The One Item you Need when Traveling with Kids

Raise your hand if you’ve ever traveled with a baby or toddler and had to set up a pack n play in a bathroom or closet? That has been my life for over 5 years. Since the age of 6 months, both of my kids have always slept in their own beds, in their own rooms. To this day they still use black out shades because hello, nap time needs to happen in this house. One thing they each have always been amazing at is sleeping, and that is because sleep is so good to me. We’ve always practiced healthy sleeping habits and taught them to be great sleepers from an early age. That was always the case until we went on vacation. Since both kids liked having their own dark, quiet space, you can imagine how setting up a pack n play in the corner of a hotel room just didn’t work. It took hours for them to fall asleep since there was so much visual stimulation. My husband and I were trapped in dark silence and couldn’t even watch TV or iPads because the light would wake both kids up.  Needless to say, our trips when the kids were younger were few and far between solely for that reason. I wasn’t going to pay a boat load of money for vacation and be too tired and cranky to enjoy it.

Fast forward to this summer when I was introduced to an amazing product that I would have sold a kidney for to have years ago: The SlumberPod. Let me tell you why this is going to be a game changer in so many ways. With the SlumberPod, traveling just got a whole lot easier. Not only does the pod easily fold up, but it comes in a small, easy to transport bag that weighs less than my purse. It can fit in a suitcase, a duffle carry on bag, and even hang from your stroller. The SlumberPod is a bottomless canopy that fits over a standard sized travel crib or play yard. It’s made of breathable, dark fabric which creates an optimum sleep environment. It comes equipped with a baby monitor pouch, is outfitted with ventilation windows and most importantly, SAFE. The SlumberPod has passed applicable consumer product safety tests. Sleeping with your baby or toddler in the same room on vacation just got a whole lot easier.

I’ve spent many years buying and cosigning gently used baby gear and I can see the SlumberPod having a great resell value, just like pack n plays and strollers do. There’s nothing worse than spending a ton of money on baby gear only to realize two months later that it may be tough to recoup the money (I’m looking at you pricey C-Section Bassinet). This is a product that will pay for itself after your first vacation, I can guarantee you. It will last through several kids and can be sold to a new mama once yours grow out of the pack n play stage. The SlumberPod launches a Kickstarter campaign that goes live on Tuesday, July 24. When these come to market later this year, they will be $149.99 and available to purchase on Amazon and through the SlumberPod website. However, you can get yours delivered in August or September (depending on shipping selection) for 10% off when you preorder on Kickstarter. For $119 plus shipping you’ll be on your way to planning vacations left and right with this saving grace sleep accessory. (For those who act early when the pre-sale campaign launches, there will also be early bird specials at a $90 price point!) Want to see the SlumberPod in action? Check out these videos! I’ve never been more excited to go on vacation with my kids than I am now since I have a SlumberPod. Now I can finally make memories with my family instead of being a zombie

*All pictures courtesy of SlumberPod*

Sunroom Makeover with Tarkett

This post is sponsored by Tarkett NA; however, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

Our last sunroom makeover happened nearly 5 years ago to the day. I remember because we were redoing it in time for Henry’s first birthday and he just turned 6 last week. The original makeover involved my husband removing the outdoor carpet and putting in wood flooring, which we painted a dark navy. I loved the look but it wasn’t meant to last forever. Not long after the original paint job, the floor started to scratch and there were divots and nail marks all over the floor from the dogs. As time went on they got worse, but I didn’t want to repaint the floors because I knew what would happen. Eventually we added a large rug to cover the not-so-pretty floors, took out the furniture that was in there and the room basically became just another playroom for the kids. Then it quickly turned into a catch all for pool towels and shoes. This go-round I wanted a durable floor that could withstand lots of foot traffic, dress up heels and toy dump trunks. With two dogs who exit via the sunroom to go to the backyard, and two kids who love to play rough, our new flooring had to last more than a few weeks.

I had always loved the look of a faux wood flooring that could take a beating. We ended up choosing Tarkett Alder Cashmere in Cool Gray Vinyl Planks and could not be happier. Tarkett flooring is scratch resistant, indent resistant, waterproof and it won’t warp in extreme temperatures. We have been having an insane amount of rain and humidity here in Atlanta so waterproof flooring is a lifesaver. My husband was able to install it in a single afternoon due to it’s fast locking click system. It was quite possibly one of the easiest and fastest DIY projects he’s ever done (and trust me, there’s been a few thanks to yours truly). The variant in colors and overall lighter design really brightened up the room and made it look bigger.

Since our backyard is filled with lush greenery that can be seen from the sunroom, we wanted to fill the room with plants to mimic the outdoors. Adding plants or flowers is an inexpensive way to fill up corners and add height. We already had the cute white plant stand which we used as an outdoor table so we cleaned it up and brought it inside to set a gorgeous potted plant on it. The kids picked out a few cacti which we placed in a vintage Coca-Cola bottle holder. We already had the two white chairs and the kids table and chair set so completing the room with new pieces wasn’t that hard. I found the coffee table and console table from my local Home Goods and the lamp, pillow, basket, and vase are all from Target.

