Quarantine Ideas

April 28, 2020 at 6:36 am (Family Stuff) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

We remind the kids every day that we are “safe at home”, not “stuck at home”. And truly, we are blessed. But, sometimes it can be a little overwhelming having everyone here full time. I want to keep them all entertained, educated, occupied, happy…

Here are just a few ideas that may help during this time!

1. Follow my craft idea board on Pinterest! I add ideas to it as I see them, so check it out for some of the things we have tried and some we still hope to try!

We have loved some of these! One true favorite was shaving cream art! Smear down shaving cream in a pan, add drops of food coloring and swirl them in any pattern with the end of a paintbrush. Lay a thick piece of paper on the colored cream and press. Lift up and scrape cream off the paper with a spatula. Look what it leaves behind!

2. Educational apps that make learning fun! I know we all try to limit screen time. But we all need a break and a little help too! There are several we love, but one that the 6 year old can use by himself is Book Prunelle. It’s an ebook platform for kids , featuring powerful stories to inspire them to become the next generation of conscious kids. They tackle challenging topics in an entertaining and child-friendly way to help kids grown mindful and kind-hearted. Cool, right?!

You pay for a subscription by month or year, but right now you can try the first month for free! And you can use the code JESSIMARIEL5 off of either subscription too!

They have books like this one explaining the Corona Virus in terms kids understand!

3. Read with Dolly on Thursdays! The boys both loved this for some reason! Dolly Parton reads a story live on YouTube every Thursday and saves it to her channel to watch anytime. The boys were glued. And mom cleaned the kitchen! πŸ˜‰

4. Duo appto facetime anyone. Maybe you knew about this? I did not, but was so happy to learn! With this app, any type of phone can video call one another. Now the kids can video call with grandma and grandpa!

5. Neveo journal making! Neveo lets you add photos all month to an app and at the end of the month they put together your pictures and captions into a journal to be send to grandparents, friends, etc. So helpful for keeping up with some of those seniors that can’t get out right now! Use the code SUPPORT for two free months of 50 photo journals!

I hope these little ideas help even a tad bit. Hang in there. Give yourself grace. We’ve got this.

XX,

Jess

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Best For Baby And The Environment

March 18, 2020 at 6:53 am (Mom Stuff) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Two kids in and we’ve tried them all. Diapers. A must have. But they also must work. And I’ve found the ones!

NEST BABY DIAPERS!

First of all, these work. They do their job. I know that every kiddo is different and different things work best for each, but these are universally amazing. They have a slightly bigger fit, which seems helpful in preventing leaks! Daytime, and even all night, we have yet to experience a leak!

Next, they are easy on sensitive skin. Second babe gets rashy easily and diapers usually seem to add moisture and make this worse. Not these. Nest’s diapers are hypoallergenic, with skin-safe materials throughout. They are free of harmful chemicals and known allergens. Soft, super absorbent, and easy on all skin types.

Third, I want to use a brand that is more eco friendly. Nest’s diapers are made of all plant based materials- wood, bamboo cane, and are completely compostable.

Lastly, I don’t want to break the bank for something that ultimately is a toilet. These diapers are competitively priced! And that combined with how well they work and their benefits makes them the ultimate win!

Eco-friendly, sustainable materials, soft, absorbent, gentle on sensitive skin, affordable and mailed right to you…what else could you want in a diaper?!

Find them in select Meijer stores now. Or here on Amazon too!

XX,

Jess

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Must Have Baby Items You Didn’t Know You Needed

February 24, 2020 at 7:55 pm (Mom Stuff) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

So many options when it comes to baby items now days! Its confusing and overwhelming. And some of those things you just plain don’t need to waste your money on. Here’s a list of things that you probably didn’t know you needed, but that I’ve found to be so helpful! Honestly!

Travel Plate- This has been one of the most handy inventions I’ve used with both the boys! Since it’s got it’s own case, I just fold up the dirty mat when we are out and put it back in the case to clean when we get home. So simple!

Travel Spoon– Handy when they are using purees and soft baby food still. You can fill this guy with food and there’s so much less mess! It’s even got a cover for the end.

