FRYday

Oh man the weekend! I forgot how much I love it! Thank you school! First off,

WEARING…today’s outfit:

Amazon started their own fashion department and has created several in-house lines! They had me pick my favorite from their The Fix line and I went for this Joni bag and love it! Such a pretty suede with the more formal chain detailing to offset the slouchiness and also a cross-body strap because that is a bag must for me. It comes in three colors, check them out here!The Fix BagLevi 501s. Have you gone there? I feel like I’ve tried for most of my life to avoid mom bum and hearing 501s is basically synonymous, but these are actually pretty cute. And I have a few friends in the 501s from Free People and they’re so hot on them. Take that mom bum. Mine were on sale here for $50 so I felt good about giving them a whirl, mine aren’t as high rise (from what I can tell) but they’ve got the same effect. I think my next pair will be the originals from FP. Or maybe the wedgie, any votes?The Fix Bag Shoes yep those mules again! I love the leather, too! // Watch by Piper West // Sunnies — these are a couple seasons old any MY FAVE but guess who got them now at $100 – GILT!! Run.

WATCHING —

I am desperately trying to find more time to watch The Bold Type, a bunch of my friends are loving it and I’m a few episodes in. It’s growing on me! I always root for fashion themed TV and movies (RIP Lipstick Jungle.)

Also, we have a road trip coming up and I think getting anotherNSV Tablet Docking System Fire HD Kids Edition so we aren’t fighting over them is in order. It came in so clutch on our flight last week!! Also why the heck have I been paying double for iPads? This one takes a little getting used to navigationally but its so great. We also got this NSV system for mounting it to our car and I love that it swivels and such. The boys can handle it without too much help. And it rests in between the headrest and chair back so it’s not in the way at all! Also since we still have iPads and now the Fire tablet, it holds both without any switching around, bonus!

READING:

As you can imagine we get a lot of kids publications sent our way for review, I don’t talk about very many unless I truly love it but this Bravery Magazine is so SO awesome. Their inaugural cover girl is Jane Goodall and each month shares a brave, trailblazing, smart, innovative, free thinking woman. It is interactive and informative and so well designed and NEEDED. I want my boys to know all these women, to value and respect the opposite sex and I love how easy Bravery Mag makes it! They only need $5,000 and they’ll hit their goal, not bad for one day after being launched! Check out their Kickstarter to see a video, I’ll share it on Insta stories, too!Bravery Magazine

Happy weekend everyone, see you Monday!!

xo

Em

 

BUY + DIY: Quiet Time Games

This has been an element to Small Fry for years, but I am finally giving it a name! Essentially this series is all about tackling a need we have as parents and offering the best of both worlds: buying and/or DIYing. Because there’s some things you can’t buy or find the way you might like them and there’s some things that aren’t worth DIYing when you can buy them for such a great price. SO! Today is all about QUIET TIME. But like, TRULY quiet time. Church style. If this toy or game fell onto a gym floor it wouldn’t make war time level noise and give you stares from the front of the church all the way back. (I’ve been there, many times.)

DIY:

I did these as DIY because I couldn’t find anything quiet as genius as just making it. These sponges will allow them to “build” but won’t crash. I might make them use these at home too, so quiet! Quiet GamesJust grab sponges and cut on up!Quiet Block DIY

Another 3D building DIY where you can get crazy and make whatever shape moves you. You just need velcro dots, tongue depressors or popsicle sticks and you’re good to go!Quiet Blocks No need to paint, but I couldn’t help it! The silver paint gives major robot vibes too if your kids are into that!Quiet Blocks

