Friday, June 20, 2014

Blog Series: Cari's Guide!

Happy Friday!! The last post of the week is brought to you by my girl Cari from Adventures of the Roberts. If you're into gadgets and apps, this is definitely the post you'll LOVE! Enjoy, and don't worry...the series continues next week!

Hi This Whole Mommy Thing readers!!!! I am Cari, I blog over @ Adventures of the Roberts. I am a mommy to a sweet, sassy 3yo princess. When Val contacted me about guest posting, I was all about it! But, I am not going to lie I did struggle a bit trying to figure out what to share with you all because if I am going to be honest, our house is filled with nothing but princesses. So as far as products to share that would Im sure bore you so I decided to share some of our favorite apps!  Yes, I am one of those moms that gives my child electronics when she is in a "mood" or  when we are out to dinner and she is over sitting while we finish eating. I am not ashamed to admit it. I honestly feel that a lot of the apps have helped her growth and why she knows as much as she does. We have 2 forms of electronics and I am going to share some of our favorite apps, so lets get to it.

Leap Pad Ultra -

Team Umizoomi Street fair Fix-up
In this game, you help clean up Umi City Park by discovering shapes with Geo, counting with Bot & creating patterns with Milli
Ages 3-5
Teaches - Numbers, Shapes & Patterns.

Bubble Guppies
You can go on 3 different field trips to Clean up Puppy Park & learn about recycling, visit Big Bubble City to learn about people & places, and finally visit a dinosaur dig to collect fossils.

Ages 3-5
Teaches - Listening Comprehension, Environmental Science, Life Science and Vocabulary

Scout & Friends and YOU
Join Scout & Violet for a fun game that helps build social skills. Explore emotions and feelings as you help the adorable duo take care of their friends. Play 30 friendship scenarios to practice identifying emotions and resolving problems. Collect falling treats to cheer up your friends and sing along to 7 songs about feelings on Scout's radio
Ages 3-5
Teaches -  Emotions & feelings

Disney Princess game 

Learn about music and get practice with phonics and early reading skills as you unlock the stories of Belle and Cinderella in this magical pop-up book adventure!

• Enjoy 7 mini-games that teach about music and early reading.
• Build words as you prepare Cinderella for the ball.
• Turn game play into reading fun with innovative art that simulates a real pop-up book.
• Teaches story comprehension, musical rhythm & pitch, phonics skills and letters. 

Ages 4-7
Teaches Reading Comprehension, Music & Rhythm, Phonics, and Alphabet

iPad apps-
ABC Mouse.
FREE (monthly subscription to site)
While, this isn't strictly an iPad app, it is my all time favorite It is so educational and Breanna loves to play school. And for $7.99/mo you cant really beat it

Duck Duck Moose Apps - these are super cute & educational. Our favorites are-

Word Wagon   
$1.99 (Ages 1-7) 
Join Mozzarella the mouse and his best friend, Coco the bird, as they play with letters, words, and phonics. As they are learning, Mozz and Coco will play hide and seek, dress up as a ghost, put on magic shoes, draw pictures, talk on the phone, and much more. Word Wagon includes 103 words (including 44 Dolch sight words) in 7 categories.

Itsy Bitsy 
$1.99 (Ages 1-5)
A musical book based on the popular children’s song. Follow the spider through the captivating, inter-connected scenes as he goes up the water spout, comes down with the rain, and watches the sun dry up all the rain.

Moose Math   
$1.99 (Ages 3-8) 
Moose Math engages kids in a mathematical adventure and teaches counting, addition, subtraction, sorting, geometry and more. While playing 5 multi-level activities in the Moose Juice Store, Puck’s Pet Shop and Lost & Found, kids can earn rewards to help build their own city and decorate buildings.

Park Math
$1.99 (Ages 1-6)  
Play at the park, and learn to count, add, subtract, sort and more! Park Math introduces early math concepts to children in Preschool and Kindergarten 

Disney Palace Pets
Free (with in app purchases for more pets $1.99 (single pets) $5.99-$8.99(for bundles)) Ages 5& under
An interactive salon where you can pamper princess pets. Brush, wash & groom them and dont forget to give them a treat when they are finished

Doc McStuffin- Time for your Check-up!
$1.99 (Ages 5 & under)
Based on the hit Disney Junior show Doc McStuffins, join Doc, along with Hallie, Lambie and the rest of her friends for a fun-filled time fixing, sorting, exploring and caring for toys, dolls and more. Inside Doc’s clinic you can choose from four entertaining and engaging developmental activities.

I really hope you enjoy some of these great apps as much as we do!

