How to Get Through Errands with Kids

How to get through running errands with kids and also have a little treat for yourself. #sponsored #OREOmultipack #CleverGirlsPlease tell me I’m not the only one who wants to cry when I have to take my kids on errands with me? I usually try to get all the hard ones done while they are at school. But it’s summer which means they will be with me all day e’ry day. My kids aren’t bad. They actually play together better, when we are doing errands, than when we are at home. The trouble is they amp each other up and get CRAZY. Their playful tickles turn in to full on wrestling on the post office floor. They make up crazy songs and block the aisles at the grocery store. It makes me sweaty. So I really tried to think of a way to keep them entertained on our errands to make it easier on me (I HATE hearing myself holler at them the whole time and I’m sure everyone else does too) and make sure they are out of other people’s way. So I came up with these ‘Do me a Favor’ bags. We love these new 2-pack OREO snacks for summer. They are super easy to take along with you. #sponsored #OREOmultipack #CleverGirlsThe apple doesn’t fall far from the tree with these two and they love sweets. I know that if I keep a snack with me, ready to whip out at the height of their craziness, I’ve bought myself at least 2 minutes while they enjoy their surprise. I’m super excited about these OREO 2-packs. They are the perfect sized snack, easy to keep in my purse. We LOVE the new OREO 2-packs. They are the perfect way to grab a treat and run out the door. #sponsored #OREOmultipack #CleverGirlsThis size is perfect to keep at the ready in the snack cupboard so I can just grab a multipack for whoever is going with me. And you know I always put a pack in for me. Because, OREOs. Duh. These 2-pack multipacks are sold in a box of 18 and can be found at your local grocery store. They also come in Nutter Butter! Activity bags for kids to help make running errands a little less stressful. #sponsored #OREOmultipack #CleverGirlsWhen I was thinking about how to keep the kids entertained, my head kept going back to favor bags that kids usually get as they leave a party. No matter how much candy, sugar or cake they’ve had, there is always a few minutes of quiet in the car on the way home as they carefully sort through their loot. So I am calling these ‘Do me a Favor’ bags because really I’m just hoping they will do me a favor and be cool while we are on our errands. Are these perfect? No. Sometimes it takes more than a bag of tricks to keep the kids from behaving like wild animals. But they are helpful and will work more often than not. Make a 'Do me a favor' bag for your kids to help you get through running errands. #sponsored #OREOmultipack #CleverGirlsThe bags contents should be different every time. I always try to keep the kids wondering and excited about what they might find in their bag. I try to include some blank paper and markers in case we have to be in one place for a while like the DMV. They can draw, play hangman, write letters, whatever they want. It’s super versatile. I give the kids different colors so they can swap. Stick on eyebrows are a must. They can double as a mustache and are always good for a laugh. And you always want to try to make the other grocery shoppers laugh since a few aisles from now, the boys are probably going to be in their way.'Do me a favor' packs for kids to help you get through your errands in peace. #sponsored #OREOmultipack #CleverGirlsThis May, OREO launched a new 2-pack size which are super convenient as a grab-and-go snack for busy schedules. These OREO multipacks fit perfectly in to your purse, jacket pocket and oven overnight bags headed to grandma’s house. They are fantastic for when the kids start complaining that they haven’t eaten in hours. I’ve tried to explain to them that it is ok to be hungry but they just aren’t buying it. How to keep kids entertained while running errands. Retro toys. #sponsored #OREOMultipack #CleverGirlsAnd I always try to include something that they aren’t familiar with or will give me something to chat about with them. Take this California Raisin figurine. The boys had no idea who the California Raisins were but, boy, did I get to share with them how obsessed I was with them when I was little. Hence the Christmas themed figurine which mom my practically forced on me when I moved in to my first apartment and could remove it from her holiday decorating treasures. I was able to distract the boys by telling them all about how these super cool Raisins sang Motown with choreographed dance routines. And how I had a huge clock on my bedroom wall that looked like a watch that had the Raisins on them…Nerd alert. In the other child’s bag, I put a small hand buzzer from a prank kit. I know that seems counter intuitive when trying to get through errands calmly but if I can direct their attention to each other and away from the breakables, it’s less stress. Getting through errands with kids. Take a long a 'do me a favor' bag. #sponsored #OREOmultipack #CleverGirlsThese ‘Do Me a Favor’ bags are super easy to grab and easy for the kids to keep their treasures in. You can even keep a few of them already made so they are there when you need them. These would also work in a pinch if you have a playdate over, or are trying to entertain a little guest that has dropped by. How do you manage to get through your errands? All I know is that OREOS make everything better, including errands!

