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Two + Life Lately

Monday, July 25, 2016

Well, it's happened. My baby girl went ahead and turned two and is officially not a baby anymore. These last two years have flown by- I know it's super cliche to say, but I really don't know where the time went. It doesn't seem all that long ago that I was sharing my pregnancy announcement here on the blog and then taking her home from the hospital as a mom of three. 

I'm not afraid to admit that the transition from two to three was a bit rocky in the beginning for me...after all, there is a 7 year age gap between my youngest two. I had gotten so used to it just being my two big, self-sufficient kids. Throwing a newborn into the mix definitely shook things up a little! But we wouldn't trade having Harper for the world. She's literally brought new life to the family and is doted on by everyone, including her siblings. They just adore her, really, they do. Now that she's two she's been playing with her big sister a lot more, and they bond over things like baby dolls, princess movies, and her new kitchen set we got for her birthday. It's so sweet to see my two girls playing make believe together. Even her big, cool, almost 12 year old brother will sit down and play pink legos with her or scoop her up, grab her favorite book, and snuggle in the chair with her all on his own. No one can resist that cute face!



Harper's birthday celebration was super low key. It was just the five of us at home- I made a chocolate cake with cream cheese frosting and sprinkles and she got to open her presents. Nothing fancy, no party, no one else came over. I had originally wanted to do just a small backyard barbecue with a few close friends, but I decided even that was a little too much work for me at 33 weeks pregnant. My kidney has really been bothering me (still) and I never know if I'm going to have a good or bad day pain-wise, so I threw out even the tiniest idea of a party and decided that it should just be us. It was perfect! Harper was beaming and laughing when we sang Happy Birthday to her. 


It's crazy now is to think that in just a few weeks my baby is going to be a big sister! We're somewhere around 40-45 days away from meeting our sweet little guy and I can't wait to see Harper with her baby brother. I'm a little nervous again about making the jump from three to four kids, but I know we'll all figure it out after those first few postpartum weeks. I've never had this close of an age gap between my kids either- Ayden and Lily were exactly 3 1/2 years apart and Ayden was fully potty trained by the time Lily came along. Harper and this baby will be just over 2 years apart and she's still in diapers and is nowhere near being self-sufficient. I just pray that I can handle her toddler meltdowns and super neediness while being sleep deprived and breastfeeding a newborn. I figure if other moms out there can do it, I can too, right? 


Can you believe those ultrasound pictures we got from the doctor last week? Technology is crazy, I tell ya. I've never seen that clear of a picture with any of my other babies! I can't wait to see who this little guy looks like. 

Target love: Cottonelle Clean Care Box

Sunday, July 17, 2016



Anyone who knows me knows I love Target. It's my happy place, where I enjoy long walks down the aisles, aimlessly searching for new health and beauty items with an iced coffee in hand. Recently, I've fallen in love with Target's sample boxes, and I was thrilled to be on the list of people who got their latest one sent directly to my front door!

The Cottonelle Clean Care Box came loaded with 7 premium personal care items that promise to deliver a better clean, a better texture, and a better experience from brands I already love and trust. This adorable little box was offered for a very limited time on Target.com for just $5 (with free shipping!) Unfortunatly, these babies flew much more quickly than anyone anticipated and sold out in just two days. I'm hoping Target brings them back again very soon because it's an amazing deal valued at over $25 worth of products! Keep checking this page to see if the Cottonelle Clean Care Box comes back in stock. 


What's inside:

Cottonelle Clean Care Bath Tissue | This bath tissue is thick, unscented, and designed to clean better with Cottonelle's CleanRipple® Texture. It's designed to give you a better clean! I hate thin bath tissue, so this one is a staple in my house.

Kleenex Facial Cleansing Wipes | This is a brand new product that I've been wanting to try. They are alcohol-free, pre-moistened, dermatologist tested, and come in really cute assorted patterns. The cloths are multi-layered and textured so they are effective yet gentle, and are infused with a pro-vitamin complex to give the natural radiance of a freshly washed clean in just one step.

Cottonelle Fresh Care Flushable Cleansing Cloths | These unscented, flushable wet wipes have been a must-have in my bathroom for a few months now (since I first discovered them). If you're a mom with small kids, you need these. Trust me! 

