ball park must-haves

Sponsored by Del Monte®. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

We signed Hayes up for baseball 45 minutes away from home this season. Why Emily, why?! The season was only supposed to be 6 weeks and I thought it would be fun to have him play with his best friend, so we went for it. I can handle that drive for 6 weeks, right? Turns out, a 6-week season can actually go for 4 months if the team ends up being surprisingly good—ha! We’ve gotten really good at packing the essentials for a day at the ballpark and teamed up with Del Monte® to share our ball park must-haves! Which are also the perfect snacks for back-to-school planning!Game Day Musts

SIPS + SNACKS: We always pack at least a gallon of ice water in an insulated tumbler or two so it stays cold all day! Then, lots of shelf-stable snacks to pack along that sit well for Hayes while he’s playing his games in the heat AND appeal to his brothers in the stands and the parents, too! Our favorite are nuts, jerky, and these peaches from Del Monte® 100% Juice Diced Peaches Plastic Fruit Cup® snacks! They are packed in 100% juice with 25% less sugar than the leading National brand,* perfect for my kids’ back-to-school needs!

Don’t forget the sunflower seeds and chewing gum, either! We’re dill pickle people, what about you?

Game Day Musts

HEAT + SUN

His games are typically midday in 90+ degrees, and we all end up pretty hot and sweaty. Lots of hats, sunglasses, tent shades, and SPF! Either sticks or brush-on for easy retouching, and we love this mister. Hayes keeps one in the dugout for his teammates, too! 

Game Day Musts

FUN + GAMES

His brothers are so good at sitting and cheering for Hayes, but I always keep some fun things on hand for them too. The ballparks typically have lots of cement (and a playground if we’re extra lucky), so their scooters and sidewalk chalk seem to keep them entertained. The chalk is ideal because they can draw, color, or create more games like a course to ride their scooters through or games to play with other kids at the park like tic-tac-toe or hopscotch.

Heaven forbid we have games back to back; there always seems to be a weird gap in between. So, we grab a more substantial meal or treat. If we have a shorter break and need to eat in the park, a Del Monte® Fruit & Oats™ cup is super easy! I keep the NEW Strawberry Apple flavor on hand for me, but they play doubles at the park with our family.

 

This season just ended in mid-July after their team made it all the way to the State Semi-Finals! They played some really talented teams and did so well. There were lots of real nail-biter games where my voice went hoarse from cheering.

Yep, definitely one of those moms. If you aren’t schlepping mad gear, is it even summer? 😉 But really, we try and bring a wagon along for all of this—which is another must have. Anything I missed?Game Day Musts

Head to Del Monte’s site to see all of their products and coupons—perfect for the summer hustle and getting the kids’ back-to-school routines down, too!

*Contains 13g of sugar per serving compared to 18f of sugar per serving in the National leading brand.

 

best boy wardrobe tips!

All my best tips for creating a wardrobe both you and your boy will love! Filled with all my opinions — take it for what it’s worth!

My #1 tip is to fill their closet only with pieces you both like. So when they start flexing their decision-making muscles you won’t cringe. I don’t take my kids shopping, ever. It’s not fun for anyone! At least yet. So I shop online and I pull my favorite items, items I know they’ll like that I like, too, on separate tabs and I show the boys all the tabs at once and let them pick from those items. That is the end of my control. They dress themselves everyday and I have learned over time to love seeing what they come up with!

Start with: fun tees. I avoid Nike type slogan tees “This is my house” ;), character shirts, and trendy saying tees. I think a wardrobe goes farther without them. I’m also a big believer in dressing how you want to feel, and how you want to be perceived! My boys are so much more than those labeling tees and I feel they’re just distracting. (I grew up wearing uniforms so I think lots of my opinions stemmed from that experience!) I also stock up on solid color tees in their favorite colors and good neutral basics! Like this two pack!

Add on: I can’t count how many times I’ve heard dressing boys isn’t as fun as girls. It can be! Layering always helps! Top it with a button-down, stick a long-sleeve tee underneath. Just takes a little extra thought but it pays off in the final result!

Tropical Tee $8 and comes in 12 options! // Chambray button-down // Splatter Tee $15 // Tiger Tee $7 //  Striped Long Sleeve // Colorblock Shorts 40% off // Khaki + Denim long pants (50% off!) // Bento Box that fits a sandwich (why do so many not??) Patches (lots on the site!) // $18 Galoshes //  $10 Navy Slip Ons // Striped Socks $5 for 3! // Neff Watch // Beanie in every color // Neon Windbreaker 40% off // New Balance Sneakers // Raglan Zip Up Jacket $18 // Skate Hoodie // Windbreaker in perfect colors! //

Pants + Shorts have to be moveable and breathable. I’ve already expressed my love for the Sweatpant Stretch. I also love the Built-In Flex line at Old Navy. Both lines move with them, but wear really well and hold their shape all day! I also love looking for interesting bottoms like these color block shorts.

