Wednesday, October 8, 2014

{Teachers Gifts} Erin Condren Personalized Notepads


We all know I'm a HUGE fan of the holidays, but what I'm not a huge fan of is the stress that comes along with the happy hustle and bustle of the giving season. That's why I'm super excited to see a fantastic sale on one of my go-to teacher gifts at Erin Condren.

If this is your first time shopping at Erin Condren, you'll need to register first and then you should receive a credit (almost instantly) via email to shop with.  My advice is to make a small purchase using your credit (you pay shipping), and then go back to reap the benefits of the sale codes (you'll receive these occasionally via email), and EC is notorious for sending you vouchers for even more deals along with your orders!  *Note - you cannot stack codes with vouchers, so again, make a small purchase using your credit voucher from signing up, then make additional purchases to get the deals...

Speaking of deals...I just got word that all personalized notebook notepads (along with a few other items) are 40% off right now using code NOTEPADS40 !!!   I have several of these personalized notepads and have purchased them for the boys daycare and preschool teachers; awesome feedback is always received.  These are unique, personal, totally USABLE (unlike that 14th bottle of flavored hand lotion your child's teacher will get) and adorable. Wrap them with a few fun colored pens or Sharpies and you have a sweet little token of appreciation.

Here are a few of my favorites:
Happy Stripes, Zen Gems and Paisley (I may or may not have ALL of these with my name on them!) So fun for sending quick notes to friends in the mail or to the teacher). I'm also going through a bit of a mermaid thing right now, so I'm thinking Scales might be next on my list!

Want something more teacher-y?  These Chalkboard and Live Love Learn notepads are adorably perfect for that special teacher in your child's life. ...and there are so many more! The Lesson Planner Notepads have an extra line of personalization to add the school's name or district.  Perfect!

So who is Erin Condren, you ask?  She's a quirky, spunky, artistic designer and, BONUS, she's a MOM OF TWINS!  I first heard of her and her products a few years ago from my totally organized friend Robyn of Robyn's Little Nest. Robyn introduced me to EC planners (Surprise, those are personalize-able too, from the covers to the daily and monthly pages!) and the rest was history. I've returned to her website to make purchase after purchase. I'm seriously addicted...I can't get enough! (I can stop when I want to... I just don't want to, yet!)

So what are you waiting for? There's no indication as to when this 40% off sale will end (Code NOTEPADS40), so go over to Erin Condren now and register. Spend your registration credit, and then go back to buy buy buy those teacher gifts (the notepads also make great bff gifts, too!)



Thursday, September 25, 2014

{Product Review} Back to school with Kidecals



My kids have been in day care for over two years now, so I'm familiar with sending in items that are labeled with our name... that being said, Kindergarten (yep, you heard right...KINDERGARTEN) is a whole new ball of wax!   School has been in session for almost a month now and is going quite smoothly.  We obtained a supply list (x's2) in early summer and I got started right away on stocking up on everything that was needed for the boys' classrooms.  Many things are community items (my kid can't possibly use all that glue in 10 months!) but other supplies are individual and require labels strong enough to withstand, ...well, ten months of kindergarten.


I went to Kidecals and spent a while looking at all the options they had - I was definitely impressed with the amount of personalized designs and generic designs they had to choose from.  They even have chalkboard decals and allergy alert decals!  So clever!






Here's what Kidecals has to say:
Gone are the days of iron on name labels and sharpies. Our durable kids name labels are so easy to apply and will stay stuck for as long as you want them to. Dishwasher and washing machine safe, these name labels are perfect for clothing, school supplies, sports gear, and electronics. Save yourself the hassle of digging through the lost and found with our durable and stylish name labels for kids.



Because I have two kiddoes' items to label and a budget to stick to, I went with a more plain, personalized decal utilizing just our last name and phone number. I was able to easily customize the wording and even the color of the font and background!  I was impressed by the quick turnaround for a personalized item.   I had my decals within 10 days of ordering.  Then I put them to the test.  I labeled backpacks.  Perfection. I labeled lunch bags. Awesome.  I even labeled the boys smocks and some plastic lunch containers.  I've hand washed the decaled food containers and dishwasher-ed them with no problem.  Theses labels are tough.