And this one I found from Twist Me Pretty – matching colors!Quiet Games

BUY:Quiet Games

Crayola Activity Center — We have this and it’s awesome for my older boys. Filled with dry erase activities and it has its own firm base so you can take it on the road or wherever you need it! // Puzzle Sticks, quiet, comes with several puzzles to do so you won’t get bored but you also can finish them in the span of 30 minutes. // Wooly Willy. A classic. // Magnetic Faces — another well-loved item over here. The magnets aren’t strong enough to make that snap sound when it meets the board so it’s truly quiet. // More from the same company – all about the body. Teaches loads while they play! // Magnets but US of A! Another great one for learning. // How to Draw. Coloring of any kind is a must for quiet time play but this will teach them how to draw their favorite items so they aren’t bugging you to do it. // Tic Tac Toe rubberized and quiet. // Need to teach a kid how to tie? Bring this toy to a boring meeting and watch the magic. It’s easier to learn when you don’t have to bend over and stretch! // Another darling lacing game with more of a creative element than the others you’ll find. // These soft bendable building straws are the next fidget spinner. Bendy bright and so much fun for hours. // Magnet Robots!

This one is a freaking labor of love but I played with these when I was a kid and am determined to get them all cut out for my boys! Anyone else use these? Find the felt dolls here.

feltbous

kindhood towel ponchos

Snapped a few pics of my boys in their Kindhood towel ponchos while we were beaching it this weekend in California and had to share. My friend Carly started this company and I am thrilled to team up on a really great giveaway on Instagram, too! (@smallfryblog) You guys are gonna flip over these, read up below!Kindhood I made the switch to towel ponchos earlier this Summer (SO much easier than schlepping/dragging everyone’s towels) but there are only a few designs anywhere and they’re not that great. Then came KINDHOOD!Kindhood I currently have these hanging in the bathroom as they have also replaced my boys’ bath towels! KindhoodKindhood is terry lined and made with bamboo cotton which is THE softest material you can find. So silky and buttery and cool to the touch.KindhoodThese fabrics have a 97% UV ray filter so once they’ve had enough sun, but maybe not enough play, the fun doesn’t have to stop! KindhoodIt’s also moisture-wicking and the bamboo is antibacterial, too!  I have been loving these for bath time, and don’t have to worry to much if I forget to bring them in from the car after the pool. See all their darling prints here, they also have infant towels!KindhoodAnyway, I hope you all love them like I do and grab some for your water babies for bath time or get a headstart on Fall break vacation plans! Head to Instagram to win one for you and a buddy!!

HAYES // CAL  // RALEIGH

budget home: overstock

Happy mid-week everyone! Today’s post is the next in my Budget Home series! (Catch the rest here) Truthfully I could dedicate every post on Small Fry until the end of time to Overstock finds, its just a HUGE daunting, but amazing resource for home on a budget. But, what is better than budget home finds, than budget home finds on sale? So today I’m only showing you my favorites from their Labor Day Sale, but be warned there’s about a million amazing things not on sale, but of course still in the aforementioned budget category. 🙂
RUGS:

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SMALL FURNITURE:

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SEATING:
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snack hacks

Sponsored by Stonyfield Yokids.

Hayes has been in school for about a week and Cal starts his first day tomorrow, but I already feel infinitely more “with it.” Owning the day instead of letting it own me, you know? I just had to get myself set up for success and here are two easy ways to help kids get not only a healthy snack, but also independently so!Fridge Snack BoxGrab + Go Snack Boxes. I have these in the pantry and also the fridge where they’re pre-portioned, bagged, and easy to spot. They can grab whatever snack looks good to them even if I am detained, or if we’re in a rush. I do the Stonyfield Yokids pouches, smoothies or squeezers, prepackaged hummus and guacamole with veggies, string cheese, and pouches. It changes each week but these are usually always there because my kids love it all!snackboxI love the pouches for this because there’s no mess, no spoons or even the torn off top of the tube to pick up later. The Stonyfield YoKids pouches are the jam!stonyfieldI want ALL my kids to be able to eat more independently, including the baby! I love the pouches for him and I freeze all our yogurt squeezers for his nonstop teething, poor guy. He’s getting a few more teeth and his molars and he loves to gnaw on the squeezers. Since they’re frozen, he’s learning to eat a bit more cleanly too since he has a little bit more control over how much comes out and spills just don’t happen! Also the frozen squeezer is great for packing in lunches to keep other items chilled, too! Still nice and cold by lunch.frozenpops

