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Sponsored: Revitalize and Redesign with Home Depot


mondrian kitchen

My dream kitchen – I love the Mondrian-inspired wallpaper. Photo of a page from Bazaar Magazine

Growing up I spent most of my time at home in the kitchen; while my mom cooked dinner, I sat at the kitchen table and did homework.  Now that I have my house, I’m the one doing the cooking and the kitchen is the focal point of our home.  And, inevitably, when we entertain, everyone ends up in the kitchen.

Such an important room needs some extra TLC — here are five ways to add some (more) life to your kitchen…

1.  Pop of Color!

I prefer kitchens that are white, as they have an air of sterility and cleanliness — two things you want your kitchen to be!  But just because it’s clean, it doesn’t need to look clinical.  One of the advantages of a white kitchen is that you can brighten things up by adding a pop of color — and most any color will work.  You can change the color depending on your mood or season., just swap out towels, table cloths, and accessories.

2.  Add Some Life

Plant life, that is.  Plants and flowers make all rooms better, and the kitchen is no different.  Adding some plants (I personally have a bunch of orchids in my kitchen) are a great way to add something fresh to your kitchen, especially if you don’t have a great view from your window.

3.  Paint the Walls and/or Cabinets

One of the cheapest ways to revitalize a room is by using some paint.  Whether you change up the walls, or your wooden cabinets, a new color will give the kitchen a whole new look.

4.  Change the Hardware

If you can’t change the cabinets and drawers, a less expensive option is to change the hardware.  Adding a metallic or matte finish will transform the look of the kitchen.

5.  Add Some Art

Like plant life, art adds so much vibrancy to a room.  Whether you go for fine art, or you child’s latest masterpiece, displaying art in the kitchen is another way to add personality and life to a room.

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Replace, Reface, ReNew are three options available ONLY at The Home Depot. Replace allows for full transformation of your kitchen cabinets with an array of choices from top brands. Reface is a perfect option to update your cabinets without a major renovation. And lastly, ReNew is ideal for consumers who want to give their existing cabinets a facelift without major disruptions and cost. And to complete your kitchen project, The Home Depot is your one stop shop for countertops, sinks, appliances, backsplashes and lighting.

Disclosure: Compensation was provided by The Home Depot via Glam Media. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of The Home Depot.

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My name is Alexis…not Gabi’s Mom


Back in 2009 my daughter, Gabriela started attending preschool. We were embarking on a whole new stage and everyday I was riddled with questions…”will she play well with others…will she bite other kids…are they feeding her…will she make friends?” The one questions I never really considered, “will I make new friends?”

BTW02

This stage I reached was going to be the start of play dates. We want our kids to be social, learn how to behave properly with others and we as parents need to know these kids because eventually they will grow up together. We sometimes forget that this also means we need to meet and foster some type of interaction with the parents.

Remember that awkward feeling first day of school in the lunch room and you don’t see any recognizable face? You are anxious, sweaty and you just hope you don’t say any dumb sh*t? Yeah this was me the first year at preschool. We didn’t have any play dates that year or even the next year when she turned three. The real action for us is when she turned four and she started getting birthday party invitations.

I treated these birthday parties almost like a work cocktail party – you don’t want to embarrass yourself, you want to come off as bright, witty but not annoying and there’s no alcohol, well sometimes. When I did find myself at parties where it was beer optional, I really had to contain myself because I knew that the more relaxed I got, the more sh*t I would talk – again just like at a work cocktail party.

It was awesome because I was starting to cultivate relationships with other moms and dads. This was the gateway to play dates, well so I thought. I remembered to always look at a parent in the eye, shake a hand and say my name. To remember their name, I would say “Nice to meet you (insert parent’s name here)!” I don’t mean to toot my own horn but I’m pretty good remembering names and one of my short-comings is that I expect others to remember names as well as I do. My husband really burst my bubble because he sucks with names, I constantly have to remind him who’s who and then it happened.

I was called “GABI’S MOM” I was no longer Alexis. No longer myself but someone’s mom. It just really bothered me. I try so hard to remember other’s names and all of the sudden I’m just someone’s mom.

But wait, I am someone’s mom. One of my friends’ also had kids in this preschool and told me that it’s nothing and that’s just what happens. She also has two kids as do some of the other parents. I was still a relatively new mom learning my way. Honestly, it took me a long time to get over this. I lost my identity. I was just viewed as someone’s caretaker. Yes, I love my daughter and I”m proud to be her mother but I thought people saw me first. I remember even trying to reintroduce myself to certain parents only to be disappointed when I heard the pause after they would say hello to Gabi and then to me. I’d see it in their faces – after the fifth time I told them my name they still didn’t know who I was.

I tend to take things a little too personal. That’s what was happening here – if the parents forgot who I was then my daughter would get left behind on the pony birthday party circuits. This stayed with me for a few months but then I slowly started to make friends.

It began when I got closer to a mom that I actually casually knew from an infant swim class. Her son also attended the same preschool. She was also really good with names. The more she said my name around other parents, they learned my name and we all got closer to one another, in fact our kids also go to the same elementary school. It was a great time. I finally came to my senses and learned to let go of my silly selfish feelings. It doesn’t matter if they remember my name, as long as they know who my daughter is, is all that really mattered. I won’t lie, name recognition is a bonus.