These labels are extremely tacky and made of a strong, durable plastic/vinyl material. Even though they are quite gummy, they seem like they'd be easily removable down the road if you needed to take them off (I may have mis-stuck one or two and had to reapply them).  I LOVE these labels - there is one thing I have to say if I'm being completely honest... Although Kidecals claim to be washing machine and dryer friendly, the label (although still legible and in one piece) definitely had some wear after the very first wash cycle of the art smocks.   I threw it in the dryer and the dryer didn't really beat it up too much more...just the wash cycle  The labels were still in tact, but I would either had wash any labeled clothing or not use them on clothing in the future.  I'd say stick (pun intended) to slapping those decals onto items that don't go in the washing machine.  Other than that, I definitely have to go order more - I really think I can use these EVERYWHERE! Sign up for their mailing list - Kidecals has great sales going on all the time!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Necessity for twins: Joovy Room2

Hi all - I have a few posts planned for the next few weeks (I promise), but I just came across this deal and I had to share (affiliate link included).  Today, and I guess until supplies run out, Zulily has the Joovy Room2 play yard available at an AMAZING price!  There are two colors available and they are ON SALE for $115 to $120!  This was my go-to pack and play type device when the twins were little (and we paid a boatload more for them at the time). We never had an official pack-n-play, but this thing was double the size of one (I think it measures 5'x5') and has plenty of room for two little ones to play and rest together in a contained, safe environment.  It also packs up like a dream!

We owned two Joovies (is that the correct plural of Joovy? Let's just pretend it is!) - one for our house, one for Nana and Papa's house.  I actually ended up selling them both to a momma of twins, expecting three more!  That's right, twins and TRIPLETS!

So, moms-of-multiples-to-be...head over to Zulily and search Joovy Room2.  Be sure you grab the real life one and not the play version (yes, they even make mini ones for dolls!)

If I had to make a top 5 list right now of necessities for twins, this would definitley be on it.  ...and I can't get over the price!  Take my word for it...BARGAIN!


Wednesday, June 11, 2014

{Instagram} 100 Happy Days

 

Have you heard of this great project from the 100 Happy Days Foundation?  They encourage, promote and basically challenge you to be... wait for it... HAPPY!  I decided to hop on the Happy Band Wagonand it's quite simple. For 100 days in a row, you highlight something that made (or makes) you happy, put it on Instagram (or Facebook, Tumblr, Twitter, etc) and tag it #100HappyDays
 
OR
you can create your own hastag (if you don't want all of the followers...) like I did... #100DaysHappy. (OK, so maybe I goofed up the hashtag on day 1 and just went with it.)

If you want to officially participate, head over to the website, enter your information and start being happy! When you are all finished with your project, there are all these awesome options to create a collection of your own personal happy - so many little book choices made with YOUR images from the project.  So cool!

As of today, I am HALF WAY DONE!   That's right, I'm at Day 50, and have been having so much fun.  It sounds silly, but having a little "job" to do each day, involving capturing something happy, or something that makes you happy is SUPER FUN!  Especially if you're a photographer wanna-be like me!  Some days, it's hard to narrow it down to one happy moment/image.  Other days, I really have to dig deep (hey, we all have days like that, right?)  Did you know I go garage sale-ing on my bike?  ...or that I LOVE Starbucks (shut the front door), or that my kid likes a lot (and I mean A LOT) of dressing with his carrots?  These are all things you should know! 

If you're not already following along with doublethegiggles on Instagram, WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?!  You've already missed out on HALF of my happy little moments, so it's time to catch up and continue following along!

Think you can find one thing a day that makes you happy? See you over on Instagram!  Who knows, maybe I'll follow along in your 100 Happy Days! Wouldn't that just make you so HAPPY?

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Perspective

Blue for Ben. Photo via www.bensauer.blogspot.com
Yesterday was a very sad day.   Yesterday we heard the news that the world lost a brave, inspiring little boy. Little Ben Sauer. A dimpled, just-turned-5 boy with big, bright, brown eyes that could melt your heart in seconds.  A brave little boy who was diagnosed with an extremely aggressive brain tumor just a few short months ago.  A brave little boy who finally took his last breath on earth two nights ago. A brave little boy leaving behind an amazing mom, dad, identical twin brother, a sister, and with another little sister on the way.

