Dirty Laundry

If there is one thing that all moms have in common–it’s laundry.

Piles and piles of dirty laundry.

That task that is never ending and time consuming.

I always find it funny that everyone seems to do & sort their laundry a different way-this became really apparent to me when I was staying with my families last year. My mom in law does hers different than my sister in law who does it differently from my mom who does it differently from me, haha.

I know a lot of people swear by the one load a day method but my family (even though there are four of us…) doesn’t make enough laundry to merit that. (Lucky me, right? Haha) So I normally just do all my laundry Monday and Tuesday each week and that seems to work well for us.

Amber has always loved helping with laundry and I’ve always encouraged it. Now that she’s four she can help load and unload, and now she is even starting to fold things like pants and towels. They’re not her chores and I still try to keep it fun-but it does help.

Don’t underestimate what your kids can do to help you around the house-it can be fun for them, helpful for you, and increases their sense of self esteem and worth in the family.

Personally I’ve never minded doing laundry too much, but climbing “Mt. Washmore” can be tedious and if you have a kiddo with eczema like mine it become a bit more complicated. I’ve learned to use free and clear detergents and if they’re all natural then that’s even better! Over the past month I’ve been trying out the laundry detergent Ecover Zero. I was pleased with it–the concentrated liquid did go a long way and got our clothes nice and clean. It did seem to have a bit of a scent to it for being unscented-so I wasn’t super crazy about that, but overall it did the job and I would recommend it!

Do you have any tips that help make your laundry experience easier or any products you swear by? Please share in the comments-I’m always looking for new ideas on how to make all that dirty laundry a little more fun!

Everyday Solutions For Moms

Mompact is back with a new great bundle of products! These might look pretty familiar as I’ve done reviews of many of them.
Twooth Timer Review  ~ such a great, fun way to get kids to brush their teeth for the right amount of time.
Gripsterz Review ~ I had to share this hysterical picture–*totally* not what the inventor had in mind I’m sure-just leave it to my crazy kids, hahaha.
Parking Pal Review ~ Still a favorite in all our out and about running this summer!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Mamavation Monday ~ Back Again!

After completing the 2 Week Challenge I decided to take a bit of the break from the scale and tracking for a few different reasons. The main one was that hubby had the time off and it also contained 3 of the 4 birthdays in our family.

We had a great time hanging out, organizing and decluttering, and getting appointments and things that have been hanging around on the to do list done.

I’m happy because even though I didn’t work out except for twice during the 2 weeks I was able to maintain my weight.

Today is my first day getting back into our normal routine and I did workout this morning. It’s always amazing how fast you loose that muscle :S I’m happy to be back to working out though!

Lately it keeps popping up everywhere that when it comes to weight loss it really is more about what you eat than how much you workout. I know for me this is super true-especially with this last 10ish lbs I’m trying to ditch. Now than all the holidays and birthdays are behind us (for a few months at least, haha) I’m going to really try to crack down on the sweets and late night cravings!

Where are you at in your goals? I’d love to hear an update and if you have anything that helps your cravings. I just came across this blog post on what your cravings mean and thought it was a great one!

The Power of Giving and How It Leads to Success and Happiness

I recently talked about how I’m moved by Random Acts of Kindness. Growing up in a Christian home I came to appreciate and learn to practice the art of giving. After all the Bible teaches us, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.”

In the book The Power of Giving and How it Leads to Success and Happiness Daniel Goldhar delves into giving and all that it entails. As someone who usually only reads things from a Christian perspective I found the book very interesting and insightful since it included many different religions teachings on giving–from Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.

I also found it intriguing that there are a certain number of times that we can give without being reciprocated-and past that number we cease to feel that we are giving and instead begin to feel used. The book contains many great nuggets to think about-from things to use, try, and do in your personal life to ideas and insights for corporations who want to be genuine and give back.

This book was helpful, uplifting, and an easy read. I’d recommend it for anyone who would like to learn a little more about giving and how to use this great and wonderful tool for themselves!

Be sure to check it out on Amazon to read more about the author and what you’ll find in the book!

Do you believe in the power of giving? When did a gift–either that you received or gave–impact your life?  Please leave me a comment and let me know!

Quality Kids Clothing with a Carefree Attitude

In addition to organizing our closet these past weeks I also took the opportunity to go through and par down all of the kids baby and outgrown clothes. While many baby and kids clothes are adorable there are things that need to go into consideration before purchasing them.

I’m the first to love getting a great deal on clothing–especially when babies grow so quickly and change so fast. However, one thing I really noticed while I was sorting through the clothes was that I ended up giving away many of the cheaper clothing sets due to staining, fading, or holes. Now that Amber has been in the same size for almost a year I’ve learned to buy good quality pants because otherwise she puts holes in them the first week.

