Six-Year-Old Dressing and a Smokks {Giveaway}

Yesterday, my six-year-old dressed herself in a mermaid costume, adorned with a handmade rainbow-loom chest strap.  As she wrapped herself in a long line of tiny, multicolor rubber bands she proudly explained the chest-strap’s purpose.  “It’s for my watering can!”, she declared, as she fashioned her creation to attach said watering can to her body at the beach.

A resourceful girl indeed.

I adore her highly creative spirit and believe that she should celebrate childhood through her interesting forms of self-expression whenever possible.  Like previous summers, she is going through a bit of an adjustment period as I’ve organized school appropriate clothing options for her return to the classroom this week.

That’s why I was happy to introduce her to Smokks, a line of incredible stylish and easy to coordinate clothes for girls, ages 4 – 9, and their mamas.  Their dresses reflect a modern take on the lovely smock dress, created from gorgeous and comfortable Liberty print patterns.  Free of buttons, zippers and things that constrict, Smokks offers a simple solution for year-round dressing.

s smokks_edited-1

My little-big-girl  loves the feel of the material and the deep pockets for collecting treasures.  We’ve been bringing her Winnie dress in Jack and Charlie Liberty print along to the beach for dinners by the sea.  I happen to love the delicate neckline and the ease of dressing for those rushed school mornings.  And when the autumn briskness sets in –  the layering possibilities are endless.

smooks dressss

Mother and daughter approved!

Win It: View the complete collection to see how a year-round wardrobe can be built on the Smokks system alone and enter to win a dress of choice (print based on availability) via the below rafflecopter.  U.S. only please and a winner will be displayed on the widget next week.  Good luck and thanks for visiting!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Ways to Foster Excitement For Back To School

We have nearly an entire month of summer before the official stat of school, but I find it helpful to begin organizing and fostering excitement for the return to the classroom in few simple ways:

  • Organize Work Stations:  I’m beginning to uncover the children’s desk area from mountains of artwork and supplies.  Having a centralized work station makes homework time easier.
  • Find a System that Works For Your Family: I like to have bins for each child to take ownership of their important papers. I also have separate folders for each child in my own work station to be on top of trip-slips, volunteer dates and other school/activity related things.
  • Invest Children in the back-to-school Shopping Process: Letting kids help to purchase supplies from their back-to-school lists helps to get them excited and engaged in the academic year ahead.

We recently took a trip to our local Staples to get a bit of a head start on our supply list.

staples school supplies discounts

school supplies class list back to school supplies staples staples back to school

With exclusive collaborations from Teen Vogue and Nickelodeon – it was easy to match special interests with products.  And with a back-to-school 110% Price Match Guarantee and helpful Less List, I knew that I was getting the best deal.

I also felt good shopping at a store that is invested in supporting teachers, students and educators via their “Make Roar Happen” campaign.  Katy Perry has lent her voice to this important campaign in which Staples is donating 1 million dollars to – which helped to fund more than 450,000 classroom projects impacting more than 11 million students.

Products were received, however, opinions, as always are my own.


Summer Learning || Sunday Swoon

The kiddos are really enjoying their time away form a structured classroom.  They deserve and need a break – but the learning must always continue.  Teachable moments are naturally interwoven into our everyday and I’ve found establishing a regular summer learning routine helpful.  I purchased a bunch of workbooks at our local Barnes & Nobel and the children’s favorites are the Star Wards workbooks from Workman Publishing.  The kids haven’t yet seen the movies but are really drawn to the characters and stories.  The workbooks, for Pre-K through 2nd grade, delve into core subjects including numbers, ABCs, phonics and reading readiness on my son’s preschool level – and math, reading and writing reinforcement for my second grader.  The kids have found the books fun and engaging and the lessons are aligned with common core standards.

summer learning workbooks,

Adrian has been learning about number values and enjoys connecting dots, circling light-sabers and X-wing starfighters to identify number groupings.  Lucia likes the story telling aspects and the drawing “rewards” that come with each lesson.

