Mothers Day Gift Guide – #SaveWithShopAtHome

This post is sponsored by Shop At Home. All opinions and content are my own. Thanks for swinging by TheNewYorkMom and checking out our sponsors.

Mothers Day is coming up in a few weeks and I thought I would share a few of my favorite picks for gifting your mom, sister, friend… or yourself this year.

It’s tough to find time to go out and roam around a mall and shop for gifts. When Thomas was little, i used to spend a lot of time, in the winter months especially, roaming through the mall while he napped in his stroller. These days his little legs and inquisitive  mind don’t want to still! So lazy mall strolls are out. I do love saving money and going through the sales racks… thrill of the hunt ya know!

But don’t cry for me Argentina… I’ve been swinging by SHOP AT HOME for coupon code and earning cash back at all of my fave spots.

From stores like JCpenny, Target to even my fave… Madewell. I found everything I needed. And for you… dear reader, I’ve picked a few of my favorites for gifting your mama this year!

Mothers Day Gift Guide #SaveWithShopAtHome

Target Sleeveless Jumpsuit – Jumpsuits are THE thing right now. These are tres chic and also double as PJ’s. ha! I’m kidding. I love a good classic black jumpsuit this spring and summer.

NARS Blush Contour Lip Palette – This NARS kit has it all, in one sleek palette. It includes bronzer and a highlighting blush for all your contouring needs.

Alex and Ani – ‘MOM’ adjustable wire bangle – Alex and Ani makes bracelets in all kinds of themes to fit every aspect of life. A MOM bracelet is pretty special don’t ya think? 

Lancome USA – A dainty perfume set for mom… classic gift for the win!

Jcrew – Jaquard zip pocket shift dress  – Another MUST for any closet, a shift dress goes from work to dinner to school fundraiser, ballet recital.. anywhere your mama world takes you.

Madewell Bracelet – Imagine my utter excitement when i found my favorite store Madewell on Shop at Home. I could do a whole feature on everything you should buy at Madewell right now… with coupons and cash back from Shop at Home!

LOWES birdhouse – I love birdhouses and think they make the sweetest mothers day gift. This one from Lowes is so unique and welcoming of all the blue jays and chickadees in your backyard!

White House Black Market at the shoulder Blouson Dress – This simple dress can be dressed up or down making it very versatile for picnics, brunches or lazy strolls on weekends.

Swedish Hasbeen Debutant Cross Strap Sandals – These are my all time favorite. I think every gal, especially once you become a mama, should have a pair in their closet. These comfy shoes make everyday errands or trips to the park feel a bit fancy while still being comfortable. These come in all sorts of wonderful colors.

Michael Kors Hamilton Saffiano Leather Tote – I love this yellow tote, it’s my favorite color and I just had to include it. That’s all!

Every one of these items can be found at SHOP AT HOME!  I hope you liked my Mothers Day Gift Guide with Shop At Home

Shop-at-home

Join more than 94 million other online shoppers, and sign up for a ShopAtHome.com Cash Back and ShopGold Rewards account today. Free, fast and easy, signing up allows you to find your favorite coupons or deals from thousands of stores (think Sephora, Nordstrom and ASOS) offering Cash Back through ShopAtHome.com. Then, when youmake a purchase, you could earn up to 30 percent Cash Back on every dollar you spend! Once you’ve earned enough, we send you a check in the mail.

Why does ShopatHome.com give cash back?

It’s simple: Websites pay us when we send people to shop there and we think you deserve some of that money, so we share it with our members. Win-win.

 

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Dailies

Matt was out-of-town for the early part of the week and for some reason the axis that this house balances on gets thrown off completely when he is away. For no good reason. It’s almost as if the kids, Jonah and I all know that a part of our family dynamic is not with us and our routine is totally thrown.

Balance seems to be the name of the game these days. Balancing my freelance hustle life with chasing after two fearless kids is nothing short of a daily adventure. Thomas has learned that when he just fully leaps on people and body slams into anyone who is at eye level… that’s a lot of fun. He isn’t afraid to wrestle with Jonah who is the most patient beast, but once in a while even Jonah has his limits.

Thomas has two big giant bruises on his ear and face from where Jonah has just “pawed’ him to stop. This does not stop Thomas from trying to body slam Jonah… from a different angle.

Grandma sends us butterflies every spring and this is something we all look forward to every year.

At around 9:00 pm, one night this week, a butterfly escaped. Lily was downstairs getting some water and started screaming and freaking out about her butterfly. Jonah decided that this was something he could ‘hunt’ so he was going crazy. Thomas who was almost asleep just couldn’t stay in bed and  H A D to see what the ruckus was all about.

I don’t think there are enough creative words in the english language to describe the absolute dance of chaos that was in motion downstairs. Lily was in tears trying to catch her butterfly, Jonah was knocking everything over in his path trying to get the butterfly, Thomas was just squealing and running in circles and then would run into Lily and bite her out of sheer excitement and the poor butterfly was just trying to – GET BACK INTO THE HABITAT!

