it was. The dreaded moment when my sweet, innocent Lily is asking me if her beloved Easter Bunny was real or if I'd been lying to her for her entire life. As soon as the words left her mouth I knew I was screwed. Of course Ayden had to chime in and ask "Yeah! Is he real? My friends said he's not real." Crap. If it was just Lily asking I probably could have distracted her or changed the subject and we would have been golden. With both of them asking together I felt cornered, and my face in the rear-view mirror must have totally given me away, because there was no more denying it. They knew.

"No, the Easter Bunny isn't real."


Followed by Lily exclaiming quietly "What?! You've been tricking us this whole time? It was really you?" My heart crumbled. That was exactly what I didn't want her to think. I so wished that I wasn't driving because I wanted to hug her and explain it gently to her that I wasn't trying to "trick" her, and that it wasn't really like I was lying. Instead, I had to explain it quickly from the front seat as we approached our destination (the Easter egg hunt- perfect). I was caught off guard and super unprepared for this type of conversation so I didn't really know what to say. It's not often that words fail me, but they did on that day.

I can't remember how the conversation went. Basically I told them that no, the Easter Bunny was indeed not real, and I confessed that it was me and Daddy who bought them all of their Easter goodies every year. I told them I didn't think it was really lying to them, but more of just a fun, harmless thing a lot of parents do for their kids to make Easter fun. I told them that I wasn't really sure why we do the whole bunny thing and that it's just something that my parents did with me and my brothers when we were little, and so I did it for my kids now too. It's something parents look forward least I always did. I remember being a kid and thinking "When I grow up I'm going to do this for Christmas with my kids." It's nice to know that even as a child I was still making my obsessively neurotic mental checklists. Some things never change.

Anyway, the kids weren't buying the whole "I-wasn't-lying-to-you-I-was-just-trying-to-make-a-holiday-fun-for-you" thing. Ayden wasn't saying much- I'm pretty sure he already knew but had been kind of going along with it because of Lily. He's in 4th grade after all, and is going to be 11 soon. She was pouting big time though. She had still believed and wanted to continue believing. She's still little! I was trying to think of what to say or do next because we were just heading to an Easter egg hunt that was sure to be packed with younger kids and a lot of talk about the Easter Bunny. I couldn't let my kids blab it to everyone. I couldn't be that mom whose kids ruined Easter for the other kids. I had to do damage control.

"Listen, I'm sorry about the Easter Bunny thing. But you have a 2 year old cousin and a baby can't tell them it's not real. You guys are the big kids and you're in on it now, so you have pretend and go along with it like you still believe too. As long as there's no more talk about how the Easter Bunny isn't real, he will continue to visit you every year and bring you Easter baskets, got it?"

They did. We got to the party and when Grandma handed them her little Easter baskets they didn't let on  to what had just gone down in the car on the way over. They also played along with the other kids and their conversations about what the Bunny brought them in their baskets at home. I have some great kids!

Fast-forward to yesterday, when Lily came home from school with a missing tooth. Right after showing me, she asks "Is the Tooth Fairy like the Easter Bunny? You it really just you?" I laughed and quickly told her no, but she knew. I sighed and rolled my eyes and said "Yes! It's me! I'm the Tooth Fairy too! I sneak into your room at night and take your tooth and leave you money. Are you happy now?" She was quiet and then said "Well, what do you do with my teeth?" Hahahahaha. I laughed so hard, and marched straight into my room to retrieve their teeth from the same place I keep our important papers. I file away their teeth with the birth certificates and report cards. Along with their teeth I also found a little Ziploc bag with a ponytail of Lily's hair from when she had her first big-girl hair cut. She was so weirded out that I had a bag full of her hair! All moms keep that stuff, right?

Anyway, Lily woke up this morning proudly clutching her two dollars the Tooth Fairy had left her. I asked her if the tooth was gone and she smiled and nodded. She didn't object when I mentioned the Tooth Fairy, and as long as there's no more talk about it she can still cash in on her remaining baby teeth. I'm pretty sure the cash is the incentive here, and it's not just for the sake of their poor old mom.

I'm looking forward to some great conversation when December rolls around! Santa should be a fun one.

Do you play Easter Bunny/Tooth Fairy/Santa with your kids?

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Real Food For Babies with Beech-Nut organic {and a giveaway!}

I participated in an Influencer Activation on behalf of Influence Central for Beech-Nut. I received a free coupon to facilitate my review as well as a promotional item to thank me for my participation.

Keeping up with a growing 9 month old's appetite can be tough. It seems like my entire day revolves around feeding Harper, my chunky, squishy baby girl. We are still going strong with breast feeding (woo hoo!) but a lot of her diet consists of real food now too, and I only want to feed her the best. I started off buying all organic fruits and veggies and making all of her baby food at home. That lasted a week or two, until reality set in and I remembered that I have 3 kids, a husband who works a lot, piles of laundry (including cloth diapers!) and a never-ending list of things to do. Thankfully, when I don't have time to grab something fresh for her, Beech-Nut's organic line of baby food has me covered.

As moms, we all want our children to eat nutritious, fresh, delicious food free from artificial ingredients, colors, and preservatives. That's what was so appealing to me about making Harper's baby food myself- I knew what exactly was (and wasn't) going into it. Beech-Nut was inspired to create an amazing line of food for babies that is just as flavorful as the food that moms make in their own kitchens- when they have the time. With Beech-Nut, what you see is what you get: just delicious, homemade-inspired food without all of the additives. I don't want to feed my baby something that I can't even read on the label. I headed to my local Kroger store and picked up a few jars of Beech-Nut, and was happy to see real food as the only ingredients listed. 