Slip-ons: My kids get up so freaking early yet we’re always running out the door. The last push to get to the car is always stressful and shoes just happen to be the last thing. So they cause a lot of issues around here. I like to have slip-on options galore right by the door. Also make sure you have a waterproof option like these gollies for rainy days or snowy days. And of course you’re gonna need the world’s fastest sneaker selected from a carefully curated list of options by mom. 😉

Accessorize: Yeah sure girls have SO many more options, but if you pay attention you’ll start to see lots of fun items for boys, too! Fun socks (I’ll link a bunch below!), watches, hats, little things they carry with them like water bottles and fun lunchboxes. I love this super simple backpack that they could make their own with these $1 patches!

Jackets: I send them with a jacket everyday. Brisk mornings, weird weather, something soft to bunch up under their head on the bus. Windbreakers, light sweatshirt-like jackets, hoodies, can all add to the look!

A BUNCH OF DEALS BELOW!!

SOCKS!

Boys Socks

White Stripe //  Logo Tube Socks // NYC Tube Socks // Rainbow stripe //

abercrombie kids!

This post is brought to you by Abercrombie Kids. All opinions are my own.

Abercrombie Kids sent my boys the greatest back-to-school care package and I wanted to share what my kids picked and a few of my other favorite items from their Fall Arrivals! abercrombie kidsOne thing to note about Abercrombie Kids, the clothing quality is truly next level. Russ has commented on clothing maybe three times in his life said how soft, yet durable the t-shirts felt!  As I’ve been shopping for my kids for Back to School, Abercrombie Kids is sort of in a class of its own as far as quality, feel and fit. So, so impressed.abercrombie kidsCaught him fixing his hair in the mirror. Stop growing up!! Wearing this checkerboard tee, with this classic button up underneath and the Straight Leg jean.abercrombie kidsI asked to smile how they would for school pictures — back to the drawing board! 😉abercrombie kidsSee what I mean about the fit? SO stinking cute. This pant is from their line of “Sweatpant Stretch” jeans. They look just like regular pants, but feel like soft, stretchy sweats. They are crazy amazing and I wanted to show them after being worn for several hours — in water no less. I think they still look amazing, they haven’t lost their shape at all! They’re so comfortable and I will be buying these solely for the boys as they complain about jeans daily. abercrombie kidsAs we keep rolling through our week of Back to School fashions, I 100% recommend Abercrombie Kids. Try it out and tell me I’m wrong. A+ all around! Luckily, Abercrombie Kids is having an awesome sale: get 40% off select jeans, hoodies and more until August 15th!
abercrombie kids

LINKS:

Hayes: Checker Tee ($9 and so many rad prints!!) //  Button Up // Straight Leg Jean

Cal: Logo Tee ($12 and comes in several colors!) // Sweat Pant Stretch Jeans // Backpack

girl’s back to school fashion

BACK TO SCHOOL SHOPPING DEALS FOR GIRLS!

Where to look: Abercrombie Kids 40% off denim! // Cotton On – Deals on Jeans + Tees // Forever 21 – always low priced // Gap — 40% off right now // H&M – Back to School Deals galore // Old Navy — Most BTS items are under $10. $8 jeans for instance // Pepper Kids  — small trendy shop priced just right! // Target – Deals + 1 Year Guarantee on Cat & Jack //  Zara – best bang for your on-trend buck in my opinion.

Fall Looks For Girls

Beatles Tee $13 // Leather Jacket $25 // Ribbed Pants – $20 // Sneakers – $10!

Fall Looks For Girls

When things get colder I love this long reversible jacket ($60!) with a plaid blouse, interesting jeans $15, perfect casual sneaker/booties and a beret to cap it all off. Literally.

Fall Looks For Girls

My all-time favorite Fall look is plaid shorts or a mini with thick black tights and classic Chelsea booties. Top it with a sweatshirt to keep things feeling casual.

Fall Looks For Girls

The fit on these pants is glorious and this tee comes in every color and pattern that matters. Mix the patterns for an undone look with these windowpane gum sole sneakers. Girls get all the accessory fun I love these little scarves for a headband, around the neck, a belt. Whatever!