Good grief! The whole house was shaking and if anyone was walking past our home would have probably thought either it was a wild frat party on a weekday or … well or that kids lived here and are chasing a butterfly through the house.

The New York Mom

This morning Thomas REALLLLY wanted to open a new toy. He begged and pleaded so we said – if you go pee pee on your potty we will open this toy – well what do you know… he sat on his potty and sure enough – tinkle tinkle. We’ve been trying to get him to use his potty of some time now and while he thinks it’s fun and will sit on the potty WITH his diaper on and chat with whomever is on the real potty… he has never consciously done the deed. until this morning.

Never a dull moment around these parts. and i love it.

I love the noise in this house and I love the mayhem. I love this sweet life of ours.

our dailies.

 

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30 Day Clutter Free Challenge

Goodness.. this house needs a good ole fashioned decluttering! We have too much stuff, from the kids toys, and clothes, mail, school paperwork, my stationary obsession, paints and random things and T O Y S… we are drowning in clutter!

I’ve started a 30 day clutter free challenge.. again.

Ok so before you dismiss this. let me tell you, THIS is the REAL DEAL this time. Why?

Because I’ve tried a handful of 30 day clutter free challenges and while they work sorta… they never really give me the results I’m looking for. Too many rules, too many opts out…etc.

I’m not an expert at this but I’d like to think that I’ve done enough 30 day clutter free challenges to get a good 30 day program going to help us all declutter and do some spring cleansing.

You can download the PDF right below.

30 Day Clutter Free Challenge

30 Day Clutter Free Challenge

I’m going through rooms of the home – the Kitchen is first and then because the kitchen is such a beast to tackle, we go to the bathroom…which should be pretty uncluttered…right? then we tackle the linen closet, bedroom…etc. If you miss a day, don’t stress it… just keep on your 30 day schedule and come back to the day you missed another time. Also, this can be repeated a few months until you achieve the whole decluttered goal you are going for.

The basic idea for this 30 day clutter free challenge is to go at your pace. I’m a busy mom, i work and i chase after my kids all day so spending hours at a time decluttering doesn’t quite fit my lifestyle. I don’t have the luxury to spend time cleaning. This chart is merely there for daily prompts to get going on declutturing. If you need a few days for one particular project… like home office shelves – then do as much as you can in one day and come back another day for more. No rules. Just do what you can.

Also, i have decided to create a FB page to do this challenge as a group…because I think when you have others going through the same misery of decluttering their messy piles of mail.. then it makes it easier. right?

So what do you think… you in! Swing by NEW YORK MOM FaceBook page to request to join the secret group!

Let’s do it everyone… cleanse, declutter, breathe… it’s springtime!

 

 

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To Test or Not To Test

Lily will not be taking part in the NY state testing that starts tomorrow.

This has been a massive topic of debate amongst parents and educators for the past two years. The Common Core Standards which is now the public school curriculum across the state has been a challenge. It’s a very factual way of learning with very little or no room for creative thinking.

The New York Mom

This is particularly stressful for Lily who is a creative being. She thrives on creativity and movement and art and her learning style reflects this.

I was tasked with writing an article , for one of my freelance gigs, about why parents are pulling their kids out of testing. I went into this task full force, guns a blazing… but…

i went looking for the devil… and the devil wasn’t there.

Common core is not evil, it’s not the worst thing to happen to our kids.

What I found was that Common Core isn’t that bad. In some ways it ensures that the kids who are not up to par… catch up. But it does leave out the creative kids which is where my issue lies.

Now testing… the biggest myth out there is that the testing is directly related to the Common Core.

It isn’t! Not really.

The state testing is testing the teachers … based on the performance of the kids.

This isn’t fair. There are some amazing teachers who will get the short end of the stick because of this testing. Lily’s school has a fairly high population of minorities who don’t speak english. These kids don’t have anyone to help them with their homework at home because of the language barrier making this a fair ground for the teachers to be evaluated on.The teachers seem to be stressed because their job is potentially on the line while the kids are feeding off this stress in unclear ways.

So we are opting out-of-state testing. If more parents opt out of the test, this will have to be evaluated and reformed for next year.

And there you have it. My no frills reason for opting out.

Are you opting out of testing? I would love to hear your thoughts.

 

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Easter

I’m still basking in the love from our Easter weekend.

Holidays are such special times, and as each year goes by, I wait for the wonder and magic of Easter Baskets to escape Lily. But it hasn’t yet and I am so very thankful for that. Every year my Sister in Law – Aunt Becky – has played the all important role of the Easter Bunny. Shhh don’t tell anyone.

This year Aunt Becky and I stayed up late into the night chatting and catching up as we stuffed eggs and packed Easter Baskets. These late night conversations are moments I treasure.