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

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Best Pencil Sharpener Ever

White desk with bright office supplies.Ok. You guys might think this post is crazy. Like, Sharon, you can’t possibly love a pencil sharpener this much. But it’s legit. My love is real. So much so that I want to share my love of an inanimate object with you. So much so that I sought Classroom Friendly Supplies out to do a review for them, at my request. They sent me a sleek, chic black pencil sharpener so my photos would be cuter but I have had a blue one for about 6 months. It’s kind of like part of the family now. And it’s the best pencil sharpener ever.

White and bright office space.With school starting and homework routines being set, my mom decided that my boys needed a really good pencil sharpener. I give her all the credit. She researched online, read reviews and spent time on this. It seems a good, manual pencil sharpener is hard to find. But then she came across this one by Classroom Friendly Supplies. It showed up at our house and the boys immediately started sharpening all of their pencils. I had no idea they would take to the sharpener the way I did.

Best manual pencil sharpener ever. I use only pencil for my editorial calendar and blog planning. The first time I used the pencil sharpener my world changed. I usually grab whatever dull pencil is lying around, left out by the boys. But a nice sharp pencil really does something for my productivity. We don’t have an office area set up at the house (thank you to Lauren for letting me borrow her workspace for these photos!) so the pencil sharpener sits on one of the counters in our kitchen where we keep the homework supplies. I couldn’t take a picture of it here because it is literally sitting next to a jar of mayo (unopened but still, ew gross – a result of pantry cabinet overflow) and a big jug of cranberry juice. No one wants to see that. This pencil sharpener needs to shine!

Best pencil sharpener. Ever. The pencil sharpener comes with a clamp so that it stays put when you are using it but we just hold it steady with our hands since we move it all around the house to where ever we need it. It comes in other colors as well, and they also have a discount if you buy 3 of them. And you should totally buy these for your kids teachers. They will totally want one.

Best pencil sharpener. Ever. Isn’t she pretty?

Best pencil sharpener. Ever. Recently I thought we killed ours. My kids sharpen far more pencils with it than they really need to. I was devastated. The price is not outrageous (they are $25 each) but I really didn’t want to spend another chunk of money on a pencil sharpener around the holidays). But as I was looking at the site, I came across their videos to troubleshoot problems. You guys!  It turns out that there was just lead stuck in the sharpener! I was able to take it apart, following their instructions on the video, and fix it!  World saved! This is a hearty little machine. It’s going to last you a nice, long time.

Best pencil sharpener. Ever. You see how the front part of the pencil sharpener, the metal part, is away from the body? Well, that holds the pencil and feeds it in to the blade for you as you crank. It’s so smooth and makes the nicest point. Yes, I’m a nerd and love this pencil sharpener.

The best pencil sharpener ever. For real. It's manual and it's perfect. And yes, I think it's odd that I love a pencil sharpener this much also...The shavings go right in to this little drawer that you can empty right in to the trashcan. It. is. the. best. ever. I am sure that the people on your holiday gift list don’t realize that they want this pencil sharpener. But they totally do! Or surprise them with it as a back to school present. This is THE only pencil sharpener you should ever have.

*I asked Classroom Friendly Supplies to send me a black pencil sharpener for my photos because I need you to know about this amazing product. And they did. Because they are awesome. And they are available for all your pencil sharpener needs.

New Music Mondays Dinner Time Playlists

New Music Monday Dinner Time Playlists for teaching kids about good music. It is finally happening.  My son is taking an interest in music.  Better music.  He has always loved music but as of late, we’ve been forced to listen to novelty songs and One Direction.  Non-stop.  And his preference for Radio Disney left me and my ears wanting more.  A month ago I subtly suggested we try our local radio station, KIIS FM since a lot of the songs he likes are played on that station too.  And it worked.  That helped us to expand the genres of music is he is hearing.  As a result, he has shown interest in Imagine Dragons and One Republic.  But my happiest moment came the other day.  Although he wanted to create a playlist on the iPad to listen to (hurrah!) he was grounded from screens (boo!) so instead I turned on the radio in his room.  He came out after a few minutes, made me stop vaccuuming (amen!) and said, “I have a new favorite song.  It’s ‘Ain’t it Fun’ (Paramore).  Come on mom.  Come listen to it with me.”  I shot put the vaccuum and ran down the hall to his room.  I am a big fan of that song.  So we listened (he listened, I lip-synced) together.

I’m not a music snob but I don’t think that music needs to be dumbed down for kids.  Music is a big source of enjoyment for me and has been for as long as I can remember.  I was allowed to listen to pretty much anything that I wanted and I knew my boundaries in terms of language and themes, etc.  Just because I heard 2 Live Crew in junior high did not mean it made my behavior change.  I certainly wasn’t slanging rocks or getting horn  y.  Knowing how music has changed, I am not willing to just send my kids off with a radio for them to learn on their own.  I see music as a great way to open the dialogue between our children about not only music, but the art form and life lessons that come along with it and the words being sung.

