Giving Tuesday

Giving Tuesday

After a week (more like a month) of buying gifts for yourself and others, today is a day to think about a cause that is near to your heart or those less fortunate. It’s Giving Tuesday – a worldwide celebration! It is a day where we emphasize generosity and come together to by doing random acts of kindness, giving your time, giving your money, or advocating to support others. We wanted to take this opportunity to share with you a couple nonprofits that are near and dear to our hearts and to give you a couple idea that you could celebrate Giving Tuesday (either by yourself or with the whole family).

Operation Christmas Child
This is a project that the nonprofit Samaritan’s Purse heads up every year. The purpose of OCC is the show God’s love for children in a tangible way, through the gift of a shoebox that is packed with toys, school supplies, and hygiene products. Samaritan’s Purse makes it so easy to donate, you can build a shoe box online here. Every year we do this activity with the boys. They are able to pick out the age and gender of the child they are shopping for and (with some guidance) they pick out what they think the child would like. Throughout the process, this is such a great time to teach them about how blessed we are.

The Well Resource Center
This nonprofit is specific to the Chicagoland area. The Well exists to serve First Responders and their families. They provided counseling services for first responders to talk and process through things that have happened on (or off) the job. In addition to counseling, The Well hosts a number of different social programs to connect with First Responders – two of these weekly programs are a Bike Night and getting together to play basketball. If you would like to give to The Well, you can here! But there are many different ways that you can walk alongside this nonprofit that don’t include the giving of money. You could provide food for a local police department, provide a meal for a first responders family, write a note of encouragement to a First Responder, and more. To connect with one of those ways of giving back to The Well, click here.

CAST Water Safety Foundation
This is another local nonprofit that is near and dear to our hearts. CAST’s mission is to prevent childhood drowning and to create safer swimmers sooner. If you’ve been around here since the beginning, you know that we have the boys participate in ISR for swimming lessons. Since we started ISR we have been continuously amazed with the self-rescue swim lessons that the boys receive. Not only have the boys learned self-rescue skills but we as parents have learned so much about water safety (be on the lookout for more ISR updates as they are starting their refresher course this week!). We have personally benefited from CAST because of the scholarships they provide for those interested in lessons. They provide scholarships for military, nurses, teachers, & first responders families, for those with special needs or a disability (parent or child), or for those in need for financial assistance. If you want to donate to CAST click here, if you want to learn more about ISR click here!

Stocking Stuffers for the Kids

Stocking Stuffers for the Kids

We are so excited to partner with Tubby Todd for a giveaway for the kids today! We love and use Tubby Todd products and cannot wait to share this gift with someone else. Head to our instagram to find out how to enter.

Growing up (even now!) we both loved our stocking presents. In our family, stockings are from Santa and are a great combination of fun but practical items. We’ve kept those stocking traditions going for our families as well and we know our little get so excited to see what Santa brings them! Filling stockings for kids is great because they love the little stuff and you don’t have to spend a TON for them to think it is the best! Below, check out some items we are filling our children’s stockings with.

*Number Robots – these transforming number robots would be perfect for encouraging math fluency while playing
*Water Bottles – functional, leak proof, keeps liquids cold, personalized AND cute…. we have and love these!
*Tubby Todd Bath & Body Products – clean products that help with tricky skin are a necessity for us, it’s a bonus that the packaging is adorable too 😉
*Bath-time Tea Set – bath toys are always something we are in need of restocking!
*Mini Construction Trucks – boy moms, can you ever have too many trucks??? Not in our house at least!
*Toothbrush – our littles love electronic toothbrushes, anyone else’s?!
*Solid Paint Sticks – have a little artist but hate the cleanup process with paint? Try these painting sticks… they are AMAZING
*Bandaids – our children love bandaids and this brand couldn’t have cuter designs (monsters, unicorns, and so many more!)
*Find & Seek – a travel size game for the whole family! Perfect to bring in the car, out to eat, or anywhere that you may need to kill time
*Mini Lego Set – all legos. All the time. Am I right? This set would fit perfectly in a stocking

Apple Outfits

Apple Outfits

Happy September! Today is the first day, in the Chicagoland area, where the weather isn’t super hot. With the temperature in the 70’s and it officially being September, it is evident that fall is coming. With fall comes all the fall activities – including apple picking! Grayson wore this little outfit to school yesterday and it was perfect since they were starting their unit on apples and the letter ‘a’.