Overall we wanted a room that we can enjoy all year round, and Tarkett helped us create that. The sunroom is easily my favorite part of the house now, maybe because it’s the only clean part of the house, but that’s another story. Here are some not so glamourous photos of  the room before and in progress, as well as sources for the furniture in the room!

Couch {similar} // Chairs // Flooring // Art Print // Rug

Do you have any upcoming home projects you’ll be working on this summer? Thanks for stopping by!

What’s in my Pool Bag

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Perrier®. The opinions and text are all mine.

This year was the first year that our family joined the neighborhood pool. Up until now, it just didn’t make sense. Evelyn was never a huge fan of the water until she turned three and Henry just learned how to swim on his own a few months ago. The thought of taking a non-swimming toddler and a baby to a pool by myself never appealed to me, which is why we waited over five years to join. Now that we’re finally members, we are practically at the pool every day. The kids love to swim and have become water babies for sure. There is almost always a meltdown when we have to leave because they cannot get enough. In addition to the kids’ toys, towels, drinks and snacks that I bring, I also take a bag filled with my essentials. Here is what I cannot live without during pool days!

Hat – In past years I used to love traditional wide brim hats, but I could never put them on when I had a topknot in. This year I switched to a straw visor that still protects my face and leaves my hair looking cute. It’s also small enough to fit in my bag so I can have free hands to wrangle kids.

Drinks – It goes without saying that proper hydration in the summer is key. In addition to packing my water bottle, I also love to have something with flavor. Perrier® Grapefruit Slim Can [8.45 oz 10 ct] is hands down my favorite summer drink to cool me down. The tall, slim design of the can allows me to pack several at a time. Perrier® Flavors are always Extraordinaire and are the perfect refreshment for a mid-day break. They can be found in the water aisle at Publix and I definitely stocked up for all of our summer activities. From backyard grilling to days spent by the beach, Perrier® is my go-to drink of choice. Here’s a coupon so you can stock up on all your favorite Perrier® beverages and save.

Gigantic Pool Tote – Luckily it isn’t hard to find a cute beach bag these days and the bigger the bag the better. I like mine to be made with a breathable weave or fabric so water doesn’t get trapped in it.

Towel – I’m a huge fan of the extra-large pool towels, especially the round and rectangle ones. I like to push two chairs together and make my own “bed” at the pool so the kids can come rest and snack with me. I love that we can all sprawl out together and snuggle.

Sunscreen – This is a given for any day spent in the sun. I have very fair skin and unfortunately always burn and never tan. A high SPF is a must and I apply every few hours. I also bring an SPF lip balm to protect my lips! This one is my favorite.

Sunglasses – I hate squinting in the sun because after a while, I get the worst headache. A good, inexpensive pair of sunglasses are a must. The cheaper the better because I cannot tell you how many times I’ve lost, stepped on, or dropped sunglasses.

Healthy Snacks – It can be easy to chow down on junk food all summer, especially when you’re lounging by the pool all day. I always pack a few healthy things that will fill me up so I’m not tempted to snack on the kids’ food. I use these stainless steel lunch boxes that have three compartments so my food doesn’t touch and get soggy.

Book/Music – Let’s face it, sitting at the pool for hours on end can get a little boring. Bringing a good book and headphones so you can listen to a podcast or music is a must.

Wristlet – I put my driver’s license, insurance card, debit card and some cash in a small card carrier so I don’t have to lug my entire wallet (or lose my entire wallet). This one is super slim with a strap so I can take it with me to the ice cream truck and still have both hands free.

What are must-have items that you pack in your pool bag?

Smart Homes are the New Black

Last week I had the privilege of visiting a Pulte Homes Group event that showcased the latest and greatest in smart home technology. The model home we visited was in North Atlanta and included everything a new homeowner would need if. From wireless access points to front door locks that you can control from your phone, the technology in this smart home was mind blowing.

As of April 1, 2018, every new Pulte, Centex, Del Webb, DiVosta and John Wieland home across the Unites States will be wired with smart technology. Trusted brands like Whirlpool, NEST, Chamberlain, Lift Master, Schlage, Amazon Echo and Sonos are just a few jumping into the smart home wave. What’s amazing about these new homes is that even if you don’t need all the smart functions now, the home will still be prewired for easy installation in the future in case you change your mind. Using Alexa or Google, homeowners can preheat their ovens, change the thermostat, arm the security system and dim the lights, all by using voice commands or their cell phones. Basically you can now build your home to be as smart as you want it to be. Every floor in these new homes have a wired access point for optimal WiFi connection, so that you’re never in a dead zone. Not only are smart homes the wave of the future in functionality and appearance, but studies have shown that smart home technology can reduce heating and cooling costs, improve home security and increase resale appeal. PluteGroup did extensive research before moving forward with smart home technology and found that seven in ten consumers believe having these features in their home is important.

