Thursday, April 28, 2016

Pediped [Review + Giveaway]

Ah spring... a time when the flowers start to bloom and the air gets a little warmer.  A time when we all start dreaming of the days to come where we can swim, hike and run barefoot.  Does that sound like you?  My husband puts on shoes as soon as he wakes up and doesn't take them off until it's time for bed.  Me?  I would go barefoot literally everywhere if businesses would let me.



Let's take a little quiz, shall we?  Which is better for you: shoes or bare feet?  Did you guess bare feet?  That's right!  It's true and not just because that's my preference.  Being barefoot isn't only good for adults either- it's great for kids, especially ones first learning to walk.  Bare feet strengthens and promotes agility from the feet all the way up to the hips.  When we don't wear shoes our feet are able to feel the ground beneath us better and thus learn to respond in a healthier way.  Those tiny adjustments add up and over time improve our balance, movement and posture [Read more about this here and a variety of other online and paper sources.]

That's great!  But wait, we have to wear shoes almost everywhere except our home (and the beach!)  That's where these awesome little shoes come in...




[Disclaimer:  I received free product for review from pediped in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions are my own and in no way am I required to write a positive review.]



pediped



What is pediped?  It's a company that specializes in making shoes that provide protection for your feet while encouraging healthy foot development.  How you ask?  By making shoes that are the "next best thing to bare feet"  (that's actually their slogan!)  Pediped has shoes for young boys and girls (and 'tween and women sizes too) with three separate categories to best fit a child's growing needs- Originals, Grib n Go, and Flex. 

I asked if I could have the Originals Norm Grey for my son to try.  I love that they look like little boat shoes and the color is perfect!  But how does he like wearing them?  Here is a little video of him testing them out for the first time...

video



He was able to run from grass to rocks and back to grass again without missing a beat.  I really feel like the flexible sole helped him do this as I have watched him "trip himself up" more than once before in some of his hard-sole shoes and sandals.  They also didn't come off when he ran which is of course always a good thing!

So here's the deal with these shoes...



-They are made from a soft leather, have a flexible sole and a soft foam insert in between the layers of leather.  The particular style we tried is part of the "Originals" collection which is made for babes that are first starting to walk (available in size 0-24 month).  If your littles are a shade older than this read here for information about the larger stages.


{FYI my son can walk over these rocks no problem in these shoes because they move and bend as needed}


-They have a velcro closure which I love!  Once I even mention the word "outside" my son is so ready to go that he has no time for shoe laces. I can whip these shoes on him in seconds flat!


-Each shoe is made with hand-stitching which helps their little feet breathe.  And let's admit... it's totes cute- am I right?



You can see in the photo above how the darker grey has a textured look to the print.  I love the small details that really make these shoes look nice.


-The soles also have a surprisingly good grip.  They are made to be slip resistant and as you can see in the video below, my son didn't have any trouble climbing up this loose gravel which really did surprise me.

video



Did I mention that they come in a nice box?  Maybe that's just exciting for me...






We don't store the shoes in the box but we will use the box for lots of other things.  My son likes to carry it by the handle!  It's the little things in life.






If you have a little girl, make sure to check out their collection of girls shoes because oh. my. gosh. cuteness overload.  If I ever have a little girl I'm buying those floral ones!  Of course, you know I love the boys shoes too- boys clothing/accessories has really improved in the last couple of years!  It's all so precious.





Want Your Own?
Pediped is sure you are going to love these shoes and wants to offer one of you a pair for your little one as well!  Winner will receive a pair of Originals shoes and will be able to choose "boy or girl" and size but not style.  Each style is unique but holds the great qualities that I've mentioned already.  Best of luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Contest open to residents of US and Canada 18 years of age and older.  See Terms & Conditions for more details.

Happy Crafting,
Kelsie Ann

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Silikids NEW cups, universal lids & reusable straws {Review + Giveaway}

Happy Friday lovies and thanks for stopping by to check out my newest product review.  Today I am reviewing some brand new products from a company I've shared about in the past (and from your comments a company that many of you love!)  Can you guess who it is?

[Disclosure:  I have received free product for review from the Silikids company.  I am in no way required to give a positive review and all opinions are my own.]

Have you guessed who it is yet?  Did you guess...

Silikids



You might remember my earlier review of the Reusable Snack Bags, Silispoons, and the very popular Silimap.  At the time they were just getting ready to release their new items and I couldn't wait to try them out!

