Thursday, June 25, 2015

Back To School with Shop at Home

***The following post is sponsored by ShopAt Home.comAll opinions are entirely my own.***

It's only June and this is the last week of school for my kiddos, why am I even thinking about back to school clothes?! I should be embracing the short freedom that is summer break, of running around in the mornings making breakfast and getting the kids to school on time! Unfortunately, it is inevitable and if I want to make the best out of my back to school clothing budget my time is now. My kids wear uniforms and I purchase their bottoms and sweaters mostly from Gap or Nordstrom. They do get dress down days and those are their favorite days to show off their clothes! I love using coupons and taking advantage of the best deals when I'm shopping for my family. I have my favorite stores that I stick to when I shop online because I already know when their good sales are. It gets better with gives you access to the best coupons/deals and sends you a rebate check 12 times a year with their Cash Back program. It provides access to thousands of coupons, deals and free samples at over 50,000 stores at any given time and best of all the membership is free! Sounds too good to be true right? my thoughts exactly but they have over 4 million facebook users and over 200,000 twitter followers all those people can't possibly be wrong!

Here's a little example of what my must haves are for my kids. Each one is different, for Sarah comfortable, easy, girly clothes are a fave and for Jonathan jeans and cool tees are a must. I was so happy to say that my fave stores that I love to shop online in are some of the many stores with deals in! It's great to know your making a good investment and getting a good deal!

I loved all these finds from GAP ,NORDSTROM, and AE.COM !:)

1. Herschel Supply Co. 'Heritage-Camo' backpack from Nordstrom-$38.00 with 5% cash back
2.'SeaSide Garden'Tank Dress from Nordstrom - $33.25 with 5% cash back
3. Ten Sixty Sherman You Make Me Happy Graphic Tee from Nordstrom on sale + $15.96 with 5% cash back
4. Legging Jeans from Gap - $34.26 with 2% cash back
5.Tunic Tee from Gap - $16.22 with 2% cash back
6. 'that'll do' Oxford Shirt from Nordstrom - on sale and $28.49 with 5% cash back
7.1969 straight jeans from Gap $34.26 with 2% cash back
8.Colorblock Football Tee from Gap $19.56 with 2% cash back
9. 1969 original fit jeans from Gap on sale and $19.60 with 2% cash back
10. AEO Signture Backpack Black from AE.COM - $39.16 WITH 2% cash back

If you are interested don't think about it too much and sign up for free HERE and save!


*this post was sponsored by , but all opnions are my own!**

Thursday, June 11, 2015

North Carolina has a piece of my heart, Firefly Family Picnic, and a Fake Eye?

This weekend was a whirlwind filled with lots of emotion. My parents and sister had been looking into moving to North Carolina for awhile. We have some family over there and, not to get too much into it, it was just something that had to be done. It's a chance for them to start new. Things have not been the same since my brother died and maybe a new environment is exactly what will help. I don't really like to share much about my extended family but I will share this. We are not a perfect all. I never quite really feel like I fit in growing up. My brother was the only sure thing and constant, he was the one I got along with the most. I love my family very much, even with all the ups and downs we've had we are as strong as we could be now. Everything we've ever been through has led us to where we are now. It's going to take quite a bit used to not having them close by, especially for my kiddos, they love auntie Yesi and 'Belo and 'Bela so much.

 Saturday was moving day for my family and also the Firefly Family Picnic. It was important for the hubs and I to  get to be at both places. We didn't want to miss the picnic at all. We don't really get a chance to meet up with everyone from the Firefly Music Festival Fan Page so missing the picnic was not an option. The night before hubs and Jon went to get haircuts at a family member's house. Jon ended up getting a little hair in his eye and somehow scratched his cornea from rubbing. By the time they came home his eye looked so bad. It looked like something from a movie ...fake..and almost like it was going to fall out. The white area(cornea) was swelling over the iris. ugh...I was so worried! The hubs took him to the E.R. and they didn't get home until 3a.m. The doctor assured him that it was OK to do regular activities and park outings were cleared. The doctor prescribed some special drops and by the next day his eye was looking a lot better. It was just a little teary, and a little swollen...a big difference compared to the night before. Little man really gave us a scare. 

 When we arrived at the Firefly Picnic at Doylestown Central Park we were excited, nervous, still a little worried about Jon, and a little hesitant. Everyone was having a good time and talking to each other. We were a little shy but we made it a point to talk to as many people as we could and introduce ourselves. They've unknowingly have had such a positive impact in my life it was important for me to come out of my shell a little. A few weeks ago I wrote about why Firefly Music a Festival was so important to me ( you can read about it HERE) and how it changed my life. Well, someone from the official Firefly Music Festival twitter page read my post and was kind enough to gift the hubs and I 4day passes.It was unbelievable...all the contests they were having to win tickets had already ended! It is one of the nicest things anyone has ever done for us! I cried because I was happy and I couldn't believe it. I was never looking for any sort of pity or hand out. I didn't even feel right accepting them at first. I couldn't help but feel like my brother was saying, "you see...I got worries" . It also couldn't have been possible if I had never stumbled upon the fan page on Facebook last year and seen first hand how a bunch of strangers can turn into family. I am very grateful to them.

some of the #FireflyFam...beautiful people!