Rubber Changing Pad– This one by Ubbi is so handy. Easy to wipe, roll, fold, it makes diapering on the go so much easier.

Roll-up Changing Clutch– I adore my diaper bag, but sometimes I don’t want to haul the whole thing if I’m just running in somewhere. This clutch can fit in my purse and get even smaller if I unzip the pad portion. Just the necessities for quick jonts!

Dream Egg Sound Machine– This is the most portable sound machine I’ve seen. Lots of noise and volume options, plus its wireless. Charge it and go. It can even be used in the car or stroller, etc. So handy for anyone, not just babies!

Baby Nest- There are lots of options out there, but we love ours from Doreen’s Bibs and Bobs. It’s cute, handy, and portable. We still use ours at almost age 2 and take it on trips too! It seems to keep kiddo nice and cozy.

Convertible High Chair– Seriously, if you going to use a high chair, make sure it’s convertible. I had an older Graco version for the oldest and this new model does so much more and therefore is so much more handy. It can be attached to a chair as a booster, the back can be removed for more space, the base itself can be a stool seat for older kids. It really has all the features we need, including folding up and the tray hangs on the back!

Tush Baby- One of the things I found with kiddo #2 is the Tush Baby and I love it! He always wants to be carried, but also get down and look. I’m sure you can all relate! This thing saves my hips and makes it easy to carry forward or backward, front or hip, and he can go up and down to his heart’s desire. So handy!

A Great Looking Diaper Bag- Ok, it’s not a necessity, but it sure does make momming a lot more fun. I’ve had many, loved several, but this Lily Jade bag takes the cake. Its gorgeous. Plus it can be a backpack, or the straps stow away to be a should or cross-body bag. It’s so spacious without being too big or heavy to carry too. I carry everything but the kitchen sink I’m here with me. Its officially my purse/ diaper bag. I just call that the mom bag. ❀

Hope these ideas help you too! Anything else you would add?

XX,

Jess

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Family Travel Tips

January 14, 2020 at 6:51 am (Family Stuff, travel) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Traveling with kids is not for the faint of heart. But, it’s totally possible to have an awesome time and not lose your sanity! We are living proof. I have a few simple tricks to keep it all together when traveling with a crew. My family of 5, mom, dad, 17 year old, 6 year old, and 1.5 year old, recently traveled to Florida and not only survived, but also had an amazing time. (Read about Florida ideas is previous post!) Here are some things that worked really well for us that we recommend and will be doing again.

Packing Cases- We got each family member a different color set of packing cases this time. Especially helpful since plane tickets no longer come with a checked bag any longer, as we decided to pay the extra fee for only two large checked suitcases between the 5 of us. This set of packing cases, which we used, are decently priced, come with 6 pouches per set, and had plenty of color options. They are a bit cheaply made, but did a good job for us. Lots more options for these on Amazon too! I divided each person’s cases into groups, like one pouch for shirts, one for bottoms, one for undergarments, etc. I also think it may be helpful to divide by outfits rolled together. At least this way there were only 6 options for where your swim suit could be located on the chaos! πŸ˜‰

Nacuwa Bottle- If you haven’t heard already, all airlines now only allow liquids in 3.4 oz bottles and these need to be in a quart sized ziplock baggie. To simplify things, use the Nacuwa bottle! All of our necessities can go in one bottle. It’s even TSA approved! Tip- add a ziplock to each bag. You might bring home a hotel lotion, or find that you had a little perfume in your purse without a baggie. Each person is allowed one, so make sure you are prepared to take advantage of this! We use the Nacuwa travel bottle for camping and cabining as well! So handy!

Bubble Bum Seat- Got kids in the booster seat age and size range? You need this. Its handy for all the things, travel, grandma’s car, carpool, etc. We loved having it for the rental car. I know rental cars can provide carseats, but they add an extra expense. And, I’ve heard rumor, that sometimes they don’t have the size seat you requested on hand, or it is outdated or dirty… Save yourself extra trouble and get this guy. He fits in this bag shown in my hand, then blows up to the seat B is holding below. It meets and exceeds all safety standards! Plus, B says it’s super comfy.