Kleenex Facial Tissue | A trusted brand of soft tissues I already use and love, these slim little packs of 10 tissues are designed to fit in your pocket or backpack. So cute! I love all of the designs. 

Skinfix Ultra Rich Hand Cream | I've recently fallen in love with the Skinfix brand and this award winning hand cream doesn't disappoint. My hands have been so dry lately from swimming. This luxurious cream softens and deeply hydrates the driest, eczema-prone hands. 

Skinfix Lip Repair Balm | I'm the type of person who always needs something on my lips, so this lightweight balm is a new favorite for me. It contains 40% coconut oil and helps banish dry lips on contact.

The Bathery Delicate Sponge | I actually needed a new bath sponge. This one comes in assorted colors and works really well to exfoliate.


The Cottonelle Clean Care Box also came with a little coupon booklet for Cottonelle, Kleenex, Skinfix, and The Bathery products at Target

I really hope Target brings back this box- it's so practical and is such a great value. Did you snag a Cottonelle Clean Care Box while they were available? You can still get these products individually at Target- don't forget to check the Target Cartwheel App for special savings!

Easy ways to support your child's school

Thursday, July 14, 2016


No matter what type of school your children attend, I think it's safe to say they could use all the help they can get these days. Parents and guardians are busier than ever and a lot of schools seem to be bursting at the seams with kids. Teachers and faculty are overwhelmed, overworked, and underpaid. It's so important for the parents to set a good example and help out wherever possible. Even if you work and have a busy lifestyle, there's always something you can do to give back and lend at hand at your child's school. Here are a few easy ways to support your child's school:

Volunteer in your child's class. This is a big one that will be appreciated by your child's teacher so much. They might put you to work grading tests or papers, organizing things in the classroom, reading to the class, helping out in a group activity, or preparing homework packets and future projects. Whatever it is, they will be so thankful for your time! Plus, it's fun for the kids to see you in the classroom and for you to see what daily school life is like.

Join the PTO/PTA. If you have the time, this is one that always seems to be in demand. It doesn't require a ton of time- just a few hours a month at meetings to help organize school events and whatnot. I know our PTA is always in need of parent volunteers, so if you have a few hours to spare this would be a good place to pitch in. Plus, you'll get to know the teachers and faculty better, as well as other parents who are involved.

Help fund raise. Whether it's attending school functions and fundraisers, donating to food drives, or simply collecting Box Tops For Education, fundraising for your child's school is huge. Collecting Box Tops is so easy too!

So many of Reynolds Consumer Products brands participate in Box Tops, and at $.10 each they add up pretty quickly. We buy so many products with Box Tops on them! Last year my children's school raised just over $2000 from Box Tops, and that money is put to good use for things like new equipment and technology, books, field trips, extra curricular activities, and more. 

Collecting Box Tops is easy and you can solicit your friends and family to collect for you too. Seriously- just ask grandparents, aunts, uncles, and friends to save Box Tops for your kiddos and let them know what they can do for the school. We get tons of them from our extended family and relatives! I like to clip mine and keep them in a plastic baggy on the fridge. Everyone in my house knows to clip the Box Tops and put them in the bag, and then when the bag is pretty full (every couple of months) my kids take turns handing them into the school. It's kind of a fun game to them- our last Box Top donation to the school at the end of the year was over 200! We're always trying to beat our previous record and see how many we can turn in at a time. 

You can earn extra Box Tops for your school by participating in the Hefty and Reynolds Box Tops for Education "School Supplied" sweepstakes and daily instant win game. They are giving away thousands of product prizes PLUS the chance for 5 lucky schools to win 10,000 eBoxTops! Just think of what your school could do with all of those! Enter here: www.heftyreynoldsboxtops.com

Do you collect Box Top For Education for your child's school? Did you know how easy it is? Make sure to enter the School Supplied sweepstakes for your chance to win and help your school even more!
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

Parents Day giveaway!

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

If you're a mom, dad, grandparent, aunt, uncle, or anyone else with little ones in your life you're going to love today's giveaway. In honor of Parents Day, July 24th, Sam's Club and IncrediBundles.com have teamed up for one awesome giveaway with 10 lucky winners!