Earlier this Summer we made the switch to Stonyfield Yokids yogurts (anyone else’s shopping habits dictated by what Coscto is carrying?) and my boys all LOVE them. I feel like it’s this secret Mom Win since it’s 20-40% less sugar and healthier ingredients and organic. Because Stonyfield YoKids yogurts are certified organic, that means each cup is always made without the use of toxic persistent pesticides, artificial hormones, antibiotics. You can read more about their Organic qualities here! Less sugar obviously didn’t change how delicious it is or deter them in the slightest, they love them just as well as the higher sugar ones we used to buy! You all know how picky Callum is- he’s got the nose of a bloodhound and a creature of habit and he made the switch no problem as well! He likes the smoothie cups the best, another great on the go option! Something he can drink on the way to school even! Stonyfield

I get mine at Costco, but they have so many great product as you can see! Don’t forget their classic yogurt cups, too. You’ll also notice Stonyfield Yokids has animals on each of their products! They sponsor the Association of Zoos and Aquariums and also SAFE (Saving Animals From Extinction) and they’re giving away a trip for a family to go to South Africa and see them all up close and personal! YES please!!

weekend deals

Good deals galore!

That Brickyard Buffalo backpack that has Fjallraven vibes is out, sorry for the delay!!bbMy comforter from West Elm (the ones in Insta Story today!) is an additional 20% off right now!Screen Shot 2017-08-19 at 9.35.39 PMUrban Outfitters has BOGO 50% for my favorite BDG jeans (distressed, regular) and super good deals on Adidas and a bunch of other sneakers:jeansAnthro has 20% off going on, so many beautiful Fall pieces!4130099510054_008_b

F21 is 50% off activewear. I had literally just bought these, pretty sure they don’t price adjust, but if you all get a good deal I’ll be happy. Swiss Dot // Colorblockf21

FAQ’s FROM INSTA STORIES: 

This might have to be a weekly post on it’s own, but we’ll combine today!

My two book picks for September – The War of Art (hardcopy) and A Little Life (audio) — Read with me! Maybe we can start a DM group to talk about it.

Also as always find all the outfits I wear on Insta Story Outfit of the Days right here! I have been trying to feature at least one a week on my main Insta page, let me know if that’s too much or if you want more!

Lastly, here are the products featured in my Ode to The Beyouty Bureau Story…These are all the recs I’ve picked up from Kayti. There are a lot, and even more I wish to buy. Follow her to stay up to date, she is always abreast of the best stuff around.

SHOWER FAVES: Oil for shaving and body wash that eliminated my razor burn, even closer shave then Creamo Cream. // Exfoliating Towel // Lined Shower cap for keeping styled hair extra dry in the shower.

EYES: Blue eyeliner – Vivid Brights NYX  // Rocket Volume Mascara // Tarte Shapetape Concealer // Nars Concealer // Black and Gold eye patches // Also did grabbed this glitter eye and it’s so cool. I am all about it for Fall. LIPS: Colour Pop lips // Laneige Lip Sleeping Mask

FACE: Becca Highlighter in Moonstone // It Cosmetics Brow Power // White Wedding  Moisturizer  // CosRx Black Head  // Urban Decay Setting Spray // Whish Oil Cleanser (she has now chosen this one over Whish, but I haven’t tried it yet! Its half the price though! // Palette 

HAIR: Kristin Ess Beave Wave Style Spray  (my favorite of all this year) // Spiral Ponytail Holders

DIY Internet Safety with Amazon Fire

Sponsored by Amazon.