Then I heard the familiar phrase uttered by another mother, “My name is Karen, not Jay’s mom!”* I turned around smiled and wanted to hugged her because I felt her frustration. We exchanged stories and we didn’t forget each others names.

Twelve very short months later, we are starting a new journey – Kindergarten.

I am going through the same wave of emotions…will she get along with the other kids…will she get bullied…will she pay attention in class…will she like school. And yes I become over come with my own anxieties – will I get along with the other parents? Will I make new friends, too?

Back in our day, our parents didn’t really know the other parents and they kept it that way. It was a way to keep your business to yourselves. Now we have play dates, soccer or dance classes together, we may even eventually vacation together. We welcome these type of relationships because we want to know the company our child keeps. Yes, being known does put me in a little spotlight but if it means other people looking out for my kid when I need help then I will put myself on full blast. Also, you will know the kids your child plays with and more than likely will be able to spot the possible trouble they may get into. Plus, you will have great blackmail info and the photos to support the info if you should ever decide to embarrass your kid and their friends!

If you are a shy person or you really feel that you don’t need any new friends that’s understandable. But you might benefit from accepting those birthday party or play date invitations. You might not be looking to make a new BFF but you could be adding someone into your support system for those emergency moments. Also, you are setting an example to your child on how to make friends. If you step out of your comfort zone to be friendly then it can also encourage a shy child to mimic your actions.

However, you can only do so much. I remember coordinating a tea party at my house. My daughter invited about seven of her close friends. Moms and a dad showed up – we learned more about each other and we all had a blast. By the end of the party we all agreed that we should take turns to host a mass play date party like this, maybe not a tea party but at least we were going to try to get our girls together.

Sadly, that was the first and last party. I learned that you can’t push people. We are all busy and there isn’t always enough time in the day. And also, I accepted that maybe nobody else was willing to put in the effort I did. That’s okay because we have our close knit friends. I know that even though my daughter may not attend the same school with most of these kids – we’ll still see each other around since we live in relatively small neighboring towns.

And we’ll always remember each others’ names.

BTW01

Where did the time go?

* Names undisclosed to protect identities.

 

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Yo Gabba Gabba! Live – Holiday Show Tickets on Sale Now!


ygglive

Back when we took the tiny dancer to her first Yo Gabba Gabba! show, we thought it would be a one-time deal. But, Asiya had such an amazing time (and we did too), so whenever Yo Gabba Gabba! comes to town, we are there. I just found out about the Holiday Show and immediately go our tickets. If you have a Citi card you can get your tickets now, if not you’ll be able to get tickets next week. Haven’t been to a Yo Gabba Gabba! show? It’s totally worth it – just seeeing the little ones so happy and dancing is amazing. You can get show and ticket info for your city on the Yo Gabba Gabba! website.

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Vans and Krochet Kids intl. Launch New Summer Collection


Vans Krochet Kids int.

Vans has teamed up with Krochet Kid intl., a grassroots organization that seeks to help and empower impoverished people in our global community. Using handmade wovens from around the world, Krochet Kids intl. creates unique, handmade products by providing valuable opportunities for developing countries worldwide.

Vans Krochet Kids int.

The collection marries woven Peruvian fabrics to Vans’ women’s Surf Siders, the popular Mohikan and a new silhouette, the Alpaca, along with the men’s Rata Mid. Additionally, the collection includes a backpack made of simple canvas and trimmed with a special yarn creation.

Vans Krochet Kids int.

Each pair has a hand-signed tag and online profile tag so the wearer can make a personal connection with the woman who crafted the krochet detailing on your Vans x Krochet Kids intl. collection.

Vans Krochet Kids int.

The Vans x Krochet Kids intl. collection is available now on Vans.com.

Vans Krochet Kids int.

Vans Krochet Kids int.

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Sponsored: 5 Healthy Eating Habit Tips for Kids


farmers market

The tiny dancer at the farmer’s market – strawberry face says it all – she samples everything.

We’re already half-way through summer and before we know it, the kids will be back in school. Sometimes it’s hard to get your kids to eat healthy so if we can start the healthy habits now, they’ll be second nature once the kids are packing lunch. Here are quick five tips to get your kids to eat healthy…

1. Farmer’s Market
Take the little ones to the farmer’s market with you so they can see all the gorgeous fresh produce. Most vendors offer samples — let the kids try all the yummy fruit. I take my little one every week and she wants samples of everything.

2. Cook with the Kids
Let the kids see the process of cooking. Even better, let them help out in small ways. If they feel invested in what you’re making they’re more likely to eat it.

3. Lead by Example
You can’t expect your kids to eat healthy if you’re stuffing fast food and soda in your face. Most kids, especially when they’re really young, imitate their parents. So, if you eat healthy, chances are your kids will too.