The kids played and had a lot of fun, they even got to participate on a little treasure hunt. We had to leave the picnic early because we had to drive from Pa back to Jersey and say, well not a 'goodbye' but a 'see you soon' to my sis and parents. When we arrived  at 6 the moving truck was almost fully packed and the reality kicked in that they were leaving in a few hours. They weren't going to be just a 30 minute drive away anymore. We kept our 'see you laters' short and sweet because we were going to visit them in their new home very soon and as many times as possible. It was a sad ride back to our home at 11 p.m. We were tired and physically and emotionally drained. So many important things happened in one day we had quite the scare, joy and happiness followed by sadness. I was ready to go home.  We said our first hello to one family and a 'see you later' to another.

I was getting ready to tuck the kids in bed when Hubs was getting our mail. We got home to a very special surprise. Our Firefly Music Festival wristbands came in the mail and it was awesome. We got to relive that moment again. Seeing our wristbands was a little reassurance that what happened 3 months back was real....that it wasn't a dream. A few days from now we will be in Dover, Delaware having the time of our lives, like I promised myself almost a year back. No regrets, enjoy every moment always, and experience life. We only do get one and it's never too late to cherish it and enjoy it as much as we possibly can.


Thursday, May 21, 2015

The New York Baby Show

 This past weekend the family and I made our way into NYC for the New York Baby Show presented by New York Family held at Pier 92. I was very excited to attend because not only was I going to get a chance to visit the MomTrends Bloggers Lounge, but I was going to get a chance to experience what I never got to during both my pregnancies long ago. The chance to get to explore and see all the wonderful products and brands that are available for expectant parents and parents of babies and toddlers. I babysit during the day and I'm all ears for products that can make my sitterlife easier!

The New York Baby Show is the largest show in the country full of not only great brands but also of educational seminars for new and expectant parents. NYC Dads Group had a great Dad's lounge and daddy boot camp with advice to new Dads (and Moms). Canon, the show's sponsor, shared great tips and tricks on how to capture a baby's magic moments. Many other seminars from greening your baby's nursery and breastfeeding tips to what you really need to know about shopping for baby!

 My (not exactly) babies posing at the Momtrends Lounge

 Sarah getting a little lipgloss action by GLAMSQUAD

I found so many products that I thought were amazing and must-haves. It was hard trying to narrow it down.  I picked out some of my faves and ones that stood out to me. I picked ones that I thought were essential to a new parent but also great for families with kids at any age!

1. SHOOSHA (TRULY ORGANIC) - my kids have had very sensitive skin since they were babies. I'm always on the lookout for natural, safe and organic products. Patricia Di Gasbarro is the creator of Shoosha. She believes in living a clean  and simple life and that always includes what we put in and on our bodies. I love how every ingredient is listed and are USDA Certified with the highest organic food grade standard in North America.  If you can't pronounce most of the listed ingredients then it probably won't be good for you! Shoosha uses only pure, organic, beautiful ingredients that will nurture your delicate babies – and pamper you too. A bonus...they smell aaaamazing!

2. I will not even get into (horror) stories I've had with my kids, especially Sarah, getting nauseous or dizzy. In the car we have our emergency kit complete with a change of clothes, clorox wipes, extra plastic bags, paper towel and hand sanitizer. We are very prepared for it because we are used to it. Sarah is very prone to motion sickness whether it's being in the car or just simply going on a swing in the park. It's all very uncomfortable.

NoMoNauseaBand is  a patent pending combination medical device. Peppermint is an FDA approved aromatherapy scent that is mixed with latex free elastic band. The goal of any anti-nausea band is to wear it before the nausea starts, and since the No Mo Nausea Band is drug-free it can be safely worn on both wrists for as long as you'd like! When you’re done with the band just throw it away, but make sure you have a few more for another nauseous day. The anti-nausea effect lasts 12-24 hours after the band has been removed.  The band's peppermint scent will last up to two weeks once opened and up to two years within the packaging.  This product also works on, headaches, migraines, vertigo and many more conditions. The bands come in adult and kid sizes and in a variety of colors! We purchased our own bands there an I can't wait to let you know how they worked for us!