I am not much of a drinker so I don't have a fun drink to share but I do like to flavor up my water to make it taste better and not so blah. Right know my favorite is to cut up some strawberries and let them soak over night in water (also same with cucumbers)! Its just very refreshing and perfect for a hot day!

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Blog Series: Taylor's Guide!

Today's featured blogger is Taylor from Not Just Another Teen Mom. Taylor writes an amazing blog, and I was just featured recently during her series "Confessions of an Imperfect Parent"! So naturally I HAD to get Taylor to join in on this series :) Enjoy!

I’m Taylor! So excited to be joining Val in this series! I’m the writer over at Not Just Another Teen Mom. I’m wife to Andrew, mother to Aiden, and spend my spare time being a writer/artist/crafter extraordinaire. Lover of Jesus and Tarheel Football. I pray a lot, write a lot, swear a lot, and say what I think when I know that I shouldn't. Aspiring world-changer. Teen, now twenty-something Mom. Living life backwards and enjoying the ride. Visit my blog here! (

My favorite Mommy-Gear and Gadgets. Holy cow! How to just choose a few!? 
First, organization. We singlehandedly keep Target in business. Or at least the toy section. These toy storage pieces are must-haves in our household! We have AT LEAST one of each. I also have one of the cube shelves in my office/studio. My advice? Spend a little extra and spring for the STURDY cubes for your cube shelf. You’ll thank me later.

Second. LEARNING TOOLS! As the mom of a kiddo who has just over a year until kindergarten, I am OBSESSED with these Target One Spot finds! We LOVE Leap Frog everything in this house. Books, movies, iPad apps, all of it. These little booklets were $1 each at Target and I hoard them like you wouldn’t believe.

Last but not least, ESSENTIAL OILS! Our family recently discovered these little vials of liquid gold, and now we’re obsessed. I even use them in lieu of my GAD (generalized anxiety disorder) medication for the same benefits without the zombielike after effects.

If you’d like to contact me to learn more about them and how our family uses them, click here (

Now for the most important part of this whole post. My favorite cocktail!

Mango-Pineapple Margarita!
  1. 1 1/2 cups frozen mango chunks
  2. 1 1/4 cups frozen pineapple chunks
  3. 1/4 cup simple syrup or honey/agave.
  4. 1/2 cup freshly squeezed clementine juice (about 6 clementines)
  5. Juice of 1 large lime
  6. 8 ounces silver tequila
  7. Ice cubes as needed (about 10)

Blend, adding ice as needed until you reach your desired consistency. Also, I do a sugar-rim, not salt! Yum!

Thanks for reading! 

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Blog Series: Heidi's Guide!

Woo hoo! We are on day three of my series, A Real Mom's Guide, and I hope you are loving it!! I am so grateful to the amazing mommas I've featured so far, and there are still more to come! Today I'm featuring Heidi from Best Dressed Babes :) Enjoy!

Hi There! I’m Heidi from Best Dressed Babes where I blog about kid’s fashion without breaking the bank.  I love bargain shopping, diy projects, and finding the perfect accessories. 

I'm so excited to be joining this series!  I have 2 little ones 22 months apart.  My youngest JUST turned 1 and I couldn't have survived 2 under 2 without most of these essentials!

Aden & Anais Blankets
Both of my babe's were born in the summer. I wanted them covered, but didn't want them to over heat.  These breathable blankets were our go to for just about everything.  We used them as swaddles, carseat covers, blankets to lay on the floor on, snuggle blankets for the car, and even burp clothes while we were out and about.  They get softer with each wash and are truly the best blankets around!

Homedics Sound Spa

Babies LOVE white noise!  Both of my babes have this sound spa and both were sleeping through the night very young.  Not sure if the 2 are related, but I'm not chancing it!  This particular sound spa has several different noises (we use ocean) and a projector for the ceiling.
Boon Grass Drying Rack
This rack is perfect for holding all the small bottle and sippy cup pieces.  I'm a freak about having baby stuff all on my counter.  This kept everything in one spot without looking like a "baby" object on the counter.  Best part?  It can be washed in the dishwasher.

Graco 4 in 1 High chair
I am SO SO glad that we got this highchair with my first.  Not only is it a high chair, but it can be used in 4 different ways.  Currently we are able to use the highchair part for my youngest and the toddler booster for my oldest.  We bought ONE chair and BOTH kids can use it.  The trays come off easily for cleanup and the pad/straps can be washed in washing machine too!  Definitely a great highchair that can grow with your child!

Britax B-Agile Double Stroller
Since I had two so close I needed a double stroller.  There was no way I was letting my 22 month old son rip roar around while we were out and about and no way could he handle standing on a sit and stand.  There was just no way.  What I loved most about this stroller was the ability for either side to lay completely flat.  I was able to put my newborn in this (with a JJ Cole insert) from day one.  Which is another product I LOVED.  This made it so there was no expensive conversion bar to buy! This stroller is great both indoors and outdoors and fits through all standard doorways. Oh and it is SO easy to fold up and throw in my trunk.