Spirit Airlines- Ok, hear me out. This may not be the airline of beat choice if you are taking a super long flight and need extra comfort… but they have their perks if you are ok with very basic and are hoping to save some money. Perk 1- they allow you to bring a diaper bag on free, in addition to the one personal item each traveler is allowed. Thank goodness! Perk 2- they also allow you to check a stroller and carseat for each child for free. We checked the toddler’s carseat (again with the rental car issue) and gate checked the stroller. This means we drove it all the way to the gate with kiddo in it, and it goes right in the door of the plane and off to meet us. Perfect! Perk 3- they combine weights for your suitcases, whereas other airlines don’t. Each checked suitcase is allowed to be 40lbs without extra charge. With Spirit, one could be 20lbs and one could be 60lbs then. Less stress worrying about how to split things up!! Perk 4- you can bring your own snacks and drinks! They do not serve anything for free on the flight, adding to your lower prices, but this also allows you the freedom to pack what and how much you want! Some airports will not allow you through safety checks with drinks. Chicago did, because Spirit’s checkpoint was separated. However, Jacksonville did not, as all airline were checked together. Snacks were fine. Exceptions are always made for breastmilk, formula, etc.

Carseats– I mentioned above that I believe in the perks of bringing your own carseat when renting a car. Here is something you should get. A strap to attach the carseat to your wheeled suitcase. So handy to not lug another parcel through the airport. We wheeled the carseat to baggage check. Then we packed it in it’s own travel bag to be checked. The second picture below is how the carseat bag rolls up into it’s own pouch to pack. Pack this in an outside pocket of your suitcase and you will know where it is before you check bags.

Last tips- stay organized, go with the flow, don’t see it all, and enjoy the little things. Dad says- pack lots of snacks. You will have a blast! Safe travels!

Anything you would add?

XX,

Jess

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Again For Mom ;)

November 26, 2019 at 9:33 am (Mom Stuff) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

I had to share Eshakti one more time. I couldn’t help it. They are just that awesome!

I was on the hunt for the perfect fall into winter dress… and knew just where to look. Eshakti! Plus, I’m on a major leopard kick right now! 🀣

Again I was able to fully customize this dress. The sleeve length, the hem length, the neck line, and even my size measurements. And again it fits perfectly and looks just like I had envisioned.

This one happens to be a crepe material, is double lined, has modesty buttons so that you can open up some in the neck or bottom, and has pockets too! Love!

I wore this out for my birthday dinner the other night and had so many compliments. I just can’t help but to keep telling everyone, its Eshakti, check them out!

Don’t forget that you can use code JESSI10 on their gorgeous dresses and clothes too!

XX,

Jess

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Coolest New Gadget

November 4, 2019 at 6:40 am (Mom Stuff) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

I have a new gadget. I’m in love. Meet Lollipop baby camera.

This thing is so cool. We have always loved our baby monitor and it did a great job for years. But the battery is dying and we knew we needed something updated. Six years is quite a long time to use and abuse an electronic. We had heard awesome things about the Lollipop baby camera and really wanted to try it. So glad we got the chance!

First of all, how cute is this design?! I love the modern, simple look. They come in this blue, a pink, a yellow, and now they have a new gray cover option too.

The lollipop itself is bendable and can be posed or twisted to suit your needs and space. You can wrap it around the crib rail or twist it to perch on a shelf. It also came with a little branch to attach to the wall to wrap it around and an attachment that holds the end wrapped around a crib rail. This is what we have used here.

So not only is this guy cute and fun, but he’s also so versatile! This actually makes traveling with this monitor much easier than with our old one. We can simply twist and place in a new location, no charging station or monitor screen to bring… because of the other perk… it shows to an app on your phone!

Yes, that’s Barrett all curled up in the corner. 🀣 Silly goose. But I can see him, hear him, and monitor everything, right from my phone.

And since you use wifi… you can even access the picture when you are away from home! What?! I can check in on the kiddos even when we have a sitter!

It also alerts you of room environment factors like temperature, and if the baby is crying. You can zoom in. And you can record snapshots or video clips of what is going on.

I’m in love. It’s been a huge help for us! Check them out on IG!

Xx, Jess

(I was gifted this Lollipop baby camera to try and review, however, all opinions are my own!)