More cute pieces below!

best of: backpacks 2018

Backpack season is upon us! So many darling options out there! I broke it down for boys + girls and there’s a mix of preschool size on up to youth. Nothing TOO big though because I got your back and your kiddos. Literally.

Let it be said so many of these would be great for either gender, so be sure and check out both and know that I hate deeming LEGOS just for boys, or a pink unicorn backpack girls only. You do you!!

GIRLS:

2018 Best of Back Packs GIRLS

Hard Shell Egg Pack $14 and several bright colors! // Hello Kitty Pack // Soft Red Adidas Pack // Watermelons // Dusty Rose Red All Over Patterned Adidas // Unicorns // Gingham (this pack set comes with 3 pieces and is $30!) // Colorblock Pack (all the colors are SPOT on) // Pineapple Rucksack – $7 // Mustard + Hot Orange, greatest color combo ever. // Skateboard pack // Tote + Backpack combo! Looks so handy for school or dance class – $22// Fjallraven striped handles! // Not sure why this multi colored toddler pack is $9 + amazing reviews, but it’s darling. // Kitty Rucksack // Striped (also part of the 3 series set. So many options in this to check out here! // Clear Pack. I know it’s bittersweet since some schools demand it for safety reasons, but I still think it’s fun!

 

BOYS

2018 Best of Back Packs BOYS

Burgundy Adidas Lunchbox  // LEGO lunchbox // Show team spirit, these are Herschel and under $30! They have every team imaginable so keep searching til you find yours! More here and here. // Orange Reptile under $20 // LEGO backpack // Hardshell Bee // Reptile Tail in Green // Mario pattern that I don’t hate. // This color combo is epic. By Vans. // This monster pack has a front with lego-like beads for keeping busy while on the bus etc. // Window Pane in blue // Upside Down bat – funny!! // Olive + Navy Toddler pack, great deal – $10 // Another team option, super slick $26. // Prism pack // Starry Sky pack // Classic Hunter pack // Smiley Face Pack // All black Vans pack //

Back To School Shoes

Sponsored by Rack Room Shoes.

Back to School means so many things for our family this year, as a whole and for each individual and we might all need a little extra dose of courage for Back to School 2018!  I need all the tips on how to make moving to a new place right before school easier, more peaceful, or even fun for the kids. It might keep me up at night a little. We’ve started attending church in our new area, meeting up with a couple people nearby that have kids around their age, hopefully that will help!Rack Room Shoes Gonna choose to have peace and trust that everything will work out! Serenity now, right? (I’ll never forgive myself that this photo is blurry! Hayes was doing this pose and Raleigh came, sat down to copy him. Dead!)Rack Room ShoesMoving to a new place, new school, where my kids don’t know anyone just yet is full of unknowns and neither of my kids do well with that! Callum goes from Kindergarten (half day) to a full day of school, and cafeteria lunch, so that’s a big transition for him, too!Rack Room Shoes Raleigh won’t know what to do without his brothers all day and even Russ and I have lots of personal + professional transitions to manage, too!Rack Room ShoesIt might sound superficial, but one of my favorite things about clothing is how it can instantly give you a dose of courage and confidence. So we’re taking all we can get this year!!Rack Room Shoes   Giving my kids the reigns to find the pieces that make them feel like they can walk new halls and smile at new faces and know that they’ve got this! They can do this! And even kids that aren’t new get nervous, too! So they can be a friend to others instead of waiting for someone to find them.Rack Room ShoesWe’ve teamed up with Rack Room Shoes for several Back to School seasons now and I love that they have great prices and huge collection of options for the whole family! I love that they’re active in charity work called Shoes That Fit. They have donated 250,000 pairs to children in need Here’s what everyone chose!

Rack Room Shoes

Russ – Nike Tanjun in Olive // Emily – Nike Air Max Motion Racer in White// Hayes – Nike Team Hustle D8 in Black, White and Gold // Callum – New Balance 005 in Dark Green // Raleigh — Nike Infant Flex Contact in Grey (this shoe is so pliable its perfect for a new walker!) // Cal’s Backpack

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!!

best of: backpacks

bckpacks

RED: Jetpack backpack // Red NY pack

PINK: Pink with black straps // State Multi Red and Pink

ORANGE: Fjallraven – also if you hate the price Brickyard Buffalo has a super similar dupe for $25! Posted a pic at the bottom of this!