So we are starting New Music Mondays Dinner Time Playlists!  Notice the new tab at the top of the page under the header?

I’m going to attempt to post a new New Music Mondays Dinner Time Playlist each Sunday night.  It will be right on my sidebar (do you see it over there on the right hand side of the screen?).  And you should be able to just hit play and listen along if you want to participate too.  Although I am listening to the songs all the way through as I make them, I can’t gurantee that they are free of all bad words.  I am pretty sure there is a “damn” in the Old School Rap Songs for Kids playlist.  Depending on your views, values, etc. I suggest that you listen to them through first so you are aware of exactly what you are sharing with your kids.  But be prepared for dance breaks.  We allow them to get up from dinner a few times to dance along with the music.  Mondays are pretty fun.

I LOVE old school rap.  And rap has been one of the hardest genres to share with my kids thus far.  When in the car, we mostly listen to Sirius which means that the rap stations are not edited or the clean versions of the songs.  So we have to skip them.  But I know that some of my favorites from when I was younger are just fine.  And beat boxing!  What kid doesn’t love that?!

So enjoy this week’s playlist.  I’d love to hear if you listen along so leave a comment!  Of course it doesn’t have to be on Monday.  I’ll leave the playlist up for the whole week and then I think I am going to host the past lists on my Facebook page so you can check out those too.  I’ll update you on that.  And I’ll update the tab at the top of the page with quick discussion tips for each playlist.  But only if you want to go that far.  These are just things we will bring up to our kids while listening but while this is learning for them, we really just want it to be fun.  Let’s rock.

Check out more info about New Music Mondays and see playlist talking points.

 

 

 

Kid-Friendly Carpet Tiles from Flor

*I was sent this rug by Flor.  All opinions are mine. Our new rug ties in our art perfectly.  //  www.cupcakesandcutlery.comI AM IN LOVE WITH MY NEW RUG!  Yes, I am shouting it at you.  I just need to make sure that you get how deep my love runs for this rug.  A few weeks ago I shared that my husband and I were looking at rugs for this busy area of our house.  And this is the winner, our kid-friendly carpet tiles from Flor!  Do you love it?!  It is hard to tell colors from a small online photo.  But I wasn’t s0 worried about it that I needed to order a sample.  Turns out these colors could not be more perfect for this room!  The magenta and tiny hints of periwinkle in this Chakra rug totally tie in the art and accessories in this room.  Up until now, I had just liked the skateboards and purple vase individually but they certainly weren’t styled.  But now, they totally all work together.  And the way the rug works with the couch color…perfect.

Our old rug.  Blah.  This was the before rug.  Blah.  It was purchased primarily for the inexpensive price tag when we were furnishing a larger home we lived in a few years ago.  It has moved with us several times but I have never really liked this rug.  I am not sad to see it go (although my husband is keeping it in the garage in case we need it somewhere else in the house…um, no).

We love the Flor rug tile system  //  www.cupcakesandcutlery.comI had to wait for my husband to install this rug as it was going to be partially under our heavy couch.  I put our previous Flor rug together by myself but it was kind of nice to watch my husband do the work on this one.  It took about 30 minutes to lay the tiles out and put down all the stickers.

Photo bomb while Dad puts our rug together.  // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comMy youngest son wanted to “help” too.  You know, by photo bombing.

Testing out our new Flor rug.  //  www.cupcakesandcutlery.comAnd I had to take this photo because his shirt just totally matched the rug.

On Location Shooting

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shooting fashion posts on location when you have kids mean you all take a field trip.As a blogger, sometimes you have to find the right place to shoot a post.  And sometimes that means that you have to drag your kids along on a little field trip.  But they usually find a way to keep themselves busy.  Like rolling around on the sidewalk.  And trying to stand in the street with you.  You can see the final shots from this impromptu neighborhood street shoot here.

And btw, are you following me on Google plus?

My Creative Work Space

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The dining table as desk is not always ideal.  And often becomes the stage for toy reviews by my kids. Today I thought I would share with you my very creative work space…my dining room.  There is no other room in the house to have a desk (well, we have one in our bedroom but it holds the DVR box and the printer so there is no room to actually work on it…).  My dining room is in a very central spot in the house so it helps me to watch the kids and work at the same time.  And the two totally go hand in hand.  My oldest, and very recently my youngest, like to give reviews on Lego sets that they make up.  After watching countless reviews online, they are now experts in delivering reviews.  They are so funny.  And they are loooooooooong.  In my head, my workspace looks like this.