Sports, Stains and Solutions, Oh My!

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Maytag. All opinions are 100% mine.

Last week my family went camping with friends and we decided that it would be the perfect opportunity to teach the kids how to play baseball. We are no stranger to getting messy. We encourage our kids to get down and dirty during play time because the we know that the memories will last forever and stains are just temporary. Well, we are new to camping and with no TV and no wifi, my friend, Shannon and I, thought it would be fun to set up a baseball game with the kids to surprise our husbands with a game when they arrived home from golfing. We had envisioned this lively night of amazing baseball under the stars but as you can see our skills were limited.

Limited might even be stretching it a little bit but one thing that did help us catch baseball fever was the aspect of sliding. Boy, did we master that skill!

We slid every which direction and our clothes were so dusty and dirty from the sand and dirt they were nearly unrecognizable!

But, a little stain never gets me down because I love that my kids will have the crazy memories of camping as a family and mom letting them learn how to slide like a Major League Baseball player! I know that if my kids play hard that is just takes having the right equipment to help me not to have to clean as hard! Hey, having the right household appliances to me is like being on a sports team! I need the machines to help me get a home run in stain removal! Who better to look to for an endorsement on laundry than the MLB themselves!

That is when I learned about the Maytag’s new Top Loader Washer and Dryer! They are designed to handle ANY filthy mess! If they can handle big league stains, it makes me confident that it can conquer the every day stains that my kids create (and that is a skill they are good at!)

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Isn’t a beauty? This is not only a thing of beauty for every mom of a messy kid but this is a real dream machine! Every day messes take their toll during laundry and if you are like me a load of laundry may take a day or two to make it into the wash. Busy moms need a high powered machine that is going to work as hard for them as they work for their family! Maytag gets that!

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Maytag and the MLB want you to get in on the fun! Get a little dirty and get a chance to win one of these Maytag Top Loading Washer and Dryer pair! Woot!!!! I know that makes you as excited as I do! All you have to do is share your filthiest play and share it online via Twitter or Instagram and use the #MyFilthiestPlay Not, only are you eligible for weekly prizes you have a chance at a grand prize trip to the World Series!

So, mom to mom I am giving you clearance to let go of the fear of stains and let your kids (and YOU!) get a little filthy!

Here are my families top favorite FILTHY activities that you can try too!

Explore your local parks and zoos!

Build something together! Get your hands dirty with your kids and build something tangible that will create memories! (Don’t worry he was supervised!)

Learn a sport together!

Make a new friend! Even if it is a filthy one!

Take the plunge even when your wardrobe is planned for it! Trust me, it is worth it!

Come and share your #MyFilthiestPlay

Filthiest Plays of the Week

and be sure to check out

Maytag Laundry

http://twitter.com/mlb

Official Rules

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Get Back to School In Style

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When back to school time comes around there is a sigh of relief for parents and kids who are ready for routines to start again. But, something we the kids and I don’t always agree on is the back to school wardrobe! The annual purging of outgrown and out of style clothes is a battle that we face every year! My kids all have a unique style and they want to express it at school! My oldest is comfy, stylish and casual! She loves jeans with stretch and cute flowy cotton tops that allow her to not feel confined all day! My son is all about the super heroes and characters. If it isn’t the character it is the colors or the look if he thinks their alter ego would wear it. My youngest is all about dresses right now! Who knew preschoolers could have such a sense of style?

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At any rate my kids love to dress the way that makes them feel comfortable and stylish and if they feel good about themselves then their school work and self esteem seem to be better as well! However, all of my opportunities to shop are not always with my kids so getting a grasp on whats on trend and what fits their needs is something I need a little help with!

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Macy’s Back to School Events to the rescue! I am lucky enough to live by one of their events in Lexington, KY and I am thrilled to get an up close look at the trends, clothes and fashions and what a fun bonding event for my girls and I to attend a fashion show together! If you live by one of their events, do yourself a favor and check them out! If you live in or around Lexington, KY come and join me! Here are my kids favorite outfit choices when they went through the Macy’s website! I can’t wait to see if any of their looks are on the runway!