Although this outfit is old (Hunter wore it when he was 3, so 2 years old!), we love it so much and I think it is just precious. I wanted to find some similar outfits for boys and then find adorable apple outfits for girls too. This short set is this years version of the set that Grayson is wearing, it is just a mint color instead of the green that is photographed here. This short set is similar with the mint shorts but it has a white shirt instead of red. I love the royal blue gingham shorts on this short set. The embroidered name on this short set is too cute! If you aren’t into the short sets, then this apple truck shirt might be just the item for you!

As for girls, I found the sweetest bubbles from Cecil and Lou and Smocked Auctions. I adore this little diaper set! If you prefer dresses then look no further – I love this one and this one! Girls clothes are just so precious aren’t they?!

What fall themed clothes do you love dressing your littles in?

Kids Fall Jackets

Kids Fall Jackets

With school back into the swing of things, Friday night lights right around the corner, and pumpkin everything on all the store shelves – there is no denying that fall is rapidly approaching. Fall is so bittersweet for me. I love dressing for fall, I especially love dressing my boys for fall, I love the cozy feels of fall … but winter follows – haha! This early fall time, though, is great to me. Holding onto the summer days and appreciating all the time outside but still excited and anticipating the upcoming season.

Today,I wanted to share these fall jackets I got the boys this year. They are from Hope & Henry (you all know I love this brand) and are perfect for the early fall days. These jackets are extremely lightweight, so they are perfect for early fall when all you need is something light to cover your arms when the sun sets. But then, they will transition nicely into later fall when your little ones have sweaters on underneath too. I ordered the boys actual sizes in these jackets and they are on the bigger side. Depending on how you like your child’s clothes to fit, you may want to size down in these!

I have found a couple of other fall jacket options for you children and am linking them below! Some are lightweight and perfect for early fall (and then springtime). Others are a bit heavier and will take you into later fall, and if you live in the south -through winter.

Boy’s Fall Jackets

Girls Fall Jackets

Boys Quilted Vest

Boys Quilted Vest

We are slowly getting fall wardrobes ready for the boys and these vests were one of my first purchases of the season. I love a good vest to transition from summer to fall and then again from winter to spring. These vests are from Hope & Henry. If you know me, you know how much I love this brand. They make such great quality clothing and a great price point! Back to these vests… I love the diamond quilted print, the brass closure (zipper and/or button), and the functional front pockets. This navy color is perfect as the boys can now layer these vests over almost anything! Here is the girl version of the navy quilted vest I got for the boys!

See some other vests I am loving for boys below.

this one is reversible!

And here are vests for your little girl too!

love the precious peplum
this one also comes in navy!

Have you started shopping for fall yet?!

Kids Water Bottles

Kids Water Bottles

With back to school in full swing we are sharing our top water bottles for the littles! We both have different water bottles that we love so see below for our faves and why we like them!

Michelle’s Pick:

Simple Kids Water Bottle- love that these are stainless steel, come in cute designs, easy to clean, dishwasher safe, and durable!
Stephen Joesph Flip Top – this is my favorite pick! Perfect for little hands and fits well into side pockets (backpacks, diaper bag, etc)

Kelly’s Pick:

ETSY- love the personalized option!

Caden Lane- just adore the personalization of these and they hold up well!
ETSY bottles

Kylie’s Leopard PJ’s

Kylie’s Leopard PJ’s

Another Nordstrom Sale win for me! Wanted to share these Tucker + Tate PJ’s that I picked up for Kylie at the Nordstrom Sale. They are a two-piece pajama set and I absolutely love the print! They are both soft and breathable and hold up great in the wash. The price point is also really great, so snag these while you can! Unfortunately they are sold out in Kylie’s size but still have baby (up to 24 months!) available. I also found this super cute tie-dye set from Tucker + Tate and all sizes available!