This company is super cool because they make all silicone products.  Why is that cool?  Because silicone is safer than plastic (silicone is non-toxic, hypo-allergenic, and does not promote bacteria growth), is dishwasher safe and can be drawn on by little ones and is LESS WASTE!  Having products that can be used over and over again means that less trash is going into landfills.  It's even better than recycling- it's reusable!

So what are these new products I keep talking about?

{Sorry for the not-so-great photo.  I was so excited to open these up I didn't realize how bad the lighting was!}






These cups really threw me for a loop when I opened up the package.  They look like solid cups but still felt heavier than I expected.  Turns out they are made with 100% silicone and have a stainless steel ring at the top which helps them keep their shape.  Because of these two factors, they are sturdy enough to stand alone but are soft enough that they have a little "give".  In our home that is super helpful because we have a toddler who is learning to use "big boy cups".  Having a cup that is movable helps him get a better grip which means... more using big cups which means... my baby is growing up too fast! *tears, tears*




Bonus use:  These cups are the perfect size for holding snacks on the go!  The stainless steel ring on the top makes it easy for my little guy to hold onto while he explores his world.






These are my favorite part of the new set and definitely the most-used Silikids product I've tried.  Most used by my son?  No... most used by me!  It's true- these products aren't just for kids and have turned out to be an awesome addition to my travels.  These thin, flexible tops stretch to fit over any cup you already own, turning a regular cup into a spill-proof one! *love it*  I may or may not occasionally frequently spill drinks in the car.  It drives my husband bonkers.  He may end up being happier about these than I am!

I can't wait to use these during summer picnics outside. Going to a carry in?  Just toss one of these bad boys into your bag to catch any spills (and keep bugs out) of your drink!



At first I was excited to try these because my son always wants to drink from our glasses when we go out to eat, because as I mentioned earlier- he's a "big kid" now.  I figured I could pop one of these on our glass and he would be good to go.  Turns out he has way more fun pulling the straw out instead.  This is a problem any time we use cups with straws (like to-go cups) but maybe Silikids will come up with some sort of "stopper" to keep it from being able to be pulled out.  That's my only problem with this set of new products but it happens to us with all straws (from any company).  Silikids is so innovative though, I wouldn't be surprised if they came up with a solution for this soon!

Want to see it in action?  I put the lids to the test to see if they would keep my tea from spilling all over my son's coloring book.

video



Here's a closer look at how the lid catches the liquid.  Now eventually (especially if going slow like I was) some liquid will come out the straw.  However, just imagine the mess that cup of tea would have made if the universal straw top wasn't on.  This thin piece of silicone is going to save our house (and car... and desk...and booth at a restaurant...) from so many messes!

video



You've heard me say before that I love anything that is dishwasher safe.  All Silikids products are dishwasher safe but I especially like how these lids fit perfectly onto the little prongs.  They stay put and get clean without me having to do any of the work.  Which, let's admit is the greatest gift of all.





3. Siliskin Reusable Silicone Straws



These straws are perfect to have if you have the universal top.  The universal top comes with 1 straw included but a pack  of these comes with 6 straws  in 3 different sizes.  Have you ever purchased a fountain drink from a gas station and then went to grab a straw only to find out that the straw just barely sticks above the lid? (Do I sound annoyed?  I may know from experience.)  Now you can put the lid on any cup and not have to worry about the straw reaching.

Bonus use:  Teething babes love chewing on silicone (most teething necklaces and toys are made from it).  Silicone straws are perfect for this and more.  Plus- as I mentioned above, it's safe and durable so you can rest easy and let them chew away!


Want to try them yourself? 
Click the widget below (remember: 2 are mandatory but once you do those it unlocks ways to earn over 7 more entries!) and enter to win packs of ALL THREE products (that's 2 cups, 3 lids and 6 straws!)  Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Happy Crafting,
Kelsie Ann

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

8 Free Mother's Day Card Printables/Coloring Pages (inside & outside)

One of the greatest holidays is coming up in the next few weeks... Mother's Day.  I don't only say this because I am a mother and am hoping to get an extra nap or shower in (best.gift.ever.) but because my own mom is my best friend.  I think we should recognize how awesome mothers are all 365 days of the year but it's always fun to go "above and beyond" on this national day.  My mom is also an amazing grandma (mamaw) to my son who thinks she hangs the moon.  Seriously, the two of them are best buds.  It doesn't matter what we are doing, if I say "let's go see mamaw" my son heads straight to the door no questions asked.  It's very funny.  For the record, he also has 3 other grandmas who are AMAZING as well, I was just already talking about my mom there.