Sam's Club knows how challenging it can be to be a parent today and they are here to help. Sam's Club members can save time and money shopping for products and services you and your family need and want. In addition, they have their new Mom's & Dad's Club, an exclusive website where parents can learn and save, and also get access to exclusive content, offers, samples, and more. When you sign up to be a Sam's Club Mom's & Dad's Club Member you get product tips and suggestions based on your profile as a parent of an infant, toddler, preschooler, or elementary aged child and get great ideas on how to turn every day products into family fun. Mom's and Dad's Club members have special access to prizes, sweepstakes and giveaways too! 

The giveaway

Are you a mom or dad trying to keep your little one happy and busy this summer? Enter to win a Fun With Mom or Fun With Dad Bundle from IncrediBundles.com! IncrediBundles is the home of extraordinary baby gifts selected by experts. They make it easy to give the perfect baby gift! 10 lucky winners will win an amazing bundle including a premium diaper bag and a $100 gift card to IncrediBundles.com. Winners will choose between the premium DadGear Diaper Backpack or the sleek and versatile SkipHop Versa Diaper Bag. Each bag is bundled with a $100 gift card to IncrediBundles.com where you can shop their carefully curated selection of toys, books, and products for children of all ages. Enter the giveaway here!



So what might you buy with your Incredibundles.com gift card? Here are some great ideas:

Infants Under 1

  • Bright stim toys that clip to strollers and carseats and feature a variety of textures for exploring little hands
  • Teethers and rattles made from natural materials and colored with food-grade dyes
  • Loads of books for baby, especially sturdy board books with touch-and-feel panels, bright illustrations and simple stories.
1 & 2 Year Olds

  • Stock up on toys that allow for open-ended play like balls and blocks
  • Toddler-friendly musical instruments like bells, shakers and simple drums
  • Lots and lots of books, especially those with repetition and rhyme, basic stories and friendly illustrations
Preschoolers

  • Games that allow children to learn as they play
  • Craft kits that exercise a child’s fine motor skills and creativity
  • Toys that encourage hours of happy pretend-play
  • Award-winning books with endearing characters and meaningful stories that children will want to hear again and again.
This amazing giveaway from Sam's Club and IncrediBundles.com looks like the perfect way to beat that summer boredom and find some amazing curated products for your little ones. Make sure to become a Sam's Club Mom's and Dad's Club Member today- it's free with your Sam's Club membership! And check out IncrediBundles.com for the perfect baby gift.


Big thanks to Sam's Club & IncrediBundles.com for sponsoring this giveaway! 

Making your laundry routine eco-friendly

Friday, July 8, 2016

This post was sponsored by NEW! Tide purclean as part of an Influencer Activation for Influence Central.

I don't know about you, but over the years I've become more environmentally conscious and worry about my family's impact on this world we live in. Even though we are just 5 people on this Earth, I feel like every little step we take to reduce, reuse, recycle helps keep this beautiful planet cleaner, better place, right? Imagine if everyone cared enough to do their share.

Switching to this mindset has made me really scrutinize my lifestyle and habits in all areas of my life, including how I keep my home clean. One thing that's recently gotten a major overhaul is my laundry routine. I mean, with three kids, one of which is a messy toddler in cloth diapers, and with another baby on the way, it's safe to say we do a ton of laundry around here. The washer is almost constantly running at this point, and it made me question how our dirty laundry impacts the environment. Today I'm sharing some easy tips for making your laundry routine more eco-friendly! 
Only wash what's necessary. This rule doesn't apply to everything, obviously, but a lot of things can be re worn and can skip a washing. Don't fill up your washing machine with clothes that aren't really dirty- it wastes space, which makes you wash more loads, using more water, energy, and detergent (plus, it's just a waste of time). So go ahead and re-wear those jeans, hoodies, cardigans, etc, 

Adjust your water temperature. Washing items at too high of a temperature can not only ruin the fabric (depending on the washing instructions), but it also wastes energy heating the water. I wash a lot of our clothes on cold rather than warm, and I try to only use the hot setting when absolutely necessary, like when I'm bleaching white towels and whatnot. 

Watch your load sizes. Using a load size that's too big for the load you're washing is wasteful. Why fill the basin completely if you only need it half full? If you're using the highest water setting make sure you're washing a full load. If it's smaller, change the settings accordingly and save water and energy.