Baby Sizes
Big Girl, Toddler, and Little Girl sizes available

Anyone else love shopping for kids PJ’s?!

Back to School: Backpacks!

Back to School: Backpacks!

Being a teacher and a mom of a soon to be Kindergartener, I cannot believe that we are already talking back to school. Since it will be here before we know it, I have been getting things together for the start of school.

Up until this year, the boys have always had monogrammed, seersucker backpacks. Grayson will continue to use his for this upcoming school year, and I just bought Preston this one.

I remember starting a new school year when I was in elementary school and being SO excited about my new backpack each year. When I asked Hunter what kind of backpack he wanted, I knew the answer I was going to get – Ninjago. Hunter loves the Lego Ninjagos to play with and the show, so it was only fitting for him to want that for a backpack. So, I was on the hunt for a Ninjago backpack that Hunter and I would approve of (a hard task – haha). We ended up settling on this one. Hunter is thrilled and my mama heart is happy for him.

While I was searching (and searching) for Hunter’s new backpack I came across so many that I liked and hadn’t seen before! Being a teacher, I see the same backpacks (in a different pattern) over and over again. So if you are searching for something a bit different than the standard backpack that every child has – search no further! See my favorites below.

Toddler Backpacks

blue check * pink check * colorblock * dinosaur * lilac * navy

Girl Backpacks

coral * floral * pink marble * barbie * 70s rainbow * sage check

Boy Backpacks

blue * ninjago * puma * cream (this one has Star Wars interior) * under armour * gray

Coordinating Family Outfits for Summer

Coordinating Family Outfits for Summer

We’ve talked about getting family photos taken before and how I do it pretty regularly with my family, I love (it also makes me sad) seeing how the boys change and grow from year to year. Well if you are due for family photos then you are going to need some outfit inspo for summer time family photos! We’re here to help, and show you a handful of outfits we’ve done in the past.

Michelle and I approach family photos similarly but execute them differently! When choosing the perfect colorscape for photos we both typically start with the kids. We find what they will be wearing first and then coordinate our outfits and our husbands around that. There has been the occasional time when I know exactly what I want to wear and I find the boys outfits to go with it, but that is harder to me.

Michelle is not into matching as much as I am. Although having a boy and a girl lends itself to naturally not match but to coordinate. Even if Michelle had two children of the same gender, you wouldn’t see her matching her children. I, on the other hand, love matching my boys – and not just for family photos as you’ve seen over the past year.

One thing I love now is that many retailers are starting to create a ‘family’ section on their sites – it makes this whole process so much easier. When finding coordinating or matching pieces for the kids, we typically shop at Smocked Auctions, Cecil & Lou, Lily Pulitzer, and Vineyard Vines. All of these retailers have great options if you want to find both coordinating pieces or matching sets.

If I were doing family pictures right now I would wear this dress, the boys would wear these shorts with this white polo, if I had a baby boy I would put him in this bubble, if I had a younger girl she would wear this bubble or an older girl I would put in this dress, and I would have Rob wear these navy shorts and a white polo.

JCrew Sale

JCrew Sale

J Crew is having a major sale on certain sale items! With the code SALETIME you will get an additional 60% off some sale items. The sweater that the boys are wearing in the picture above was one of the items we purchased (this time in the camel color). We just perused the kids sale – see out favorite picks for boys and girls below!

Girl Items
Blue Tie Front Tee – such a cute tee for playdates!
Teal Sweater – this cashmere sweater is so pretty and comes in plenty of other colors
Watermelon Jammies – love these sweet pajamas
Red Dress – looks just like the Hill House Nap Dress, at a fraction of th price!
Green Romper – SO cute and perfect for everyday wear
Blue Dress – does it get any cuter than this?!

Boy Items
Green Slacks – love the color of these, if green isn’t your thing there are plenty of other color choices
Polo – always on the lookout for a basic polo
Sweater – I always make sure to grab this sweater when its on sale, the boys wear this on repeat in the fall and winter months
T-shirt – another great basic
Striped Pajamas – plan way ahead and order the next size up for next years 4th of July!
Long Sleeve Polo – can you tell that I love basics for my boys?! haha – this one also comes in other colors