See? No long, hard-to-pronounce words and chemicals here. Just real food. I don't want to feed Harper something that I wouldn't eat myself. With Beech-Nut, this isn't just baby food. It's real food for babies, and is inspired by homemade. They use recipes inspired by real moms with unique ingredient combinations to get your baby's taste buds going. Flavors like organic apple, organic banana, raspberry & avocado, cinnamon & granola and organic butternut squash, or black bean and cumin. Just real, whole fruits and vegetables, with some ancient grains, spices, and beans too. 

The Beech-Nut organic line uses a unique just gentle cooking™ process, a method similar to the way I make baby food at home. The process doesn’t add any excess water or artificial preservatives and won’t cook the nutrients away. You just get the pure taste of real fruits and vegetables with none of the unwanted "extras."

Harper tried this delicious banana, cinnamon, and granola flavored one with her breakfast, paired with some whole grain toast and organic blueberries. The smell was deliciously sweet because of the cinnamon, and I loved that you could actually see the cinnamon and granola in it. The transparent honeypot glass jars and USDA-certified seal really sold me on this line and indicates to me that it's GMO-free. The glass jars can be recycled or re purposed for a craft project of some sort. I think banana, cinnamon, and granola was a huge hit!

She ate the entire jar and still wanted more. After each bite she would proclaim "Mmmmmmm!" and lean in for another one. She wanted to grab the spoon from me and feed herself, but mama isn't quite ready for that mess just yet. 

You can purchase Beech-Nut organic at Babies "R" Us, Kroger, and Wegmans. To find the location closest to you, use the locator tool here. You can also find Beech-Nut at the following retail stores: Price Chopper, Wakefern,, Winn-Dixie, BI-LO, Stop & Shop, Giant Carlisle, A&P, Pathmark, Albertsons, Hannaford, Raley’s, Meijer, Nugget Market,, Harris Teeter, Shaw's, ACME, Shoppers Food and Cub Foods.

One lucky Lulu & Sweet Pea reader is going to win a coupon for a FREE jar of Beech-Nut organic baby food! 

You can also keep up with Beech-Nut and follow them for more coupons, deals, and promotions on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, & Pinterest, or by searching the hashtag #RealFoodForBabies.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Vegan & cruelty free gel polish {Madam Glam swatches}

Hello, lovelies! Remember months ago when I introduced you to a relatively new brand of gel polish called Madam Glam and showed you how to do a rockin' gel French mani? Since then I've had the opportunity to try out more colors and share my thoughts with this vegan and cruelty free collection of gel polish.

I'm not vegan. Let me just point that out to you all. I'm a very big fan of meat, cheese, etc. So finding a vegan gel polish hasn't been an epic quest for me. But I know a lot of people who are vegan, and finding quality, reliable beauty products that are also vegan-friendly can be quite a challenge for some. Madam Glam gel polishes are not only vegan, but they are also cruelty free, meaning they never test on animals. That one is important to me, because I don't feel that beauty products need to be tested on animals in order to be deemed safe for human use. Let's just say no to animal testing!

The consistency and application of Madam Glam gel polish is very much like most other gels I've used. The base coat and top coat are just a teeny bit thinner, but provide great coverage and spread across the nail like a dream. Each color shown is with two coats of gel color and that provided the perfect amount of coverage without leaving a visible nail line. I also love the shape of the bottle handles and the brush- it makes applying the gel super easy and it goes on without streaking. You can cure the gel polish with an LED or UV lamp.

Coral Flirt (#338). This fun, coral/salmon color is perfect for spring. It's not too obnoxiously orange and is still flirty yet feminine. The coral color is a bit more muted than others, so you can wear it without blinding everyone with orange.

Bright Barbie Pink (#254). Shocking that I chose a hot pink, right? I'm always searching for the next perfect hot pink, and this one is clearly a new favorite. It's a super bright, neon pink and I can't wait to wear this one at the pool!

Raspberry Explosion (#208). The name is quite fitting for this one. It's a bright, berry-red color with a hint on wine. This one is bright and fun but still looks classic.

Light Lilac (#324). The name says it all. I've been searching for this shade forever. It's the perfect, light purple color with no shimmer. Where have you been all my life?

Madam Glam gels give you salon quality at home and wear for around 3-4 weeks, though I almost always opt to change mine after about 10 days or so because I'm too excited to try the next new color. Mine stayed beautifully shiny and chip-free the entire time, and I was quite impressed with how well they held up since I'm pretty hard on my hands and nails. Soaking them off was easy too, and you can read more about my preferred removal process here

Overall, I'm really in love with my new gel polishes. I can be pretty picky when it comes to gels, and you know I tend to play favorites when it comes to my brands. However, Madam Glam may just be a new front-runner for me. These gel polishes retail for $19.95 each, which is a bit higher than what I usually pay for gel polish. But Lulu & Sweet Pea readers can get 40% off when you purchase 4 gel polishes with the promo 40OFF at checkout (that brings them down to about $11.97 each). If you're interested in trying out Madam Glam gel polishes for yourself now would be a good time to do so and take advantage of this great promotional sale!

These products were sent to me, free of charge, by Madam Glam for reviewing purposes. This is not a paid or sponsored advertisement. All opinions are, as always, my own :) 


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