I also understand how hard it is to have a toddler "make" their own cards to send to grandma.  Sure, I could get his hand print or footprint.  (Actually, other people can do that I most definitely cannot.) Or... I could just have him color his own picture.  This is also a great option for older kids who would like to color/design their own card with a little guidance.  (They are basically coloring pages!)


{I trimmed mine up a little more than I meant to, it prints with more white around the edges and bottom.}



Because I'm sure there are lots of you out there who are in the same boat as me, I created a few FREE printables for you.  I've created an inside and outside to each card but feel free to mix and match (just know that some are horizontal and some are vertical!) Just click, print, fold in half, color and share!  Each card also has a spot on the back for the child's name.

[Hint, Hint dads- mom's love stuff that their kids make.  We find it adorable and it melts our heart.  Pair this with an uninterrupted nap and you've got a happy mama]

{I forgot to get a photo of him coloring and when I tried to get him to do it again he just looked at it and ate his apple like "yea, we're done here.}


{Cards for mom, grandma or whoever!}

Note:  Cards are pictured in collage format to see front and back together.  Please notice that card is not folded at red line and actually folds in half the opposite direction.  Cards do not have a red border and print at size 8x10.  You may cut them down to whatever size you like.)


Top 2 photos show the front and back.  Bottom two photos show the other options available for the front of the card.

"I love you mom" OUTSIDE

"I love you grandma" OUTSIDE

"I love you mamaw" OUTSIDE

"so glad you're mine" INSIDE




Of course we needed a flower option- classic mother's day.  Have your little one draw a special picture for mom, step-mom, grandma or whoever!

"flowers" OUTSIDE

"special picture" (vertical) INSIDE


{Cards just for mom}


 Get them thinking about what makes mom so great!

"reasons why" OUTSIDE

"reasons why" INSIDE




This one is funny because it's true.  What a loving little monster.

"love monster" OUTSIDE

"love monster" INSIDE




Was it really even a competition?

"trophy" OUTSIDE

"trophy" INSIDE




Another "draw a special picture" option but with a horizontal layout.

"banner" OUTSIDE

"special picture" (horizontal) INSIDE


{That's It!}
I hope I was able to help you out with your Mother's Day card this year.  When it comes down to it, moms just want to know that they are loved and with a hand colored card from their little one, they are sure to feel it! <3

Happy Crafting,
Kelsie Ann

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

DIY carpet sample rug (with step-by-step tutorial)

I have been itching to do a craft like this for some time now (I feel like I'm always saying that but it's always true.  I just want to craft ALL. THE. TIME.)  You know when you first have a baby and you think you are going to have all this free time to craft?  Haha... yea, that never happens now.  My toddler has recently learned how to get himself onto all surfaces of the house so I spend most of my days in a delicate balance between wanting him to explore his world and trying to keep him from killing himself.  It's super fun (it's hard to tell online but I actually mean that... most days.)

{Hint, Hint: He loves it so much already he dumped all of his toys on top & is playing on it}


Right now we have toys scattered across the house but as soon as it gets warmer, this mama is turning our enclosed front porch into a PLAY ROOM (whoo-hoo!)  It's going to be a gathering place for all the large toys, noisy toys and toys that we can just shut the door and not have to clean up every day (did you know we got our son over 1000 playpen balls for Christmas?  Mmm hmm, yep.  We are that crazy.)



You might remember me mentioning in my first post about my son's nursery that I haven't had the chance to decorate most of our house because my husband already had it fully furnished/decorated when we got married.  Because of this, I take advantage of any opportunity I can to decorate a room with a theme I love.  I've decided to go with a sort of camping/hiking/adventure/exploring theme for the play room.  I wanted something that was fun and appropriate for children without looking like a pre-school with shapes and primary colors.



That's one of my favorite quotes and a sort of inspiration for the playroom theme.  Love it too?  Click the links below to download a free printable or digital version for yourself!

Click here for the 5x7 size

Click here for the 8x10 size!


I have big plans for this room.  My first craft- a small rug for just inside the door (or maybe to set shoes on?)  Wherever it goes, it will be great!  At first I was going to do something like "B is for Bear" but then my love for hiking kicked it and I realized this is what needed to be done...



So cute and so easy to do.  Here's the step by step:

STEP 1: Obtain a carpet sample.