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Chicken Spaghetti Casserole

October 22, 2019 at 5:27 pm (Mom Stuff) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

If you know me at all, you know I’m no cook. It’s never been something I enjoy to do, so I have never gotten much better than “able to keep my kids alive” level. 🀣

But, I have a few recipes up my sleeve that make it seem like I know what I’m doing just a little. This is a family favorite. So easy, probably 10 minute prep time, inexpensive, and both adults and kids love it. It makes enough for the 5 of us for dinner plus leftovers. Leftovers are almost even better with this dish! πŸ˜‰

Ingredients

2 c shredded chicken

1 box spaghetti

2 can cream of chicken soup

1 can original Rotel

1 8oz package sour cream

Large sprinkling of shredded cheese

Tips: use a broasted chicken from the store. Easiest to shred when its warm. Shred then refrigerate if making tomorrow. Shred an overly full 2 cups. There will be just enough left for a couple of legs for kids lunch or to put on a salad, etc.

Instructions: Boil the entire package of spaghetti. Mix with all other ingredients except cheese in a 9×13 casserole pan. Cover in foil. Bake at 350Β° for 50 minutes. Remove the foil and add a full sprinkling of your favorite shredded cheese. Bake for another 10 minutes.

Viola!

One more tip, a sprinkling of crumbled potato chips tops it excellently. Especially day 2 leftovers! Yumm!

Xx,

Jess

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Perfect Mama Gift

October 17, 2019 at 8:31 am (Mom Stuff) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Are you a mom? Do you know one? This is something you will want to see! I have the perfect gift for a mama you know or even for yourself!

My new necklace by Forever Anniversary is a sound wave of a clip I recorded of my boys!

How amazingly sweet is that? This has got to be the ultimate keepsake!

Visit here for their custom soundwave necklace.

They have lots of unique and customizable jewelry options that are all stunning. I think they would all make amazing gifts. I personally adore the soundwave and all it represents for me, so I can vouch that any mama would love to receive one! πŸ˜‰

My husband recorded my 1 year old saying “mama, mama” and then my 6 year old says “we love you.” I find it so sweet that I haven’t stopped wearing this since I got it!

It’s made of steel, and just gorgeous. The simplicity of it is stunning with any outfit. I love that it’s my little secret as to what it really means. πŸ’™

Here is the clip of my boys, just so you can hear (not much to see) what I gave them to customize this.

You will not be sorry if you visit Forever Anniversaryfor your next gift or treat!

Xx, Jess

*I recieved this necklace from Forrever Anniversary in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own! 😘

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Just for Mama

September 21, 2019 at 7:25 pm (Mom Stuff) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Had to share something else that I got to try out recently and fell in love with. Eshakti! They are an online women’s clothing store. They specialize in customize clothes to your specifications and size. And let me tell you, their dress selection is almost overwhelming! 😍

I was on the hunt for a dress to wear to my cousin’s wedding and found Eshakti just in time.

I was not only able to make sure my dress would fit my size and shape exactly, but I also chose to make a dress they showed as long sleeved into a sleeveless one. You even get to see immediately online what it will look like! Wow! And it came out perfect!!

I absolutely loved the casual vibe of this dress with an almost denim look to it and the white stitching. The dupioni silk and long length dress it up just enough.

But the point isn’t the dress. It’s that you can design whatever you want! And the perfect fit! Plus, they had it to me in under two weeks. I’m going back. For all kinds of clothes. I love them all!!

One last tid bit. You get all of this, without an exorbitant cost! It was totally affordable! I mean it. We are looking for the step-daughter’s prom dress there too.

Right now, use cose JESSI10 on your purchase too!! 😘

Xx

Jess

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Favorite Mom Beauty Products

October 18, 2018 at 7:13 pm (Mom Stuff) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Pregnant, post-partum, sleep deprived, hormonal, in a rush. Mama needs are constantly changing, especially when it comes to beauty products and routines. Add to that the struggle with trying to find natural, healthy products. So after trying it all (or what feels like it) here is a look at some things I am loving right now!