If you haven't heard about little Ben or his passion for bugs, snakes and worms, or his amazingly resilient family, perhaps you've heard of Blue For Ben (#BlueForBen).  Ben's family lives here, in the Western New York area and I've never seen a community rally together for someone like it has for Ben.   Ben's community, amazingly, now extends across the world.  Read Ben's story here, and be sure to have a lot of tissues handy.  His mother eloquently puts into words their heartbreak, their hope, their love of family and their strong investment in faith.  Her words, which describe the most horrible thing imagineable, are absolutely beautiful and will surely move you to tears.

This is such heartbreaking news which hits close to home for so many reasons.  Ben was taken too soon.  Much too soon.  As a mother and a mother of twins, this makes my heart truly ache.  Ben was an identical twin and I don't ever want to imagine one of my boys not being with me, or the other one getting by without his best buddy.  I met Ben's mom Mindy a few years ago.  I'm sure she doesn't remember me, but I still remember how beautiful I thought her boys were.  Angelic.  I couldn't get over their adorable faces.  And now to follow along through Mindy's words on her blog, and watch the Sauer family prepare to deal with what no parents should ever have to deal with... well, it sucks.  Cancer sucks.  At any age.  I'm truly at a loss for words.  It's just not fair.

Last night was our monthly Mothers of Multiples meeting.  Many of us wore Blue for Ben in remembrance of Ben's all-too-short time on this earth.  Prayers were said for Ben and his family.  Thousands will keep their porch lights on this weekend as we light up the night for Ben, and thousands more of us continue to cry with the Sauer family.  Their story has touched so many.

Perspective.  It's always things like this that put things into perspective.  My boys were showered with extra kisses last night.  After they were tucked in and fast asleep, I kissed them again... and again.  I checked in on them again... and again...  and then I kissed their cheeks some more.  I didn't care if I almost woke them up.  I didn't care at all.  This morning when I dropped them off at school, I said things I don't usually say on a normal rushed morning, but today, I said these things.  Heavy words that meant so much to me, but I know my kids don't really realize it was above and beyond the usual i-love-you-have-a-great-day things I usually say.  I meant what I said more today than any other time I have spoke.

Ben is not the only one, and I realize that.  Sadly, there are many other children battling awful diseases, and we must not forget about any of them.  Ben was a silent spokesperson representing thousands of little warriors.  He fought until the very end and had so many praying for a miracle.  If Ben's journey has taught me anything, its to embrace my kids being kids.  That's what they do best. Kids are expected to grow up so quickly, but I must remember that mud can be washed out, broken things can be replaced and Band-Aids can fix most scrapes. I will cherish every moment. Even the not-so-enjoyable-ones.

Ben's journey also reminded me that I live in an amazing place.  Say what you will of Buffalo, but we sure know how to join together as a community.  In times of need, the outpouring of love and support offered here is like no other. I'm proud to call this place home.
 
The Peace Bridge in Buffalo, NY was lit up #blueforben again last night, after the family released the news of Ben's passing. 


Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Notes for the Babysitter

If you have little ones, your date nights are probabaly far and few between. We are very lucky to have two sets of grandparents nearby that occasionally help us out with watching our boys (sometimes even overnight! Yahoooo!), but every now and then, we use a babysitter.
 
Fast forward to the big night out.
 
If you are anything like us, then you are probably already running late, looking way too much like frazzled-parents-who-don't-get-out-much and forgetting everything you need to tell your babysitter (or the grandparents) in that three minute ride you have from her house to your house...
 
Been there?
 
My blogger friend (and Super-Mom to super adorable twins Aurdrey and David) Dory, from The Doyle Dispatch has created the perfect document for capturing anything and everything the sitter should know.
 
Sitter Notes!  GENIUS!  Here is what she created for our family:

https://www.etsy.com/listing/187393368/babysitter-nanny-grandparent?ref=shop_home_active_3
I mean, this is totally perfect, right?

I cannot wait to use this.   I feel like this can be filled out WAY in advance.  For once I can be prepared.  No rushing.  No last minute "Oh-I-totally-I-forgot-to-tell-you..." texts sent to the sitter 30 seconds after you pull out of the driveway.  All the info is right there. 
 