Now that Lily is 10 our Easter egg dying has a new tradition. We painted eggs.

With paint and brushes. We drew little collages and shapes and all sorts of things. She thinks dying eggs is for babies and Thomas just wanted to eat the eggs… so we had a nice few days of crafting hand painted eggs. I really love how they turned out!

I didn’t get to attend any Holy Week services this year… again. Lily was playing a special role as the candle bearer during the liturgical dance at the Good Friday service and I took Thomas to see her, but he was just so thrilled to see his sis that right in the middle of the first prayer he started calling for her … from the balcony of the church. sooo After a few looks from church members… we made our exit.

Holy week is a special week for us because 7 years ago during Holy Thursday we received a call from our attorney in Florida telling us that Lily’s adoption was a go.

I have written about the struggle of our adoption and this unexpected news was nothing short of a miracle.

Easter means so much more to me because it was the week we got our Lily.

This Easter Thomas was thrown into the Easter Egg Hunting frenzy and he was such a wonderful delight to watch.His little legs could barely keep up with his spirit but he collected a good amount of loot nonetheless.

Spring is not here yet in New York… it’s still in the 40’s. But Easter weekend was the first nice sunny weekend here in NYC. So we headed over to Williamsburg to wander around and soak up the sun and energy. Bedford Ave was packed with everyone emerging from their long winters hibernation.

      I tried to get a theme going for our Easter outfits this year, but just couldn’t get it together in time. Thomas had a great classic suit and Lily has a gorgeous brocade dress with one of my statement necklace. I hadn’t slept for a few days due to a teething Thomas and just didn’t have time to fully get dressed in the morning. Ugh… but you know what. These days fly by so fast and in the end it might be fun to look back and see the evolution of my exhaustion as captured in pictures. or something like that right.

All complaining aside… life is good. And it’s going to get so much better once this weather finally warms up!

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6 Fool-Proof Parenting Hacks – or How to Parent Like a Ninja.

Ninjas are awesome. They are fast and nimble and think on their toes; they’ll do flips in the air and cut ya (I think you can already see the parallels with parenting).

Ninja Parent

While you have been basking in your instagram parenting fantasies, or your grandmas’ apron nostalgia… it’s time to snap out of it. Once you have kids, it’s survival time. Your ninja skills have to come out if you are going to emerge from this whole journey in one piece. Trust me, with two kids to keep me sharp, I’ve got a few parenting hacks to share. Just like that ninja throwing star you keep in your pocket… here are 6 sharp points to get you through the baby and toddler years.

Parenting Hacks

  1. LAYER THE CRIB SHEETS. Your child is going to be sick. It’s going to happen more than once and usually in the middle of the night. This brilliant idea will save you time and most importantly sanity. Line the sheets of your kids bed with waterproof liner, fitted sheet and layer – waterproof liner, fitted sheet, waterproof liner, fitted sheet. This way at 3AM when your child is sick, all you have to do is pull off the first layer of fitted sheet and liner and you are good to go. Your sick kid doesn’t have to wait for sheets to be changed and you can all go back to sleep… until the next round.
  2. PAINT BATH. To give you a few moments of sanity when you have a toddler ruling you life. Pour some washable paint into your bathtub and let your child have at it! Kids will love the novelty of taking a paint bath and you will have a moment to breathe! When you are ready to clean them off, simply turn the water on and rinse off. Arts education and parenting hack! Who said Jackson Pollock never painted nudes!
  3. PREEMPTIVE PAJAMAS. Kids fall asleep in the car. So next time you are out for a late dinner, change the diaper and put the kids into their PJ’s before they get in the car. This way they can go straight up to bed without any disruptions when you get home.
  4. BACKPACK I. Use a backpack as a diaper bag. This is the most convenient hands free way to tote all your baby essentials without having to fumble around with a large tote.
  5. BACKPACK II. Once your babe can walk around let him carry his own gear. Give him a kiddie backpack with one diaper, wipes, snack and a toy. This gives him some independence and gives you free hands to wrangle your toddler.
  6. TEETHING TREATS. To help with teething pain, small frozen mango or pineapple bits are the perfect antidotes. Kids will love the sweet tasty treat while also numbing the teething pain.

Parenting Hacks 2

Alright Ninjas… we’ve got this parenting thing down!

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Easter Picks for Babies and Toddlers

To add to the big Easter celebrations this week, I thought I would share a few of my favorite little things for babies and toddlers. These sweet clothes and knitted dolls are a perfect addition to any nursery and make memorable gifts for the kids in your world. While we do fill our baskets with a bit of candy, an article of clothing with a vintage vibe makes a memorable present for babe and parental units alike. These are Easter gifts that are not as big a commitment as a live bunny ( don’t buy a live bunny) but rather a year round gift!

Easter Picks for Babies and Toddlers

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