I try to use natural products when I can, especially while breastfeeding. However, not everyone of these products is. I try to research the products the best I can to make informed decisions on what is safe. Also, every one of the products I’ve listed is linked HERE on my Amazon page in my Beauty Products tab!

Hair.

Thick and lustrous while pregnant. Scarily thin afterwards. I am totally in the struggle currently of losing my hair post-partum and hating it. So, I have tried numerous products to not only make my hair feel more full, but to also actually help regrow it. First, Regenepure has seemed to be helping me so far in the re-grow department. I like the refreshing smell and feel, and see some baby hairs starting already. I also love a good volume shampoo and conditioner, so this new Love Beauty and Planet was an immediate tester for me. I loved it so much that I bought full sized bottles before my sample sizes were gone. This is the best lathering shampoo I’ve found in a long time, it leaves me with an amazing smell, and I do feel soft and bouncy after. I use the St. Tropica coconut oil mask every now and again for a deep condition and love how silky my hair comes out, because let’s face it, not only do you lose your hair after baby, but it, along with skin and nails, seems to get dry and brittle as well from all the hormones. Fun. Styling? Who has time for that with little ones. At least not on the daily. So for a boost in style along with speed, I have two go-two products. One is Coconut Water Sea Salt Spray. After my shower I spritz on and let dry. Nice waves. The other is Living Proof In Shower Styler. You apply in the shower after you shampoo and condition and then lightly rinse out. I also air dry after this one and scrunch a bit. Again, nice waves. My go to style. Up or down, the waves helps hide the fact that I didn’t have time for am actual style and also the fact that I’m balding. Which brings me to the Wet Brush. I don’t want to pull out any more hair than necessary, and this amazing brush gently combs out anything. If you’ve never tried one, they are life changing. Lastly, every mama needs a good dry shampoo. Some days thats all that make me look like I’ve showered. Right now mine is this one by Rusk. Light and doesn’t make a horrible mess of dark hair.

Body.

First you try to combat stretch marks. Then you are trying to tighten, hydrate, and fight acne. Everywhere. Also fun times. During pregnancy, and even now after, Belli Elasticity Belly Oil has been wonderful. I am prone to stretch marks, but this has minimized them and helped keep the tight itching skin soft. Glow 9 Organics makes several amazing scrubs like this foot and hand one. This is for a little extra pampering that every mom needs. Bean Body Coffee Scrub not only invigorates through smell, it is supposed to help reduce stretch marks and cellulite. I’m not sure I see a huge difference, but I love feeling awakened by coffee in the shower, and the scrub makes your skin so smooth. I love Nivea’s new mousse body wash too. Its smells great and goes on and rinses off so silky yet clean.

Face.

Dark circles, bags, dry skin and more acne. I didn’t include my whole makeup routine here (I hardly ever have time for all that anyway!) but I did add a few essentials. Miss Spa coconut sheet mask, to pamper yourself every now and again. Seeing a coconut trend? Yes, give me ANYTHING coconut. The Anna Lisa cotton pads are awesome for anything, but I especially use them with Green and Lovely toner. I use this anywhere on my body I might get a little breakout too. All natural and helps with acne. Grown Alchemist face polish is one of my favorite fave washes right now. I feel moisturized without being greasy. This eye cream from Farmacy is also a current favorite. I am always using eye creams. Blast those dark circles and bags. They are never ending for me. Banana setting powder helps me keep everything from getting too oily. Those extra hormones make my skin do big rollercoasters, and oily is where I’m at post-partum. Neutrogena is what I’m using for a makeup right now. This one is like a tinted moisturizer, light and sheer, but buildable, plus it has the things you need, like sunscreen. Adding all the benefits in one makes for a quick prep in the morning. My eyelashes were getting brittle also, so I treat them with the SOS lash booster first, which actually makes an awesome primer, and then use Lash Princess mascara. This makes for an easy, quick, healthy duo and long, full looking lashes. Last, I love this lip balm. It’s so smooth and feels great on my lips.

I found many of these new products through Bump Boxes. I adored getting these. Definitely worth a try if you are expecting or just had a baby! The trimester box is also in my Amazon link, along with all of the other products here.

There you have it, my lists of go-tos currently. What are some products you love? What else would you like me to share?

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