...and for my cocktail!  This doesn't have a name, but it is PERFECT for a hot summer day!
Diet Sierra Mist
Bacardi Mango
Malibu Orange
Fill your glass with ice.  Add one shot of Bacardi, one shot of Malibu, and then fill the rest of the glass with diet sierra mist.  So yummy!

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Blog Series: Rachel's Guide!

Today's post is brought to you by one of my oldest friends, Rachel. She and I have known eachother literally our entire lives. Our dads have been best friends since they were teenagers and our families are so tight knit that I consider them more family than friends anyway. In fact, Rach's dad was the Deacon at my wedding. He gave a beautiful, personal homily (complete with a story about changing my diaper)...and then a year and a half later he baptized my son.

We are that close.

Over the years Rach and I have discovered that, ironically, we've taken on similar styles in parenting and favor much the same when it comes to baby gear, mommy gear...and cocktails. So I could think of no better friend to include in this series. Without further ado...Rachel's Guide.

So, for transparencies sake, you should all know that I don't have a blog. I don't write much of anything unless you consider text messages writing - which I don't. I'm a 28 year old mama to a 16 month old little man with a peanut on the way this Holiday season. I married my first love and high school sweetheart. We are entrepreneur/sort of restauranteur/Cold Stone franchisee's who are starting an all French Fry fast food place in Washington, DC. None of this really makes me qualified to write a blog post for you to read. But I did it anyway and here's why. I've known Val since, well, we were both glimmers in our parents eye's and I think she's awesome and her blog is awesome and I'm obsessed with baby stuff. 

I was that pregnant lady that did months of research on all the most practical things to buy for baby. I subscribed to Consumer Reports and I talked the ear off anyone I knew had kids before I bought any big ticket items. So, now that I am a seasoned mama there are a few items that I pretty much word vomit about when I find out someone is having a baby. Here they are. 

I'm not sure if my first item really qualifies as 'gear' but it's totally worth the mention. Its the Secure Beginnings Breathable Crib Mattress. People, this is the 'Ah-Ha' mommy product of a lifetime. Take a look at any recommended check list for baby from any big box store. The crib section reads like this.. 4-6 crib sheets, 2-4 waterproof mattress pads, firm crib mattress, super expensive crib bedding set (that you'll have to take the bumper and the quilt out of anyway)...ect, ect. Ugh, thats a lot of crap.
I don't know about you, but my BIGGEST fear was my son sleeping alone in his room.  'What if he rolls?' 'GASP! What if he's a tummy sleeper?' 'I'll just stand over him all night and roll him back over...who needs sleep anyway, right?' ... I swear this is going somewhere.
Enter Secure Beginnings Breathable Mattress. This.Thing.Is.Incredible. It is everything that every parent has sat thinking about during those long hours keeping watch over wee ones. It is essentially a double mesh topper that fits over a wooden base (think open box spring) that allows baby to sleep face down and breathe fresh air right through the mattress. Let's really break this down. How is a baby supposed to breathe through a traditional mattress with a waterproof cover on it? They aren't and they don't. What if your precious bundle spits up in the middle of the night? It pools on top of a traditional mattress - potentially dangerous. Not with the Secure Beginnings Mattress. Air and liquids pass right through the layers of mesh. Genius. It's good up to 60 lbs and can transition to a toddler bed, so its got longevity on its side. There are no sheets, just the mattress topper, and it can be machine washed. It is made to fit all standard cribs, but I will say, it took a little adjusting to fit in ours - but nothing that anyone who put the crib together can't manage. It's a little expensive (and I would buy two toppers in case of an overnight accident) but other than the car seat - this is most important item you are going to buy as far as I'm concerned so the price is justifiable. 
This is my go-to recommendation for any parent and if I could shout it from the rooftops, I would. Do yourselves a favor and check this product out. It's the ticket to less worry for mommy & daddy and a happy tummy-sleeping baby. 

My next favorite item is from the good people at 4Moms. First of all- I want all the things this company makes. ALL THE THINGS. When I had Nico the only product they had out was the mamaRoo. It's a sort of swing/rocker/baby seat/soother/magic piece of machinery. It looks like something out of a futuristic sic-fi movie, which totally appeals to my "I don't want baby things that look like baby things" mentality. It has a sound machine, a number of movement settings, and an iPod hookup. Yep, an iPod hookup. The gist is that it moves the way you would move if your were trying to soothe an infant. When is the last time you saw someone standing there vibrating from head to toe to put a baby to sleep... exactly. The mamaRoo has settings like tree swing and ocean, where it dips and slides and moves up and down and side to side with smooth, natural momentum. It comes in great fabric patterns and has reversible, soft mobiles stuffies that baby will love. This thing is super cool and I want one in my size. 