Head to your local carpet store.  Check out their stash of retired rug samples.  They are surprisingly cheap.  Ours run between $0.50-$1.00 depending on the size.  I recommend getting a short shag for this project since you are painting a design on it.

{My son really liked the longer shag so we got that too (it's $1 why not?!) for another use}



STEP 2: Cut out a stencil.



I designed the trail sign in Silhouette Studio myself, but you could use a pre-made design or even a stencil from the craft store.  I definitely recommend using something "sticky" though so the paint does not bleed under the stencil (even short shag carpet has dimension so it wont lie entirely flat unless it sticks).

Step 2 (cont.)
Here's a little trick to help your vinyl stick even better!  Take a blow dryer to the vinyl once it's on the carpet.  As it warms up, press down on the vinyl.  The vinyl will sort of "melt" onto the carpet and create a tight seal to prevent the paint from bleeding.  Don't worry, this doesn't make it any harder to take off later!




STEP 3: Paint!




Once the stencil is in place, paint the carpet!  I like to use foam brushes and dab the paint onto the carpet.  It doesn't really matter how you get the paint on though (as long as you aren't brushing it under the stencil) so do what you feel comfortable doing.

Let dry...




...remove the stencil...




...and viola!  You have a lovely carpet for your front door, play room, mud room, or wherever!  I have grand plans on another design for one just inside our front door.  These are so easy and fun- why not make more?




{You'r Turn!}
What design would you put on yours?  Are you more classic (like your family name), silly (like a sarcastic comment or quote) or would you follow a theme like I did?

Happy Crafting,
Kelsie Ann


Thursday, April 7, 2016

NurturMe Review + $55 Gift Set GIVEAWAY

It's Freebie Friday again (that has a good ring to it doesn't it?)  Fridays are the the day where I get to review different products and share my honest thoughts on them with you.  Most of these reviews also come with a giveaway so that you have a chance to try out the products yourself for free!  Let me give you a little heads up on this week.  Whether you have young kids, older kids or no kids at all- you are going to LOVE this week's featured company... I just know it.

[Disclaimer:  I have received free product from NurtureMe for review.  All opinions are  my own and I am not required to write a positive review.  Products for the giveaway are a gift from NurturMe and in no way shape my opinion or review of the product/company.]

NurturMe

Let me start by saying that I try very hard to feed my son healthy foods.  That being said, I personally am the biggest junk and snack-aholic you will ever meet.  I eat a pan of brownies before it even thinks about going bad and some of my favorite candies are the ones that are made purely of sugar.  Oh, and if I didn't have a family I would seriously eat pizza rolls every.single.day.  I'm trying to change because I want my son to be better than me and I know for that to happen I need to be better as well.  So please keep that in mind while reading this review.  You don't need to be a health nut to choose these easy healthy snack options or to care about what goes into your family's body.

{One of my favorite photos ever.  He's got his NurturMe Quinoa Squares and sippy cup and is just strolling around like he owns the place.  Okay... he really does.}


Okay, so here's the skinny on this company:
- Their products are made from all organic, gluten-free, non-GMO and Kosher ingredients.
- Foods are freeze & drum dried.  This helps keep nutrients in and flavors better!
- And my personal favorite:  NO PRESERVATIVES!  Seriously, no salt, no sugar, nothing.  Just honest to goodness fruits and vegetables.

{Check out this short video to see co-founders Caroline Freedman and Lauren McCullough on why they do what they do}

{Yes, this is really the ingredient list.  That's it... really.}

This is the very image that sold me on this company (It's from the back of the Yum-A-Roo's package.)  With the exception of snacking on straight fruits and vegetables (and even then you have your  worries- make sure you keep a list handy of the "Dirty Dozen" next time you go grocery shopping) it is nearly impossible to find snacks that aren't laced full of preservatives and other junk.  Even the brands known for being "healthy" snack options for kids still have either salt or sugar (or both) in them.  I'm not saying that we don't eat sugar.  I love sugar and my son is starting to learn about how yummy it is.  I'm just saying that it's really nice to know that there are options available for healthy snacking on the go without grabbing yet-another sugar filled children's snack.

And they are yummy too.  Bet you didn't see that one coming.

 {Look at the excitement on that face!  Having a little snack while waiting on grandma to finish up in a meeting. Kept him occupied and happy... which makes this mama happy too!}


These are the first ones we tried and are my son's favorite.  He has had the banana+apple+broccoli as well as the banana+mango+pineapple but I would imagine he would love each of those combinations.  As you saw in the ingredients photo above, they are made from ONLY dried organic fruits and vegetables.  That's it.  So simple and my son goes crazy for them.