4. Cut Out Processed Foods
Try to cut out processed foods as much as you can. They’re bad for you. Period.

5. Dessert = Fruit
I have a giant sweet tooth and if I could, I’d eat cupcakes, cookies and ice cream every day. But those are treats and they should be for special occasions. Instead, for daily desserts, opt for nature’s sweets – fruit!

Hope these simple tips help you get your little ones on track to eating healthy. Eating well will make your kids feel great, and will help them fight off all those germs they’ll encounter at school.

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L’il Critters™ are the #1 child gummy vitamin. We are the better tasting gummy vitamin that is preferred by Kids and trusted by Moms. “We Make Nutrition Taste Good.

Disclosure: Compensation was provided by Church & Dwight via Glam Media. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of Church & Dwight.

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Mama’s Kitchen: Raw Banana, Berry & Chocolate Chip Ice Cream


raw banana ice cream with berries

Last year I posted a recipe for raw one-ingredient banana ice cream with chocolate chips. Since berry season is here I decided to throw some berries in the mix and the result is one tasty dairy-free frozen desert. This raw banana, berry and chocolate chip ice cream is easy and delicious. You won’t be missing the heavy creaminess of ice cream – especially in the hot summer months. You get the refreshment without the heaviness – you won’t miss ice cream at all.

Ingredients:
6 over-ripe bananas
Frozen berries

Steps:
1. Peel bananas and cut into chunks. Lay banana pieces on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and freeze for a minimum of two hours.

2. Process the bananas in a food processor until smooth – this process will take a few minutes. Every so often when the bananas rose above the blades or shifted to one side I would push the bananas down with a spatula and then continue pureeing. I repeated that a few times.

3. Once the bananas are a smooth, creamy consistency add in almost half a bag of mini semi-sweet chocolate chips and berries. Blend in the food processor until combined.

4. Put the banana mixture in a container and re-freeze for a minimum of two hours.

5. Scoop and serve.

Buon Appetito!

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Where Did All the Colors Go? by Adrien Broom


where did all the colors go adrien broom

Adrien Broom is an artist and photographer who has been working on a project called “Where Did All the Colors Go?” — an art project destined to become a children’s book, short film and all around multi-media extravaganza for your tablets.

The premise is simple. The story is told through the eyes of a little girl and when she wakes up she realizes color has disappeared. As she moves on from room to room, she rediscovers colors. Though meant for children, the imagery is so enchanting it’s hard not to get drawn in — perhaps it appeals to the kids in us.

You can hear Adrien talk about the project below. She’s already met all of her funding so we can expect this to become a reality. In fact, she’s slated to have an exhibit at the Chrysler Museum of Art, in Virginia, in 2014.

Overview of Project/ Kickstarter Video from Adrien Broom on Vimeo.

I’m not sure when the book will be out but I’ll keep you posted because I definitely want a copy for myself, um, I mean, for the tiny dancer!

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CYBEX by Jeremy Scott


cybex by jeremy scott

The latest designer collaboration with a baby products company comes in the form of Cybex, and they’ve teamed up with Jeremy Scott. Of all the designers to team up with a company to create children’s products, Jeremy Scott seems like the perfect choice. His fun approach to design and audacious prints lend themselves perfectly to kid’s gear.

cybex by jeremy scott

For the Cybex by Jeremy Scott collection, Scott chose his Food Fight print — which, hopefully, will cover up all of the food and milk stains that will soon be covering everything. The print is perfect because as a mom, aka your child’s walking napkin, life sometimes feels like a food fight!

The Cybex by Jeremy Scott collection includes strollers, car seat, baby carrier, baby bag and foot muff. What’s great about this collection is that it’s gender neutral so you could use it for all of your kids – plus you’ll look really cool too. I wish this was out when I needed it for the tiny dancer!

You can get the Cybex by Jeremy Scott at Colette and other specialty boutiques.

CYBEX by Jeremy Scott

CYBEX by Jeremy Scott

CYBEX by Jeremy Scott

CYBEX by Jeremy Scott

CYBEX by Jeremy Scott

CYBEX by Jeremy Scott

CYBEX by Jeremy Scott

CYBEX by Jeremy Scott

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Hello Kitty Roller Skates!


Just when I thought Hello Kitty was plastered on any product imaginable I came across this amazingness – Hello Kitty x Moxi roller skates!

hello kitty x moxi roller skates

Sanrio and Moxi have teamed up to bring the ultimate in retro style roller skates in red, white, and blue adorned with Hello Kitty’s face on the side and custom designed Moxi Hello Kitty wheels. Some of my favorite memories from childhood/middle school are from my days spent at the roller rink aka Roller Castle. In fact, I wore a red and blue dress at one of my birthday parties at Roller Castle that would have matched perfectly with these skates. Now you can relive your childhood, or hook up your kid with the coolest roller skates ever made.

The skates are available now at www.sanrio.com and www.moxirollerskates.com with an SRP of $199.

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Fun Times With the Cousins


IMG_5459

Sorry for the lack of updates but I’m taking a much needed break to catch up with family. The little cousins are reunited and they are ecstatic. It’s hard to pull myself away to blog – I want to see their smiles and hear their laughter first hand. I’ll be back next week.

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