Our Favorite Macys Back to School Looks

3301 Nicholasville Road Lexington, KY, 40503
3rd Floor, Kids Department
Join us for an afternoon of crafts and activities!
Check out the coolest looks for school and pose for a picture in our Disney Princess and Star Wars-themed photo booths.
Plus, enjoy refreshments courtesy of Drazil Tea, Little Me Tea, and snacks courtesy of Deep River Snacks and Snack Factory Pretzel Crisps!

This post is sponsored by Everywhere Agency; however, all thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.

About Macy’s

Macy’s, the largest retail brand of Macy’s, Inc., delivers fashion and affordable luxury to customers at approximately 800 locations in 45 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and Guam, as well as to customers in the U.S. and more than 100 international destinations through its leading online store at macys.com. Via its stores, e-commerce site, mobile and social platforms, Macy’s offers distinctive assortments including the most desired family of exclusive and fashion brands for him, her and home. Macy’s is known for such epic events as Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks® and the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade®, as well as spectacular fashion shows, culinary events, flower shows and celebrity appearances. Macy’s flagship stores including Herald Square in New York City, Union Square in San Francisco, State Street in Chicago, and Dadeland in Miami and South Coast Plaza in southern California are known internationally and are leading destinations for visitors. Building on a more than 150-year tradition, and with the collective support of customers, employees and Macy’s Foundation, Macy’s helps strengthen communities by supporting local and national charities giving more than $70 million each year to help make a difference in the lives of our customers. 

New Elf Items

  
I said I was done make new elf items but then you get an idea and the rest is history! You guys often bring me such great ideas and I feel bad when I can’t do them all! But, when I am idea comes together it is awesome! When I introduced the hat masks this year I made a few and loved them! So, clearly it was a matter of time before I had the hats for YMCA! Ha! 

I also had a request for a mermaid and Harry Potter! Full outfits are hard but I think these are the perfect accents that give nods to your families favorite characters. It really is a lot of fun to create these for yourself elves! 

  

Banana Pudding Ice Cream

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Breyers. All opinions are 100% mine.

Last week we celebrated our 13 year wedding anniversary and when your day falls on a Monday of a very busy week sometimes you have to sneak in a special celebration. I can honestly say that this little dessert was quick and easy and was the perfect compliment to our mini celebration. If I told you that you could make in less than 10 minutes would you believe me? Well, I did and you can! But, first let me tell you how Banana Pudding became a staple of our marriage.

When we got married we asked all of the guests to give us their best marriage advice. We had 100’s of handwritten cards with their best advice to keep a healthy and happy marriage! When we returned from our honeymoon we poured over the responses and had a few tears and a few good laughs! My mother in law’s best advice was her recipe for Banana Pudding. (We also know her handwriting well and even though it was anonymous we are pretty sure the argue nude is her advice as well!) Hehe! But, it became a running joke between my husband and I that the answer to all of our marital issues would always be banana pudding! But, as good as the recipe is I don’t always have the time or ingredients for a labor intensive dessert but thanks to Breyers Natural Vanilla ice cream, my husband can look forward to Banana Pudding whenever he wants!

Chef Antonia Lofaso of Top Chef fame partnered with Breyers to create signature desserts using their products. I jumped at the chance to recreate her Banana Pudding but I admit I was skeptical that an ice cream could replicate our well loved and favorite dessert! I was so wrong! It was AMAZING! All of the flavor of a rich classic banana pudding! To make your own you will need:

  • 1/2 Large Ripe Banana, cut into 4 equal pieces
  • 1 tbsp of turbinado sugar
  • 1 tsp of spreadable butter
  • 1 cup of Breyers Natural Vanilla Ice Cream
  • 4 vanilla wafer cookies

First you warm up your pan and place butter on and get a little sizzle. Then take your cut bananas and roll the flat sides onto the turbinado sugar. Then place them into the pan and saute them for just a minute or two. The butter and sugar will adhere beautifully and your bananas will take on a caramelized goodness that will be amazing when paired with the ice cream!

Next you want to scoop out your Breyers Natural Vanilla Ice Cream. Breyers is committed to using high quality ingredients made with fresh cream, sugar and milk and sustainably farmed vanilla beans. Their milk and cream are now sourced from cows that are not treated by artificial growth hormones*. I know that makes me feel a little better about indulging in this sweet treat!