Who’s Little is a great place to find quality, adorable clothes for little girls. I love that part of their mission is to make clothes that “Rather than shrunken adult styles Who’s Little? focuses on frocks fit for those early, carefree days”. Oh–and they donate clothes to kids in need as well-win, win!!

With Amber being so big for a 4 year old (she’s been in 6x for over a year now) I really appreciate kids clothes that look like they belong on a kid! I don’t want my little girl dressing like a teenager and that seems so common these days and gets super frustrating.

We were sent the blue jumper that can also double as pants which is how we decided to use them. I love multi-use outfits! As you can see they are super darling and comfy too! They are a tiny bit snug-so I’d advise getting one size larger when you order–having a bit of growing room is never a bad thing.

Be sure to check out Who’s Little on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest to stay in on all their great news and adorable clothes!

Are you willing to spend more for quality clothes for your kids? Why or why not?

Makeover Your Man {and you!} By Organizing Your Closet

During hubbies time off recently we spent several days prepping for our upcoming move. Being in the military has kept us used to regular moves and the decluttering that goes into them.

This time we both decided it was time to get rid of a bunch of our older clothes. A surprising result of this was that in doing so we both re-discovered old favorites that had been lost in a sea of crammed clothes.

Another thing that we were both able to do was take stock of what we actually have, really wear, and what we need. Now that our walk in closet isn’t stuffed to the gills we can actually see what is there and available to wear.

 When you have a closet stuffed full of clothes and still have the “nothing to wear” syndrome it’s probably a sign you just need to get rid of some clothes.

With the purging behind us we both realized that some of our staple items–like underwear–was super battered and needed replacing! 7 years into marriage it’s easy to slip into that easy, comfortable, who cares type of relationship-but it’s good to shake out of that every once in awhile and add some fresh new things in your life–clothes are a great place to start!

So off we headed to Target! We decided to take a fun family trip together and pick up all sorts of things. Isn’t that the awesome thing about Target? You can get everything you need there!

For hubby we found the Mario Lopez MaLo Underwear right away in the Men’s Fashion section of the store. They had this nice end cap display and there was a large variety of #MaLoUnderwear to choose from even for a small display! One thing that I’ve always liked about Target is the quality of clothes that they provide for the value. Hubby is hard to buy clothes for since he’s 6’7″ so for his shirts and pants we often have to shop at clothes that cater to such TALL guys so it’s super nice that we can catch a break on things like underwear, haha! 

After picking up the essentials we had a ton of fun wandering around and playing in the accessory section (hehe) Who knew that buying new underwear could be so much fun?!

Hubby is a lot like me in that he won’t sacrifice fashion for comfort. We both agree that you should be able to have the best of both worlds! I think that with his new purchases of some cute polos and his mix of comfy t-shirts, jeans, and plaid shorts (plus the snazzy new underwear) he has a great new and refreshed closet that really highlights who he is-my awesome, fun, studly hubby!
Are you looking to treat your hubby to a makeover? Be sure to check out MaLo on Facebook and Twitter
Malo Underwear

I am a member of the Collective Bias™ Social Fabric® Community.  This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias™ and MaLo #CBias #SocialFabric

Bausch + Lomb Biotrue Challenge & My Ugly Duckling Stage

I went through an “ugly duckling” stage. I think most people do. You know-that awkward stage when you look back and photos and cringe? Mine consisted of big glasses, braces, and big bangs. Right around the time I turned 15 I was able to ditch all of these things and from ugly duckling turned into a swan almost over night–at least that’s what all the boys seemed to think (haha) I loved it when I started hearing compliments about what beautiful eyes I had!

When I started wearing contacts I really didn’t want to–I hated anything near my eyes but was determined to get them so I could ditch the glasses. As soon as I got used to them I fell in love and I as mentioned in my first post I now wear them all day, every day! (much to my eye doctors chagrin). I know that using the right solution is vital when you make your eyes pull heavy duty like mine do.

Through Biotrue Challenge I’ve been happy with the fact that the Biotrue Solution works as hard as I do! From working online to late nights watching Netflix I was able to focus on everything except my contacts-which is how it should be! The only thing I would love to see changed is for them to come out with a no-rub solution. It was funny because I just the other day I noticed the person behind me in line was buying BioTrue solution and I almost started up a conversation with him about it!
Switch out your old solution today and see the difference yourself – take the Biotrue Challenge!
Thanks to Bausch + Lomb, one of my readers could be one (1) of ten (10) exclusive winners of a 1-year supply of Biotrue® multi-purpose contact lens solution! Share with us what you look forward to at the end of the day!
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Bausch + Lomb. The opinions and text are all mine. The Official Bausch + Lomb BlogFrog Biotrue Challenge Sweepstakes Rules

Five Easy Steps to a Fabulous Guest Bathroom

With summer vacations and playdates in full swing you’re likely to have many more visitors needing to use your restroom-whether for a quick potty break or for their 2 week stay.