Last year I wrote about something super important to me – internet safety for kids. It’s still one of Small Fry’s most visited posts and I hope it continues to be as the whole topic keeps me up at night! 😉 The internet is such a wonderful tool, but as we all know it can get dark, fast. Today I wanted to revisit that post and also add another awesome resource I have been testing out! You all know Amazon makes their own tablet starting at $99 for kids called Fire HD 8 Kids Edition tablet, right? Well what I didn’t know is about their Amazon FreeTime Unlimited service, which we’ve been using with their tablet as a part of today’s sponsorship. It is incredible! The Fire HD 8 Kids Edition tablet actually comes with a free year of Amazon FreeTime Unlimited service and is 30% off right now, so it’s a perfect time if you’re in the market! (They also do $20/month payments right in time for Christmas!)Fire Kids Edition + FreetimePart of my volunteer work at my church a while back was to help interested families get all their computers and devices protected and one thing I felt like was loud and clear across all the families I worked with was that it felt daunting which is why no one had attempted it on their own. So anytime I see a product come around that makes it easy I am all about it!Fire Kids Edition + FreetimeOkay so here’s what you need to know and why I think it’s excellent!

I know there is a lot of talk about what is good for kids and screen time, and even eliminating it, but I feel really strongly that they need to learn to manage their time (with my help) and employ healthy habits from the start, as it will always be a part of their lives. For better or for worse. Just wanted to get that out of the way! Fire Kids Edition + FreetimeFirst off with the Fire HD 8 Kids Edition tablet, I can create “Learn First” goals so they have to do educational things before they can start the other stuff. I can set a “Bedtime” where the it stays off no matter what until I choose (BEST!) and the settings can change on weekends and weekdays.Fire Kids Edition + FreetimeWe are strict one hour a day for screen time and so I can set timers to make sure we stick to that (let’s be honest, I forget all the time and they end up playing longer). Then, I love the Parent Dashboard so I can review exactly what was done during that hour. And that the Fire HD 8 Kids Edition tablet notifies me of every game they download in my email. Most importantly, the Amazon FreeTime Unlimited service profiles are set up to filter out anything that isn’t age appropriate. You won’t even see games or videos or options that don’t fit your specifications. I truly don’t even have to worry about what they’re taking in. Fire + FreetimeAs a lifelong Apple user, I was shocked to admit I preferred this tablet for my kids. Besides the fact that it is SO much less expensive. But ultimately it is the Amazon FreeTime Unlimited that swayed me. It is SO awesome.

It’s so important to find devices that have these features built right in, instead of something on your router, because as soon as you leave the house and access someone else’s Wifi, you no longer have those protections.

And I am glad we got in the swing of these good habits before school started and all I had to do was alter the time frames and and bedtimes a bit! If you pick one up, let me know how you like it!!

SHOP THE FIRE 8 HD KIDS EDITION HERE.

mine + ours: books #2

For this month’s Mine + Ours I actually started the book pick for myself two months ago. I didn’t realize then that it would be such an important, timely read for me.

MINE:

HomegoingI chose Homegoing based off reviews, and it is SUCH a beautiful book. I hesitate writing too much about it because it feels like it doesn’t belong to me, like I opened someone’s diary. It is so raw and personal. I think it’s a must on Audible because the narrator helps keep you focused on where the story is in time and place with his accents. In short, the story follows a 7 generation lineage from Ghana to America. From the 1790’s to modern day. Seeing the strengths and struggles and how history weaves itself into culture. To see the racial in equality and how pervasive it was in each generation, the effects, the struggle, the triumph. Then now seeing what happened in Charlottesville. I just can’t deal. Enough is enough is enough! I wish every single person had to read this book, I will never claim to understand, but I feel like this book does a dang good job of illuminating each corner of this inequality. But the best part is that it’s not preachy or in your face. Its just beautiful storytelling and you draw your own conclusions. I just won’t stand for this in my lifetime. I think the problems are deep, but not hopeless. I read a quote from a friend that said “Equality feels like oppression to the privileged” and that rang so true to me. Individuals will have to be wiling to sacrifice (pride and entitlement to start) to make things better for the whole.

I wish I had a better grip on race conscious books for kids, I am going to do some research and get some shipped so we can better review them, but there are two posts that have great options here and here if you need ideas!

OURS:

My oldest Hayes fell hard for Harry Potter this month. We are knee deep in the books and movies and he loves it. As I knew he would because it’s the best! I started reading it when I was 13, somehow my mom heard of it before anyone else I knew and it felt like this special secret for awhile there. I have loved sharing it with him! If you haven’t gotten those on Audio yet, it will make your next road trip fly by. It’s not original or an exciting rec but that is what we’re doing day and in day out, so gotta mention it!