Add your sauteed bananas and wafer cookies and you are ready for the most delectable bite of ice cream with the rich and creamy flavor of banana pudding! All the taste and a fraction of the time!

Seriously, if you could smell this dessert through the screen you would be trying to take a bite! It is that good! As a banana pudding aficionado, I can declare this dessert a real winner! I can see why Breyers Natural Vanilla is America’s #1 vanilla ice cream!

You can connect with Breyers at these links!

Breyers on Pinterest

Breyers on Twitter

Breyers on Facebook

You can also view more of Chef Anotonia Lofaso’s recipes for Breyers here!

Toasted Almond and Vanilla Arancini

Stars and Stripes Sundae

Tropical Ice Cream Sandwich

Pound Cake and Peaches Sundaes

Breyers products are available in grocery stores nationwide for a suggested retail price of $3.99 – $5.99

*Other ingredients not sourced from cows with given artificial growth hormones, suppliers of other ingredients such as cookies, candies and sauces may not be able to make this pledge. The FDA states that no significant difference has been show between dairy derived from rBST-treated and non-RSBT treated cows.

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A Letter to My Daughter on the Eve of Middle School

A Letter to My Daughter on the Eve of Middle School

To My Daughter,

The thought of sending you to middle school reminds me of the day you were born. It was a few weeks before your due date and I was a bundle of nerves. Scared of the future and yet so ready for that next step in life. I was not expecting you that day but your entrance into the world came whether I was ready or not. They placed you on my chest and I felt our heartbeats sync. Your crying ceased as you were knew that you were with your mama. They so no one can compare how you will feel when you become a mother and as hard as the sleepless nights were I feel like I am preparing for a new birth now. I have been laboring this child for 11 years and now it is time for you to grow into a young woman. Just typing that puts a lump in my throat. In a way you are birthing your own future. Your are embarking on a time where you get decide what you are good at and go after it. You get to decide on a style and express yourself. You get to blow me away with your progress as a student. You will make decisions on what traits you find attractive and make your palms sweaty. You will also begin to change physically and although the freckles you have now will always be on the bridge of your nose you won’t always look like the little girl that I have become accustomed to tucking in at night.

Changing classes and remembering a locker combination may seem like your biggest challenge for the coming days. Your biggest worry lies in whether you have friends to sit with at lunch. I am telling you baby girl, life will be full of worry if you let it. But, take middle school on with confidence. Know there is a community that wants to see you succeed. If you stay true to yourself you will never be lacking in friendships. Your heart is gold but it will continue to need to be polished. It will think faster than your head and you will fumble. But, fumbles can be recovered. Remember that you are covered in grace. Show that grace to others. You ears my burn with the sounds of nastiness and words that you know are wrong. Resist the urge to talk a walk you are not comfortable with as a means to fitting in. Be the person to others that you want to be around you. Realize that the thing that might bother you most about yourself will most likely be the thing you are so glad you have when we you get older.

Middle school does not last forever, but the memories will so make the best of it. Take every experience as ones that you learn from and allow it to build a foundation for your future. There will be drama and there will be tears but know they are temporary and you have the power to move beyond it. Listen to your teachers even when you want to doodle on your notebook. Make good study habits (trust me they only get harder to learn as you get older) Be disciplined. Excel because you want to be proud of yourself and not just to seek the attention and praise of others. Don’t live for the moment. Create moments that move you closer to goals and dreams.

This is your time. I won’t be taking your pictures at the bus stop. I will be too busy wiping my tears. Your journey is just beginning and I am excited to see it start. I can’t promise that I will never embarrass you and your days of embarrassing me probably are not over either.  Your tears will be my tears (or perhaps just caused by your hormones). Your joys will be my pride. Our roles may shift and you will want me to view you as a friend and not your mom and although someday that will be true, for now my job is not done and I couldn’t be happier to keep that role.

I love you.

Mom

Back to School Teacher Gifts & Giveaway!

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One of my favorite movies is You’ve Got Mail. The nostalgia of that film means regardless of how my times I have seen it, I am going to stop whatever I am doing to watch. In one of my favorite scenes before Meg Ryan’s character knows who her online mystery man is they exchange words about New York on the fall and she said she would like to give him a bouquet of freshly sharpened pencils.