3. I fell in love...yes IN LOVE ...with a stroller. The GB Qbit stroller retails (pre-order now) at $179.99. I love a good bargain because not everyone can purchase a stroller or travel system, even though we might like to,that is $800.  This stroller is lightweight, durable, and great for travel. Some of my fave features are the expandable canopy, the comforable reclining seat and the spacious basket. 
I'd invest in any of the travel systems offered by GB because it pays for itself. They are light weight and you don't feel like you're lugging around a small spaceship everywhere you go. I hated big bulky strollers (still do) but I also never felt like small, cheap umbrella stroller were good. These strollers are convenient but don't skimp on space and comfort!

4. PRIMARY is a children's clothing brand for babies and kids up to size 10. Kids basics with style, bright colors and comfort. Everything is priced from $25 and under!! Winning all around!!

5. I must've been living under a rock or something because I never knew about Mabel's Labels! A great way to give your everyday things a touch of personalization. They have everything- clothing labels, safety products, bag tags, and household labels. Products that are great for everyone in the family!

6. SureShop by HatchThings -where was this bag for me when my kiddos were little! Even now with babysitting I was so happy to find the SureShop. I don't have to be worrying about my strollers tipping over and ruining my groceries. You don't have to worry about dragging your things or kicking them with your feet as you move around. You can use it on the stroller, walkers, shopping carts and bike handles!

 I look forward to the opportunity to attend next year. I know what it's like to be pregnant and be a new parent and have no clue of what to do or where to start. Not everyone can say they have a full support system and it can be scary. I loved this show because you can walk in and have people gladly answer any questions you might have and you can learn and determine what products best work for you and your budget. Parenthood is not easy but it can be made just a bit more simple!

 Do you have any advice or tips for a first time parent??


Tuesday, May 19, 2015

#ShakeYourKale contest by The Kitchen Twins

   When I attended the NJ Blogger Conference I met Cricket Allen of The Perfect Snaque whose beautiful 11 year old ( young) twin girls, Emily and Lyla, are the geniuses behind The Make Your Own Kale Chips Kit! These girls are amazing! They are doing more at such a young age than most adults. They are a great example to all kids (and adults) of how easy and fun healthy eating can be!
  My kiddos were so excited when I told them about the girls, being aspiring little chefs themselves, they were very motivated to make their own kale chips.

They got to work all by themselves with no help from mama, except when it was time to put them in the oven!

The  Kitchen Twins Make Your Own Kale Chips Kit is only $3.99!! 

It really is a great deal because kale can be pricey at some stores. 
 You can buy Kitchen Twins Make Your Own Kale Chips in the produce section of Shop Rite, Acme and Pennington Quality Market!

There is a great Instagram contest going on right now until May 30th 11:59 pm est  where you can win $250 Visa gift card!!

All you have to do is post a picture or video containing Kitchen Twins Make Your Own Kale Chips an use hashtags #ShakeYourKale and #NJBlogger -You will be entered and a winner will be chosen at random from all the fellow participating contestants!

****Get Creative***


Am I Biting Off More Than I Can Chew?


 Over the last couple of months I've had many opportunities open up for me than ever before. I've been blogging on and off for a few years now. This is the first year that I can see that I am really putting more effort in. I've had a chance to attend a few events that have led me to be more involved in the blogging world. I've joined local blogging groups where we help promote each other's work. We're a support group where we can all grow and learn from each other. I've surrounded myself with so many inspiring women it's overwhelming. I've had crumbs of people throughout my life that I've looked up to. This is the first time I've ever been over -inspired, if there is such a thing.
These women work so hard and give 110% in everything they do. I've found myself thinking, quite a few times, why am I here, amongst them??

  It's not the first time I caught feelings like that. I attended a separate event and people kept introducing us all as bloggers. I remember feeling uncomfortable with that. What made me a blogger like them??  I just wanted to hide. lol

 I attended a blogging conference about 2 weeks ago. It was less than a day but it has got to be the best conference I've ever been to. It covered so much! A room full of accomplished, college educated women. I sat there and listened and I have to admit a felt a bit insecure. I had so much to learn still. I've been doing this blogging thing maybe 10% right! When it was over I was motivated and at the same time confused about who I was. I spoke to maybe 3 other people (which is quite an accomplishment for an introvert like me) and on one occasion I remember thinking out loud and telling someone that I don't consider myself a blogger. ugh. I don't know why I did that.  I'm not a super confident person. It's something I'm working on. I have a blog. I am not a writer. I love to blog and share and vent my feelings on here, to share our life, our ups and our downs.

I've been "out of the real world" for 12 years and put many things on hold to be a stay at home and I don't regret it. Reading blogs and being able to relate to others who can be miles and miles away has been really helpful to me. It is one of the reasons why I started to blog.

I walked away with what was probably the most important advice at that conference. It was to be confident! My reasons for blogging and why I started didn't waiver but I need to be more confident. I have to lie! Lie to myself everyday, at first, and believe that I could continue to do it. I don't care if I'm as talented as anyone else or if someone else might not consider me a blogger. I care about the fact that above all I am an example to my kids. Giving up is not an option. I am very honest about who I am on here. I don't pretend to be something I'm not. That is my strength. I am not like anyone else.