The kitchen featured in this smart home is an entertainers kitchen and it can be modified or changed when you begin designing your Pulte Home. Chef Tregaye Fraser from The Food Network made a delicious spread for lunch using the smart technology wired into the kitchen. Aside from the mind-blowing technology that flows through the house, the open floor plan, numerous windows that let light flow in and modern design, these turn-key homes are among the most beautiful I have ever seen. They have thought of everything (like the laundry room off the master closet) and the guest bedroom in the basement. I wish I was in the market for a new home because I’d be the first to sign up. Are you in the market for a new home? What are your thoughts on smart home technology?

Thank you so much to Pulte Home Group for sponsoring this post!

How We Manage Allergy Season

I am participating in an influencer program on behalf of Claritin®. This program is paid for by the makers of Claritin® and I have received compensation for my participation. All opinions expressed are my own. *Use Children’s Claritin® as directed on packaging  

Living in Atlanta, we are no strangers to the pollen and allergy season. I developed seasonal allergies later in life, and I feel like each year they get worse. Unfortunately, Henry, who is almost 6, has been dealing with horrible seasonal allergies since he was 3. He would live outside if we let him and is constantly asking to go in the yard and play. Children’s Claritin® Grape Chewables offer 24-hour non-drowsy allergy symptom relief so he can play and participate in outdoor activities. He wouldn’t be able to enjoy being a kid and doing all the fun outdoorsy activities that kids should be doing. Luckily Children’s Claritin® medicine is available at Target, which is perfect since I am there several times a week. I find them in the healthcare aisle near the pharmacy. In addition to taking Children’s Claritin®, there are a few other things I’ve found that can help with allergies.

Clean up every single night – Even if Henry isn’t outside playing, or if it’s raining, I always give him a good soak and rinse at night before bed. Doing this helps wash off any pollen or dust that could be lingering in his hair or on his clothes. I also change his sheets twice a week.

Use an air purifier with HEPA filters – Both kids sleep with an air purifier in their room, running every night to filter the air so there is less allergen in the air. Since we have cats and dogs that can’t be bathed every day, the air purifier is especially important to filter particles from the outside world they trek in with them.

How do you keep your kids’ allergies under control? Have you tried any of the Children’s Claritin® medicine at Target? Cartwheel always has great offers available for Children’s Claritin®. Check here to see if there’s one available before heading to Target!! Let me know in the comments below how they helped your family!

The One Accessory You Need for a Mommy & Me Photoshoot

Truth be told, we have taken family pictures once and it was a complete disaster. Evelyn was only 9 months old and hated being held, the lighting was bright and harsh, it was cold and windy, Henry was running around like an escaped zoo animal and my husband and I were over the pictures before they even started. So it’s safe to say that family photo shoots don’t work best for us. However, I love capturing photos of the kids with their dad and vice versa, and having a little girl makes mommy & me photos so fun.

I’ve shared before that before I had kids I never wanted a daughter. I had always envisioned myself with 3 boys, driving nonstop to sports games and practices and really living that boy mom life. God had other plans when he blessed us with a daughter and I am forever grateful. Besides the fact that I couldn’t possibly handle 3 of Henry, I am absolutely in love with Evelyn and her sweet and funny personality. She is always up for taking photos, playing dress up, putting on makeup and matching with me.

When it comes to photoshoots with little ones, I love to coordinate without being over the top matchy. 1800Flowers now makes the most beautiful preserved floral crowns and it’s safe to say that Evelyn and I are equally obsessed. They come shipped in a sturdy gift box and smell amazing. I’ve had ours for nearly 3 weeks now and they are still going strong. It’s like having access to a real life snapchat filter and you instantly look better when you have one on. They are bendable and can be shaped to fit your head or your little ones head. They’re the perfect accessory for summer regardless if you’re going to a festival or using them for a party. I paired mine with a basic white cotton dress from ASOS and Evelyn is wearing a handmade dress from Holley + Sage. These pictures are definitely some of my new favorites that I will forever cherish.

*Thank you 1800Flowers for sponsoring this post!*

Pretty In Polka Dots

Before I went on my girls trip to Nashville in April I bought two of the cutest Polka Dot dresses from Target. I’ve been wearing them all over my Instagram feed (see here, here, here and here) and for good reason. When I find a piece of clothing that I love and is flattering, I buy it in every color. Same with shoes! I’m normally an  XL in all Target dresses and tops and this dress fits like a dream. I love the cut out detail underneath the bust and it’s flattering on all figures if you’re a size 0, 8 or 14. My favorite feature? the pockets of course! This dress highlights the smallest part of the waist and loosens over the hips, creating a beautiful silhouette for every body type. I also love that I don’t have to wear a bra because the straps are adjustable and the bust is just tight enough to hold everything in without being uncomfortable. Speaking of buying things I love in multiple colors, these platform wedges are my new favorite. I have them in black and nude and they go with everything I own. They’re perfect for dresses, skirts, shorts and jeans and are just under $60.

To further show you how versatile this dress is, 3 of my blogger girlfriends have also styled the Polka Dot dress and I’ve linked them all here for you! We are all different heights with very different body types and I love that Target has made a dress that is forever flattering. Head over to Simply Every, Lovely Lucky Life, and Middle of Somewhere to see how these gorgeous girls look in this dress.

Dress – sold out online but available in stores. Don’t worry, Target has a ton more Polka Dot Dresses! // Shoes

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