Reminder…

cutest kids everThere are no amazing posts today.  You can see why here.  So in the absence of exceptional content I thought the least I could do was share a photo with you of the cutest kids ever.  You’re welcome.

 

2013 Gift Guide for the Kids

Welcome to day 2 of my gift guides! I love to put these gift guides together and share the things I think are cool. None of these are sponsored and they are truly things that I would love to give or get!

Amazon is a great resource for gift shopping for the holidays and any time of the year.  Did you know that you can choose a charity to give back to while you shop?  I’ve chosen to link up my Amazon account with Operation Shower to help them raise money that they need to keep the organization going.  Simply head to Amazon Smile and search for Operation Shower (based in St. Louis, MO) and then shop as usual.
for-the-kids-2013-graphicgift guide for kids1: Outside the Lines 2:  Gold Lightening Bolt Shwings  3:  Ninja Champ Shirt  4:  Dude – Hi 5 SetIce Cream Truck Play House  6:  Beanie with Gems  7:  Neon Pink Heart Shwings

My youngest really likes to do activity books.  He gets them out and does them as “homework” right along with his older brother.  He especially likes the ones with shapes and more artistic images.  I’ve ordered (#1) for him and know he will love it!  And how amazing is that Ice Cream Truck Play House(#5)?!   While it is almost as big as our main living room, I can just imagine the imaginative play that the kids would have with it!

2013 holiday gift guide for kids8:  Crystal Saguaro Kit  9:  Owl Hat  10: Make Your Own Chewing Gum Kit 11: Draw Inspire Create 12: Lego Crazy Action Contraptions Kit 13:  Silver Sparkle Jacket  14:  Cool Blocks Set  15: Melissa & Doug Smarty Pants Card Set

I adore this owl hat (#9) from Krochet Kids.  Find out why I love them here.  A friend of mine told me about that Lego book (#12) and my oldest will be getting it.  The small set of Legos that comes with the book can be used to make a bunch of contraptions.  It is a nice change from the huge sets of Legos we have and seems just as fun.

See last year’s Kid’s Gift Guide and Books.

*This post contains affiliate links.  Read more about my editorial policies here.

Krochet Kids Launches Kids Hats with a Party

*Disclosure: My family was invited to a launch party event for the new children’s collection by Krochet Kids and given product.  All opinions are mine.
krochet-kids-hats-youth-for-empowermentThis past weekend my family was invited to view the new children’s collection from Krochet Kids.  Although I had heard of the brand before, I didn’t know the story behind it.  What I thought would be a fun afternoon filled with kid friendly activities turned out to be so much more.

krochet-kids-family-launch-partyFor sure, the kids had an AMAZING time with the activities the Krochet Kids team put together.  The bounce house alone would have kept them entertained but there were a bunch of other stations for the kids to experience.  Who doesn’t love drawing on the floor with chalk! (Does this drawing remind anyone else of ovaries?  No?  Just me then?  He said it was a chicken…) The boys got to make their own homemade play dough and bring it home with them.  And although he made up his own rules, my oldest was deemed hopscotch champion of the world.

activity passportsUpon arrival, the boys were handed paper passports to have stamped as they made their way through the party.  I thought that was such a great idea and I’m probably going to steal this idea for a future birthday party.  It kept them engaged and prompted them to try new things in a fun way.

krochet-kids-headquartersAfter a short video, we heard from Kohl Crecelius of Krochet Kids and Kristen Howerton, the blogger behind Rage Against the Minivan.  This is where the party turned around for me.  The video showed just how the products get made in Uganda and Peru.  It chronicled the process of making the hates and featured some of the women that do the work.  Kohl spoke of how the company got started and you got a true sense of the passion he has for helping others.  Kristen spoke of a recent trip she and her family took to one of the facilities where they got to witness, first hand, the hats being made.  In short, Krochet Kids is doing great things.  They are providing jobs, and a better way of life to so many women who would not otherwise have the opportunity.  Consider me a huge fan.