If your family is like mine your main access bathroom also doubles as your guest bathroom and then triples as the kids bathroom.  With these 5 easy tips you can find how to get the most bang for your bathroom buck!

1. Keep It Clean – Literally! The easiest way to keep your bathroom happy and guest friendly is to keep it sparkling! Now-before I get any protests–yes I totally hear you. I mean, I do have 2 kids and also work from home after all! You might remember my Spring Cleaning Tips but if in case you missed them my biggest secret for the keeping the bathrooms top notch is to use bathtime to your advantage! I always give the bathroom a good once over anytime the kids take a bath since I have to be in there anyways. For the tub I just spray it once they hop out. It makes my bathroom maintenance easy-peasy!
2. Ditch The Kids – -Decor that is! If you have your kids bathroom tucked away then by all means rubber ducky shower curtains are lots of fun. If your bathroom pulls triple duty like mine, however, I’m hear to tell you that it is definitely ok to have a “kid bathroom” with grownup decor-honestly they won’t notice the difference but your guests will! And yes-small reminders of kiddos are bound to stay (like the night light you see here!) That’s ok!

3. Hide the Rest Just because I’m advocating ditching the kid decor doesn’t mean I advocate getting rid of the bath toys! I’m all about having a fun, hands on, and educational home! An easy fix is to purchase a large plastic container (preferably one with toys!) and just stick it in the bathtub for storage in between bathtimes. Pull the curtain and Voila! A kid friendly bathroom that’s adult picture perfect.

4. Photographs Are Good! While many people shy away from photographs of people in the bathroom because they might seem a bit odd there is a way to pull it off! As you can see I have this gorgeous blow up picture of our daughter from her 2 year old photo shoot. It works because it’s more artsy than it is portrait and it really brings in the beach theme I wanted for our guest bathroom.

5.  Tap Your Inner Spa When I think of my dream bathroom Pinterest worthy images of deep soaking tubs with flower petals and luxurious thick towels come to mind. While you might never have that walk in shower with 5 heads and music you can still bring a little of this bliss to your home! Start with little touches that will leave a big impact and that have meaning to you.

In our bathroom I use a seashell that we found on the beach as a soap holder, a bamboo tray filled with all kinds of fun soaps and my favorite sea shells, and a vase filled with sand and a few small shells as a candle holder.

If you’re like me you likely have a ton of different fancy holders and baskets that you’ve accumulated from your body lotion Christmas gifts. These are perfect for dressing up your bathroom and really adding a wow factor. How easy is the top picture? I took a zip up holder I had left over from a gift, rolled up some washcloths, and bam–instant chic!

A wonderful option for a guest bathroom would be to use this trick side by side with Kleenex Hand Towels. These are especially great for guests (or kiddos with those grubby hands!) because they provide a clean, fresh, dry towel every time. Not only convenient it helps stop the spread of germs-always a plus! Join the 14 million people who have already joined the Clean Hands campaign by using Kleenex Hand Towels, and click here for savings and more!

What are your easy tricks for keeping your bathroom fabulous? I’m always looking for new ideas!

I was selected for participation in this campaign as a member of Clever Girls Collective.

Bag It Forward this Back to School Season

Don’t let the sweltering days fool you–school is just right around the corner! Although Amber will still be doing preschool with me this year the church that we go to runs a wonderful, if small, Christian school. When I heard about the opportunity to contribute to BagItForward.org by donating a bag (or in our case box!) of quality school supplies they immediately came to mind!

Knowing that the best deals can be found at Wal*Mart me and Amber headed on over. (check out the fun we had along the way in our Google+ Album!) When we got there I wasn’t disappointed–the prices were crazy low– 50 cents for a box of nice quality crayons and $1 for markers? Awesome! I was thrilled that we were able to fill our cart with enough for 4 students, and a few goodies for the teachers, for under $20.

At the display I found information about the Elmers 1st Day App download.  It allows you to take and upload pictures and for each For every photo uploaded, Elmer’s will donate one product to The Kids in Need Foundation(KINF) (up to 200,000 products). If that’s not reason enough for you to download (and I hope it is??!!) X-Acto Desinger Series and Walmart are offering a chance to win a trip for four to Disney World!  Entry form can be found on the 1st Day App site

My little budding artist decided she wanted to help me get the donation all ready so we turned it into a several day long craft! Amber loves to paint so we started off with that!