YELLOW: Legobag // Leopard // Mustard and Navy // Gold irridescent

GREEN: Herschel day pack // Dragon bag

BLUE: Denim patch // Legobag, made of water bottles! // Popcorn backpack // Skiphop Raccoon. Too many cute animal packs not enough years in my life!!

PURPLE: Herschel //

GRAY/BLACK: Gray with tan tipping // Plain black perfect for patching! // Cream windowpane // Space Backpack

BB

BTS haul

***COTTON ON – 20% off full priced kids “SMELLYALATER” (until August 17, 2017)***

What did we actually buy for Back to School shopping this year? I’ll tell you! And although I haven’t been blessed with a girl, I don’t discriminate so find girl looks at the bottom of this post! 😉 So here’s what they wanted to wear to show the internet!Back to School Shopping FindsHayes – Zara tee / H&M jeans / Nikes /// Cal – Cotton On Tee / Cut off shorts (DIY) / Natives

Strategy: Like most of you I go through the boys closets and figure out exactly what they need before we shop. Donate whatever they can’t use, and write down what holes we need to fill. Hayes being the oldest almost always needs to start from scratch each season. He is growing like a weed! Cal has yet to show much care toward clothes and is more than happy with Hayes’ old clothing, but he doesn’t like the same shoes, so he picks his favorites out and we get him a few fresh shirts he likes!Back to School Shopping FindsAlso I don’t go shopping with them. (Gasp!) They don’t value it or enjoy it yet, so I’d rather spend that time doing something we all have fun with and shopping in store always means they’re asking for something I don’t want to buy. Sorry Minion hat. So it’s all online and I show them a handful of options and let them pick from those. My kid fashion motto is “They won’t want the light up shoes if you don’t take them down the light up shoe aisle.” It sounds like I take it a lot more seriously than I do, but the gist is that you have more control than you think you do!Back to School Shopping FindsMy favorites are H&M for jeans (their two packs pictured on Hayes are such a good deal!), Cotton On for graphic t-shirts (2 for $20 deals like this!) and Zara for graphic tops and basics (their basics are so cheap but the best quality!) Old Navy does pretty good with basic tees, too! Zara tops last FOREVER and Cotton On’s aren’t as good but their price point is great and I die over the designs. These two were in our haul, so cute!cottononZappos for shoes. Their return policy is too good, they price match, and being a VIP (just ask them, that’s how I got to be one, ha!) means they come next day so it feels just as exciting for them as going shopping. Nearly instant gratification. Here are their picks:

Natives // Tanjun (I bought these for $37 so look out for deals!) // Natives for Cal, his fave! We’ll obviously need something more substantial for cold weather but this will be great until October!sgiesQuick fam pic!! What am I gonna do when they’re gone? Oh yeah, catch up on mountains of work. Work from home mom ain’t easy man!Back to School Shopping Finds   New Ergo OMNI 360 you can see it here!

We have seen some seriously cool packs this year but they died over Parkland MFG. and they were so nice to gift them. They have a ton of different shapes and sizes, from small packs, to duffle bags and weekenders. They are sturdy and look great! I’m just glad they didn’t ask for Pokemon themed this year, praise!!Back to School Shopping FindsHere are some other styles of Parkland I am loving! // Tie Dye // Orange with Blue Straps // Mustard // Gator Print //backpacks

Also snapped this after we finished shooting these pics. I choked up at the sight. I hope they always walk into school side by side. Man they fight a lot but they’re also the silliest, most chatty brothers around. They’ll be at the same elementary this year which is so fun!Back to School Shopping Finds

AND for the GIRLS!!girlsbts

Here’s what I’d put her in, if I had one. (Random popcorn pencil case here!)

SHOES: Ultra feminine ballet flats with jeans // Adidas in a neutral gray and pop of color ($40 down from $65!) // Lace up ankle boots for dresses and skirts //

DRESSES: Easy dresses for warm Fall days like this sleeveless button down dress // Gingham long sleeve // Fall plaid with a fluted sleeve//  A floral pleated skirt // This tulle covered patched up dress

PANTS: This burgundy color trouser is perfection with a perfect velvet bow detail // Jumpsuit ($12!) to keep her covered with all those cartwheels and hanging upside down on bars! // Jeans of course, these have fun detailing and the elastic waist so they should be more comfortable for sitting all day! //

TOPS: Stripes forever! Sweater with multi colored sleeves // Stripe jersey tee with tipped sleeves and pocket detailing ($7!) // Lace detail frilly sleeve top // This tie waist long sleeve comes in 5 colors and is such a great basic, not boring, just basic! // Another great detail on an everyday tee, this peplum top, and that orangey red is so good.