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I wholeheartedly agree! Even though outside still feels like summer we are official back to school this week! It has me organizing school supplies and dreaming of changing leaves and all things pumpkin. But, before that can all begin school has to start!

I know the idea of first day presentfor teachers is debatable! I get it! I don’t go crazy. Usually a school supply and as a small gift card because I want them to know they are appreciated! My husband spent 8 years in the classroom before becoming an administrator and I know that there is no magic fairy that supplies all the extras that a classroom needs. It all comes from the teacher’s own budget.

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Getting back to my bouquet of freshly sharpened pencils I decided to do just that! Of course a little jolt of caffeine never hurt anyone so I combined my love of caffeine and school supplies for our gift!

I really loved how my pencil koozie turned out! I hope my son’s teacher enjoys it! Call it bribery, I prefer a nice gesture. But, a little kindness goes a long way.

  

Tell me your favorite teacher story! Either yours or of your children’s and I will pick one and make a personalize pencil koozie for them as well as add Starbucks gift card!

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Contest ends 8/24/15! Enter as many teacher story comments as you would like!

Back to School for Everyone!

 

A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to work with our Local 12 News when they were producing a back to school segment. I was thrilled with opportunity to share my best back to school buying tips. The news segment aired last week and I was thrilled out it turned out. What I learned from this segment is that when you film at your house you see everything. My best friend came to wrangle my kids and dog while we were filming and you can catch a glimpse of my gargantuan diet coke on the background which made me laugh! Thanks again to Sheila Gray for the opportunity!

In preparing for back to school this experience was very much a back to school opportunity for me to to learn an on air skill. Looking forward to expanding my skills! Maybe not always on air but it was an awesome behind the scenes experience!

Here is a link to her story: Family 411: Back to School

For my back to school tips you can find them here:

Back to School Buying Tips

How to Beat the Back to School Blues

Polymer Clay Jewelry Dish Tutorial

 

Looking for a quick craft that make s a beautiful gift? Are you a DIY Bride who wants a customized unique ring bearer tray? Well, today is your lucky day! This dish is so easy anyone can do it!

Start with 3 colors of polymer clay.

Break off a portion of each brick

Roll them out 5-6 inches like a snake

Braid them together 

Roll into a ball

Roll out not too thin

Arrange in a oven safe dish

Bake at 275 for 15 minutes 

Cool and Remove

Paint the edges with gold paint pen

Enjoy!

   

How to Throw a Disney Descendants Party

How to Throw a Disney Descendants Party

I have to admit when I saw the commercial for Disney Descendants, I may have been more excited than my kids. I mean all of my favorite Disney Villains and High School Musical had a mash up.  I am on board. My daughter has been talking about the release for weeks and was insistent that we host a preview party with themed snacks. A Disney movie with themed snacks? Twist my arm, kid! I may have even offered my house up for a sleepover we were so excited!

So, naturally we had to give our themed snacks a trial to see how they worked! We loved them! Can’t wait to have set the table for an amazing Disney Descendants party!

We are starting with Cruella and Carlos’ Dalmation Cookies! These are sugar cookies with vanilla frosting and chocolate chips!

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Next we have Jafar and Jay’s Magic Carpet Crackers and Hummus!

IMG_3439.JPGUp next is Evil Queen and Evie’s Poisonous Caramel Apples

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To end the night we are having a special treat from my favorite villain! Maleficent Floats made with grape soda and vanilla ice cream!

IMG_3441.JPGPlus have you downloaded the Disney Side app? You can turn yourself into this villainous favorite of mine and many of your other favorite Disney characters!

Customized Clipboard Tutorial

Today’s tutorial is courtesy of my 11 year old! 

We are 2 weeks out from school starting in our neck of the woods. Our summer assignments are in full swing and we doing our best to swing back into a routine. 

When we built our table the first thing that my husband said was the kids could not write directly on it in fear of making marks in the wood. So, I ordered clip boards for the kids and my daughter had the idea to decorate her own.

So here is my 11 year old daughter and her tutorial for a customized  clip board!

First begin by designing in a program such a Pic Monkey! They have a paid version but we used only free areas to create this.

  
We created a design using School U theme. 

Once you are happy with your design save it and print. 

Cut out and apply it to clip board using double side tape.

   

 

Add washi tape to complete your design and you are done!