She refers to Sunday School as “my school” so the entire time she was jabbering about how excited she was to send the “presents” to her “teachers”.  We’re both looking forward to when everyone gets back from their vacations so we can bring it to them!

This was such a fun, easy, and inexpensive project–Amber and I both hope you’ll catch the bug and choose a teacher or student to #BagItForward to as well!

Be sure to follow Elmer’s on Facebook, Elmer’s on Twitter, Bag It Forward on Pinterest to stay up to date on all the best news!

I am a member of the Collective Bias™ Social Fabric® Community.  This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias™ and and Elmer’s.  #BagItForward #CBias #SocialFabric

10 Tips for Clothes Shopping Online

If you’re my Facebook friend this picture will look awfully familiar as it’s my new profile pic. I’ve gotten SO many compliments and likes on it-so thank you! 😀 Want to know my secret? Everything I’m wearing I got online!
As you know you can purchase basically anything and everything online these days-from food to mascara. However like many people I used to shy away from purchasing clothes online. Recently I’ve been purchasing clothes online with more and more success-so here are my top 10 tips for clothes shopping online!

1. Know what pieces you can and cannot buy online This might sound tricky but it’s not. For me I always have a hard time shopping for pants “in the real world” however dresses and tops I can pick out a million of with no problem. How this translates into online shopping for me is that it’s “safe” for me to pick up dresses and shirts online but I steer clear of purchasing pants that I can’t try on.

2. Measure! You can easily pick out pieces online if you’re willing to take just half a minute and double check their measurements against their chart. Just because you *think* you’re a size medium don’t make the mistake of not checking. Many places have good return policies but do you really want to go through the hassle?

3. Know your cut The next time you’re shopping or window shopping in a store take a little time to grab a bunch of different cuts of dresses or shirt to try them on. Be sure to grab ones you’ve never tried before! Once you find what looks the best on your body it will be easy to identify and buy that online. I’ve found that with my short torso and small bust I look great in dresses that have high waist lines-now I can easily look for that when dress shopping online.

4. Check for customization options Did you know that some online sites like eShakti allow you to adjust your dress so that it gives you the perfect fit? I’d never knew this before and I thought it was so awesome–all the benefits of having a tailor without the hassle of actually having to go to one-or to go anywhere!

5. Pay attention to key words and fabric type If you’re a mom words like “body hugging” or “stretchy” are probably not what you’re looking for! Be sure to pay attention to the fabric and how it hangs and how that will translate to your body-not the model’s body.

6. Don’t be afraid of color Recently my wardrobe has gotten a little towards the black side. I didn’t even realize it till my mom in law pointed out my lack of “happy” clothes. Bright, beautiful colors are very much in style right now so don’t be afraid to go for them! A good rule of thumb is to pick a color you already know looks great on you and jazz it up with a different color-as I’ve done with the teal and yellow combo on this Rosette trimmed blooms dress. I can’t wear yellow as a solid-it makes me look sick-but splashed throughout the dress it makes for a gorgeous combination!

7. Don’t be afraid of print I’ve always been one who has gravitated towards print and bold clothes but I know many people are a little intimidated by it. You can wear patterns no matter what your size-just make sure they’re a good proportion to your body type. If you’re a little gun shy try a fun pattern out on your accessories first.

8. Look for special touches As when shopping for any clothes little extras can make all the difference. One of the main things that drew me to this dress was the rosette trim on it. It fits in with the current trends-but is not so over the top that I won’t want to wear the dress a few years from now.

9. Read Reviews One of the things I love absolutely the most about buying online is that I can do my homework beforehand! Since you can’t physically touch and feel the item online doing a search to make sure others had a good experience with the company and product is a must! For example I can tell you that this dress is absolutely made of quality material and worth every penny-I know I’ll be wearing it for years! It’s easy to find reviews through many websites or just type in what you’re looking for and then “review” in Swagbucks

10. Shop the Sales After you’ve taken your measurements and done your homework be sure to watch for sales and special codes. eShakti is having a 40% off sale right now and you can use the special  eShakti coupon code DA22XTT for another 10% off through July 31st. Always be sure to check cash back sites and search for special codes on blogs before buying! Also it’s a great idea to follow your favorite brands through Social Media as they often post special codes and discounts just for their followers!

I received this gorgeous dress in exchange for my honest opinion. All tips, hints, and modeling pictures are my own