I am nervous and excited about what the future holds. It can go any way. I could even fail miserably at it, but I could never say I didn't try. It's great advice to apply to life in general. It's an amazing feeling to feel completely lost but at the same time know exactly what you want!


Thursday, May 14, 2015

Ladies Night with Poker Pro Jessica Dawley

    I had the great opportunity to attend a Ladies Poker Night with Pro Poker player and Brand Ambassador of 888 Poker Jessica Dawley. We were hosted at the beautiful and intimate Rinaldi's Italian Bistro.  I wasn't sure what I was walking into because I have never played Poker. I was nervous because I didn't want to make a fool of myself. Luckily all the beautiful ladies that were there were playing for the first time as well. Jessica is smart, kind and most importantly patient. I felt like I was talking to one of my girlfriends...very down to earth. She talked to us about her professional and her personal life. Jessica talked about coming from a big family, her time in the air force, traveling and the journey that led her to be one of the few female pro poker players. It was truly an honor to get to play with such an inspiring, talented and strong woman.

 I didn't take many pictures because I really got into learning and playing. We enjoyed delicious brick oven pizza as we played a few games.  After we played Jessica showed us how easy it is to set up an account online at . It has poker rooms that cater to the skill level and budget of every single player, allowing everyone and anyone the chance to enjoy the very best in online poker. You can create private games with friends or participate in tournaments along with many pros that also play online. What I liked most is that you can play with as little as pennies! I don't see myself ever daring to play with more than that until I get better at it.

It's great to learn about something new. You can add poker player to your list of skills or accomplishments! It can be a new favorite hobby that you can enjoy in the comfort of your own home. I hope you'll try it because it's not that hard and eventually with practice you will get better. Poker isn't only a game for men!:)

Now I know of someone to cheer for and happily support in the world of Poker! Thank you so much to Lillie Morales of JerseyFashionista for inviting me. I had a great time amongst fellow bloggers!

Saturday, April 25, 2015

7 links to love 4-25-15

 Here's my little man wearing his Hatch for Kids shirt.

Happy Weekend guys!! We had a very eventful week! I don't know if you got a chance to read my latest post HERE I shared about something very important and I'm happy to inform that we just got our tickets thanks to the wonderful, kind, amazing people at Firefly Music Festival !! I am still pinching myself because I can't believe it, nothing like this has ever happened to me.I cried, it was just such an emotional experience, especially because of why the hubs and I got those tickets. I just wanted to let you all know. Amazing things will happen when you least expect them and that itself is a beautiful thing. I can't wait to share our experience with you. Countdown to Firefly has begun!

Here are this week's links to love:

 -This post really touched my heart. It's always comforting to know that other people who have suffered  loss understand exactly how I feel, especially when others might not. RATM: what I want you to know about the loss of my sister

- TV LOVE: Food Curated is a show the hubs and I love to watch on NYCTV channel. You all know how much we love the city....and good food. Three years ago, we celebrated our anniversary with a weekend getaway in NYC and we had a fabulous time.We relaxed and spent the whole time eating at some wonderful places. New York City has so many amazing restaurants all over, that if we could, we'd spend every weekend checking out all the wonderful places on the show. I dare you to watch a show and not drool in front of the TV!

- Awesome Deal: We purchased our family pack for Kids Bowl Free  and we are ready for summertime family fun. I am always looking for fun activities to do with the kids especially when we can do it on a budget. There are a lot of participating bowling centers. All you have to do is find the one nearest you. You can use these passes from May all through October!

-YouTube Love: I feel like I've been living under a rock because I had no idea there were so many inspiring people on YouTube! I knew it was there for informational purposes, music, funny videos, DIY but I had no idea there were actually people who vlogged their everyday life! It's addictive. I mean we all have curiosity (or are just plain nosy) to see how others live, but it's not only about that. There are actually some really inspiring, funny, genuine people. (At least from what I can see)
        Today I want to specifically talk about SunKissAlba. She is probably one of the first people I was subscribed to. I started following her because she was super easy to listen to and she is the Mr. Miyagi to my Daniel Russo ( Karate Kid reference there) when it comes to curly hair. She has taught me that I've been basically mistreating my hair for years! The bonus, is that she also does family vlogs and both she and her husband are inspiring in every way. They  are very down to earth, kind to their followers and they take care of themselves by eating as healthy as possible! If you haven't already please check them out!

- If I ever got a house,in my dreams, and my husband wouldn't think I was crazy, in my dreams, I'd  probably decorate my house ... THIS  way.

- I am such a romantic and I love what these two love birds and loving life! This married couple takes the best photos all over the world.

- 12 tips on how to enjoy art museums with your kids from Jen loves Kev.

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend!!