Switch to Tide PurClean. Have you ever thought about the environmental effects of the detergent you're using? I recently switched to new Tide Purclean, the first bio-based detergent with the same cleaning power of Tide, and I am so happy with the results. It has a delicious scent- honey lavender, and it's made with 100% renewable electricity. It's also made with zero manufacturing waste to landfill sites and comes in a 100% recyclable bottle. I seriously love the smell of this stuff. I kept walking into the laundry room while the washer was running just to get a whiff of it again, and then I found myself sniffing the clean laundry when I was putting it away (kind of like in a commercial). It smells that good! 

Upgrade to an HE washer. If you're looking to upgrade your washer, consider purchasing a High Efficiency machine. These newer washing machines use much less water and energy than the old ones, which will save you money in the long run. Plus, most of them automatically adjust the load size for you by sensing the weight of the clothes, so no guessing how much water you actually need. We switched to an HE machine and  I absolutely love it! I've already seen savings on my water bill and a drop in the amount of water we use every month, which makes me feel great.

Shop smart. While shopping for your laundry detergent and cleaning supplies, bring your own reusable grocery bags and stock up while you're there. Cutting down on the amount of packaging and extra trips to the store cuts down on waste and transportation costs- both great things! Plus, plastic bags are horrible for the environment. 

Speaking of shopping smart, I headed to my local Target store (my favorite place) to pick up the new Tide PurClean. I used my Target Cartwheel mobile app (which I'm obsessed with!) to save 5% on Tide PurClean now through 7/30, and combined that discount with the $1.00 off neckhanger coupon found on the bottle in the store for extra savings. If you haven't used the Cartwheel app before you are missing out- it's super easy to use in the store on your phone and the savings really add up.


So how does your laundry routine stack up? Are you concerned with making your home more eco-friendly? Do they include environmentally conscious cleaners like the new Tide Purclean?

Smart toddler snacking

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Does anyone else feel like their kitchen needs a revolving door to keep up with the snacking children coming in and out all day? I swear, all of my kids think it's a free-for-all snack buffet all day, especially now with summer in full swing. No matter how much they seem to eat at breakfast, lunch, and dinner, within minutes I find them rummaging around in the fridge and cupboards, just looking for something to munch on. Of all my kids, my toddler, Harper, is actually the worst about this. Once she hit a year old it seems like she constantly has the need (or maybe it's desire) for a snack. No matter where we are or what time of day, I'd better have a snack ready for her. 

Snacking is actually important for growing toddlers because, well, they're growing. Plus, as soon as they learn how to move, there's no stopping them. Harper didn't just learn to walk- she learned how to run, and she's constantly on the move all day long. It's really no wonder that she's always hungry. Since she needs real food for energy and growth I want to make sure she's eating healthy snacks that will fill her up and fuel her throughout the day. I always offer her a ton of fresh fruits and veggies, like bananas, apples, grapes, blueberries, tomatoes, and cucumber. Yogurt and string cheese are also some of her favorites, as well as cottage cheese, whole grain crackers, and pretzels. In addition to these snack time essentials, I recently picked up these new Gerber Lil' Beanies.

I found Lil' Beanies on the baby aisle next at my local Fred Meyer grocery store, right next to all of the other convenient little Gerber snacks that Harper has tried and loved. They come in two flavors- Original and White Cheddar & Broccoli, so I grabbed one of each. I cannot even begin to tell you how obsessed Harper is with these things! Now, everywhere we go, we have to bring her handy little snack cup full of Lil' Beanies. That means car rides, at the store, church, play dates, the park, and at home. Wherever we are, Lil' Beanies are coming with us. She loves to munch on them and they are really convenient and portable, which makes them perfect for snacking on the go.
While Harper loves the crunchy flavors and textures, I love the fact that Gerber Lil' Beanies actually provide some decent nutritional value. While she's sitting on her little princess couch watching her favorite movie for the third time today, she's also getting 2 grams of protein (9% Daily Value), 1 gram of fiber, and 10% Daily Value of vitamin E per serving (and she's definitely having more than 1 serving on most days). Lil' Beanies are made with real navy beans that are baked. They also contain no artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives and are Non-GMO (meaning no genetically engineered ingredients). Win, win, win for me!
Gerber Lil' Beanies can be found at your local Fred Meyer grocery store on the baby aisle, and you can also learn more about them here. Have you picked them up for your toddler yet? What are some other snack time favorites?


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