My last item goes in every new baby gift I ever give. Aden and Anais swaddle blankets. First of all, just looking a them, they have the sweetest designs and patterns. For boys, for girls, gender neutral. All adorable. My son was born in February, so it was still cold here in Philadelphia, and these were the perfect light blanket for when he was snoozing in his mamaRoo or under his car seat bundle for an extra cozy layer. Obviously, they are fab swaddles, but they are wonderful for tummy time or nap time. They work super well for nursing mama's as a cover and I even used to drape them over his car seat on hot summer days to keep the sun off him. They are light and breathable, yet warm and cozy if doubled over. I had a stack of receiving blankets ready to go when Nico was born and stacked they stayed because the Aden and Anais blankets are the only ones I ever used. They have a whole line of products, like burp cloths, big kid blankets and even swaddle sacks. Love love love. 

Now the fun part. Drinks. 
For us, not the kids. Well, I'm pregnant, so for you - not me or the kids. 
Its summer now, thank God, so here's a refreshing one. Have one for me. 

Strawberry Moscato Lemonade

1 bottle Pink Moscato
6 cups lemonade
1/4 cup Strawberry Vodka (or more, I don't judge)
Slices of fresh strawberries and lemons

Mix liquids in a pitcher, garnish each glass with the fresh fruit. Pour & Enjoy!

Monday, June 16, 2014

Blog Series: Alycia's Guide!

I am so excited to bring you my first blog series, A Real Mom's Guide to Gear, Gadgets...and The Occasional Cocktail! This series is all about hearing the nitty gritty of favorite baby and kiddo items from real moms who love them...and it's all finished off with a cocktail or mocktail by each momma for you to enjoy :)

My first guest for this series, is Alycia from Crazily Normal. Enjoy!

I am super excited to be joining Val//This Whole Mommy Thing for her series A Real Mom's Guide to Gear, Gadgets... and The Occasional Cocktail.

I'll start with a little about myself:
I'm Alycia//Crazily Normal. I'm wife to my husband, Mitch for almost 4 years, mama to my sweet little almost 17 month old Palmer, and 5 year old black lab Leaf. I am a Registered Nurse by trade and a wannabe photographer and amateur blogger in my spare time. You can read a little more about me here.

I came across Val's blog via Instagram, and immediately wanted to join in on her series!

So, without further adieu, here are my top baby items!

I love love love my Ergo Baby Carrier. I didn't get it until Palmer was a little older, maybe 6 months or so and I wish I would have made the purchase earlier. We were given a second-hand carrier from a friend, which we used when she was small, but I found it uncomfortable. The Ergo is amazing! We use it for walks, grocery shopping, and even cleaning around the house. Palmer will often fall asleep in the Ergo, so we even took it on our recent trip to Mexico (Palmer being 25lbs and 15 months old). It was super handy for the evenings when Palmer was tired but we weren't yet ready to head back to the room.

The material is so soft, making it comfortable for both mom (or dad) and baby. Its comfortable! I don't get lower back pain like I did when I used the other carrier we had. I love the little sun cover for baby's head too. Makes it nice for sunny walks or making it a little darker for sleeping!

This crib toy from Fisher Price has come in handy many times. Palmer will turn it on at bedtime and let the music lull her to sleep. She will turn it on in the morning and watch the fish and bubbles moving, and often times, she will fall back asleep (points for letting mommy and daddy sleep in!!!) The little crib toy, although we do have to change the batteries frequently, has been a lifesaver for those of us who actually want to sleep past 6:45 am!

I found little booties like these found at Joe Fresh to be the best ones for little, non-walking and beginning to walk feet. There were no other shoes that stayed on our little Palmer's feet at all. They were great for everyday around the house type stuff and worked well for outings. I never had to worry about looking for lost shoes like I do now! The elastics around the ankle held the shoes on just well enough to not slip off. Perfect little shoes.

Vodka & Redbull!
Now, here is why this cocktail is at the top of my list:
|| one || EASY! See this?? Two ingredients. Here's how to make it.
1. Put desired amount of ice in cup.
2. Pour desired amount of vodka in cup.
3. Pour can of redbull in cup.
4. Enjoy!

|| two || With a 17 month old toddler tornado running around, like the commercials say, "redbull gives you wings." Enough said.

|| three || It's delicious.

Thanks again to Val for inviting me to join in on the series!!!

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