krochet-kids-m-in-photo-boothNo party is complete without a photo booth.  How absolutely darling is this owl hat?!

krochet-kids-thank-you-stationWhen the kids were done taking their photos, they were brought over to the “thank you” station.  Inside each hat is the signature of the women who made it.  I LOVE this!  You can find profiles of each of the women on the Krochet Kids site and write them a personal note.  How awesome is that.  Not only do these women get a huge sense of pride being able to put their name on their work, but they get appreciated for it too.  The notes are printed out at each facility and the women get to read the kind words from people experiencing their work first hand around the world.  It’s a small thing but means so much.  And I love that it is a super important part of the Krochet Kids process.

cool-kids-beanies-from-krochet-kidsWe were sent home with a few samples and the boys are in love.  These hats are so cute!

krochet-kids-beanie-for-kids

 

I’m not sure if he realizes that his beanie has hearts all over it.  But I think he can kind of pull it off.

striped-beanie-by-krochet-kids

 

M loves his hat too.  I found him wearing it under his helmet the other day.  I can’t wait to wear mine too!

And they don’t just make cool hats for kids and babies.  They make booties too!  The hats and booties would make great gifts for the winter months ahead.  And guess what else?!  They make other products too.  How rad is this Pike Bag?!  And my head would look super cute with The Alice headband.

Thank you for having us, Krochet Kids!  And for sharing your story with my family.  I look forward to following along with your company and the great work that you do.

*Disclosure: My family was invited to a launch party and given samples of product.  Delicious food and use of a bounce house too.  All opinions are my own.

Fashionable Kids in Orange Coast Magazine

 

orange-coast-1It’s not everyday that your kids get asked to be in a photo shoot for a magazine.  So when Orange Coast Magazine asked if our boys could be in their “cool kids” article we were pretty excited.  They shot it a few months ago at the St. Regis Monarch Beach.  My boys and I got there a bit early so we hung out in the lobby until it was time to get started.

orange coast mag shoot st. regisThe boys were all kinds of interested with the huge fireplace.  The St. Regis is a REALLY nice place and I was so grateful that my littles didn’t run amok.

st. regis hotelThe staff at Orange Coast Magazine provided snacks for the kids and made sure that everything ran really smoothly.  There were something like 30 kids so you can imagine that that could have gone sideways pretty dang easily.

orange coast magazineThe kids made a new friend.  They instantly bonded over her cool shades and rad shoes.

What the boys wore (none of these items are sponsored):

On my youngest (in the middle) : T-shirt by Mini and Maximus (old collection, sold out I think), DC Shoes Jeans, Nike SB P Rod Black and Gold Sneakers, Neon Orange Schwings!

On my oldest (on the right) : Sunglasses from The Children’s Place (similar on sale for $1.99!), Lego Black Flag T-shirt by Hatch For Kids, blue pants from H & M, Vans (similar here).

photographer for orange coast magazineThis is the photographer that was able to get all of the kids to cooperate and get a GREAT picture out of it.  Color me impressed.

orange coast magazine shootI mean…

stylish kidsThe parents also worked really hard to get all the kids to smile, look in one direction and not run away (the littlest kids…and my youngest son.  I’m pretty sure he knew I had Skittles as a bribe in my bag and he was intent on getting them).

magazine photo shootSee that fake sad face on him?  He never once shed a tear but “cried” almost the whole time. Exhausting.

stylish boys And then we grabbed a quick family photo before heading home.  Look who is happy now?  Ain’t no future in yo frontin’, M.

Cover-of-Orange-Coast-MagazineSo if you see this cover, in a store near you, go ahead and thumb through it.

Thank you for having us Orange Coast Magazine!!  It was a really fun experience!