But, the focus of the OURS section today is on Raleigh – my 14 month old. He LOVES reading books and wants to touch each page, he lights up when he gets his hands on an interactive book. Here are our favorites for his age:Interactive Books for Toddlers

Do Cows Meow // From Head to Toe // Peek a Who? // Please and Thank You // Tails

What should I read next month, guys? Any audiobook suggestions for the boys, or favorites to share?

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new baby prep

This article lives on Wal-Mart.com in partnership with them! Check it out here!

When I think about having my first baby nearly eight years ago I look back at that girl so fondly. She was so uncontrollably excited to be a mom. I had graduated college only a few months before my due date and decided to quit my job about a month before my son came. I had been running at a break-neck pace most of my 4 year marriage. Full-time student, employed full-time and also working on side part-time projects and a business I had started. It all came to a halt a few weeks before I delivered and for the first time ever I could just sit around. No homework to be done, no deadlines at work, my entrepreneurial endeavors weren’t pressing. I didn’t know what to do with myself! And then he was born. Who knew the process of feeding and keeping a baby clean could take so many hours!? 

New Baby Prep
The advice came rolling in “Sleep when he sleeps” (YES, DO THAT!) “Enjoy every second” (Pretty sure that’s not possible but I guess with the right outlook, sure!) SO much of the advice contradicted other advice and it is so easy to become overwhelmed and ashamed that you can’t be the right mom for your baby. New Baby Prep
That is where we are wrong, ladies. No one is a more perfect fit for your baby than you. They’re the only ones who have heard your heartbeat from the inside, you know your intention and your desire to do things right by them. The best part is they will love you no matter what. That unconditional love that can only come by being a parent is the most healing, encouraging, motivating thing in the world.
Getting advice bombs dropped on you? Just smile and nod. Take in what feels right to you and let the rest roll off your back. Nothing can compare to your intuition, to your gut, it has proven itself to me in my parenting thousands of times. The best advice I ever got was to trust myself and that has made all the difference.New Baby Prep
Now for the fun part, THE STUFF! It is so fun to prepare a space for your baby. While there are loads of products you and your baby probably won’t need, here is what I swear by!
AT HOME
You’ll find with a newborn there is asleep and then there is eating, and then there is sleeping again. So here’s what I think are musts for those two important times of day. 😉
SLEEP:
Wal-Mart has such a great collection of Babyletto which has such great modern pieces and accessories. You can’t go wrong with this Crib and Bedding Set.  It’s such a good deal, too! Black and White a great a neutral starting point, add pops of color with the decor and other accessories and you can use it for either gender and for multiple siblings to come! Pro tip: You’re gonna want a second and third back up crib sheet. These are my favorites: HERE and HERE.New Baby Prep
I don’t like things to be too matchy-matchy, so I veer away from buying sets and try to collect pieces that all go together! This shelving and changing pad combo is so minimal and airy and goes great with this crib which is so on trend with the light wood details!
Perhaps the place you will spend the most time in in the whole house is your nursery glider. Make sure it’s comfortable! I love a swivel glider and have this one in my nursery. I still rock my one year old to bed each night so it gets A LOT of use! I wish I knew to skip the ottoman, I found it was always in the way especially at night when you’re stumbling around.
 New Baby Prep
Whatever decor you decide on make black out curtains a priority. Studies have shown that sleeping in total darkness or, at the very least, dimness allows for a deeper sleep. All three of my boys are stellar sleepers and I attribute this partially to a dark room with a fan to block sound. But what I wish I knew with this is that whatever environment you create for them at home you’re going to need to recreate when traveling. So yep that means we carry a fan everywhere!
AWAKE:
As your baby gets older you’ll notice they get very handsy, wanting to grab at everything and it gets especially trying while you’re chasing their diaper or getting them dressed. Lay your baby on something soft and tactile and you might get a few wiggle free moments. Love this small area rug for just that!
My babies live in sleeping gowns in those early months. So many diaper changes you gotta keep it easy as possible. Then since you’re not giving them a blanket in bed until a year old, sleep sacks are an excellent way to keep them warm and cozy!  I wouldn’t bother with too many outfits those first few months, I always just want them to be comfortable, so I say keep them in PJs as long as you can get away with it!
 New Baby Prep
For me, helping my babies find good sleeping habits from the start included a good nighttime routine. Something we did every night to help calm and settle them. Usually a bath, lotion and massage, lullabies. With those calming scents and sounds they seemed to fight me less! Since half my kids have had sensitive skin issues I just start out with all-natural products like California Baby. This makes a great shower gift, too! Also Butt Paste is my go to for rashes, stock up!
I am always surprised at how early my babies are ready for a little bit of stimulation. Having ways to soothe and also engage them are equally important and something I wish I knew! This rattle is a great starter! Shiny, bright, different textures and easy to grip!New Baby Prep
ON-THE-GO
I know this is an investment and it is really the only one I make for this stage. If you’re planning on having multiple kids it will easily last you and after trying other brands I won’t go back. I swear by the Uppa Vista System and wish I would’ve treated myself to the bassinet attachment for all three kids instead of just my last! So much of my mental health after having a baby is getting out of my cave. Whether it’s for a walk or a solo trip to the store for more diapers. The bassinet attachment makes it so easy to be outside, they’re so comfortable and it is everything to me as a new mom! New Baby PrepMy favorite way to carry baby outside of the bassinet is a soft baby wrap! If your baby is fussy and doesn’t like to be put down, this will save you. If you have other children, this goes from a nice thing to have to an absolute must. Once they outgrow their infant seat get a convertible car seat! I love this one.New Baby Prep
Okay mamas and papas to be, I hope this helps! You truly have got this, and I am here and all ears with any questions you’ve got!