They also come in a resealable bag so they are super easy to just toss into your bag and take with you.  Mama loves stuff that makes life easier!



Need more proof that these snacks haven't been processed beyond resemblance?  I was amazed the first time I actually laid out the pieces and looked at them.  That's an actual broccoli stalk and chunk of banana... I mean, come on- they look just like if he were eating them fresh (just a little crunchier!)  They also still taste  like the fruits & veggies that they are.  Trust me... I'm a big fan of apple and not so much of banana and I kept stealing his snacks and *accidentally* grabbing bananas instead of apple.  I was easily able to identify that I had not grabbed the piece I wanted because it tasted just like a banana!  Luckily, my son was more than happy to eat them all for me. ha!

You're little one (or big one.. or you) are going to love these.  My son participated in an Easter egg hunt this year that resulted in candy that he just couldn't eat yet (choking hazards...) so me and my husband ate the candy and filled his eggs with Yum-A-Roo's instead.  He not only didn't mind but it was the first time that day he had a smile on his face (he woke up a little early and was not amused by the egg hunt initially).  I'm not kidding when I say that he is crazy about these.




I actually thought these would be my son's favorite because he loves quinoa.  We tried the sweet potato+apple+cinnamon as well as the pineapple+spinach (which I knew he would like because he likes when I put pineapple in his quinoa at home!) and although the Yum-A-Roo's were his favorite, he was a big fan of these as well.

These are shaped more like a puff cracker and are a little more flaky.  The only problem we had with them is that my son would sometimes crush them up (all over the floor, carseat, his lap, my lap...) because well, he could. He does the same with Ritz crackers.  The Quinoa Squares are made with organic fruits, vegetables, and cheeses with apple juice and coconut oil for sweetness.  Plus of course, quinoa which is a SUPER food! (If you don't eat quinoa, give it a try!  It's so good and so good for you.)

{See the green powdery looking stuff on top?  That's the spinach!}

When I first opened a package I didn't think there were very many in there but they must be filling because they seemed to satisfy my snack-loving son with only one bag (or sometimes less).  This certainly helps show the importance of real and healthy ingredients vs. filler because it would have taken a lot more of some other snacks we have tried in the past.

{Look at that one that is COVERED in the spinach/pineapple!  Love it!}


They come in individual serving sized bags which are easy for even the littlest babes to hold and easy for you to just grab and toss into your bag to have on hand for later.



Are you as sold on these as I am?  If so, you can buy the products I mentioned plus more (check out their website for snacks, NurturMeals, eco-pouch snacks and baby cereals) on their website or at several local stores such as Meijer, Whole Foods, Amazon and even Babies R Us (plus a whole slew of other places).  Check out this page to find a store near you that sells them.

Or... you could totally win them too.  NurturMe is giving away a HUGE starter package so that you can try all the different products.  Whoever wins will have to let me know what they think of the products I haven't tried yet.  I am definitely getting that quinoa baby cereal if we ever have another little one!



a Rafflecopter giveaway


Just a little more information about the company & other products:
NurturMe is the first and only family of certified-organic, dried fruit and veggie meals and snacks created to nourish healthy growth and overall wellness in little ones. Bursting with vital nutrients and fresh organic flavor, NuturMe’s Quinoa infant cereals, dried NurturMeals baby food and Yum-a-Roo’s toddler snacks help parents feed their children better from first bites to first steps, and everywhere in between.

NurturMe provides innovative and sustainable options for busy, modern parents to help ensure their children are getting the nutrition they need to live a yummy life – including the first 100% pure quinoa alternative to traditional rice cereals, dry pouch infant meals that can be mixed with breast milk or formula for added nutrients, and healthy toddler snacks that deliver 1.5 servings of fruit AND veggies in each pouch.

Made from specially selected super fruits and veggies that are quick-dried in order to preserve freshness, flavor and vital nutrients, NurturMe baby and toddler foods are certified organic, gluten-free, non-GMO and kosher, with no added preservatives, sugars or salts. Good for baby and Mother Earth, NurturMe’s dried fruit and veggie foods are super lightweight and made in the USA, leaving a smaller carbon footprint on our planet than the other options found in the baby aisle. Additionally, every 3-pack box of NurturMe Eco-Pouches keeps more than 45 plastic baby food squeeze pouches out of our landfills.


Happy Crafting,
Kelsie Ann