The Preschool workbooks even come with finger puppets.

educational workbooks

The Force is pretty strong over here and I clearly need to brush up on my Star Wars history!

Remember to check out the other great Sunday Swoon sites and linkup your posts below!

#SundaySwoon, Sunday SwoonThe Staten Island Family // Complicated Mama // Stroller In The City // Lady And The Blog // Mom Generations // Marino Bambinos

This post is not sponsored in any way.


The School Lunch Box {Sponsored}

Thank you to Mott’s® for sponsoring this article. Grab goodness on-the-go with Mott’s®.

When I began this blog, as a private space, I had a 7 month old baby and a little girl in nursery school.  I’ve been a bit nostalgic lately as subtle childhood changes accumulate into things that feel really big.  My babies have grown into vibrant little people, and I am now sending two kids off to school – nursery and first grade!  I still can’t believe it, but I’m happy that my children are learning a bit more about themselves without mama bird by their sides.

Two kiddos in school also means packing two lunch boxes and two snack packs every day.  Getting the kids to school on time without losing my cool can be a challenge, and  I’m trying to implement a plan to make mornings smoother. Preparing in the evenings and having simple on-the-go snacks is essential to maintaining peaceful mornings.

When my children open their Lunch boxes, I want them to feel a piece of comfort from home.   I also want them to eat the contents that I send them off with!  I understand the challenge of trying to prepare healthy and balanced varieties that my kids will actually want to consume.  As a busy mom, I need to have healthy options that are quick and easy to prepare.  Here’s a look inside our first week of lunch boxes:

lunch boxes for school

lunch box creative ideas

lunch box ideas

I’ve learned that my kids enjoy Bento style lunch boxes with an assortment of things to choose from.  The key is packing things tight – so there is no wiggle room. Baking cups work well as dividers, and fun cookie cutters and birthday party napkins add excitement.  I was recently introduced to Mott’s®. Snack & Go Applesauce pouches.  Lucia and Adrian love the taste and I appreciate the convenience of easily adding them to a lunch box.  My children like the natural and strawberry flavors and I’m OK with only 8 grams of sugar (and no added sugar) per pouch.  Lucia also LOVES juice, and I’ve learned that I need to negotiate with my big first grader.  An occasional juice box for veggies is a great negotiation.  Lucia was thrilled to see Mott’s®. 100% Apple Juice tucked into her lunch box – and I feel good knowing that she is getting an excellent source of vitamin C. 

Packed with a big bottle of water and a homemade love note so far so good!  What are some of your favorite lunchbox ideas?

Thank you Mott’s® and Technorati for being sponsors of this article. All opinions expressed here are my own.


Lunch Box Love Notes (Part II)

I had the intention of creating piles of little lunch box love notes to tuck into school lunches (as I did for Lucia last year).  But after having Bob join me in the love note making process, it was decided that he would be the one holding the Crayola markers at night.

Can you guess which side of the pile I made?

Lunch Box Love Notes

Although I think Bob’s Ninjas are a little strange for a preschooler’s lunch box – Adrian definitely LOVES them.  It’s impressive to see what Bob can whip up in a matter of minutes.  I wish that I had that sort of talent.  I’m enjoying tucking a bit of homemade love into coolers and listening to after-school chatter about what picture they found.  It’s often the small gestures that make my kids most happy.


Flying Baby Birds

The last weeks brought significant change for us.  Lucia lost her first (and second!) tooth, and Adrian began a formal nursery program.  He tried to run away when it was time to enter (my tears that day were NOT anticipated!), but he returned to me with a smile and a silly first day of school hat.  My little guy appears to be incredibly happy, like his big sister who loves her new first grade teacher.

Thankfully, the changes that come with childhood growth are so incredible – otherwise, I would be paralyzed by leaving the baby years behind.  And although I love the fluidity of summer, I find myself excited about fall and the fresh start of a new school year.

For the first time, I’m remembering what it’s like to be on my own for a bit of time.

back to school first day first grade

My baby birds are growing up, and I have some flying of my own to do.