 

Best Stores for Boy’s Back to School Shopping

boys-back-to-school-shopping-title-imageWe have about 5 weeks left of summer vacation.  Which means that I am slowly beginning my back to school shopping.  I don’t buy a whole new wardrobe for my boys but I do like to pick up some new things to get the year started off fashionably.  I’ve shared my favorite items over on the Rockin’ Boys Club blog so head over there to see my fave t-shirts, coolest shoes and adorable accessories.  But here I am sharing my tips for heading back to school in style.

back-to-school-shopping-big-box-stores

While I don’t stick to a budget, per se, I certainly set out to not spend a fortune.  You will rarely find my kids in designer clothes.  We are really lucky to have friends that work at some skate companies which does save us on shoes and sometimes clothes.  So I look for inexpensive basics to be part of their overall wardrobe.

From Target, I buy a 5 pack (boy do I love it when they throw in 2 for free!) of Fruit of the Loom white tees.  There is nothing more classic than a plain white t-shirt with jeans or shorts.  They end up being about $1-$2 a shirt which makes it super easy to throw them out when they get stained (because they will).  They are also awesome to have on hand to customize (which my kids really like to do).  And from time to time, you can find these t-shirt packs in a variety of other colors like black, grey and navy green.  My 7 year old is really skinny and tall so pants and shorts can be a problem for us.  We have done really well with the shorts by Shaun White.  They are pretty well made (decent fabrics that wear well) and are pretty darn cool.  I usually will browse the Shaun White shirts also but the graphics do not appeal to me so we usually skip those.  The woven shirts, striped tees and polos are all pretty nice looking.  I enjoy his hoodies and make sure we pick up at least one to get the year started off.  I generally watch for the Shaun White collection to go on sale (saves a few dollars) before I buy it which is really easy to do since I am at Target about once a week.

H&M is pretty reasonably priced and has some great trendy pieces.  I often like their shoes, socks and woven shirts as well as their colored denim.  They also usually have solid black hoodies which are great for the fall months.  Their sales are infrequent but they do happen.  In fact, I got a coupon for a percentage off my total kid’s purchase through the end of August just the other day in the mail.

Old Navy has sales pretty regularly and they are a go-to for jeans.  Once in a while you can find a t-shirt that is cool.  They have tons of licensed shirts to choose from (which I try to steer clear of) and often inexpensive solid and striped t-shirts.  I buy my son’s their coats from Old Navy every year during their half off coat sale (in the fall).  Being in California, we don’t need something really heavy and they usually have at least one style that is somewhat military inspired in good colors.

fave-stores-for-back-to-school-shopping-boysThe rest of my shopping is done at smaller stores.  I lumped Cotton On in with these shops because although it is a chain, there aren’t too many actual stores in the United States.  I have to say that their stores are way better than their online shop.  I buy a ton of t-shirts from them throughout the year as well as denim and colorful, obnoxious socks for my younger son.  They have sales often and I only buy items here when they are on sale otherwise this store can get a bit pricey.

Little Dudes Only is an online shop that can be shopped in a number of ways.  Browse by looks (rocker dude, skater dude, vintage dude…) brands, etc.  They carry tons of great brands and accessories and if you are on their email list, you find out about sales they have from time to time.

Mini and Maximus is one of our favorites.  I buy the boys a t-shirt for their birthday each year and maybe one around Christmas.  These clothes tend to be on the pricier side but I think the graphics and how unique they are make it worth it once in a while.  I will pick up another shirt or two when they have 40% sales throughout the year.

Tiny Whales has a really small selection but these are shirts that are completely unique and cool and you can’t find anywhere else.  And the pricing is pretty reasonable.

Black Wagon is a place I like to browse to see what the cool new brands are.  I don’t buy a lot from here but it is a great place to find gift items, shoes, and rad clothes all in one place.

Other shops to check out are Hatch for Kids, Loola, Dot Dot Smile (for boys leggings!), Hello Apparel, Brown Sugar Beach (mostly for the preschool set) and Passive Juice Motel.

And if I had little girls I would for sure be shopping at Lately Lily.