Fill out the info that won't change (phone numbers, allergies, emergency contacts, etc) and laminate this bad-boy.  Use a dry erase marker and you can use this over and over again, all while saving a tree or two.
 
Be sure to check out Notes for the Sitter and other personalized creations in Dory's Personally Yours etsy shop.   You can purchase the sitter stationery as is, or for an extra dollar, Dory will personalize the form to meet your specific needs (bottle feeding amounts/times, tricks the kiddoes may attempt, etc.).  Not only would this work for parents, but this would also be perfect if you have a pet sitter or house sitter. 
 
Thanks for creating this for our family, Dory!


Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Kid Nutrition While on Vacation

Ahhh.... Vacation...  We have been so long overdue for a vacation (like 4 and 1/2 yrs overdue) that we decided to squeeze 3 separate trips into 2 months.  The first trip was kid free...(Ahhh, again!)  We cruised the Caribbean with a great bunch of friends and had an absolute relaxing, recharging blast.  Margaritas never tasted so good.
A Margarita for Margarita!
The next vacation was just for the boys and I; we flew to Florida to visit my in laws for a week.  This is just what we all needed to cure our spring fever blues.  Spring has technically been here a few weeks now, but Mother Nature apparently didn't get the memo. Either that, or she's playing a freezing, icy, snowy, bitter cold, blustery joke on us.  The Florida sunshine felt wonderful and being outside in the fresh air (and in the pool, and at the park, and at the ice cream stand!) reminded me of warmer, brighter days ahead at home.
Florida Fun!
 Before our cruise started, my hubby and I decided to follow a 28-day diet, of sorts called the Fast Metabolism Diet. It's based on a book written by Haylie Pomroy; The Fast Metabolism Diet: Eat More Food and Lose More Weight.  All science aside, the meal plans are easy to follow and make a lot of sense.   Haylie even came out with a cookbook to help you be creative during the 28-day plan called  The Fast Metabolism Diet Cookbook.  We already have a bunch of obscure meal ingredients in our home (brown rice, quinoa, cashew butter, tahini, etc), so start-up wasn't too much of an investment for us.  There are some restrictions (diet is gluten free, caffeine free, dairy free, sugar free, soy free, and banana free), but those restrictions can always be altered to your specific needs; dietary or financial.  We completed the 28-days and still continue to adhere to the plan as much as we can.

On our cruise, we didn't hold back.  That being said, I didn't overdue myself, either, which is very easy to do, because...FRIED BACON!   and TATER TOTS!   and ROOM SERVICE CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES, 24 HOURS A DAY! Really, the cruise food was pretty awesome!  All in all, the pre-cruise diet got us into a healthy, conscious, food-decision-making state-of-mind and I did pretty well with my eating choices.
Good times with great friends!
Florida was a bit different.  Most of our lunches and dinners were eaten in restaurants, with crayons and kid menus, a plenty.  I allowed only 2 mac-n-cheese orders, but after that, it was mom's choice.   I decided to look through the menus and offer the boys 3 or four choices that I knew they'd like, but were healthier than the standard grilled cheese with fries.  Andrew opted for an adult-sized chef salad one day, and pretty much destroyed it.  Truly a Proud Mom Moment!  The boys also impressed their Grandpa by destroying a few bowls of steamed broccoli, too!
child of the corn
salad fan
When you're normally out to dinner with the kids it's usually a treat, and it's fun to allow the kids to order what they'd like for themselves, but when there are multiple non-home cooked meals, it's important to step in and coach/approve of the order before it is placed.  I made it mandatory that veggies were served with their meals (and eaten, accordingly!) and applesauce replaced french fries on most occasions.  Meals back at the condo were on the simpler side; pb&j, turkey roll-ups, greek yogurt, and of course, lots of fresh fruit and veggies.  The boys have impressive appetites (and an intense passion for raw carrots, which I'm quite certain they didn't inherit from me!), and I don't mind grabbing an ice cream cone or throwing a few Oreos their way (and taking a few for myself) if I know they've eaten a healthy meal before.
A sweet treat 
Ice cream with Grandpa
Have you ever had to limit your kids' access to kid's menus?  Was it easy, or a battle? What healthy choices were made?