spun sheets

Today’s post makes me so excited, if you’ve read Small Fry for awhile you know I get this way when I spot innovative new products and today is for sure one of those days! Say hi to Spun Sheets!Screen Shot 2017-08-19 at 9.35.39 PMBed Sheets are one of those inventions that has hardly been perfected over the last 100 years. Sure the fibers have gotten softer, but the functionality has largely stayed the same. Then London and Chloe came along.Bedroom UpdateThere are so many improvements the Spun team has made on making your bed it makes my heart sing. And also question why no one had thought of it sooner. Ready to see them all?

And of course I had to try it out before I shared with you guys and it is really as good as they say. Check it out! First off for you packaging buffs — so cute right?Spun SheetsSpun SheetsMy first favorite feature is the grippy, extra strength elastic fitted sheet. It DOES NOT budge. Nothing is worse than having the fitted sheet pop up on you at night.Spun SheetsNext for the top sheet! Historically I don’t even bother because they drive me crazy, they usually get ripped off and end up in a pile at the bottom of the bed. So their promises of a better way was a tall order for me.

Here is the top sheet, right now its just settled on, not “made” just yet. It fits right over your mattress and then…Spun SheetsYou just slide your hand over that flap and tuck it in. It looks so good with hardly any effort. You can leave the side flap untucked or tuck it in like this. It comes easily so you aren’t trapped in your sheet by any means.Spun Sheets And a few more pics of the babe for ya: Bedroom Update Raleigh sits with me while I get ready and I think he’s noticing more than I realized:Bedroom UpdateAlso an update for you following along on the Intellibed journey. I still love it and my lower back pain is basically non-existent. I can tell the bed is “broken in” now and there is slightly more give then at the beginning but I prefer it this way, its comfier to me! That SMALLFRY10 code is still live for a few more months so don’t forget about that as you plan out your holiday shopping. It’s an investment for sure, but that 30 year guarantee is unmatched and if you never have to buy another mattress again the cost is totally worth it to me.

SHOP THE ROOM:

Spun Sheets – back their Kickstarter and order here!

Duvet Cover – West Elm and $70 right now!

Silver Longhorn bust 

Raleigh PJs